Hey all, hope everyone had an exciting Fourth of July weekend. Now that we are all back to normal, it’s time to continue our look at the NFC West All-Star Team. Tonight we will run down the choices at the running back position. We will be featuring two backs on our team, so in this poll you will be able to vote for the two best options. In my opinion, these spots should be pretty obvious, but if you don’t agree, let me know by voting or by commenting.
Steven Jackson-St. Louis Rams
2009 Stats: Jackson carried the ball 324 times last season and gained 1,416 yards on the ground to go along with four TDs. He averaged 4.4 yards per carry, and his long run of the season was 58 yards. In the air, Jackson caught 51 passes for 322 yards, but he did not get into the end zone. He fumbled just twice on the year, and both of them were lost.
My Take: Jackson was on a terrible team last season, and his offensive line struggled to stay healthy all year. With some talent around him, he is still one of the elite backs in this game. He might be one of the elite backs in the game even with his terrible supporting cast. In my opinion, (although admittedly it might be a little biased) Jackson is the class of this division at the running back position.
Frank Gore-San Francisco 49ers
2009 Stats: Gore was very productive in 2009, as he managed to reach the end zone 10 times on the ground and another three times through the air. He rushed for 1,120 yards on 229 carries, and he averaged 4.9 yards on those carries. In the passing game, Gore had 52 receptions for 406 yards which comes out to a 7.8 yard average. He fumbled the ball four times and lost two of those.
My Take: If Jackson is the class of this division, then Gore is certainly not far behind. His 13 combined scores last season speak volumes, and he has been a dynamic runner for several seasons. As long as he is healthy, he is also considered one of the better backs in the game today. Gore is worthy or strong consideration for a spot on the team.
Beanie Wells/Tim Hightower-Arizona Cardinals
2009 Stats: I’m going to discuss both players here in the same group, as they really are a nice two-headed attack in the desert. They will be considered separately in the voting, however, so keep that in mind. Wells had a nice rookie season in 2009, as he finished with 793 yards and seven TDs on the ground. Hightower was also able to find the end-zone at a nice rate, as he posted eight scores and 598 yards on the season. Hightower caught 63 passes for 428 yards, but he failed to score on any of those touches. Wells had just 12 receptions for 143 yards and no scores.
My Take: I like Wells, and if anyone could throw a wrench in this voting, it will be him. He was just a rookie last season, and he could shoot near the top of this ranking if he builds on his 2009 campaign. At his point, however, I can’t bring myself to put him above either Gore or Jackson. As for Hightower, he is a nice compliment to Wells, but he is not in the class of Gore or SJ39.
Justin Forsett-Seattle Seahawks
2009 stats: Forsett started just two games for the Seahawks last season, but he played in all 16 and finished with 619 yards on 114 carries. He found the end zone four times on the ground, and once through the air. He is likely going to split time with Leon Washington this season, but it looks like he is the starter in Seattle for now.
My Take: I am a big fan of Washington’s, but coming off a serious injury I find it hard to give him consideration for this team. Forsett has some potential, but he is at the back end of my list for now. If Washington returns completely healthy, he can be exciting as anyone in the league, but he will have to prove to me he is at 100%.
My Choices: In my opinion, Jackson and Gore are the obvious choices here. I know a lot of people like Beanie Wells, and with good reason, but he isn’t there yet. We aren’t picking a team for five years down the road, we are trying to win this make-believe tournament now. Give me Jackson and Gore, and I will put them up against anyone else in the league.