The big disclaimer here is that you need a running game, not a running back. They are completely different so let me explain:
The Miami Dolphins have Mike McDaniel as their HC and one of the biggest things he learned under Shanahan’s system was running schemes. The 49ers have been one of the most dominant run teams in recent years and have accomplished this with no big time RB name in place.
RB’s like Matt Breida hit free agency expecting to make a big splash with their new team like he did with San Francisco, Damien Williams did the same going to Chicago after his SB run in Kansas City (even though it’s not the same system). The truth is RB’s like these never recreate the same success, which proves the scheme was the driving force for their dominance running the football.
On top of that name-brand RB’s not named Derrick Henry tend to get expensive and wear out very quickly. Ezekiel Elliott, Christian McCaffrey, Todd Gurley, and Saquon Barkley were must watch TV at one point, now they’re labeled as expensive, fragile, and inconvenient. From luxury to liability real quick.
Big time RB’s can be expensive, and become fragile with age. Unlike the fancy RB the scheme will never knock on your office to ask for a new contract, argue about carries, or deal with injuries as they get older. And can be paired up with almost any RB and be successful.
This is no new formula either, this blueprint goes way back to the 90’s with Mike Shanahan, McDaniel is bringing that golden nugget of knowledge with him, so I expect him to build his run game similarly for the Dolphins.
And I know you might be saying that even with this dominance San Francisco has no rings to show for it, and you’re right.
But they’re mostly always in the dance, have found themselves with a shot at going to the big one often, and in the last 10 years have come damn close to getting a ring out of it. But there’s always something that has gotten in the way. More on that in a bit, let’s look at this list first:
Protagonist RB of the last 10 Super Bowl winners:
- Cam Akers
- Leonard Fournette
- Damien Williams
- James White/ Sony Michel
- LeGarrette Blount
- LeGarrette Blount/ James White
- C.J Anderson
- LeGarrette Blount / Marshawn Lynch (if they run it at the 1)
- Marshawn Lynch
- Ray Rice
In this list you have a HOF talent in Marshawn Lynch, and the rest are pretty good RB’s under an excellent system. Not all these teams led the league in rushing, but they were effective when it counted.
What does this mean? you don’t need the best talent at a position to be able to win, but you do need a system that puts players in the best position to win. But we all know that a run game only gets you so far without…