Player Spotlights: Jeriuos Norwood and Brandon Jacobs

For all the critics that were worried about what the Falcons were doing breaking up the DVD (Dunn, Vick, and Duckett), have piped down quite a bit. The Falcons knew they had the player they wanted in Norwood to compliment Dunn. Something TJ Duckett was unable to do.

Out in New York there may have not been a more impressive back then Brandon Jacobs for week one. Anyone that watched the Giants preseason games knew this was coming. He dominated the preseason action and is crucial to maintaining the Giants a healthy Tiki Barber. Barber as well as anyone has said he loves the idea of Jacobs spelling him on a few series a game. That will keep him healthy, and let him progress each and every series.

With Jacobs out on the field he bruises teams. John Madden was saying that Jacobs reminds him a lot of Jerome Bettis with his agility, size, and foot speed. Jacobs looks even better than that comparison, with a lot more foot speed and power then Bettis had at least over his last eight years in the NFL.

For fantasy purposes owners with Tiki Barber better start worrying at the high cost of attaining Barber in past drafts. We warned not to expect the same numbers from Barber especially in the touchdown department. Jacobs is going to be the main guy inside the five yard line, and in any short yardage situation.

Based on Tiki Barber’s overall friendliness outlook to the game of football, he’ll likely be fine with that. Did anyone else notice how friendly Barber and the Colts defensive players were acting after he ran the ball? Each burst by Barber the Colts would help him up, and Barber would tap them on the helmet. It has been a long time since we’ve seen that going on in football, especially when every run was seven yards or more.

Hopefully you already have Jacobs on your roster if you drafted Barber. If not it may not be too early to try and acquire Jacobs. Sure his value may be a bit too high for trade sake, but at least begin negotiating. Get in that owner’s head for a week or two until he realizes he needs to unleash Jacobs. We all know that no one is going to start Jacobs unless Barber goes down, so any owner will be willing to trade him.

The Giants should have beat the Colts if they would have kept plugging away at the running game. How does a team stop rushing the football in key stretches of the game? They were averaging over seven yards a carry but would halt their own progress on a drive by putting the ball in Eli’s hands or unforced penalties. For Tiki to only have 18 carries and Jacobs 8, cost the Giants that football game.

On the flipside, the Falcons did what winning teams do. They ran the football down the Panthers throats and it eventually paid off. Their team controlled and dominated the running game with 48 rushing attempts. Dunn had 29, Norwood 10, Vick 7, and Griffith one. They had the running game going and stuck to it for the entire game. It’s going to be very tough for any defense to stop the assault that the Falcons have planned this season. Dunn was the main factor last season and now defenses can’t rest a bit like they when Duckett would spell Dunn. Norwood has that explosiveness and speed that Duckett lacked, and for now Vick is running freely like he did in the past. That’ll likely tone down a bit as Vick was taken quite a few hard hits on some of his scrambles out of the pocket.

Clearly when you’re looking at having an effective running game, you need two strong backs. The Giants and Falcons look to be the leading runners in that category, and that gives them a tremendous edge to get a few extra wins. The type of wins that come down to having that fourth quarter ability to drowned seven to eight minutes off the clock. There are lots of teams that think they have the right duo but none are the staggeringly different runners like the Falcons and Giants can throw at you.


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