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Old 02-24-2013, 01:46 AM    (permalink
JordanTaber
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Default Why I Would Never Want Barry Sanders On My Team

The main purpose of running the football is to get consistent positive yardage and shorten the distance needed to pick up the first down in order to open up the play book. Assuming the ball carrier (s) take care of the football, you're less likely to turn the ball over.

Obviously, at the end of the game, it's used to run out the clock.

The main purpose of running the football is not to get big plays. Big plays are a bonus when you run the football. The problem with relying on a big play running game is...you're better off just throwing the ball instead.

Even the best big play running game in the NFL will be inferior to even an above average passing attack in yards per attempt.

Adrian Peterson averaged 6.0 yards/carry this past year. The NFL average this year in net yards/pass attempt (passing yards - sack yards / pass attempts + sacks) was 6.25 yards per pass attempt. If a team averaged 6.0 yards per rush like Peterson, that would rank 20th in the NFL as a passing game.

Again, big runs in and of themselves are obviously a good thing. But relying on the big run at the expense of having an actual running game is not a good trade off.

Which brings me to Barry Sanders. That was Barry Sanders, in a nut shell. Not only were his yards/carry averages heavily distorted by several big runs every season, but when you subtract his big runs from all his other runs, his averages tended to be dreadful.

Take 1995, for example. If you subtract the 16 20+ yard runs Sanders had that year, and you subtract the 1 20+ yard run Loville had that year, Loville actually had the higher yards per carry.

Yes, the big runs count. And in this case, the difference in the rest of the two backs' running is narrow enough that I'd still take Sanders over Loville based on the big plays making up for Loville's slightly higher bread-and-butter running average.

But for backs who don't totally suck ass like Loville, that was not the case.

Emmitt Smith, for example, averaged ~3.9 yards/carry when all his 20+ yard runs from the 1995 season were subtracted. This in comparison to Sanders averaging ~3.1.

The big runs do not make up for this kind of difference in the effectiveness of the running game. Barry Sanders was a home run hitter. And, well...that was it. He did nothing else. He danced around, hoping to break the big one, on every carry.

And because he was a running back, you had to feed him the ball 300+ times per season in order to get those 16 20+ yard runs or so. If you want a big play, you'd be better off throwing the ball. Heck, even with Scott Mitchell at quarterback, you'd probably be better off passing. You certainly wouldn't be much worse.

The other problem is, you never knew when he was going to break the big one. He might get you a 40 yard run in a 14-14 game in the 3rd quarter. Great.

Or...he might get you a 22 yard run when you're down 24-10. Who cares?

He's probably a large part of the reason you're down 24-10 to begin with. While you were waiting for him to break the big one, he was making it 2nd and 9 and then 3rd and 13 on the opening drive of the game. Then, not surprisingly, you didn't convert 3rd and 13.

This is all everyone else's fault, of course. It's just that the offensive line was sooooooooooo baaaaaaaad.

You never hear the end of this garbage. It's as if these people think poor Barry Sanders was a downhill, between-the-tackles runner who wanted a fullback in front of him and he just couldn't do it because, for 10 years, he had the worst offensive line in the history of the universe.

Jeff Hartings, Lomas Brown, Kevin Glover...they sucked. Ray Roberts, Mike Compton...worst linemen ever, not even serviceable.

All those blocking tight ends they brought in? The fact that they ran a variation of the run-and-shoot for nearly all the years Sanders played there, spreading the field and giving him plenty of space to work with?

Oh, forget that. He was so exciiiiiting, it clearly couldn't have been his fault. Leading the league in carries for loss every season? Why, his offensive lines were just soooo bad they not only couldn't get any movement, but they just let guys throw them aside and blow up plays in the backfield, over and over again. Sanders was dodging 11 defenders on every single carry.

Man, just imagine if he had Emmitt's o-line! He would've averaged 7, 8, 9, 10 yards/carry! Yeah, I'm sure Barry Sanders would have loved that. The man whose father whined to the press about the Lions putting a fullback in front of him under Bobby Ross would have loved to play in the Cowboys' smashmouth, between-the-tackles running attack, lining up behind Moose Johnston and trying to squeeze through 650 pounds of blubber in each hole, plowing through the front 7. That's Barry, all right.


No, actually, here's Barry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvBl_50fWi4

At :21, he can have the 35/36 if he wants it. He doesn't, though. Better to lose 2.

At :41, he can attack 2 and work off the center. Nah, let's just dance instead.

1:09, he can either hit 4 off the good combo block, or bounce it. Nope...tip-toe, cut the other way, flip over backwards, and get your dick sucked for passing up a better run.

1:43, no, let's not play off the end's over-pursuit. Why would you want to do that? Russell Maryland might make the play, but you've got some space to work with. Oh, but that would be too obvious. Cut the other way, then get stopped by Maryland anyway because you have no feel whatsoever.

2:53, this is supposed to bounce. But Barry doesn't care what it's supposed to do.

At 3:09, he sees a great cutback right away but wastes time dancing. Maryland was in no position to spin out of that block in time if Sanders had hit that with authority.

