Ep. 033 Running Back Breakdown


  1. James Harrison Retires
  2. Ryan Shazier
  3. NCAA Kickoff Rule
  4. Weekly Draft Preview: Running Backs

James Harrison Retires

After a storied, one-of-a-kind  15-year career, James Harrison hung up his well-worn cleats.  Deebo recorded 80½ of his 84½ career sacks with the Steelers establishing him as Pittsburgh’s all-time leader. He also 34 forced fumbles, had eight interceptions.  Beyond all these accomplishments, one stands out as one of the all-time great plays in football history.  It was on February 1, 2009 when the Steelers faced the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII. With the Cardinals poised to take a 14-10 lead with 18 seconds left in the first half and the ball on the 1 yard line, Harrison dropped back in time to drop a Kurt Warner pass intended for Anquan Boldin. As his teammates ensconced him in a protective bubble, Deebo rumbled downfield, eluding a would-be tackler near the Cardinals’ 30-yard line, finally being propelled into the end zone by a shove from Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston as the half expired. In a wonderful display of childlike euphoria, James lay splayed in the end zone drinking in the glory and well-earned oxygen.

But that was just the cherry on a story that would be legendary if it hadn’t actually happened.  As an undrafted free agent in 2002, Harrison signed with the Steelers, serving for two years on and off the practice squad, getting released three times.  The Ravens took a chance on him in 2003, but eventually cut him (#4).  The Steelers took him back in 2004 and he made history.  After notching only 5 sacks by the age of 29, James turned on the bend-and-jets to rack up a Steeler-leading 80 1/2 sacks.  In 2008 he earned Defensive Player of The Year honors.

Controversy followed him as Wikipedia will attest. The question is – Is James Harrison HOF worthy? Time will tell..

Ryan Shazier

Who isn’t rooting for Ryan Shazier’s recovery?! And what is more heart-warming than Ryan pumping up the crowd this past Wednesday for the  Penguins and Flyers first playoff game?  That certainly had something to do with the 7-0 shellacking that the Pens applied to Philly.

He followed up this performance at Ohio State’s spring game, serving as an honorary captain.  He entered the field in a golf cart, then stood on his own with minimal support, waving to the crowd with a huge grin across his face.


NCAA Kickoff Rule

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a new rule that allows the receiving team to fair catch the kick inside the 25-yard line and have it result in a touchback. Obviously designed to reduce injuries during particularly risky kickoffs, the question is, can the NFL be far behind

Weekly Draft Preview: Running Backs

Saquan Barkley
•Penn State
•6’0 / 233lbs
•He is a super Goliath
•Calvin Johnson / Adrian Peterson / Lebron James
•Body is amazing. Legs are like torsos
•Unbelievably fast and shifty, esp at that size / can bounce runs to outside that no one else can, bc of speed and ability to freeze defenders
•Good stiff arm
•FINISHES long runs in endzone
•Kick return
•Has not shown willingness / ability to run in between tackles and pick up 3.5 or 4 yards per attempt
•Shut down against Ohio State and faster defenses
•Huge variance in ypg
Darrius Guice
•5’11 / 218
•SERIOUSLY checks that “unstoppable” box
•Runs angry / such a technician in the box & thru the hole (baby Beast Mode)
•Makes people miss in space / runs them over / super stiff arm / gets into the endzone
•Good catching ball out of backfield (not a lot of opportunities)
•Has excellent power, but not a big back at 215lbs
•Needs to improve fluidity / become more proficient as receiver and blocker
Sony Michel
•5’11 / 215
•Super savvy and fluid runner
•Great at picking holes / solid power in hole / finds tiny creases
•Home run capability
•Good receiver out of backfield
•Fumble problem
•Lacks the violence of Guice and physical glory of Barkley
Kerryon Johnson
•6’0 / 215
•”Baby Le’Veon” - crafty jump cuts
•All-state HS basketball player
•Good Power in between the tackles
•Good vision
•Really good around goal line
•Solid catching ball
•Doesn’t give up
•Thin frame for a #1 back with a heavy workload
•Very little big play potential (long speed / super quickness)
Rashaad Penny
•San Diego State
•5’11 / 220lbs
•Unreal acceleration and speed
•Picks thru holes well
•Runs with decent power
•SD ST ran a 1998 high school offense
•Basically goal line 1wr every play
•Still found ways to get yards
•Liability in pass protection (3D)
•Will need to learn how to run routes
Kalen Ballage
•Arizona State
•6’1 / 230
•BIG boi!
•Smooth quick jump cut
•Slices well in between tackles
•Vision is not good (not natural rb)
•Poor pass blocker at times
•Not great open field runner

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