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Running back situation going forward


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Poll: Running back situation going forward (151 member(s) have cast votes)

BenJarvus Green-Ellis

  1. He will re-sign with the Patriots (65 votes [43.33%])

    Percentage of vote: 43.33%

  2. The Patriots will let him sign elsewhere as an UFA (85 votes [56.67%])

    Percentage of vote: 56.67%

2012

  1. I'm fine with Ridley, Vereen, Woodhead and a filler FA / late draft pick (132 votes [88.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 88.00%

  2. I want the Patriots to draft a RB in RD 1 or RD 2 (3 votes [2.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 2.00%

  3. I want the Patriots to sign a "name" RB (e.g. Hillis, Grant, Tolbert) (5 votes [3.33%])

    Percentage of vote: 3.33%

  4. Other (10 votes [6.67%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.67%

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#1 SoxScout


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Posted 20 December 2011 - 09:11 AM

BenJarvus Green-Ellis

TEAM GP ATT YDS AVG LNG TD FD FUM LST
2008 NE 9 74 275 3.7 15 5 23 0 0
2009 NE 12 26 114 4.4 29 0 6 0 0
2010 NE 16 229 1,008 4.4 33 13 62 0 0
2011 NE 14 171 635 3.7 18 9 37 0 0


#2 Fishercat


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Posted 20 December 2011 - 09:15 AM

I think the Pats will be interested in keeping Green-Ellis: solid runner, doesn't fumble, good at the goal line, capable pass catcher. But I have a feeling some team will make him an outsized offer based on those things and being a starting halfback/1000 yard rusher, and he'll take the money. I'm rooting to keep him, but I don't think they'd be trying out their RBs like they are if they weren't prepared for BJGE to get a big offer.

I'm fine with the RB corps as is. I think Ridley's good enough to take over the BJGE role (lead back, chain move), Vereen has good complementary skills, and there's always a place for a Woodhead type of player.

#3 Mystic Merlin


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Posted 20 December 2011 - 09:21 AM

If they take a RB high, or pay out for a guy like Ryan Grant, I'll scream.

#4 DrewDawg


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Posted 20 December 2011 - 09:51 AM

I think the fact that they drafted Ridley and Vereen shows they won't be heartbroken is BJGE leaves. I'm sure they'll take him back with the right deal, but not sure that it will be a priority.

#5 dbn

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 10:01 AM

I think they'll try to retain him. Sure, he never breaks off big runs, but they get enough big plays in the passing game and the fact that he doesn't fumble is huge.

I voted "other" because I'd be most pleased with retaining BJGE and Ridley, Woodhead and Vereen. However, if BJGE goes elsewhere, I'd be happy standing pat with the latter three.

#6 tims4wins


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Posted 20 December 2011 - 10:18 AM

Is there a reliable source with a list of the 2012 free agent running backs? Would be helpful for context.

#7 bsartist618

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 10:21 AM

I would be OK with Ridley, Woodhead and Vereen, but I might like to see a power back for short yardage added if BJGE should depart. I do not think this team needs a big name FA or first rounder to succeed in the running game. Those resources would be spend better addressing other needs.

#8 ( . ) ( . ) and (_!_)


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Posted 20 December 2011 - 10:29 AM

I would be OK with Ridley, Woodhead and Vereen, but I might like to see a power back for short yardage added if BJGE should depart. I do not think this team needs a big name FA or first rounder to succeed in the running game. Those resources would be spend better addressing other needs.


Ridley is listed as the dame height as BJGE but is 10 pounds heavier. I have seen nothin from rudely that would suggest he could not be used in short yardage/goal line. BJGE likely gets those carries today because of his ball security history. But that likely becomes ridelys roll without BJGE.

I worry about Vereen. Rookies that miss signifiant time their rookie years have poor track records with the pats. Crable, wheatly, mckenzie ( add dowlin to the watch list)

#9 mt8thsw9th


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Posted 20 December 2011 - 10:30 AM

For what it's worth, BJGE has more names than all of the backs listed in 2012, option #3.

#10 ShaneTrot

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 10:46 AM

This is a position of strength plus if you need a back you can generally pick them off the street and get some production, ie Kevin Smith and Sammy Morris.

#11 Shelterdog


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Posted 20 December 2011 - 10:57 AM

I worry about Vereen. Rookies that miss signifiant time their rookie years have poor track records with the pats. Crable, wheatly, mckenzie ( add dowlin to the watch list)


I'm not so sure--Chung Watson Merriweather all come to mind as players who didn't see the field much, or at all, as rookies and then were fine.