4:05, what the hell is he doing?


Meanwhile, for anyone who wants to see how overrated the Cowboys' offensive line was (even more overrated than the Lions' line was underrated), here's Emmitt Smith pounding the hell out of the Packers in the 1995 NFC Championship game:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPgditQ0Tmg

I especially love how it's always been cool to claim Emmitt was a product of the talentless fatasses the Cowboys put up front (with the exception of Larry Allen), but Terrell Davis...oh, he was just so great. Hmmm, I wonder which back got the larger holes. Gee, that's a tough one.

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Old 02-24-2013, 01:48 AM    (permalink
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I didn't read that, but if this is about putting down Barry Sanders, shame on you.
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:48 AM    (permalink
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I wouldn't want him because he's 44 years old.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:01 AM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by JordanTaber View Post

Adrian Peterson averaged 6.0 yards/carry this past year. The NFL average this year in net yards/pass attempt (passing yards - sack yards / pass attempts + sacks) was 6.25 yards per pass attempt. If a team averaged 6.0 yards per rush like Peterson, that would rank 20th in the NFL as a passing game.
But the thing is just like Peterson, you knew even after a couple of -yardage plays Sanders was gonna bust one out for +30 yards.

I'd be interested in seeing a stat if there is one about top RBs with negative yardage plays.

Because for almost every -yards plays Sanders gave you, I could give you a highlight reel play.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:03 AM    (permalink
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I didn't read that, but if this is about putting down Barry Sanders, shame on you.
Pretty much.

And to compare YPC with Emmit Smith is insane. I'm pretty sure I'd avg 3+ YPC (exluding my 20 yard runs, of course) running behind Larry Allen.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:28 AM    (permalink
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:31 AM    (permalink
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But the thing is just like Peterson, you knew even after a couple of -yardage plays Sanders was gonna bust one out for +30 yards.

I'd be interested in seeing a stat if there is one about top RBs with negative yardage plays.

Because for almost every -yards plays Sanders gave you, I could give you a highlight reel play.
It was generally about a 3 to 1 ratio of bad to good with him in that regard.

For example, in 1994 he had 51 carries for negative yardage, while running for 20+ yards 18 times.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:32 AM    (permalink
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Pretty much.

And to compare YPC with Emmit Smith is insane. I'm pretty sure I'd avg 3+ YPC (exluding my 20 yard runs, of course) running behind Larry Allen.
Larry Allen wasn't there in 1991-1993.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:37 AM    (permalink
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Larry Allen wasn't there in 1991-1993.

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Emmitt Smith, for example, averaged ~3.9 yards/carry when all his 20+ yard runs from the 1995 season were subtracted. This in comparison to Sanders averaging ~3.1
Just a typo I guess?
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:43 AM    (permalink
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Just a typo I guess?
If you're talking about 1995, then yes, he had Allen. But your post seemed to be the classic, "omg, Emmitt's o-line" nonsense.

Having one all-time great offensive lineman isn't going to make that kind of a difference. The Saints never ran well with Willie Roaf until Ricky Williams arrived.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:43 AM    (permalink
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I'd be interested in seeing a stat if there is one about top RBs with negative yardage plays.

Because for almost every -yards plays Sanders gave you, I could give you a highlight reel play.
Barry Sanders is the all time leader in negative yardage with 336 carries for -952 yards.
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Old 02-24-2013, 02:46 AM    (permalink
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If you're talking about 1995, then yes, he had Allen. But your post seemed to be the classic, "omg, Emmitt's o-line" nonsense.

Having one all-time great offensive lineman isn't going to make that kind of a difference. The Saints never ran well with Willie Roaf until Ricky Williams arrived.
As a 49er fan I noticed quite the difference when we had Larry Allen (and when we didn't have him anymore). He was pretty much a shell of his former self at that point, too.

EDIT: and btw, I'm not trying to trash Emmit in any way. I just went back and looked at your original post and saw how detailed it is. I just think comparing RB YPC is pretty misleading, especially different types of running backs in completely different situations.

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Old 02-24-2013, 03:00 AM    (permalink
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If you're talking about 1995, then yes, he had Allen. But your post seemed to be the classic, "omg, Emmitt's o-line" nonsense.

Having one all-time great offensive lineman isn't going to make that kind of a difference. The Saints never ran well with Willie Roaf until Ricky Williams arrived.
Then can I add Moose Johnson to that OMG Blocking stuff. Then we can add the availability of a passing game that Barry rarely had.
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oh please. as if canadians even know what beer is.
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:02 AM    (permalink
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Even if you wanted to make the foolish argument of Smith > Sanders there is a large leap from not being better than Smith to not wanting the guy on your team.
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oh please. as if canadians even know what beer is.
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:14 AM    (permalink
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you cereal bro?
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:25 AM    (permalink
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This myth that Barry was all big plays to boost his YPC is getting ridiculous. The guy was very consistently churning out positive plays. He had more than a few seasons where he didn't even have a 50 yard or more run, and he was still awesome.

