Tag Archives: running
(Credit: Screenshot by Eric Mack/CNET)
Watch out for that stair car… and any of the other numerous running jokes from resurrected cult hit “Arrested Development.”
In honor of the show’s triumphant return to Netflix, with 15 new episodes set to start streaming May 26, NPR has compiled, logged, and cross-referenced all the recurring gags from the show’s original three seasons to make sure you don’t miss a beat.
- ‘Arrested Development’ trailer peeks at new Netflix episodes
- Netflix unarrests ‘Arrested’ development
The app on the NPR Web site is meticulous in its level of detail, chronicling just about every chuckle-worthy line or sight gag from the first three seasons and connecting the dots between combined jokes.
The quest… [Read more]
Former New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers running back Chuck Muncie suffered heart failure and died in his Los Angeles-area home on Monday, the Associated Press reports.
Muncie, the No. 3 overall pick of the 1976 NFL draft, had turned 60 in March.
Muncie spent the first four-plus seasons of his career with the Saints, rushing for 3,393 yards and 28 touchdowns in 59 games and earned Pro Bowl honors in 1979 before he was traded to the Chargers midway through the 1980 season. Muncie ranks fifth in Saints’ history in rushing yards, is third in rushing touchdowns and is a member of the Saints’ Hall of Honor.
“Sadly, we have learned of the untimely passing of Chuck Muncie,” said New Orleans Saints Owner Tom Benson. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and other loved ones at this difficult time.”
In 51 games over his four-plus seasons in San Diego, Muncie ran for over 3,300 yards with 43 touchdowns, a number that still ranks second in Chargers’ history. Muncie led the NFL with 19 rushing touchdowns in 1981 and scored eight more touchdowns in a nine-game, strike-shortened season in 1982, earning Pro Bowl honors after each season.
“It’s disheartening and when I got the call it shook me up quite a bit,” former Chargers guard Ed White said. “He was a great guy and a wonderful teammate. I loved him to death. The thing that I see when I close my eyes is his happy face, his smile and his kindness to everyone.”
Muncie struggled with drug abuse during and after his playing career and in 1989 he received 18 months in federal prison after being convicted for cocaine distribution. Following his release from prison, Muncie dedicated himself to the Chuck Muncie Youth Foundation where he worked with at-risk youth.
“He was a star on the football field but his most impressive work was done in the second chapter of his life where he lived his life with great transparency,” said Muncie’s former wife, Robyn Hood. ”He simply wanted others to learn from his mistakes. He carried that message with him everywhere he went. And as a result, he changed the lives of hundreds of kids. He made a difference.”
On the third day of the 2013 NFL draft, the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers swapped unwanted running backs, with the Patriots shipping Olympic silver medalist Jeff Demps to the Bucs in exchange for LeGarrette Blount, a former 1,000-yard rusher who had lost his starting job to 2012 first-round pick Doug Martin.
When the deal was struck, the Patriots were taking on a larger financial commitment. Demps, who signed with New England as an undrafted free agent last August, is scheduled to earn the league minimum ($ 405,000), while Blount had signed a one-year extension with the Buccaneers in early March that had a total value of $ 1.75 million.
According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Blount has agreed to a restructured contract that has reduced his base salary and cap hit by $ 1.07 million for the 2013 season.
Blount, who was eligible for restricted free agency this offseason, signed a one-year extension with the Buccaneers on on March 7 that called for a $ 150,000 workout bonus, a $ 350,000 bonus for reporting to training camp and a $ 1.25 million non-guaranteed base salary to give him a $ 1.75 million cap figure for the 2013 season. The Patriots acquired that deal, but have made some major modifications.
For starters, Blount’s $ 150,000 workout bonus has been reduced to $ 50,000 and his $ 350,000 reporting bonus has been eliminated. In addition to that $ 450,000 in savings, Blount’s base salary has been reduced by nearly 50 percent, going from $ 1.25 million to $ 630,000, none of which is guaranteed.
Blount’s 2013 cap hit has gone from $ 1.75 million to $ 680,000, which is fourth behind Leon Washington ($ 1.5 million), Shane Vereen ($ 950,250) and Stevan Ridley ($ 805,500) among the Patriots running backs. Blount’s renegotiated deal also included a “split” salary that would reduce Blount’s pay rate (to $ 383,000) if he were placed on a reserve list.