Vereen's problems are three fold: BJGE, Ridley and Woodhead have been healthy, the use (and thread) of the hurry up means you're only going to use one veteran back, and he's had some nagging hamstring injuries of his own. It hasn't been much of a rookie year but I think (unlike with a guy like Cunningham) that he may be a good player and there just aren't enough snaps.

EDIT: To the larger point, only a Madden or fantasy football junky would see a big name run back addition as a need for this team, particularly if BJGE stays. It's not an important position, we've got some talent, and we can get a special teams playing fourth running back easily enough.

Edited by Shelterdog, 20 December 2011 - 10:59 AM.


#12 bsartist618

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 10:58 AM

Ridley is listed as the dame height as BJGE but is 10 pounds heavier. I have seen nothin from rudely that would suggest he could not be used in short yardage/goal line. BJGE likely gets those carries today because of his ball security history. But that likely becomes ridelys roll without BJGE.

I worry about Vereen. Rookies that miss signifiant time their rookie years have poor track records with the pats. Crable, wheatly, mckenzie ( add dowlin to the watch list)

I knew Ridley was the larger of the 2011 RB draftees, but I simply have not seen him in enough short yardage situations to gauge his effectiveness there. I chose "might" because I concede that he may be able to fill that role for all I know.

A year ago, I'd have been drooling over the possibility of Peyton Hillis coming here. It's crazy how much things change in only a year.

#13 ragnarok725

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 11:09 AM

I get the sense that BJGE is systematically underrated based on his fumble rate (which is zero). I'd love to see an analysis of a more prolific rusher with an average fumble rate to a mediocre rusher with the type of rate BJGE has. The way BB values big play swings - turnovers and long plays - I think he recognizes the value of a reliable 3 yards and never a fumble. For what it's worth, he's 13th in DYAR on the year amongst NFL RBs, and was 3rd last year. I think the lack of fumbles and the high success rate have a lot to do with this.
http://footballoutsiders.com/stats/rb

I think he stays on, but his workload might decrease with more carries going to Ridley/Vereen next year when the team is in the middle of the field. BJGE is a perfect goalline/short yardage/end the game back. He rarely makes negative yards, always falls forward, and never fumbles.

Edited by ragnarok725, 20 December 2011 - 11:12 AM.


#14 maufman


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Posted 20 December 2011 - 11:43 AM

The "1,000-yard rusher" is a historic artifact from an era when NFL seasons were shorter and most teams had two decent halfbacks. Last season, 17 RBs rushed for 1,000 yards; we're on pace for a similar total this season. So in today's NFL, a 1,000-yard rusher is a league-average halfback.

Objective analysis of football looks a lot different from sabermetrics in baseball, but one thing that I think holds true across all sports is that league-average veteran players are overrated, and hence overpaid.

Being a savvy organization, the Pats won't overpay for BJGE -- but someone else will. I voted for replacing him with an in-house option in 2012, but I'd also be fine with spending a late 1st-rounder on a successor -- the #28 pick (give or take) isn't nearly as valuable as, say, a top-5 pick.

#15 lexrageorge

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 11:47 AM

BJGE is dependable back who can play an important role in this team going forward. However, my guess is that we are unlikely to see another 1000 yard season out of him; I wouldn't be surprised to see Ridley pass him on the depth chart next season. Also, the Pats have a history of placing a value on certain skills and generally not exceeding that value when they make their contract offers. I'm guessing that there is a >50% chance that another GM is going to offer a sweeter deal, and he would in all likelihood take it in the classic lose-lose situation.

If they enter next season with Vereen/Ridley/Woodhead, I'm fairly certain they would look for an RB or two on the cheap: late round draft pick, UDFA, or under-the-radar free agent. They probably add at least one to their list of training camp invitees even if BJGE comes back just to keep the competition honest. Either way, I'm OK with it. Unless they can find another Corey Dillon for a 2nd round draft pick type deal, there's no reason to invest a lot of resources (high draft pick or big FA $$$) into this position next year.

I worry about Vereen. Rookies that miss signifiant time their rookie years have poor track records with the pats. Crable, wheatly, mckenzie ( add dowlin to the watch list).


I'm not sure the track record is any better or worse than with other teams, and there have been exceptions as well (Ben Watson). Dowling was trusted enough to earn 2 starts as a rookie DB after having missed most of training camp, and looked good doing that. Vereen and Dowling will be given their opportunities next training camp, and they will benefit from OTA's and mini-camp this offseason as well (that can make a huge difference for some younger players). The time to raise the warning flag is if/when they appear on the "missed practice" report one week into training camp in August.

#16 pappymojo

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 12:26 PM

BJGE is a very good, solid contributor to this team. His production value on our team, however, is replaceable, possibly with in-house players. I'm sure the Patriots would love to keep him, but they aren't going to break the bank to make it happen.

