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Fred Jackson in danger of losing carries


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:58 pm ET) Bills running back Fred Jackson might not approach the 207 carries he received last year. According to WGR550.com, Jackson will once again split time with C.J. Spiller but also potentially lose snaps to the team's additions at running back, Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon.

The website said Jackson, 33, who's entering the last year of his deal, will be trying to prove how much he has left.


Trent Richardson might not get long leash


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3:40 pm ET) Averaging 2.9 yards a carry, like he did last year, will get Trent Richardson benched quickly, reports ESPN.com. Richardson "will have to produce right away because it's unlikely the Colts will wait for him to get going" if running backs Ahmad Bradshaw and Vick Ballard are healthy and productive, the website said.

Richardson likely will get the first shot at the starting job. He has a much better grasp of the playbook than he did in 2013 and the belief is he'll be able to run on instinct as opposed to overthinking, the report said.


RG3 explains why Alfred Morris is key to Washington offense


by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(10:09 am ET) Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III said recently that the most important player in the team's offense isn't him -- it's running back Alfred Morris

"With him, defenses have to make a decision whether to puts guys in the box to stop him or leave the box light and allow Alfred to go between the tackles and lure in the safeties," Griffin explained via the official website. "I think it will be interesting to see what defenses do against him."

Morris has done well in his first two seasons, averaging a steady 4.7 yards per carry with 20 touchdowns in 32 games. But he's also worked hard this offseason on becoming a better receiver out of the backfield. 

"I'm just building that trust with the quarterbacks and the coaches to get that confidence that I can catch it to be a viable option in the passing game," Morris said. "Even within myself, I'm building that confidence that I can handle the pressure of a 3rd and 5, and I'm running that choice route to win and catch the ball to keep us on the field. ... Just working hard, making sure I look the ball in before I catch it. I like to run before I secure the ball, but I just have to work on securing the ball before I run."


Marion Grice to struggle for playing time


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/10/2014) Chargers rookie running back Marion Grice scored 39 touchdowns in 24 games at Arizona State, but he'll have a hard time cracking the lineup in San Diego, according to the team's website. The sixth-round pick finds himself behind Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown in the backfield and will need "a very special camp performance to earn playing time," the report said.


Chris Ivory's carries expected to drop


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/10/2014) With the Jets' addition of Chris Johnson, running back Chris Ivory most likely will get "a decent number of carries, but not as many as he did last year," reports the New York Post. Ivory averaged 12 carries per game last year while amassing 833 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

The paper said it will be interesting to see how Ivory reacts to a smaller workload. "One of the reasons he was unhappy in New Orleans was he was part of a crowded backfield and did not feel he was being used enough," the paper said. "Will he bite his tongue if he is riding the bench?"


Eddie Lacy not content


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/10/2014) Packers running back Eddie Lacy set a franchise rookie rushing record with 1,178 yards last season while scoring 11 touchdowns. He won't take anyone by surprise in 2014, a challenge he's preparing for.

"I just need to regain focus," he told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "Don't let what I did last year flow over into this year. It's a new team, it's a new season and a new year pretty much."

"I know it's going to be a lot tougher than last season," Lacy added. "But we have the greatest quarterback in the NFL, and with him being back there, it's not just like they'll be able to stack the box and focus on me. They have to play him, because if not, he's just going to kill them through the air. So I still think I have a bit of breathing room.

"I think it will be tougher, because it's not like you're surprising everyone. When you first come in, people doubt you. They know what you did in college, but they don't know if it will translate to the next level. But once you get that year in and people see what you've done and it's no longer surprising, they're going to prepare for you the way they prepare for whoever else is good at that position."


Jed Collins expected to beat out Montell Owens


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/10/2014) Jed Collins should beat out Montell Owens in the Lions' training camp battle at fullback, reports MLive.com. The website favors Collins "based on his frame and his familiarity with offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi."

Collins (6-1, 255) spent the last three seasons in New Orleans with Lombardi.


Jordan Todman likely to return kickoffs again


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/9/2014) Jordan Todman, the Jaguars' No. 2 running back, figures to get the first shot at returning kickoffs, reports the Florida Times-Union. Todman returned 26 kicks for a 27.4-yard average last year, incuding a 59-yarder.

Todman was one of seven Jaguars to return a kickoff last year, though he quickly won the job and helped Jacksonville rank third in kick return average.


