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Friday, December 30, 2011

Who Are These Arkansas Paperbacks, errr Razorbacks?

Photo by Wesley Hitt/Arkansas

In the 2008 NFL Draft the Arkansas Razorbacks had the
honor of having a trio of running backs drafted and
eventually start for three different NFL franchises.
Darren McFadden became the stud back for the Raiders,
Felix Jones was drafted by the Cowboys and has been a
starter for them as well, and Peyton Hillis who was
originally drafted by the Denver Broncos, and was
later traded to the Browns is currently their starter
and leading rusher.

Now to my headline. As previously mentioned, one or
all members of this trio are either the starter for
their team or at have been, but it isn't because of
performance that more often than not that they aren't
the starter. Coming in to 2011 all three were either
the feature back or soon became that, but they cant
stay on the field, they are constantly on the injury
report. In a combined 45 games so far this season,
these three backs have managed to play in a total of
30 of those games, a mere 67%. Darren McFadden is the
biggest culprit of all having missed the all but seven
this season and is listed as out this weekend against
the Chargers. Peyton Hillis has been out for such
things as Strep Throat, and advice from his agent to
not rush back too soon and get hurt. In the last game
Felix Jones had just four rushing attempts in what was
a blowout loss to the Eagles, and was kept out in order
to ensure he would be healthy for this weeks must win
game against the Giants. Three weeks ago he had just
six attempts against the Cardinals in another expensive
loss by the Cowboys.

Jones is a probable this week, Hillis should play in what
is now a meaningless season finale for the Browns, and
McFadden is all but out for sure in a game the Raiders
must have in order to ensure a possible playoff birth.

Going forward can these three be counted on? Hillis is
holding out hope that he will "get paid" this off season,
but how big an investment would you make in him if you
were the one paying? Felix Jones is actually in jeopardy
of eventually losing his starting job, and maybe even his
roster spot. One thing for sure in the NFL is that no one,
including Peyton Manning is beyond that sort of speculation.
You can't be the starter if you can't play. McFadden is
clearly the biggest fish here, and the safest to stay, but
after huge splashes of brilliance last year and a great
start to this season, can the Raiders depend on him to stay
on the field? All three of these backs are obviously very
talented, and lots of questions remain, but my question is
something more along the lines of: Was there something in
the water at Arkansas? NO, I am not implying PED's, though
no one is immune ti that. I just wonder what the heck has
gone wrong with these three.

Don't Believe In Plays, Believe In Players - Al Davis

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