As for Shane Vereen, I still have a lot of hope that he can provide a bit more flexibility to the position as a good running back who can run, catch passes and block well. BJGE has improved his blocking but doesn't factor much in the passing game. Woodhead does, but it would be great to have one player that can contribute in any offensive play.

CAL CAREER (Career Stats): Placed his name all over Cal's career and single-season record books during his three campaigns of action with the Golden Bears from 2008-10 after redshirting as a true freshman in 2007 ... played in all 38 games possible during his career at Cal, making 19 starts ... finished his career ranked among the school's all-time leaders in rushing touchdowns (29, No. 3-T), total touchdowns (35, No. 4-T), all-purpose yards (4,069, No. 5), rushing yards (2,834, No. 7), 100-yard rushing games (11, No. 7) and scoring (210, No. 9-T) ... other final career rushing numbers included 556 carries, a 5.1 yard average per attempt and 74.6 yards per game, with a long rush of 81 yards against Michigan State during his 2008 redshirt freshman campaign ... added 74 receptions for 674 yards and six touchdown catches, with a long of 59 yards ... had 551 kickoff return yards on 24 attempts and 10 punt return yards on two tries, all in his 2009 sophomore season ... even added three passing attempts without a completion, throwing one incompletion in each of his three campaigns ... led Cal in rushing in each of the last 16 collegiate games he played ... had multiple touchdowns in 10 games and at least one reception in 37 of his 38 contests, including the first 33 of his career to account for the longest run by an active FBS running back at the time it was snapped ... had 100 or more all-purpose yards 20 times, including four 200-plus yard all-purpose contests ... in Cal's single-season record books his 1,757 all-purpose yards in 2009 rank sixth, the 13 rushing touchdowns he scored in 2010 are tied for sixth, the 12 rushing touchdowns he posted in 2008 are tied for eighth, and his 1,167 rushing yards and 96 points in 2010 are ninth and tied for ninth at the time his career finished.


The bolding was mine.

#17 C4CRVT

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 12:39 PM

I'd like to sign 2001 Antowain Smith.

Or a reasonable facsimile. I like BJGE just fine but not at crazy money.

Those draft picks are accounted for...

Edited by C4CRVT, 20 December 2011 - 12:40 PM.


#18 ragnarok725

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 12:51 PM

BJGE is dependable back who can play an important role in this team going forward. However, my guess is that we are unlikely to see another 1000 yard season out of him; I wouldn't be surprised to see Ridley pass him on the depth chart next season. Also, the Pats have a history of placing a value on certain skills and generally not exceeding that value when they make their contract offers. I'm guessing that there is a >50% chance that another GM is going to offer a sweeter deal, and he would in all likelihood take it in the classic lose-lose situation.

Agreed. But I think the thing being missed here is how the Patriots will value BJGE's not-fumbling skills. And it is a skill - there's no way it's a fluke for as long as it's been going on now.

Say we added a normal fumble total to BJGE's stats - maybe 4 fumbles last year. And in return, we added in runs of equivalent value. That might be 4 separate 40 yard runs. All of a sudden he would be seen as a big play back, with a great YPC - he'd be universally regarded as elite. Instead, he has rather pedestrian numbers that mask the real value - that he minimizes mistakes better than any back in the league.

Belichick will value that more than other GMs (as he should). Whether other GMs will over-value his other attributes more than they underrate this attribute will largely determine whether he stays or goes.

Edited by ragnarok725, 20 December 2011 - 12:53 PM.


#19 pappymojo

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 01:44 PM

Agreed. But I think the thing being missed here is how the Patriots will value BJGE's not-fumbling skills. And it is a skill - there's no way it's a fluke for as long as it's been going on now.

Say we added a normal fumble total to BJGE's stats - maybe 4 fumbles last year. And in return, we added in runs of equivalent value. That might be 4 separate 40 yard runs. All of a sudden he would be seen as a big play back, with a great YPC - he'd be universally regarded as elite. Instead, he has rather pedestrian numbers that mask the real value - that he minimizes mistakes better than any back in the league.

Belichick will value that more than other GMs (as he should). Whether other GMs will over-value his other attributes more than they underrate this attribute will largely determine whether he stays or goes.


I think his low fumble percentage is great, but I still think that a lack of versatality limits BJGE's ability to contribute. Let's face it, the NFL today is about passing and with Brady as our QB this is especially true for the Patriots. BJGE is very good for what he is, but there are just some games where BJGE isn't a factor for this team.

Just this past week, he had 10 carries for 17 yards and a touchdown. Against Washington the week before, 5 carries for 19 yards. Indie, the week before that? Six carries for 14 yards and a touchdown. Philly, the week before that? Fourteen carries for 44 yards and two touchdowns.