The 6-foot, 245-pound Blount ran for 1,788 yards with 11 touchdowns over his first two seasons in the NFL, but was reduced to a minimal role in the Buccaneers’ offense last season. According to official NFL playing-time documents, Blount logged just 92 offensive snaps in 2012, carrying the ball 41 times for 151 yards and two touchdowns as Doug Martin ran for over 1,400 yards and 11 touchdowns in his rookie season.
Blount is expected to increase the competition in the Patriots’ backfield this offseason as he and Brandon Bolden jockey for a job behind projected starter Ridley, who sustained a concussion in the Patriots’ loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the 2012 AFC championship game.
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The Green Bay Packers are a passing team, and a very successful one. They have won 36 regular season games, two division titles and a Super Bowl the last three years with almost nothing out of the running game.
The NFL is a passing league, and only the Saints might epitomize that more than the Packers. Green Bay hasn’t had a 100-yard rusher since Week 5 of the 2010 season, and is still winning at about a 75 percent clip during the last three seasons.
All of that makes Green Bay’s selection of running backs Eddie Lacy in the second round and Johnathan Franklin in the fourth round very interesting.
It’s hard to imagine the Packers want to be a totally balanced offense, considering they just gave quarterback Aaron Rodgers a $ 110 million extension to make him the highest paid player in NFL history. Green Bay’s identity is tied into Rodgers throwing the ball, and they’d be crazy to change that formula too much.
The Packers’ thought has to be that in the best-case scenario, they stick to the same approximate 57-43 pass-run ratio they’ve had the last three years, but they’re much better in that 43 percent with Lacy and Franklin rather than guys like James Starks and DuJuan Harris wasting plays. And as a result, a more effective running game makes Rodgers even better.
General manager Ted Thompson’s view has to be that a better running game will take pressure off Rodgers, and also keep him upright. The Packers allowed 51 sacks last year, second in the league. No matter how good Green Bay’s passing game is, predictable is predictable. It was much easier for pass rushers when there was no concern about the mediocre tailbacks Rodgers had to hand the ball to. There is also a good argument to be made that Lacy slipped too far to No. 61 and Franklin definitely slipped too far to No. 125, and both were good values.
The counter argument might be that Green Bay has been wildly successful with perhaps the worst running game in the league, and those picks could have been used to help a defense that is slipping badly and bottomed out in a playoff loss against San Francisco last year. There were good defensive players on the board when the Packers chose Lacy and Franklin.
It seems a bit odd to invest so much in the running game, when the Packers have built a championship offense entirely around Rodgers in the passing game. They shouldn’t want to stray too far away from that. But if Lacy and Franklin are as good as they were at Alabama and UCLA, it obviously makes the Packers even tougher for opposing defensive coordinators to prepare for. If that ultimately helps Rodgers, all the better.
The New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have once again worked out a trade, this time agreeing to a trade involving an unwanted running back, an Olympic silver medalist and a seventh-round draft pick.
According to Tom Curran of Comcast SportsNet New England, the Patriots have acquired LeGarrette Blount in exchange for Jeff Demps and the 229th overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
New England and Tampa Bay hooked up last year’s trade deadline, with the Patriots acquiring cornerback Aqib Talib in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2013 NFL draft. The Buccaneers used that pick to select Michigan State defensive end William Gholston. The Patriots also received a seventh-round pick back from the Buccaneers in the Talib deal, which is the 226th overall selection.
Blount entered the NFL with the Tennessee Titans as an undrafted free agent out of Oregon in 2010. Claimed off waivers by the Buccaneers, the 6-foot, 245-pound Blount ran for 1,007 yards and six touchdowns as a rookie, despite starting just seven of 13 games. Blount ran for 781 yards and five touchdowns as a 14-game starter in 2011, but lost his starting job to 2012 first-round pick Doug Martin and had just 41 carries for 151 yards and two touchdowns in very limited action, logging just 92 snaps over the entire season, according to official playing-time documents.
Blount was scheduled to be a restricted free agent this offseason, but agreed to a one-year, $ 1.75 million contract with the Buccaneers on March 7. Blount’s deal contained no guaranteed money, but the running back can earn a $ 150,000 workout bonus and another $ 350,000 bonus by reporting to training camp. If Blount makes the Patriots’ 53-man roster, which is far from being a lock, he is scheduled to earn $ 1.25 million in non-guaranteed base salary.
