Grantland posted a piece today about the decline of running plays in the NFL:
The primary takeaway I had from the piece is that carries-per-game has dropped to an all-time low in the NFL this season. Teams are focused on the passing game and are not handing the ball off nearly as much as they used to. Likewise, the effectiveness even when they do hand the ball off has decreased.
Reading this makes me wonder what Hoke or Borges view as a "pro-style" offense that emphasizes power running and whether such an offense can be as effective long-term given the advances in all other areas of the game. A team like Wisconsin may suggest otherwise, but this piece was interesting anyway. I had hoped that he would offer some better explanations for the decline rather than focusing on individual players - but don't expect any of that here. Could defenses have adapted or advanced physically enough to limit the effectiveness of running the ball? Have the rules in the passing game just made it too important to focus on that?
The other interesting note if you bother to read the highlights from all the running backs he discusses is that many of them can at least partially attribute their decline to turnover, injuries, or ineffectiveness within their offensive line. Sound familiar?