Meet Pat. Pat’s first offensive coordinator gig came back in 2009. That year Pat aka Pat Shurmur gave a little-known back named Steven Jackson back-to-back seasons of 300 plus carries (324 and 330 carries to be exact).

Shurmur turned this RBBC commitment into a head coaching job. His first season as a Head Coach Pat gave former madden cover great Peyton Hillis 16.1 carriers per game. Realizing Hillis has allowed his madden cover experience to go to his head, the Browns decided to draft dynamo Trent Richardson 3rd overall. In Trent’s first season Shurmur gave him a very modest 17.8 carriers per game.

Unfortunately, drafting Richardson didn’t lead to a 3rd season (go figure), but Shurmur landed on his feet alongside a college football offensive innovator named Chip Kelly. In the first two seasons as Kelly’s offensive coordinator, Shurmur gave a slippery running back named LeSean McCoy 314 and 313 carries per year. However, due to some unforeseen differences McCoy left and they replaced him with former workhorse DeMarco Murray. Surprisingly Murray who rose to fame in a traditional under center offense was a terrible fit for Mr. Kelly’s shotgun heavy run scheme. Murray did start the year averaging 15.5 carriers per game through week 11. However, Murray was benched for another former star named Ryan Mathews. Murray didn’t start another game that year, and we could exclude those games in the article. BUT for the purpose of the story and the integrity of the journey we are on, Murray did lead the team in carries that year so he finished with just 12.9 carries per game.

Even after a rough finish to his hip college style tender with the Eagles, Shurmur didn’t let that get him down finding a job with the Vikings. In 2016 Shurmur would inherit an offense mid-season that lost all-pro running back Adrian Peterson after week 2 (Peterson did return for a ½ a game but finished the year on injured reserve). That season a young back by the name of Jerick Mckinnon ended up leading the team in carries, and in the 12 games without Peterson averaged a not to shabby 12.8 carries per game.

The next season Shurmur was ready to prove that his mid-season promotion was no fluke and was going to do it on the back of his new Rookie RB Dalvin Cook. That season started off hot with Cook receiving 18.5 carries per game until an injury cut his year short. The good news is Shurmur had a backup plan, and it came from the black hole. That’s right you guessed it Latavius Murray from Oakland. The final 12 games after Cook’s injury Murray was saddled with 16.8 carries per game.

This heroic effort from Shurmur allowed him another shot at a head coaching gig. That year the Giants drafted a once in a generation tailback named Saquon Barkley. Shurmur knew this could be his last chance at keeping a head coaching job so he sent the rookie off to a massive workload giving him 16.3 carries per game in year 1 and followed it with another 16.7 carries per game in year 2. However, it wasn’t enough as the Judge (Joe Judge pun) found him guilty and sentenced him to coordinator duties after only two seasons.

This bring us to today as Shurmur is now the offensive coordinator for the up-and-coming Broncos. In his first season as offensive coordinator he gave lead back Melvin Gordon 14.3 carries per game. Yes, that number drops to 12.3 in the games with Phillip Lindsay, but Lindsay earned his touches as the incumbent starter coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. I mean what were they supposed to do tell Lindsay to take a hike…oh wait they did that this offseason. Plus Gordon outplayed Lindsay in the 9 games they played together (we excluded week 12 when every QB in Denver was out with COVID) out rushing him 580 to 381 and out scoring him 6 to 1. In those 9 contests Gordon averaged 12.7 PPG which was still a top 24 back on a PPG basis in 2020. Now yes, they did use a 2nd round pick on Javonte Williams, but Gordon’s contract is up after this season so why not draft his future replacement…. right?  

By now you should know this wasn’t a short story about a guy named Pat and his love of RBBCs. On the contrary the only time prior to 2020 that Shurmur’s lead ball carrier fell below 15 carries per game was when Peterson got hurt in 2016 and the disaster that was the Eagles backfield in 2015. Oh and Broncos Head Coach Vic Fangio was on coaching staffs that gave Jordan Howard 252, 276 and 250 carriers in the prior three years before he got his gig in Denver.

In short this is a “why you should draft Melvin Gordon in 2021 at the 5/6 turn as the RB27 pick” article and a “Javonte Williams should be a dynasty stud” article all wrapped up in one. The next time someone says “Denver wants to have a RBBC” you can say definitely maybe, but just in case Denver doesn’t here are 12 years and 14 backs worth of usage data.

Year Player
Attempts per Game
2009 Steven Jackson 21.6
2010 Steven Jackson 20.6
2011 Peyton Hillis 16.1
2-12 Trent Richardson 17.8
2013 LeSean McCoy 19.6
2014 LeSean McCoy 19.5
2015 DeMarco Murray 12.9
2016 Adrian Peterson (2 Games) 15.5
2016 Jerick Mckinnon (12 games w/o Adrian Peterson) 12.8
2017 Dalvin Cook (4 games) 18.5
2017 Latavius Murray (12 game w/o Dalvin Cook 16.8
2018 Saquon Barkley 16.3
2019 Saquon Barkley 16.7
2020 Melvin Gordon 14.3
  Average 17.1

  1. Jolt In Flow says:
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    Great article! I wish you had posted this earlier. Love the potential future workload of Williams.

