Here are some recent accounts back ups whose yards per carry (YPC) fell when asked to be the lead back:
Note: There are other examples, but I chose these guys because they are recent and are similar to Redman in that they are bruisers.
Jonathan Stewart (Deangelo Williams got hurt 6 weeks through the 2010 season)
2009 – 221 carries, 5.1 YPC
2010 – 178 carries, 4.3 YPC
Shonn Greene (2009-2010 when Thomas Jones left)
2009 – 108 carries, 5.0 YPC
2010 – 185 carries, 4.1 YPC
2007 – 204 carries, 4.8 YPC
2008 – 238 carries, 3.7 YPC
Michael Bush – (2011 run DMC went down half way through the season)
2010 – 155 carries, 4.1 YPC
2011 – 256 carries, 3.8 YPC
This is a small sample and there are obviously many other factors that go into a running back’s performance (not to mention that not all backups in the history of the NFL experience a decline in YPC as they move to starter), but I think that these accounts paint a nice portrait of some of the downfalls of being the lead man.
My personal opinion is that Redman does a solid job while filling in for Mendenhall and starts 8 games and averages 4.1 YPC, scores 7 TD’s, and rushes for 850 yards on the season. However, I don’t expect him to make quite the impact that some may think and make us cast Mendenhall off to the island of misfit toys (still have high hopes for him).
In the two regular season games in which the 27 year old Redman carried the bulk of the load, he has averaged 4.2 YPC, scored 1 td, and lost 2 fumbles. However he finished the season with a solid effort in Denver, rushing for 121 yards and averaging 7.1 YPC.
So what's your guys take?