This is the next in a series of articles that attempts to shine a light on how various teams really do use their backs and what we can surmise about them going forward. Today we focus on the AFC East.
It’s been a seriously unbalanced division for some years. Last year featured two historically poor rushing offenses. The 2019 Dolphins rushed for fewer yards than any other team in the last decade. The Jets were 312th out of the 320 teams in that period. Given that low base we can certainly expect some improvement.
The Bills started last season with Frank Gore as their lead back, but it seemed time had caught up with him. Devin Singletary picked up more and more work as the season progressed. This chart shows the proportion of their yards that were gained on plays by length:
Gore had around 40 percent of his yards come on plays of ten or more yards. For Singletary that figure was closer to 60 percent. Explosiveness is an overused concept for backs because volume closely correlates with touches. It’s very rare that any back at all consistently produces more or less than you’d expect given their workload, but it happened last year here.