Is committee approach the answer?

Updated: August 14, 2004, 3:01 PM ET
By Steve Muench | Scouts, Inc.
Last season, seven of the NFL's top 15 rushing teams accomplished that success on the ground without having a running back finish among the league's top 15 individual rushers. While every team would love to have a franchise-type back who can carry the bulk of the load, there just aren't enough of those to go around.

LaDainian Tomlinson
Tomlinson
Teams without a back the caliber of LaDainian Tomlinson and Deuce McAllister must make the most of what they have. Last year's Raiders, for example, used Charlie Garner more as a reciever -- he finished third on the team in receptions -- and Tyrone Wheatley more as a runner.

On occasion, a team finds itself in the position of having a backup talented enough to truly split time with the starter, rather than using situational substitutions. Buffalo, with incumbent Travis Henry and second-year man Willis McGahee, could be one of those teams this year.

While utilizing the strengths of all the backs on the roster makes sense on paper and can produce good statistics, it doesn't always translate on the scoreboard. Of those seven teams that finished in the top half of the league in rushing yards without a top-15 individual rusher last year, only Philadelphia and Dallas made the playoffs. Moreover, eight of last year's 12 playoff teams featured a 1,000-yard running back.

Here are eight teams that are expected to rely on more than one back this season:

Steve Muench played four years of Division I-AA football before joining Scouts Inc. in 2002. He has evaluated both NFL and college players for Scouts Inc., but his current focus is on the NFL draft.

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