At this point, BJGE is basically a great goal line back. For the right price, we keep him, but if he can get more elsewhere, the Patriots wont blink.

#20 Jnai


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Posted 20 December 2011 - 02:18 PM

I think a fair look at BJGE is that he's a decent running back that plays very well in this system. He's an effective blocker, makes few cuts before turning upfield, makes virtually no mistakes with the football, and is effective enough at the goal line that he makes defenses vulnerable to the play action pass. He's a good heavy-set runner that benefits from the fact the Pats almost always play two tight ends.

No team with an ineffective passing game could create a running game around BJGE. I think he'll be back with New England and I'll be happy about it.

#21 MonstahsInLeft

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 03:41 PM

I'm with the back-to-NE crowd.

I agree that the Pats would likely be OK next year without BJGE given their depth this year, but I'm not sure I understand the sentiment that somebody would be looking to throw him big money next year. He's a solid back but without flashy stats or obvious tools that would jump out at another team, his particular skill set is probably most valued by the Pats. I can see him staying with the Pats for a reasonable amount.

#22 Stitch01


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Posted 20 December 2011 - 05:56 PM

Being a savvy organization, the Pats won't overpay for BJGE -- but someone else will. I voted for replacing him with an in-house option in 2012, but I'd also be fine with spending a late 1st-rounder on a successor -- the #28 pick (give or take) isn't nearly as valuable as, say, a top-5 pick.


If the Pats spend a first round pick on a running back I'll be close to 100% convinced that BB either lives to troll NFL fans and pundits for fun or that GM BB is setting up degree of difficulty challenges for Coach BB to try and overcome. I think Id honestly rather use a late first rounder to draft a third TE to take over Nate Solder's current role if/when he takes over for Light than on a RB. I cant imagine given the reasonably fungible nature of that position that a RB could fall to 28 that would be more valuable to take one over someone at a position of need or trading out of the pick. Guy would have to be a return game beast or something in addition to a potential starting RB I would think. Unless they think Ridley or Vareen is just a total bust, and I think Ridley at least has shown enough that we definitely cant say that yet, just cant see an early pick being used here. I would think the '12 backs have to be this year's rookies, Woodhead, BJGE or some other low/mid-priced vet FA as insurance, and a low round/UDFA flyer.

#23 Royal Reader

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 06:14 PM

To be honest... guy's worked hard, never caused a problem, taken a lot of hits and has a fairly replaceable skillset... I'd kinda like to see some other gm give him the big deal that sets his family for life.

#24 williams_482

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 07:36 PM

To be honest... guy's worked hard, never caused a problem, taken a lot of hits and has a fairly replaceable skillset... I'd kinda like to see some other gm give him the big deal that sets his family for life.


I would like to see some evidence that ball handling skills so good that he never put the ball on the ground in his entire career are "fairly replaceable."

I think the Pats will bring him back for reasonable money. If that can't happen, I do hope someone gives him a mega deal, but that seems unlikely. He is a perfect HB for this patriots offense, with pass blocking skills, ability to consistently pick up short yardage, and enough receiving ability not to be a negative. I cannot think of another team which needs a starting HB and would value his great success rate and lack of fumbles enough to pay more than the Pats likely would.

#25 There is no Rev


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Posted 20 December 2011 - 08:33 PM

Agreed. But I think the thing being missed here is how the Patriots will value BJGE's not-fumbling skills. And it is a skill - there's no way it's a fluke for as long as it's been going on now.

Say we added a normal fumble total to BJGE's stats - maybe 4 fumbles last year. And in return, we added in runs of equivalent value. That might be 4 separate 40 yard runs. All of a sudden he would be seen as a big play back, with a great YPC - he'd be universally regarded as elite. Instead, he has rather pedestrian numbers that mask the real value - that he minimizes mistakes better than any back in the league.

Belichick will value that more than other GMs (as he should). Whether other GMs will over-value his other attributes more than they underrate this attribute will largely determine whether he stays or goes.


We'll never know if he was on his way out anyway, but Maroney drove the forum nuts for a couple of years, but he didn't get dropped until he started fumbling. Also, he was another guy that didn't break many, but could be relied upon not to take many losses. So this might give added credence to this notion of what BB values in a back.

#26 Chemistry Schmemistry


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Posted 21 December 2011 - 02:09 AM

As Matt Forte is finding out (and the Tennessee Titans recently learned), today's big running back is tomorrow's overpaid paperweight. Use them up and let them sign elsewhere if they've earned a big raise. Every year, bring in a couple of new guys through the draft or after the draft. You might find LeGarrette Blount, then let him sign for big money elsewhere three years later. Rinse and repeat.

