Around the AFC East: Running Back Rankings

Hello, Patriots fans.  This week, us AFC East bloggers thought we'd try something a little different.  Instead of asking my rival writers questions and posting the answers for y'all to cut up, we thought it'd be cool to rank teams by position in the AFC East, starting with running backs.  Put your thinking caps on and branch out past the center of the universe, Foxboro, MA let's give 'em something to talk about!

1. New England Patriots - Yeah, I'm being a homer, but so what?  I am absolutely stoked about what the Patriots backfield is capable of accomplishing this year.  Laurence Maroney, our most likely starter, has a MAJOR chip on his shoulder after being IR'd after game 5 in 2008.  Even worse, he was labeled "fragile" and had to keep his mouth shut about his injury.  I'm looking for a 1,000 yard season from Maroney and for him to finally shutup all the haters.  Joseph Addai who?  While we're on the subject of being labeled fragile, ex Jaguar, Fred Taylor, is one of my favorite off season moves.  Taylor still has plenty of gas in the tank and will be a great mentor for Maroney, having gone through much of the same early in his career.  Not to mention lighting a fire under Laurence.  Sammy Morris will be his usual reliable self as a complement to Maroney while Kevin Faulk is, well, Kevin Faulk.  Mr. Third Down with incredible hands will be that chain mover, that option threat Tom Brady can dump to when needed.  Let's give BenJarvus Green-Ellis a shout out as well.  Bumped up from the practice squad in 2008, he showed us the goods.  Boom Baby!!  So yes, my homerism intact, I'm saying NE will have the #1 rushing attack in the AFC East!

2. New York Jets - You may not have noticed, but the Jets quietly took the lead in rushing for the AFC East.  Not only do they lead in total yardage with 2,004, but the Jets own rushing touchdowns with 20.  Well, except for our Patriots who best them in both categories with 2,278 yards and 21 touchdowns.  Didn't know that, did ya?  Returning running backs Thomas Jones and Leon Washington will, once again, tear up the field.  Jones had a whopping 1,312 yards and 13 touchdowns!  He's a monsterous runner who will establish a strong running attack for New York.

3. Miami Dolphins - It's hard to argue with the tandem of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams.  With 14 touchdowns and almost 1,600 yards between the two of them in 2008, they're a one-two threat that's got the goods.  Of course, all that Wildcat stuff doesn't hurt, either!  Ronnie Brown is a double threat when on the field, taking snaps or running the ball.  We Patriots fans know what happened in Game 3 and I definitely know because I was at Foxboro for that embarrassment.  It remains to be seen if the Wildcat still has any teeth (turning from Wildcat to Wimpykitty, it was largely "de-clawed" towards the end of the season), but it's still a play NFL teams have to reckon with.

4. Buffalo Bills - The Marshawn Lynch/Fred Jackson tandem had similar yardage stats as Miami, but they're dead last for one simple reason: 11 touchdowns to Miami's 14.  All the yardage in the world will do you no good if it don't put points on the board.  I'm also of the opinion this will turn into a pass happy offense with Terrell Owens on board.  How can it not?  I mean, if you had "The Real 81" on your team, wouldn't you want to get the ball to him as often as humanly possible?

That's it folks.  Whaddya think?  Am I all wet?  Should I be seeking therapy?  Or did I get it right?  Be sure to check out Gang Green Nation, The Phinsider, and Buffalo Rumblings for my fellow AFC East writer's take on the rankings.  I'm sure there'll be just as much homerism as you see here.

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