Patrick Daugherty

Football Daily Dose

print article archives RSS

Running Back Blues

Thursday, December 01, 2011

If there’s never been a better time to be a quarterback trying to break Dan Marino’s single-season yardage record, there’s never been a worse time to be a star running back.

Wednesday, three of the best clogged up the interwebs with more bad news.

First, there was Adam Schefter’s report that Adrian Peterson (ankle) remains a long-shot to suit up this weekend. This really shouldn’t come as a surprise considering high-ankle sprains rarely sideline someone for fewer than two weeks. But if anyone would seem to be a candidate to be the exception to the rule, it’s Peterson, who has been one of sports’ ultimate iron men since turning pro. Alas, Vikings fans and fantasy owners appear destined for another week of the Toby Gerhart experience, which involves a lot of runs for no gain and general dullness.

Then there was Darren McFadden, who after creating mild buzz with a “light” workout on Monday failed to return to practice for the sixth straight Wednesday. While we’ve learned it’s not necessarily fair to call McFadden a “slow healer,” we know one thing: he’s not a fast one. In theory, a Week 14 return would make sense, but so did a Week 12 and Week 13 one. At this point, it might be best just to assume you won’t have McFadden for the fantasy playoffs. If you do, consider it one mighty bonus.

Finally, there was Ahmad Bradshaw, who despite claiming there was a “big shot” he’d return this week, failed to practice and has the Giants pessimistic about his chances of returning against the Packers. The Giants have been in a free-fall during his absence, going 1-3 as Brandon Jacobs has managed a measly 48.5 yards per game and pathetic 3.2 yards per carry. As with McFadden, it’s probably best to assume you’ll be without Bradshaw for Weeks 14-16, and view any contributions you get from New York's would-be lead back as pure gravy.

When the Jaguars named Jason Hill one of their starting receivers last summer, expectations were understandably low.

A waivers acquisition in November 2010 after three and a half highly unproductive seasons with the 49ers, Hill “came on” in Jacksonville’s final six games, posting 248 yards receiving. The problem, of course, was that he made just 11 catches. While 22.5 yards per reception is certainly an eye-popping number, it’s more than offset by 1.8, his number of receptions per game.

Things didn’t figure to get any better under the Jaguars’ cocktail of Luke McCown and Blaine Gabbert at quarterback this season, so we here at Rotoworld didn’t even bother to rank Hill in our preseason draft guide.

Fast forward 13 weeks, and it’s safe to say we were justified in that decision. Hill’s 25 catches are tied for 118th in the NFL, putting him behind such luminaries as Greg Salas, Lavelle Hawkins and Preston Parker, while tying him with Arrelious Benn.

Out of the 64 players that entered this week considered “starting” wide receivers, Hill’s 25 catches came in tied for 54th. That lines him up with the likes of Mohamed Massaquoi, Eddie Royal, Roy Williams, Brian Hartline, Devin Hester and Big Mike Williams (Quick aside: is Mike Williams the worst player in the NFL?). Everyone else joining Hill at the bottom of the barrel has missed significant time with injury.

Even on a team starting a blind squirrel at quarterback, that’s simply not good enough. If only it had been surprising. Jacksonville has already shown former coach Jack Del Rio the door. It’s a shame the man who provided him with some truly horrific offensive talent, GM Gene Smith, won’t soon be joining him in the unemployment line.   

As for the unemployment line, it’s quite possible that’s where Hill will find himself come cut-down day next season.

Todd Haley is known for a lot of things. His ridiculous attire, being a former golfer, yelling at Josh McDaniels and yelling at Anquan Boldin to name a few.  

Something he’s not known for is shrewd depth chart decisions. Is he about to make another puzzling call? If he follows through on his Wednesday assertion that Tyler Palko is “the starter” for the Chiefs, the answer will be a resounding yes.

Never mind the absurdity of sticking with a player who’s produced seven turnovers and 12 points in two starts. How about the notion that an offense that’s scored just one touchdown in its past four games could somehow be too difficult for waivers acquisition Kyle Orton to master in less than two weeks? Has Todd Haley reinvented the forward pass and nobody realized it?

For a man who’s likely fighting for his job, starting Palko again could be tantamount to career suicide. Nevertheless, there was Haley on Wednesday, giving Palko 60 percent of the first-team reps in practice.  

For the sake of both Chiefs fans and Haley’s job security, hopefully the move was just pointless gamesmanship heading into this weekend’s matchup with the Bears, who would no doubt be thrilled to see the player they desperately wanted to land on waivers standing on the sideline for a 4-7 team.  

For every pass Palko has thrown the past two weeks, the Chiefs have scored 0.18 points. For comparison’s sake, for every pass Aaron Rodgers has thrown this season, the Packers have scored 1.1 points.

For every pass Palko has completed, the Chiefs have scored 0.29 points.

For every turnover he’s committed, they’ve scored 1.7 points (with Rodgers, the number is 95.5).

Sidney Rice saw his extremely disappointing first season with the Seahawks end Wednesday after he was placed on injured reserve with his second concussion in three weeks and third in 12 months. Look for Doug Baldwin to pick up the slack in Seattle’s woeful passing attack. … Ryan Mathews is absent from the Chargers’ Week 13 injury report. Cross your fingers. … Hakeem Nicks was held out of Giants practice Wednesday with both a ribs injury and concussion, but has apparently already passed his baseline tests. A return to limited practice today is a decent bet. … James Starks (ankle, knee) is practicing in full, and should be ready for Sunday’s game against the Giants after suffering a minor setback last Thursday. … Neither Denarius Moore (ankle) nor Jacoby Ford (foot) participated in Raiders practice Wednesday, but will both be in line to play against the Dolphins if they can get back on the field today. … Julio Jones (hamstring) missed Falcons practice, and remains a bit of a mystery heading into Sunday’s game against the Texans. He needs to practice today. … Michael Turner sat out with a groin injury. It won’t be a concern as long as he returns this afternoon. … Sam Bradford (ankle), Kevin Kolb (toe, foot) and Josh Freeman (shoulder) are all tentatively in line to start in Week 13.

Patrick Daugherty is a football and baseball writer for He can be found on Twitter .
Email :Patrick Daugherty

Highest Searched Players over the last 7 days

Video Center


    Back's NBA 6-Pack: Friday

    Pepsi's Frozen Five: Thursday

    Back's NBA 6-Pack: Wednesday

    Back's NBA 6-Pack: Monday
    Draft: Norris on WR breakdown

    Draft: Norris on WR breakdown
    Norris: Senior Bowl

    Norris: Senior Bowl's Top 20
    Norris: Who

    Norris: Who's No. 1?
    Short: Expectations for Hanley

    Short: Expectations for Hanley