OXNARD, Calif — The running back position will have a big spotlight going into Saturday's preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars, as the picture behind Tony Pollard remains murky.
Malik Davis, Rico Dowdle, Ronald Jones, Deuce Vaughn and Hunter Luepke have all gotten valuable reps during training camp, and that's expected to carry into the preseason with an opportunity to secure the RB2 position behind Tony Pollard still available.
"It's the regular season for them," Pollard said. "They have to treat it like it's the regular season or even a playoff game for them. It's do or die."
Even though his position as the starter is secure, the competition level around Pollard has made everyone in the room better going into the season.
"It's been fun," he said. "It's been very competitive on and off the field. Guys just competing and trying to be better."
All of the competitors in the running back room behind Pollard bring a different skill set to the table, which is something head coach Mike McCarthy is excited to play around with in the preseason.
"That really goes back to the player acquisition focus," McCarthy said. "To me, you want them to be dynamic with the ball in their hands at the end of the day. When you get into these profiles of the players, their physical skill is important as is their play style."
As far as what McCarthy is looking for in the competition, taking care of the ball is of the upmost importance, but so is displaying healthy instincts.
"You gotta be able to handle and take care of the football," he said. "Looking at all of these young backs, all four of them have very instinctive run ability between the tackles. I've been impressed with Hunter [Luepke], he has natural instinct in the A, B and C gaps."
Distributing reps could be a challenge when facilitating a position battle, but McCarthy alluded that Saturday's gameplan will allow each to display what they can do.
"I don't think it's gonna be a challenge at all," he said "I think there will be plenty for all of those guys."