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Mailbag: Will Any Back Touch Emmitt’s Rushing Record?
Given the apparent move away from featured backs prevalent in college and pros (& such heavy reliance on passing in general), do you see any back ever surpassing Emmitt's rushing yardage record? Thanks.
David:I think you’re right that it’s going to be a much more difficult feat to achieve in the modern NFL, but records were made to be broken. Teams tend to gravitate toward a multi-back system these days, but there are still backs talented enough to carry that kind of load. Steven Jackson might have had a better
shot at it if he had spent his prime with a better team. Adrian Peterson could give the record a serious effort if he maintains last year’s production for a consistent period of time. Someone, somewhere will break it. But it will take the right combination of a consistently elite back on a consistently talented team.
Bryan: That is a great question because that is something that I think about all the time. The back that would have the best shot at it would be Adrian Peterson, who currently sits at 8,849 yards going into his seventh season. Peterson is 28 years old and would need to rush for over 1,360 yards until his 35th birthday to accomplish this which would be a huge task but we have all learned not to doubt what Peterson can do. If you think of the longevity of NFL running backs in this day and age, 10 years seems to be the point where the tread begins to come off the tire. I experienced it with Smith but also Eddie George. As the years go by, it gets harder for these backs to hit the hole with the same power that they did earlier in their careers. For Peterson, he will continue to have a chance as long as the Vikings continue to play with quarterbacks that are not great threats as passers.
Monte Kiffin's last job in the NFL was 5 years ago, in 2008. Does this concern you? Hasn't the NFL become much more of a passing league and evolved during this time span?
David: I’m not sure it’s passing that would concern me, so much as rushing. Oregon’s read-option attack, which is steadily gaining ground in the pro game, gashed Kiffin’s Southern Cal defense for 426 yards last fall. But honestly, it doesn’t bother me too much. Kiffin might have been gone, but his scheme is widely popular in the NFL. Chicago and Detroit used similar defenses and finished fifth and 13th, respectively, in the league last year. Personally, I think the success of a scheme depends much more on the talent running it than the coach calling it. We’ll find out about that in a week.
Bryan:This defense scheme wise is based on stopping the pass. It’s all about getting rushers up the field and attacking the pocket. It’s all about making the offense to have to drive the ball and sustaining those drives. The defense is designed to take advantage of the talent you have on the field and not tricking the offense into a