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Making the Grade: The Runing Backs....

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As I thought, running the ball was no easy task last night against a San Diego Chargers defense that excels at stopping the run. Willie Parker finished the night with 57 yards and 1 TD on 14 carries while Verron Haynes ran the ball once for 13 yards on a draw play. That's not a bad collective average. The problem was we couldn't get on the field long enough to establish the running game, and as we fell behind in the 2nd half, we abandoned the run pretty much alltogether. Dookie Davenport, Parker, and Haynes all caught balls out of the backfield for on screen plays, but again, most of that production also came in the first half.

You have to give a lot of credit to Jamal Williams, the Chargers behemoth nose tackle. Even when he's not stopping the run, he's intimidating opposing offenses into abandoning their gameplan, which I thought we did last night. Had our defense made a few more stops on third down and kept us out ahead during the 3rd quarter, Parker et. al might have had more chances to gain yardage on the ground, but as it turned out, we flat out got our butts kicked on defense which in turn kept our offense from establishing any sort of flow in the second half.

I will say that we are still struggling in short yardage situations. Davenport came in on one situation but was unable to pick up the 1st down. We seem to have so little faith in the running game on short yardage situations that we feel the need to try flea flickers. I believe Parker should be the guy; he makes the most decisive decisions with his cuts and gets into the hole quicker than both Haynes and Davenport. We need to shore up this problem next week against an improved Chiefs defense.

Grade: C+