It is fairly common knowledge that the NFL is a league of copycats. When a team is successful, the rest of the league will look to imitate what helped that team. When the Carolina Panthers first came on the scene and had immediate success as an expansion team, the zone defense became the hot topic. When the Tampa Buccaneers won the Super Bowl, the Cover-2 was the defense to use. Hell, even the Patriots idea to have everyone run out as a unit for Super Bowl introductions has been copied.
Well, now that the Colts have won the Super Bowl, the rest of the league will be looking to see what made them a success. Outside of Peyton Manning and Rex Grossman's incompetence, one can look at the Colts effective use of two "starting" running backs as one of the major keys to their success. Dominic Rhodes and Joseph Addai created a dual threat that was HUGE for the Colts this year. The funny thing is that many other teams have already adopted this idea in the last couple of seasons. Some examples this past season included the Saints with Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush, the Patriots with Corey Dillon and Laurence Maroney, the Jaguars with Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew and the Cowboys with Julius Jones and Marion Barber. This will continue into next year as we can expect Jerious Norwood and LenDale White to steal away carries from Warrick Dunn and Travis Henry respectively.
The question for the 49ers is twofold: 1) Will they join this cabal of copycats, or more importantly, 2) SHOULD they? I first thought about this after Braekneck posted a diary touting the virtues of a Bush/Gore backfield, something which he has not let up on . The NFL is certainly a league where a player's NFL career can be over before you know it and a good backup is essential to have.
With free agency beginning and the draft in two months, I find myself wondering if Maurice Hicks and/or Michael Robinson are the answer. Hicks has proven himself as a special teams standout who can occasionally spell Gore, while Robinson is a project that provides some unique offensive options. However, for the immediate future, is there a better option while Robinson develops? Michael Bush could probably be had with a trade up in the 2nd round. Other potential draft options include Kenny Irons, Tony Hunt, Antonio Pittman and Lorenzo Booker. In free agency, options include Ahman Green, Dominic Rhodes, Chris Brown, Correll Buckhalter, and Marcel Shipp among others.
My own personal opinion is that I would prefer having a solid option (at least more solid than the Hicks/Robinson combination) behind Gore, not only in case he gets hurt, but to ease the load to KEEP him from getting hurt. It seems that guys like Ladanian Tomlinson, Larry Johnson and Frank Gore are becoming a thing of the past. When you've got so much money invested in a player it certainly makes sense to want to keep that player as healthy as possible. If we were to take a defensive player in the first round, I agree with Braekneck that a trade isn't entirely out of line in the second round, considering the extra 3rd and 4th round picks we'll have in compensation.
I'll throw up a poll as well for everyone to consider the options. Multiple selections can be voted on. I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts on what I think is an important issue.
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