Brandon Bolden in danger of getting cut


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/9/2014) Patriots running back Brandon Bolden is not projected to make the team, according to the Boston Globe. Bolden ran for 271 yards and three touchdowns and caught 21 passes for 152 yards last year.

But he's battled injuries and he lacks "top-end long speed to make big plays," the paper said.


James White 'a threat for touches in every phase'


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/9/2014) Patriots rookie running back James White could end up taking away touches from Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen, reports the Boston Globe. White "has quick burst and patience to wait for blocks to develop, a combination that often leads to positive yards," the paper said, noting White fumbled only twice in college.

A sixth-round pick out of Wisconsin, White "also has soft hands as a receiver and sound blocking technique in pass protection, making him a threat for touches in every phase of the game."

The paper projects White as the No. 3 back, ahead of Roy Finch and James Develin.


Scott Linehan: We'll lean on DeMarco Murray more


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/8/2014) Despite his track record as a pass-heavy coordinator, new Cowboys play-caller Scott Linehan vowed to lean on running back DeMarco Murray more than the team has in the past, reports the Dallas Morning News. Murray set career highs in games played (14), carries (217), rushing yards (1,121) and touchdowns (10) last year.

Dallas is 11-0 when Murray gets 20 or more carries. The paper expects Lance Dunbar to complement Murray as a receiving threat out of the backfield.


BenJarvus Green-Ellis caught up in 'very tough numbers game'


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/8/2014) Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis "is involved in a very tough numbers game," reports the team's website. Cincy drafted a big back in Jeremy Hill at No. 55 overall, and the team is loaded at running back.

Hill, Giovani Bernard and special teams co-captain Cedric Peerman look to be locks, the report said. The team might have to choose between Green-Ellis and second-year back Rex Burkhead, who's five years younger.

But no decision will be made until late in the preseason "because injuries are so much of a factor at running back." the website said.


Joique Bell cleared to run full speed, says he's 100 percent


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/8/2014) Lions running back Joique Bell, who missed offseason workouts recovering from a knee injury, has been cleared to run full speed, reports MLive.com. He plans to report to training camp early to test his body.

"I'm feeling 100 percent," he said. "I'm feeling great."

Bell, 27, signed a three-year, $9.3 million contract after producing 1,197 yards from scrimmage and scoring eight touchdowns last season.


Raiders planning run-first attack


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/8/2014) New Raiders left tackle Donald Penn told Sirius XM NFL Radio that the team will be run-heavy in 2014, seemingly good news for Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden. "We're gonna run the ball, run the ball, then run it again, until the defense stops us," Penn said.

Oakland averaged 27.3 rushing attempts last year, which ranked 16th.


Chris Johnson: 'Of course I have a chip on my shoulder'


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/8/2014) Jets running back Chris Johnson didn't like the way he was released by the Titans, and he said that will motivate him throughout the season.

"Of course I have a chip on my shoulder," Johnson told the New York Post. "It gives me more motivation to continue to work hard and come here and be that guy I’ve been my whole career. I want to prove [the Titans] wrong. They released me and I want to let them know they made a mistake."

Johnson had a torn meniscus in his left knee fixed, and he expects to be at full strength for training camp, the paper said. He believes he'll provide "a home-run threat" to the Jets offense.

Johnson, 28, has run for at least 1,000 yards in each of his six seasons.


Bryce Brown part of Bills' future?


by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(7/8/2014) The Bills have C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson as their primary running backs entering the 2014 season, but Bryce Brown could be part of their long-term plans.

ESPN noted that Spiller is entering a contract year and could ask for a lot of dough while Jackson is 33 years old. Brown, a third-year player, is someone the team would like "to develop into one of their lead backs," according to the site. He's under contract through the 2015 season and should carry a cheaper price tag than Spiller. 


Patriots rookie James White to complement Vereen?


by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(7/8/2014) Patriots rookie running back James White has worked exclusively in a role similar to that of Shane Vereen so far this offseason. ESPN says he's shown "generally reliable hands" and has been a smooth route runner but hasn't done anything as a rusher. That's partially because the team hasn't worked on the run game since there haven't been any full-pad practices.

While it looks like White will be a backup to Vereen this season, the site also says White shouldn't be overlooked as a rusher.  


Theo Riddick to catch 50 passes?


