While searching the internet recently, I stumbled upon one of the many rankings submitted by large football websites, and this list was the best running backs in the league today. As an editor to a Pittsburgh Steelers website, and a fan, I wanted to see where Le'Veon Bell ranked. He was ranked No. 3. LeSean McCoy was 2nd and DeMarco Murray was the top ranked back in the rankings.
This brought up the debate between Murray vs. Bell. No offense to McCoy, but when most discuss the top two backs in the game, it normally boils down to Bell and Murray for the top choices. The answer to who is the better back certainly will be answered in 2015.
DeMarco Murray is dynamic, and an extremely gifted running back. However, if there was a cut on his production in 2014, it was how he was benefiting from running behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL when he was with the Dallas Cowboys. Murray has left Dallas and found a new home with the Philadelphia Eagles, which possess a much less talented offensive line.
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In 2014, Murray posted 1,845 yards on 392 carries for a 4.7 yards per attempt average. Quite the numbers, and when you add in his receiving statistics of 57 catches for 416 yards his 2014 season becomes even more impressive. The question remains, will Murray be able to duplicate such an impressive season under Chip Kelly in Philadelphia? This will be the ultimate answer to whether Murray is as elite as many believe he is.
Le'Veon Bell is another dynamic running back, and possibly the most versatile running back the NFL has seen since LaDainian Tomlinson; however, like Murray, NFL analysts wonder if Bell's production was simply a one-year breakout, or the beginning of a tremendous career in Pittsburgh.
Bell's 2014 was one for the record books as he rushed for 1,361 yards on 290 carries for a 4.7 yards per attempt average. The fact Bell had just under 800 yards less than Murray with over 100 less carries speaks volumes about the season Bell had in 2014, but what separates him from the pack are his receiving skills. Bell caught 83 passes for 854 yards in 2014, putting his versatility on display. Whether Bell can duplicate this success in 2014 will be the true test if he had one great season, or if this is becoming the standard for his career.
Who is the better back will ultimately be decided in 2015. Murray no longer running behind the offensive line in Dallas, and Bell attempting to duplicate the best statistical season for a running back in Steelers' history. Both running backs are tremendous, and both organizations should be more than excited to have them in their backfields, but the player who can continue his success in 2015 will ultimately make the decision on who is best a much easier process.