The Patriots signed Demps as an undrafted free agent out of Florida. Demps accumulated over 3,500 all-purpose yards and scored 25 touchdowns for the Gators, but represented his country on the 4 x 100-meter relay team during the 2012 London Games and did not start to pursue an NFL career until last August. The Patriots won the bidding war for Demps, signing him to a three-year contract that included $ 211,000 in guaranteed money, including a $ 200,000 base salary guarantee for the 2012 season.
Demps had nine carries for 56 yards, caught three passes for 31 yards, averaged 13 yards on five punt returns and 21 yards on three kick returns in two preseason games, but was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury in September. Demps is signed through the 2014 season at league minimum salaries ($ 405,000 in 2013, $ 495,000 in 2014), but recently stated his desire to run track and play football, a decision that the Patriots were not open to. The Buccaneers are clearly fine with that arrangement, though they’re likely happy to take a seventh-round pick from New England to part ways with Blount, who has no role on offense, no value on special teams and had some discipline issues in college (missed most of his senior season after sucker-punching a player from Boise State) and in his first few seasons in the NFL.
New Eagles coach Chip Kelly is known for his up tempo offense. After a few practices this week, running back LeSean McCoy feels like he is participating in a track meet, Les Bowen of the Philadelphia Daily News reports.
“We’re running so much — it’s like a freakin’ track meet, like a relay. We need some extra guys,” McCoy said Thursday, after the Eagles wrapped up their first three-day minicamp under new coach Chip Kelly.
McCoy was explaining how he thinks there will be plenty of work for himself, Bryce Brown and Chris Polk.
“I’ve never played in an offense where the tempo was so high,” McCoy said. “There’s so many plays, so fast … as soon as you’re done, you’ve got to be ready for the next play.”
McCoy estimated there might be 10 seconds between practice reps, with the playcalls relayed by “sign language.”
“It’s like a no-huddle type of offense, but way faster,” he said.
“It lets me, or the backs, kind of pick and choose our holes, and (sets) such a fast pace for the defensive linemen, there’ll be wide-open gaps and seams. I’m looking forward to having a big year … I feel like the offense we have here fits the players very well; the offensive line can move very well laterally, and it’s the playmakers around it.”
Much has been written about the decreasing importance and ultimate devaluation of the running back position in the NFL. This has now become an annual rite of spring leading up to the NFL draft. The argument seems to be presented in a number of different ways, all with a single overriding theme: You can find good running backs anywhere in the draft, so it makes no sense to select one in the first round, especially in the top 10 or 15. All you have to do is go back one year. There were many who believed Trent Richardson, as strong a prospect as he was, was simply not worth the third pick in the draft. Those who said so were not denigrating Richardson; they were speaking to the perceived and diminished value of running backs in the NFL.
Of course, there are many layers and underlying principles to this contention. For many, it stems from what it is now an undisputed truth in the NFL: it’s all about the quarterback. Without a top level player at the game’s most important position, everything else, when all is said and done, becomes marginally relevant. Those advocates always point out many of the better backs in the league, and where they were drafted, the most recent example being Alfred Morris of the Redskins. He was taken in the 6th round last year, the 173rd player selected. All he did was rush for 1613 yards, second only to Adrian Peterson. And by the way, that was 663 yards more than Richardson. Jamal Charles was a third-round pick in 2008; he has rushed for more than 1,450 yards twice, this past year gaining 1,509 yards after an ACL injury. He has never averaged less than 5.3 yards per rush in his 5 years in the NFL.
The true poster child for this argument is Arian Foster. He was not even drafted out of Tennessee after the 2008 college season. Houston signed him as a free agent in 2009. No back has carried the ball more times for more yards over the last three seasons, and he is, without question, one of the true feature backs in the NFL, the foundation of the Texans offense. The list goes on and on. Frank Gore was a third round pick, Ray Rice and Matt Forte were both chosen in the second round. For those true believers, the discussion is over. You can get quality, and even special, NFL backs anywhere in the draft. Why waste a first-round selection on a position that’s one, not that important in the overall NFL model, and two, can be ably filled later in the draft, or perhaps even in free agency?
Foster is the most interesting because he conveys a larger point in seemingly paradoxical ways. He proves you do not need to utilize a high pick on a running back to find one that can be a feature back in the NFL. At the same time, he also drives home the point that no matter how productive your back is as the foundation of your offense, he’s not the critical player in a true championship contention offense. I think most would agree that the Texans offense fell short last season because Matt Schaub did not perform at a high enough level down the stretch.
