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Postby Cupertino_11 » Sat Apr 19, 2003 9:36 am

There sure are a LOT of question marks surrounding RB depth charts this season. I know it's still early, but I just wanted to post a few bits of info on some of the aforementioned ???'s.

Hearst / Barlow
The Press Democrat reports San Francisco 49ers GM Terry Donahue gave a lukewarm indication the RB Garrison Hearst may not be released. Third-year RB Kevan Barlow is expected to become the team's featured back this season, which would leave Hearst as a very expensive ($2.2 million) backup. "I'm planning on him being on the roster," Donahue said of Hearst. "Things happen, but we're not looking to replace Garrison."

Also.....
Barlow is likely to get a lot more work this season -- his third year in the league. Barlow split playing time almost 50-50 with veteran Garrison Hearst last season. Hearst was more productive in the passing game, but the 49ers believe Barlow can give them more of a big-play threat. They also are concerned that Hearst, 32, might be near the end of the line. (Ira Miller/TSN)
Fantasy Spin: Barlow should be a good No. 2 back as they phase out Hearst, and he has potential to be a top fantasy starter in the future.


Zereoue / Bettis
ESPN's Len Pasquarelli reports people who have seen Pittsburgh Steelers RB Jerome Bettis insist the declining tailback is in the best condition that he has been in for several years. In the past, such endorsements have hardly proven on-target, so forgive the accompanying skepticism, please. In this case, though, there are multiple sources, all of them outside the parameters of Bettis' usual propaganda machine. Here's hoping it's true this time, since The Bus is one of the NFL's class acts, not to mention a media darling.

Additional....
Coach Bill Cowher will decide after the draft whether to retain veteran tailback Jerome Bettis. Amos Zereoue is a much better fit for Pittsburgh's new pass-happy offense and will be worth an early-round selection if Cowher names him the starter and releases Bettis.

Antowain Smith
The Boston Globe reports Patriots RB Antowain Smith left the team's strength and conditioning program temporarily to attend to personal business, but according to his agent, Kennard Maguire, ''he'll be returning as soon as possible.'' This appears to be a big offseason for Smith. ''I think Antowain knows he has to re-prove himself to the team that he's their top back,'' said Maguire. Maguire also revealed that Smith had a nagging back injury all last season that may have affected his play.

James Stewart / Shawn Bryson
There will be some subtle changes in how the offense operates under Steve Mariucci, including a greater emphasis on the running game. Mornhinweg wanted to run the ball but often abandoned it for a variety of reasons. Mariucci, who will use a committee of backs to do the job, will stick with it. (Tom Kowalski/TSN)
Fantasy Spin: It's one of those good news/bad news deals for Stewart. The Lions won't deviate from their game plan of running the ball, but he will have to share his carries with Shawn Bryson and possibly others. Instead of being a borderline starter like he was last season, Stewart will be a third or fourth running back on most teams.

I know there are plenty more. I'll post em as I find them.
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Postby joester » Sat Apr 19, 2003 11:05 am

Wow!!!!!!!! nice post Coop...............I really hope the 9ers release hearst and allow barlow to become the feature back. If that happens he will open some eyes in the fantasy world
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Postby Homeless » Sat Apr 19, 2003 11:08 am

Good info Cuperman ! ;-D
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Postby Cupertino_11 » Mon Apr 21, 2003 6:03 am

Looks like the door for Barlow to step into the starting role might be opening.....

http://www.pressdemo.com/49ers/news/18niners_c11.html

Definately worth keeping an eye on this one.
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Postby Indy Dragons » Mon Apr 21, 2003 6:12 am

Good stuff.

;-D
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Postby 9er Fan » Mon Apr 21, 2003 11:44 am

If Barlow is the clear-cut starter next year, he'll put up top-10 back numbers. Hearst and Garner weren't really anything to write home about until they hit SF's high-powered offense. If Hearst was released, I'd have no problem taking Barlow in the 2nd round.
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Postby Cupertino_11 » Wed May 07, 2003 7:14 am

Found another opinion on some of the RB's listed above...

This is from the Sportsline "guru" Q&A.

Randy Whiddon, Houston, Texas: What order would you rank this year's class of inexperienced starting running backs: Trung Canidate, Amos Zereoue, Stacey Mack, Troy Hambrick and Kevan Barlow?

G.G.: Based on a standard scoring system, I would rank these players in the following order: Barlow, Canidate, Hambrick, Zereoue and Mack. Obviously this might change as the offseason progresses, especially if Steelers coach Bill Cowher decides to stick with Jerome Bettis as his featured back. Mack finishes last on this list because of Houston's questionable offensive line and passing game.
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Postby fntsyrookie » Wed May 07, 2003 7:59 am

Good info. Definitely worth keeping an eye on. :-)
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Postby terpfan » Wed May 07, 2003 2:20 pm

hambrick above mack and zero?

i dont think so. %-6
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Postby slowkidz » Wed May 07, 2003 2:41 pm

terpfan wrote:hambrick above mack and zero?

i dont think so. %-6


i agree with ya twerp... %-6
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