#27 Tony C


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Posted 21 December 2011 - 02:30 AM

Yep, I love BJGE and especially love his non-fumbling ways, and happy to have to him back, but happy to see him move on if the price isn't right.I suspect, even if he is back, that in any case he'll be taking a backseat to Ridley and Vereen. To be honest, I suspect that even at the end of this season we'll be seeing as much if not more Ridley and Woodhead than BJGE.

By the way, fwiw, no other Pats RB has a fumble this year, either.

#28 lexrageorge

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 09:24 AM

We'll never know if he was on his way out anyway, but Maroney drove the forum nuts for a couple of years, but he didn't get dropped until he started fumbling. Also, he was another guy that didn't break many, but could be relied upon not to take many losses. So this might give added credence to this notion of what BB values in a back.



Maroney was a far different back. One way to judge a back is how well he hits the holes that are made for him, and that was one area where Maroney lacked any consistency. Also, Maroney's career stats are bolstered quite a bit by the success of the 2007 team, where the focus of opposing defenses was on anything but Laurence Maroney.

RB is the one position where production can fall off a cliff suddenly and never come back. RB is also a position that can attract stupid contract offers from opposing GM's. And it only takes one GM to make such an offer. Which is why I predict BJGE won't be back.

#29 MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 02:48 PM

We'll never know if he was on his way out anyway, but Maroney drove the forum nuts for a couple of years, but he didn't get dropped until he started fumbling. Also, he was another guy that didn't break many, but could be relied upon not to take many losses. So this might give added credence to this notion of what BB values in a back.


I BB has shown that he values certain things very highly: contribution in the special teams arena, staying on the field (ie. no injuries or playing hurt), and not committing turnovers or creating negative plays on offense. Benjarvis is exceptionally good, considering his position, at the last two. Add to that the fact that BJGE might be a 1000-yard rusher, but doesn't really have any name recognition outside of New England (my impression only, maybe) and probably won't hit that number this year, and therefore isn't likely to get offered a huge deal, and I think he comes back on a reasonable deal for both sides.

I consider running back a locked-up position for 2012 even if he doesn't return, really, but if the Pats can make it happen in affordable fashion I don't see why they wouldn't do it.

#30 Royal Reader

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 08:02 PM

I would like to see some evidence that ball handling skills so good that he never put the ball on the ground in his entire career are "fairly replaceable."


That level of ball protection? No. But it's quite possible BB could get someone who has good but not Lawfirm hands, a bit more burst, and contributes in the passing game for similar overall value. (There's also the possibility of a moneyball style undervaluing of backs with good hands, which might make him more replaceable than we think). Running back, in general, is a pretty fungible position.

#31 Chemistry Schmemistry


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Posted 22 December 2011 - 10:06 AM

When you have good hands, let's say you fumble once every 300 carries. Even a career is a small sample size.

#32 Al Zarilla


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Posted 22 December 2011 - 10:28 AM

When you have good hands, let's say you fumble once every 300 carries. Even a career is a small sample size.

Huh? The sample size parameter is carries, not fumbles, isn't it?

#33 Harry Hooper


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Posted 22 December 2011 - 10:36 AM

As noted above, BJGE doesn't fumble but he also seldom loses yards. Still, it's hard to imagine there's a opposing GM out there who will break the bank to get him signed.

It was interesting to see Brady throw him a dump-off pass last Sunday. He was uncovered. Maybe this is something the Pats will exploit more during the rest of the season.

#34 ragnarok725

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 11:57 AM

Yep, I love BJGE and especially love his non-fumbling ways, and happy to have to him back, but happy to see him move on if the price isn't right.I suspect, even if he is back, that in any case he'll be taking a backseat to Ridley and Vereen. To be honest, I suspect that even at the end of this season we'll be seeing as much if not more Ridley and Woodhead than BJGE.

By the way, fwiw, no other Pats RB has a fumble this year, either.

I think I'm 90% with you here - but this guy was the #3 RB in the league last year by DYAR and DVOA. Third in the league!

It's not just that he doesn't lose yards and never fumbles. He has one of the highest success rates of all NFL RBs, both last year and this year. He's remarkably consistent. He always falls forward. Our eyes underrate this guy, I think.

I love that dependability and really hope they bring him back. The group of RBs they have now gives them great flexibility and depth. Vereen - a 2nd round pick - being out a huge chunk of time went entirely unnoticed. Woodhead and Ridley have missed time too. It doesn't matter 1 bit.

If some other GM makes a ridiculous offer, I think they move on. But I really hope he enjoys NE and they can work something out.

#35 Euclis20

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 01:54 PM

When you have good hands, let's say you fumble once every 300 carries. Even a career is a small sample size.