This raises far more questions than simply where running backs should be drafted, and what their ultimate value is in the NFL. The Texans, in fact, present a fascinating paradigm. They are an offense clearly built on the running game. Their passing game is most efficient, and explosive through the seamless integration of run and pass concepts. That’s their modus operandi. It’s difficult to argue with their overall production the last number of years, when Schaub has been healthy. Yet, their passing game, when unable to effectively deploy run/pass action, has not been as proficient. What conclusion can be drawn? Is it fair to say that no matter how well you run the ball, and how beautifully designed and executed your running game may be, that ultimately it is not the barometer by which to measure offensive success, especially against better defenses in the playoffs?
It is easy to say you can’t compete for Super Bowls without a high-level quarterback. That’s a platitudinous abstraction that, in the real world of trying to build offense and win games, has little meaning for coaches, especially those that do not have one of the better seven or eight quarterbacks in the game. Equally abstract, and in many ways just as hollow, is the notion that you can plug in anyone at the running back position and be fine. Simply because there have been numerous examples of later round picks and free agents having success does not mean that you pass on highly rated and potentially outstanding backs in the draft. Couldn’t you then theoretically say this about any position, other than quarterback? Believe it or not, it was even said by many about the quarterback position after Tom Brady won Super Bowls as a sixth round pick, the 199th player chosen in the 2000 draft.
It leads to intriguing suppositions. Have we reached the point in the NFL where the running game and all involved with it is complementary, and not directly essential to winning offense? Is Peterson, who in my view had the best offensive season of any player in the history of the NFL and is now part of the “best-ever running back” conversation, simply a glorified role player? As we extrapolate to this year, what about Eddie Lacy, the only true foundation/feature back in the 2013 draft? I have spoken to some who believe he’s a better runner than Richardson. What is Lacy’s value in today’s NFL?
Let’s put this discussion in a more practical context. Teams put together draft boards. They normally have an overall board, regardless of position, and then another one in which they evaluate and rank players based on specific positions. For the sake of this exercise, let’s say you’re the St. Louis Rams, with the 22nd pick in the first round. Your running back depth chart has two second year players, Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead. Richardson had some nice moments as a late round rookie in 2012, but he’s 190 pounds. Pead was a second-round pick a year ago, but was always seen as more of a second back, an explosive complement to a feature back. A year ago, you had Steven Jackson; he’s gone, so now you do not have a quality starting running back on the roster. You have Lacy rated as the 21st best player on your board. Do you not take him because you can always draft a running back later, as the argument goes, in the third or even the fifth round? And by the way, the back you then select later will not be good as Lacy, or you would have had him rated significantly higher.
This is where the abstraction of value in a broader NFL philosophical ideal has little meaning. Jeff Fisher and the Rams know that Sam Bradford becoming a better and more reliable quarterback is the most critical and decisive element in the offense advancing to the necessary playoff level. But right now, as they enter the 2013 season, looking to compete in the NFC West with San Francisco and Seattle, the Rams’ offense demands a consistent and sustaining running game. That’s the reality. We are not in academia; we are in the real world.
Do people really want to argue that Frank Gore was not important to the 49ers offensive success the last 2 seasons, even with Colin Kaepernick adding a far more explosive dimension to the passing game this past season? How about Marshawn Lynch in Seattle? He rushed for more than 1,500 yards this past season. We know that Russell Wilson raised the Seahawks offense to a higher level, but could the offense have achieved the same with a lesser back? Let’s not forget that Lynch was a first-round pick, the 12th player chosen in the 2007 draft by the Bills, before being traded to the Seahawks during the 2010 season.
None of this is to suggest that it’s not a quarterback-driven league, but we need to be careful how far we then move the pendulum the other way. No one would argue that running backs are more important than quarterbacks. All you have to do is look at 3rd down. We all know that 3rd down is the most important down in football for one reason: it’s the possession down, so those plays inherently take on greater significance. Make no mistake, third-and-long is the quarterback’s down. He has to make tough throws, often in tight windows, against the best of what defensive coordinators have to offer. If you do not have a quarterback that can do that, your percentage chance of contending for anything meaningful lessens significantly. We all understand this. That’s not the same as postulating that running backs are interchangeable, and thus somehow not relevant to consistent offensive success in the NFL.
