Running Backs Highlight Thursday Night Preseason Football
Thursday Night Football is here!
TNF features seven preseason games. Albeit preseason, there are many reasons to watch some of tonight’s match ups. A big reason to watch?
The Running Backs
Wednesday’s Panthers vs Texans match up featured some fresh NFL legs. RB Christian McCaffrey looked sharp and sudden. Although he only produced 33 yards on 7 carries, he was a few moments away from breaking for a big gain.
I anticipate he’ll acclimate to the speed of the game and find a way to execute his moves to turn those “almosts” into “home runs”.
Former Texas Longhorn RB D’onta Foreman looks tough.
His 9 touches translated to 76 yards. Foreman found an angle and took one of his carries 41 yards. Throughout the preseason, expect Foreman to have a big preseason that guarantees him carries in 2017.
RB Dalvin Cook makes his preseason debut versus the Buffalo Bills. Cook – considered by some as the top running back in the 2017 class – will put his ability on display. Cook has been a hot topic in Vikings camp and will have some monstrous shoes to fill as he replaces Adrian Peterson. With RB Latavius Murray trying to get healthy, Cook will see a lot of action with the first team offense. He’ll put his skill set to the test against the Bills defense that does have talent. Led my new Head Coach Sean McDermott – former Panthers defensive coordinator – look for the talent on the defensive side of the ball in Buffalo to improve.
RB Leonard Fournette – who some called the second coming of All Day AP – also makes his debut tonight.The first back taken in the 2017 NFL Draft will face the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. The Jaguars are banking on production from Fournette and hope he can boost a rushing attacked that ranked 22nd last season.
Jacksonville will need Fournette to show flashes of what he will bring to this offense that desperately needs a productive rush attack to offset the Blake Bortles-led pass attack peppered with turnovers.
New Orleans Saints fans will have to wait to see Adrian Peterson run the ball. They will, however, see a fresh pair of legs in rookie RB Alvin Kamara. Kamara has flashed and looks to be a nice weapon in the backfield for QB Drew Brees to play with.
The trio of Peterson, Mark Ingram, and Kamara will each display different styles – all of which move the ball downfield. Kamara will see the most action of the three tonight.
The Falcons made RB Devonta Freeman the highest paid running back in the league – and based on his body of work, the contract was deserved. Freeman can do damage on the ground and in the passing game. He was one of the big reasons the Falcons offense was so dangerous. Due to WR Julio Jones demanding attention, Freeman found space and made defenses pay. Fresh off a big payday, Freeman is committed to helping this team reach the Super Bowl to make up for the epic collapse of last season. The money and motivation are there, and there will be a preview tonight.
In Green Bay, WR turned RB Ty Montgomery has been dubbed the feature back. However, rookie RB Jamaal Williams is working towards more touches. He’ll see a lot of action in the preseason and look to make his case for a heavier workload. A running back many linked to the Packers during the offseason landed in Philadelphia. New Eagles’ RB Legarrette Blount will show off some of his bruising, battering ram run style against Dom Caper’s newly unveiled “Nitro” defensive package. Whatever defense the Packers use, Blount shouldn’t have trouble breaking tackles – that’s how he makes his money.
Look for weapons in the backfield to be turned loose tonight!
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Stats referenced at NFL.com