There aren't very many players (any?) besides Green-Ellis who fumble once every 300 carries. BJGE has been in the league since 2008; looking at the top 40 rushers (by attempts) over the last 4 seasons, we come up with a reasonable sample size of 33,475 carries. Those same rushers fumbled 345 times, or once ever 97 carries.

Here's how a few of the league's top rushers did:

Peterson: 68 attempts/fumble
Bradshaw: 58 attempts/fumble
Foster: 97 attempts/fumble
Jacobs: 81 attempts/fumble
Benson: 79 attempts/fumble
Johnson: 129 attempts/fumble
D. Williams: 210 attempts/fumble
Gore: 62 attempts/fumble
F. Jackson: 79 attempts/fumble
Stewart: 71 attempts/fumble
McCoy: 156 attempts/fumble
Lynch: 100 attempts/fumble
Forte: 145 attempts/fumble
Turner: 97 attempts/fumble
Jones-Drew: 100 attempts/fumble
Mendenhall: 128 attempts/fumble
Rice: 201 attempts/fumble
Grant: 141 attempts/fumble
S. Jackson: 225 attempts/fumble
T. Jones: 142 attempts/fumble

There are only a small handful of starting running backs who've averaged 200+ carries per fumble over the last few years, and a solid starting running back will probably fumbly once ever 100-150 carries. Green-Ellis' ability to hold onto the ball really can't be overrated.

#36 Bucknahs Bum Ankle


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Posted 22 December 2011 - 02:03 PM

Just to be clear, BJGE currently has exactly 500 rushing attempts in the NFL with zero fumbles. I wonder if there have been any other running backs in the history of the NFL that have matched that?

Edit: Found this on another board as of 10/23/09:

http://www.pfraforum...p?showtopic=919

As far as the least likely fumblers, here's the lowest rates for guys whose careers started after 1950, again with a minimum of 500 rushing attempts.

Fewest Fumbles per 300 touches
1.66 Errict Rhett (1994-2000)
1.68 Robert Smith (1993-2000)
1.83 Anthony Thomas (2001-07)
1.97 Charles Alexander (1979-85)
2.02 Ron Dayne (2000-07)

Among active players, with a minimum of 500 career touches:
Best: 2.04 Brian Westbrook, 2.42 LaDainian Tomlinson
Worst: 5.59 Chris Brown, 5.57 Ricky Williams


It doesn't answer the question of whether there has ever been another running back to start their career with no fumbles over their first 500 attempts (or even over any stretch of 500 attempts), but it just provides further evidence of how unique BJGE appears to be at this skill.

Edited by Bucknahs Bum Ankle, 22 December 2011 - 02:35 PM.


#37 mikeford


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Posted 22 December 2011 - 02:34 PM

I'd be very happy bringing back the same RB core next season provided Kevin Faulk is put out to pasture.

#38 SoxScout


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Posted 22 December 2011 - 03:22 PM

Just to be clear, BJGE currently has exactly 500 rushing attempts in the NFL with zero fumbles. I wonder if there have been any other running backs in the history of the NFL that have matched that?



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I can't find anyone, though I don't have complete data. Closest I see is Scottie Graham (364)

http://twitter.com/#!/JLundbladESPN/status/149943151258378240

#39 Chemistry Schmemistry


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Posted 22 December 2011 - 03:39 PM

Huh? The sample size parameter is carries, not fumbles, isn't it?


The event in question is a fumble. To find a player's fumble rate, you'd need several thousand carries per player. Of course, this can be changed by coaching or other subtle style differences, so it's really a mystery in the end, other than when a player fumbles, coaches start screaming.

I wouldn't let this drive an evaluation, any more than I'd give Jeter a Gold Glove for not making errors.

#40 williams_482

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 05:57 PM

The event in question is a fumble. To find a player's fumble rate, you'd need several thousand carries per player. Of course, this can be changed by coaching or other subtle style differences, so it's really a mystery in the end, other than when a player fumbles, coaches start screaming.

I wouldn't let this drive an evaluation, any more than I'd give Jeter a Gold Glove for not making errors.


while we do not know exactly what BJGE's "true talent" fumble rate is, we do know that it is really, really low. As was mentioned before, this is the longest no fumble streak in NFL history (or a very large chunk of it) by 136 carries. That is a lot, enough that I (admittedly with no backing in statistics) seriously doubt that it is a fluke.

As for the Jeter comment, The analogy does not work. A fumble is far, far, far more costly than an error, and the issue with Jeter's errors is not that they are not there, but that he avoids them by not going anywhere near quite a few balls. Are you saying you think BJGE should be trading in some fumbles to push for more yards?

