We are in day 2,341 of no football. It has been so long I don’t even remember what a football looks like. I have vivid dreams of players throwing, catching, and tackling but when I wake up, it seems even farther away than when I went to sleep.
What are we to do just to get by?
Review the NFC South rosters! We have finally to running back in our ongoing series. Are backs important to a great offense? The most replaceable position? I think looking at the Buccaneers’ roster and you will find out the answers, respectively, are yes and no.
Let’s get to the ratings.
4. Tampa Bay
Tom Brady left New England to get away from annoying Boston fans and to get some better offensive weapons. Good news! He’s now around annoying Bucs fans and has no one at running back. Ronald Jones II is the starter... and it isn’t really due to his performance. After two seasons, the former 38th overall pick looks fine and also risks ending Brady’s career with his sloppy pass blocking. Rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn from Vanderbilt could be interesting but looks to be a two-down back that lacks the top-end athletics of an elite back.
Ultimately, things are not great when your team is considering adding Devonta Freeman. This feels like a group entirely of replacement-level talent.
In my mind, the Falcons narrowly lost the spot for 2nd best situation in the NFC South. The big news here is obviously Todd Gurley replacing Freeman. Gurley is an obvious upgrade, but how much of an upgrade depends a lot on his knee. He is risky, and you really do not want a risky starter when your backups are basically the same players the Buccaneers have. Atlanta desperately needs one Ito Austin, Brian Hill, or Qadree Ollison to step up. The team is in Bucs-level trouble if Gurley can’t shoulder the load.
I really wanted to drop the Saints to 3 in part because Latavius Murray is mediocre and Alvin Kamara had a real meh 2019. They are backed up by Ty Montgomery, and a bunch of guys including Ricky Ortiz. Kamara could return to form with heavy touchdowns, Murray is a decent enough backup, and Montgomery is a solid number 3. The Saints run game should not be bad but will probably struggle to be great.
This is the Christian McCaffery show as there is no one else even worth mention. CMC is arguably the league’s best and most versatile running back and he is coming off of an All-Pro season. The Panthers have done the smart thing by rebuilding during their best player’s peak while piling on all the unnecessary touches, and will certainly be extending him to maintain some consistency for whatever young QB they eventually draft. The Panthers really win this by having one back certain to be better than average. If anything happens to CMC, they will be deep in Bucs territory.