There will always be those who believe it doesn’t matter, that without a high level quarterback, you have almost no chance to compete for a Super Bowl. That’s fine for those sitting at home who don’t have to build teams, game plan on a weekly basis and try to win games on Sunday. For those whose livelihoods depend on it, they know the intrinsic value of both a quality running game and a good back. Neither is unimportant or inconsequential in the NFL.
Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson likes how his team’s front office has handled free agency, especially how they beefed up their offensive line by signing guard Andy Levitre to a six-year, $ 46.8 million contract, but one move in particular does not get his full approval.
According to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean, Johnson doesn’t understand why the team signed free agent running back Shonn Greene to a three-year, $ 10 million contract.
“I have never been a big fan of the two-back system, so I don’t know how we plan on using him,” Johnson said. “I’m not afraid of competition, but I was thinking we’d maybe get a draft pick for the other back. And you don’t give a guy that kind of money to be just a goal-line guy and in tough-yardage situations. So we’ll see what happens.”
Johnson’s response to the Greene signing is not surprising. No running back played a higher percentage of his team’s offensive plays last season than Johnson, who official NFL playing-time documents show was on the field for 81.63 percent of the Titans’ snaps last season. Johnson accounted for over 73 percent of the Titans’ rushing attempts and rushing yards and had 44.8 percent of the team’s rushing attempts and receptions last season.
“I’ll just roll with it. Of course I don’t want to carry the ball 30 or 40 times a game,” said Johnson. “And I don’t mind a guy getting a carry or two. But if I am the main guy and it is supposed to be my team…it shouldn’t be an issue.”
Greene’s contract may have raised a few eyebrows, but an average per year (APY) of $ 3.3 million is slightly below the $ 3.5 million per year average that Michael Bush received from the Chicago Bears to be the No. 2 behind franchised running back Matt Forte last offseason. Bush ended up playing in less than 25 percent of the Bears’ snaps in 2012, and while Greene could be in store for similar usage, Titans head coach Mike Munchak views the 226-pound Greene as an option on all downs.
“We’re not going to have him as a short-yardage back, a goal-line back and four-minute back and that’s all he does,” Munchak told Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com. “We feel he can play all three downs. He may get a series where he gets going and we’re taking over the line of scrimmage and you want that runner in there and we leave him in there.”
Free agent running back Steven Jackson has agreed to terms with the Atlanta Falcons, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports.
The Falcons’ official Twitter page reports that the deal spans three seasons. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Jackson hit the free agent market after the St. Louis Rams provided him with the option to void the final year of his contract. The Rams are preparing to go forth with 2012 draft choices Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead in the backfield.
Jackson drew interest from both the Green Bay Packers and Falcons before deciding on Atlanta on Thursday. The Falcons were in the market for a veteran back after releasing Michael Turner earlier this month. Turner topped 1,300 three times during his first five seasons with the Falcons, but was released after averaging just 3.6 yards per carry in 2012 and watching his 2013 base salary swell from $ 5.5 million to $ 6.9 million.
The Falcons, who lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC championship game, had the NFL’s eighth-ranked offense last season, but were just 29th when running the ball, averaging less than 88 yards per game. The 6-foot-1, 231-pound Jackson gives the Falcons a powerful inside runner to pair with Jacquizz Rodgers, a smaller, faster back who can attack the opponents’ edges.
Selected in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft out of Oregon State, Jackson has rushed for 10,135 yards and 56 touchdowns with 407 receptions for 3,324 and eight touchdowns out of the backfield. The three-time Pro Bowler has rushed for 1,000 or more yards in eight straight seasons and is the Rams’ all-time leader in rushing yards and is tied with Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson second in club history in rushing touchdowns, trailing Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk by two scores. Jackson also ranks fifth in Rams’ history in receptions and is fourth in total touchdowns.
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Former Cardinals first-round pick running back Beanie Wells has been released by the Cardinals.
Wells was due a roster bonus of $ 1.3 this spring and scheduled to make $ 1.157 million in salary.
A first-round pick in 2009, Wells never lived up to expectations. Over four years, he played in 51 games (23 starts) and gained 2,471 yards and scored 24 touchdowns.
He was hampered by injuries for much of those four seasons, starting with a high ankle sprain suffered in his first training camp practice as a rookie.
Wells played in eight games last season, including seven starts. Former coach Ken Whisenhunt didn’t play Wells in the season finale, which came days after Wells questioned his future with the organization.
Cardinals officials were not available for comment. Via twitter, Wells wrote “the best has yet to come?”