Some numbers on the value of BJGEs hands:
a turnover (with no change in field position) is worth -4.38 EP on first down. A yard of field position (independent of distance to go) is worth 0.07 EP. An average RB (based off of Euclis20's numbers) would have 5.15 fumbles given BJGEs 500 carries, or -22.57 EP worth of turnovers. That is equal to about 322 yards, or an additional 0.64 YPC. Just for demonstration, tack that on to BJGEs career 4.1 YPC to get an "equivalent YPC" of 4.7.

Edited by williams_482, 22 December 2011 - 05:58 PM.


#41 There is no Rev


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Posted 22 December 2011 - 06:02 PM

The event in question is a fumble. To find a player's fumble rate, you'd need several thousand carries per player. Of course, this can be changed by coaching or other subtle style differences, so it's really a mystery in the end, other than when a player fumbles, coaches start screaming.

I wouldn't let this drive an evaluation, any more than I'd give Jeter a Gold Glove for not making errors.

One quick and dirty you could use to think about this, though, is to consider how many RBs have had over 300 carries, and how many did do without fumbling.

We don't know with any precision how infrequently he fumbles, but we can be confident it's on the low side.

#42 JakeRae


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Posted 22 December 2011 - 06:48 PM

while we do not know exactly what BJGE's "true talent" fumble rate is, we do know that it is really, really low. As was mentioned before, this is the longest no fumble streak in NFL history (or a very large chunk of it) by 136 carries. That is a lot, enough that I (admittedly with no backing in statistics) seriously doubt that it is a fluke.

As for the Jeter comment, The analogy does not work. A fumble is far, far, far more costly than an error, and the issue with Jeter's errors is not that they are not there, but that he avoids them by not going anywhere near quite a few balls. Are you saying you think BJGE should be trading in some fumbles to push for more yards?

Some numbers on the value of BJGEs hands:
a turnover (with no change in field position) is worth -4.38 EP on first down. A yard of field position (independent of distance to go) is worth 0.07 EP. An average RB (based off of Euclis20's numbers) would have 5.15 fumbles given BJGEs 500 carries, or -22.57 EP worth of turnovers. That is equal to about 322 yards, or an additional 0.64 YPC. Just for demonstration, tack that on to BJGEs career 4.1 YPC to get an "equivalent YPC" of 4.7.

Of course, what we care about, at least from a re-signing perspective, is how much his hands will be worth. As such, there needs to be a regression of his fumble rate to the mean. I don't know what the appropriate amount of regression is after 500 carries. It doesn't sound like anyone here knows. And, answering that question is essential to a proper valuation of BJGE.

While we can likely say he is better than average at this skill, is he 1.5 times better than average, 3 times better than average, etc. The fact that his to date fumble rate has never happened before is not proof that it is sustainable or predictive. To be willing to pay him for this skill, there needs to be some understanding of what his expected future performance is.

#43 Chemistry Schmemistry


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Posted 22 December 2011 - 07:29 PM

while we do not know exactly what BJGE's "true talent" fumble rate is, we do know that it is really, really low. As was mentioned before, this is the longest no fumble streak in NFL history (or a very large chunk of it) by 136 carries. That is a lot, enough that I (admittedly with no backing in statistics) seriously doubt that it is a fluke.


... to begin a career. He's still a couple of hundred short of the NFL record.

As for the Jeter comment, The analogy does not work. A fumble is far, far, far more costly than an error, and the issue with Jeter's errors is not that they are not there, but that he avoids them by not going anywhere near quite a few balls. Are you saying you think BJGE should be trading in some fumbles to push for more yards?


I don't know how many "far"s I'd throw in there. The only limited commodity in baseball is the out. Jeter is quite willing to sacrifice outs.

I also don't know if BJGE is trading yards for ball security. But every running back does to a certain extent. Many fumbles are caused by poor ball security while making a move or stretching for an extra yard. It's a very complex question, and one I can't even begin to answer without reviewing a lot of film.

Some numbers on the value of BJGEs hands:
a turnover (with no change in field position) is worth -4.38 EP on first down. A yard of field position (independent of distance to go) is worth 0.07 EP. An average RB (based off of Euclis20's numbers) would have 5.15 fumbles given BJGEs 500 carries, or -22.57 EP worth of turnovers. That is equal to about 322 yards, or an additional 0.64 YPC. Just for demonstration, tack that on to BJGEs career 4.1 YPC to get an "equivalent YPC" of 4.7.


As in baseball, without situational breakdowns, these blanket values are limited. But I have no problem adding significant value to BJGE for his ball security. He is most likely far better than average. It's just that we don't know his true fumble rate because 500 is a low number of trials to measure something relatively rare.