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/7/2014) Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky predicted running back Theo Riddick will play a Darren Sproles-like role in the offense, reports the Detroit Free Press. Riddick is behind Reggie Bush and Joique Bell on the depth chart.

"I’m telling you, if he doesn’t 50 catches this year, I’ll be surprised because he’s going to have opportunities and he’s very talented at it," Orlovsky said on the Ross Tucker Podcast. "I think he’s going to play that Sproles role, for sure."

Orlovsky was struck by what he saw from Riddick in OTAs and minicamp.

"I mean this kid, he wasn’t covered a single time in OTAs and minicamp. He was not covered," Orlovsky said. "And I think it’s even going to be easier when he gets pads on because once linebackers just try to start colliding him, and that’s what teams started to do with Sproles sometimes, you hit the home run one out of every 10 plays. And then nine out of 10 times, Sproles wins. And I think Theo’s going to do that for us."

Riddick got 13 touches in 14 games as a rookie last year.


Broncos focused on improving run game


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/7/2014) The Broncos made several offseason moves designed to improve their running game, reports ESPN.com.

They moved Orlando Franklin to left guard, giving them one of the biggest guard tandems in the league. They drafted receiver Cody Latimer, considered a terrific blocking wideout. And they let running back Knowshon Moreno go in free agency so they could hand the starting job to Montee Ball.

With defenses often playing six or fewer men in the box, Denver believes it can do better than the 4.1 yards per carry it averaged last season.


Chargers OC: Ryan Mathews is 'primary workhorse'


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/7/2014) Despite the offseason signing of Donald Brown, Chargers offensive coordinator Frank Reich told the team's website that running back Ryan Mathews "is the pounder." Added Reich: "He’s going to be the primary workhorse. He’s our guy."

Mathews ran for a career-high 1,255 yards on 285 carries with six touchdowns last year.


Ravens awaiting word on Ray Rice suspension


by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(7/7/2014) The Ravens are still waiting to hear how long running back Ray Rice will be unavailable to begin the season with a possible suspension, reports ESPN.

The report says Rice is expected to receive a multi-game suspension for allegedly striking his fiancée unconscious in February. The report suggests a suspension of two to four games for Rice would follow the league's recent track record with first-time offenders. 

If Rice is going to miss a major chunk of the season, the Ravens would give Bernard Pierce, Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro more snaps this summer, especially later in the preseason. If Rice is only going to be suspended for a couple of games, the Ravens' rotation at running back may not change significantly.


Alfred Blue to challenge Andre Brown


by Jamey Eisenberg | Senior Fantasy Writer
(7/7/2014) The Texans signed running back Andre Brown this offseason to be the backup to starter Arian Foster, but ESPN reports that rookie Alfred Blue could push Brown for the No. 2 job.

The report says "Brown has an edge on starting experience. Blue has an edge on youth and lack of mileage." Most likely, if Foster were to get hurt, the Texans would use a tandem of Brown and Blue to replace him.


Frank Gore's carries expected to take a hit


by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/6/2014) 49ers running back Frank Gore has averaged 272 carries the past three seasons. But ESPN.com guesses Gore, now 31, will see about 220 carries this year.

The website expects rookie Carlos Hyde and second-year back Marcus Lattimore to eat into Gore's workload. Kendall Hunter remains in the picture as the current No. 2 on the depth cart.


Adrian Peterson impressed with Jerick McKinnon


by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(7/2/2014) Vikings star running Adrian Peterson doesn't expect to lose a lot of playing time to rookie Jerick McKinnon, but he does see some very good things out of him

"He's pretty impressive and there's not too many guys who impress me like that, especially rookies coming in," Peterson said of the third-round pick out of Georgia Southern according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "He's been able to do some real good things in the offense, picking it up well and just his running style."

McKinnon says a lot has been put on his plate by offensive coordinator Norv Turner, plus he'll also do some kickoff returns. Speculation is that he could end up as the team's third-down back this season. 


Roy Helu not locked into third-down job?


by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(7/2/2014) Roy Helu has held down the Redskins' third-down role among running backs for the past couple of seasons, but it doesn't mean he's a cinch to continue to do so. The team has Chris Thompson and Lache Seastrunk on the roster to compete with him, plus Helu has never shown excellent traits of a make-you-miss type of back. 

The Washington Post surmises that experience should keep Helu ahead of the other candidates for the job, but that any strong work this summer by Thompson or Seastrunk could change that. 


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