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Running Back Ball Security Impressive

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Running Back Ball Security Impressive

Green Bay Packers running backs didn't lose a single fumble over the course of the 2010 season, including the postseason.

Some might argue that the Packers don't exactly run the ball as much as other NFL teams, and while that may be true, it shouldn't diminish their accomplishment.

For those keeping score, that's 16 regular season games, 4 postseason games and a combined 440 carries by the running backs without losing a fumble.

According to STATS, the Packers were just one of nine teams whose running backs haven't lost a fumble an entire season including the playoffs since 2000. The others are:

  • 2007 Indianapolis Colts
  • 2007 New England Patriots
  • 2007 Arizona Cardinals
  • 2003 Chicago Bears
  • 2003 Detroit Lions
  • 2003 San Diego Chargers
  • 2001 Minnesota Vikings
  • 2000 St. Louis Rams

Part of the Packers' formula for success this past season was their turnover ratio. They were able to limit their turnovers on offense while at the same time create takeaways on defense.

Their turnover differential of +10 ranked fourth in the NFL during the regular season. In addition, they had a differential of +6 in the postseason, including zero turnovers in the Super Bowl.

A bulk of the credit goes to running backs coach Edgar Bennett, who was adept at protecting the ball during his playing career. In a seven-year career that saw him carry the ball 1,115 times, Bennett lost only six fumbles, an average of less than one per season.

And as a coach, he's passed that skill on to his players.

Even though Ryan Grant only had all of eight carries in 2010, he's well-regarded for his ball security. In 2009 he was named to the NFL Players Association's All-Fundamentals team for his proper cuts and ball security.

This past season, that torch has been passed onto Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn who didn't lose a fumble in their 196 and 90 respective carries.

Perhaps most impressive is that rookie James Starks didn't fumble all season after missing his entire senior year of college, missed the first nine games of the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list and didn't carry the ball at all until Week 13.

After having only 29 carries for 101 yards in the regular season, Starks went onto lead the Packers in rushing with 81 carries for 315 yards in the playoffs.

A lot of rookies might have gotten caught in the headlights under such circumstances.

But not Starks, or any of the running backs for that matter.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (8) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

norman's picture

"Their turnover differential of +10 ranked fourth in the NFL during the regular season. In addition, they had a differential of +6 in the postseason, including zero turnovers in both the NFC Championship game and the Super Bowl."

Brian, is this referring just to running backs, or the team as a whole? Because turnover differential is generally a team statistic, since of course running backs can only be on the minus side of this equation. That said, the team did have two turnovers in the NFC Championship game (two Rodgers picks), but the running backs did not have any.

I'll admit I was very concerned about Starks getting all the carries in the postseason with his lack of contact in the past two years, as you note. I'm thrilled he is proving not to be a fumbler. If he can improve his pass protection he could really be the whole package (including even throwing the occasional pass).

Brian Carriveau's picture

The differential refers to the team as a whole.

ZaphodBeeblebrox's picture

Zero turnovers in the NFC Championship game? I assume you mean zero net, or are only talking about the running game, because Rodgers threw that terrible pick to Urlacher. Still a net positive since da Bears had 3 picks (Cutler->Shields, Hanie->Raji (TD) and Hanie->Shields to end the game)...

Brian Carriveau's picture

Good point. They had a positive net, but I'll fix it so it's less confusing.

PkrNboro's picture

The whole Super Bowl thing is still sinking in for me... several times a day, for the past week, I find myself saying: "YES".
( I'm scared that I'm turning into Marv Albert! )

Is anyone else experiencing this ?
I mean this season put all Packer fans through the wringer.

For me it started...
...On July 16, The NFL indefinitely suspended DE Johnny Jolly due to his July 8, 2008 second-degree felony charge for possession of at least 200 grams of codeine.

I thought we were screwed.
Jolly was a starter, ya know !
Little did I know that losing a starter would later garner the response: "pffft -- next man up"

God, what a long, strange trip it's been !!!


Don't know if I'll remember it more for:

"tonight's gonna be a good night" --BEP


It. Is. Time. --Kevin Greene

redlights's picture

That video sent a shiver up my spine. It gets my vote!

Jmac34's picture

Brian, Shhhhhh!!!!! don't jinx them

ppabich's picture


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