    Looking forward to more insightful articles like this.

    Thanks for the write-up,

    Jolt

    • Bobby LaMarco

      Bobby LaMarco says:
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      Appreciate your feedback. In any dynast/keeper format I believe Williams could be undervalued because of Gordon’s year 1 involvement. However, Gordon is going behind Williams in re-draft ADP which is insane.

      • Jolt In Flow says:
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        Much appreciated Bobby,

        Jolt

  2. Bobby LaMarco

    Bobby LaMarco says:
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    dynasty*

  3. Mike says:
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    Nice work! Have a dynasty trade question for ya .

    I have the 4th overall pick in my rookie draft. The 3 teams in front of me all desperately need QBs so I’m almost certain I will pick Najee Harris at #4 overall.

    I was offered DK Metcalf for my 4th overall pick and Corey Davis. Do I make this deal? I know WR is my team weakness so it makes sense but I really do love Najee also and wouldnt mind having 4 possible RB1s to start weekly. The possibility of Russell Wilson leaving scares me alot too.

    My League Settings:

    2QB 1PPR dynasty… NOT a superflex league.
    6pts all TDs except passing TDs are 4pts

    Lineups started are:

    2QB, 3WR, 2RB, 1 TE, 2Flex

    My roster

    Mahomes, Lamar Jackson

    Saquon, Cam Akers, Antonio Gibson

    Corey Davis, Laviska Shenault, Jarvis Landry, Jalen Reagor, Darnell Mooney, Preston Williams, Bryan Edwards, Slayton, Hamler

    Gesicki, Goedart

    Would you make the trade?

    • Jolt In Flow says:
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      Just for peanut gallery sake, why is Chase not an option at 4? You’d get an elite receiver who’s years younger than DK and not have to give up anything, and still keep Davis. Najee’s awesome, but he’s already 23 without playing a snap in the NFL.

      Chase turned 21 this year, Pitts (another option; set and forget at tight end for 10-12 years) is turning 21, Akers is turning 22 this year, Gibson is turning 23, and Barkley is 24 this year. Your RB stable is solid. However, DK turning 24 this year, which isn’t bad at all.

      IMO, look for a young elite TE or WR in Pitts or Chase in my opinion.

      I don’t mean to take away what Bobby writes, I just enjoy reading all comments on my questions, so I thought I’d provide another perspective. Also, just a quick note that I have zero experience in 2 QB leagues, so I might be missing the subtleties of that type of league.

      Jolt

      • Mike says:
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        No worries thanks for the reply! I welcome all opinions on this one. In general I usually take RBs over WRs in rookie drafts which is probably why my team is lopsided at WR and RB. I do like Chase lots but he hasn’t done it at NFL level yet.
        My reasoning for DK over Chase would only be because DK is proven.

        I LOVE Pitts but in a 1 TE league he loses a bit of value in my opinion. Not sure i want to take a TE that high at 4.

    • Bobby LaMarco

      Bobby LaMarco says:
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      Based on your league starting lineup this comes down to which duo you like better

      Corey Davis & Najee Harris or
      D.K. Metcalf & Jalen Reagor (or whoever is your favorite other WR)

      The reason why I say that is you can start 4 RBs in this league with two flex spots so Harris would be a starter for you.

      Plus Age isn’t a big factor in this decision as Davis is only 26 vs. Metcalf 23, and could be stepping into his biggest role the year after his most productive season.

      Right now your lineup after the Harris pick would be:

      RB 1: Barkley
      RB2: Akers
      WR 1: Davis
      WR2: Shenault
      WR3: Landry
      Flex: Gibson
      Flex: Harris

      Vs. if you trade for Metcalf

      RB 1: Barkley
      RB2: Akers
      WR 1: Metcalf
      WR2: Shenault
      WR3: Landry
      Flex: Gibson
      Flex: Reagor

      When you breakdown the trade that way I don’t see your team getting that much better.

      Last year averages in PPR PPG

      Metcalf 17.1
      Davis: 13.8
      Reagor: in the 3 games with Hurts 7.8
      Harris: I believe Harris in year 1 is an RB15-20 in PPR which was roughly 15.1 PPG last year

      Based on those averages

      Metcalf/Reagor: 24.9
      Davis/Harris: 28.9

      Yes, Reagor could improve, but Davis could see a bump himself as he saw just 6.5 tgts per game.

      How badly does this other team need an RB?

      My suggestion would be to see if he would do 1.04 for just Metcalf and if he balks (which he should) then ask him if he likes any of your “other WRs” i.e. Jalen Reagor, Darnell Mooney, Preston Williams, Bryan Edwards, Slayton, Hamler.

      This way your team gets the known committee of D.k without sacrificing another starting roster spot.

      • Jolt In Flow says:
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        This is why Bobby does this and I do what I do. I love the DK for 1.04 offer, then go from there.

        And the logic behind it is spot on.

        Jolt

        • Mike says:
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          Thanks anyways Jolt much appreciated!

      • Mike says:
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        Thank you so much for this detailed explanation makes perfect sense.

        If i can get DK for the 4th overall rookie pick straight up…. I have to take that i think

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