#44 williams_482

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 07:45 PM

Of course, what we care about, at least from a re-signing perspective, is how much his hands will be worth. As such, there needs to be a regression of his fumble rate to the mean. I don't know what the appropriate amount of regression is after 500 carries. It doesn't sound like anyone here knows. And, answering that question is essential to a proper valuation of BJGE.

While we can likely say he is better than average at this skill, is he 1.5 times better than average, 3 times better than average, etc. The fact that his to date fumble rate has never happened before is not proof that it is sustainable or predictive. To be willing to pay him for this skill, there needs to be some understanding of what his expected future performance is.


Certainly. Looking around a little more, he had at least 3 fumbles in 959 touches according to This post, and another fumble in a patriots preseason game (but I am not sure where to find preseason stats, and they are preseason stats, after all). I will give him another unrecorded fumble (we know about the first three through game recaps alone, It it likely that some were missed) just to be conservative. That leaves us at 4 fumbles in 1459 touches, or 0.27% (compare that to the 1.03% from a selection better than average RBs below).

Does that seem like a strong enough sample to make predictions with?

Edited by williams_482, 22 December 2011 - 07:48 PM.


#45 williams_482

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 08:04 PM

... to begin a career. He's still a couple of hundred short of the NFL record.



Oops. My bad there. Still impressive, but not nearly as much as I thought.

I don't know how many "far"s I'd throw in there. The only limited commodity in baseball is the out. Jeter is quite willing to sacrifice outs.


A fumble costs a team (on average) 4.38 points relative to average. NFL teams averaged 22.0 points per game last season. So a fumble is equal to 20% of a team's average score (if that makes any sense).
An error costs a team (on average) 0.54 runs relative to average between 1999 and 2002. MLB teams averaged 4.91 R/G during that time. So an error is equal to 11% of a team's average score.
I am not entirely sure how to convert percents into "fars" :), but a fumble being worth twice as much is significant.

I also don't know if BJGE is trading yards for ball security. But every running back does to a certain extent. Many fumbles are caused by poor ball security while making a move or stretching for an extra yard. It's a very complex question, and one I can't even begin to answer without reviewing a lot of film.



As in baseball, without situational breakdowns, these blanket values are limited. But I have no problem adding significant value to BJGE for his ball security. He is most likely far better than average. It's just that we don't know his true fumble rate because 500 is a low number of trials to measure something relatively rare.



And that is the real crux of the issue here. I wonder if there are any good studies on the topic.
EDIT: Advanced NFL Stats says Here that team offensive fumble rate has a correlation of 0.24 from one half of the season to the other half (Splitting the games by even/odd numbers to reduce the effects of changing rosters). Not sure how useful this is for our purposes, but it is something.

Edited by williams_482, 23 December 2011 - 03:00 PM.


#46 simplyeric


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Posted 23 December 2011 - 07:23 AM

EDIT: Advanced NFL Stats says Here that offensive fumble rate has a correlation of 0.24 from the eight odd numbered games (#1, #3, etc) to the even numbered games (#2, #4, etc). Not sure how useful this is for our purposes, but it is something.


The above makes me feel dumb. I have no idea what this means. Odd v even numbered games? Can you explain that to me?
(can't tell if my wording seems sarcastic. It's not meant to be)

#47 williams_482

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Posted 23 December 2011 - 02:57 PM

The above makes me feel dumb. I have no idea what this means. Odd v even numbered games? Can you explain that to me?
(can't tell if my wording seems sarcastic. It's not meant to be)


That was terribly worded on my part. The idea is to get two half season samples while eliminating as much noise as possible. They could just compare games #1-#8 against games #9-#16, but then the results would be influenced significantly by how much teams changeover the space of a season (injuries, trades, etc). What Burke did was take each statistic (Offensive fumble rate in this case) from the odd numbered games (1,3,5,7,9,11,13, and 15) and compare that to how the team performed in that statistic in the even numbered games (2,4,6,8,10,12,14,16), thus eliminating (or at least greatly reducing) the effects of changing rosters.

Does that make more sense?

EDIT: Reworked the wording on my post.

Edited by williams_482, 23 December 2011 - 03:00 PM.


#48 soxhop411


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Posted 07 January 2012 - 09:04 PM

Over under 75% that Law firm is back?
i say over, but just slightly

Edited by soxhop411, 07 January 2012 - 09:05 PM.


#49 soxhop411


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Posted 05 February 2012 - 11:13 PM

I think the fact that they drafted Ridley and Vereen shows they won't be heartbroken is BJGE leaves. I'm sure they'll take him back with the right deal, but not sure that it will be a priority.



agree.

#50 deconstruction

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 11:17 PM

Who's starting the "soxhop situation going forward" thread?