The myth of "negative, negative, POSITIVE" that people seem to think was consistent with what Barry was is ridiculous. Most dominant runner in NFL history, dude was awesome week in and week out on a level few could approach for a single season, and he did it 10 years straight.
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:48 AM    (permalink
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The main purpose of running the football is to get consistent positive yardage and shorten the distance needed to pick up the first down in order to open up the play book. Assuming the ball carrier (s) take care of the football, you're less likely to turn the ball over.
The main purpose of football is too outscore the other team. You do that by scoring points as a result of gaining yards - via rushing, passing or returning the ball. Barry Sanders is 25th all-time in yards per carry, 3rd in rushing yards, 2nd in yards per game, 9th in rushing touchdowns, and 8th in all-purpose yardage. Over a 14 week stretch in 1997, he ran for 100 yards in every single game despite only eclipsing 25 carries just three times during that span. If you think this guy was a detriment to an offense, you have blown past respectable debate and straight into Skip Bayless troll territory.

End of discussion.
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:51 AM    (permalink
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Its strange that you can't find negative play stats on anyone but Barry Sanders.
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oh please. as if canadians even know what beer is.
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:52 AM    (permalink
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Why you would never take Barry Sanders on your team....

Can....not...will....not....compute....
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Old 02-24-2013, 03:54 AM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by Raiderz4Life View Post
Why you would never take Barry Sanders on your team....

Can....not...will....not....compute....
Because big runs somehow make a running back worse according to Skip Bayless Jr.
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I heard that Sylvester Stallone wrote The Expendables with The Alex in mind. He had to keep it realistic though and split The Alex's abilities into multiple characters. Stallone thought that critics would pan it for being too far-fetched if he just had one character effing everyone up.
The end. Cut to black. Audience goes ****ing ape****.
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Old 02-24-2013, 04:02 AM    (permalink
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One of two people to rush for 2000 yards in 14 games too.
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fwiw, i amz deunks ofs myt ass. ilo vez drinmoinz befotre i post. wha t a hreat ideas.z.
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Old 02-24-2013, 04:52 AM    (permalink
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One of two people to rush for 2000 yards in 14 games too.
Not very impressive when you look at it this way:
If you take away his 20+ yds runs its just 1800 yards...
And if you then take away his runs between 10 and 20 yards, he only ran for like 1257 yards....
And if you then take away his 5 to 10 yard runs we are down to just 488 yards rushing.......
And if you then take away his runs shorter than 5 yards, we are down to 0 yards rushing..... (Coincidentally the same number of points Barry Sanders scored if we, you know, take away the touchdowns he scored.)

And if we only take into account the times Sanders got tackled for a loss, he actually ran for -210 yards that year. He must suck right? Right....?
Furthermore Brett Lorenzo Favre never threw an interception, except for the 336 he actually did throw.

Every time I see someone make the "Well if you take his best plays away, he actually wasn´t very good"-argument I want to punt kittens. So congrats OP, if a kitten gets punted somewhere in the world today, you might very well be responsible.

/ End rant.
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Old 02-24-2013, 05:02 AM    (permalink
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Barry Sanders is the all time leader in negative yardage with 336 carries for -952 yards.
Which means he had 2,726 rushes for positive yardage that gained 16,221 yards or perhaps more importantly, 90% of the rushes he attempted were for positive yardage. I'd say that knowing you can hand off to a guy knowing he will gain you yards 9 out of 10 times is pretty damn good.
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Old 02-24-2013, 05:04 AM    (permalink
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Which means he had 2,726 rushes for positive yardage that gained 16,221 yards or perhaps more importantly, 90% of the rushes he attempted were for positive yardage. I'd say that knowing you can hand off to a guy knowing he will gain you yards 9 out of 10 times is pretty damn good.
I was thinking along the same lines but then I couldn't find anything to compare it to :/ .
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Old 02-24-2013, 05:06 AM    (permalink
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Like AD, Sanders too often did all the heavy lifting for the Lions offense. They weren't competitive on that side of the football when he wasn't in the game.

BTW I've always heard that Sanders WANTED a fullback, not the other way around.

You go ahead and question Sanders' vision. I as a football fan can't in all seriousness. Way more often than not, whatever Sanders did once he had the ball in his hands was the right thing to do at the time, and no one else in the game could do what he did.

To me what you're doing is the equivalent of knocking a hypothetical QB who only completes 53% of his passes, but still throws for 38 TDs/10 Ints and over 4K yards.

Maybe you wouldn't coach a RB to run the way Barry did. The fact is you can't coach any RB to be Barry Sanders.

Also I don't think people devalue what Emmitt Smith accomplished simply because he played behind a great Oline. When people compare Emmitt/Barry, it's more to acknowledge that Sanders was quicker, faster, more elusive and played in a less statistically advantageous situation in Detroit compared to Dallas.

Your argument is disingenuously provocative, but to say you would NEVER WANT BARRY SANDERS ON MY TEAM is trolling.

From 1994-1998, Sanders averaged over 1600 yards rushing per season.
I guess over that 5 year time window every RB who ever played in the NFL was preferable to Sanders??

You're asking people not to take you seriously.
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