November 2, 2007

OF ALL THE PLAYERS ON THE FIELD ON SUNDAY...:

Running debate: Maroney, Addai? (Christopher L. Gasper, November 2, 2007, Boston Globe)

With the Patriots and Colts renewing their rivalry Sunday at the RCA Dome, it's another chance to revisit the Maroney-Addai debate. The two are running on similar platforms, but while Maroney was the front-runner coming out of the University of Minnesota, Addai, who played at Louisiana State, has surged ahead after a season and a half in the NFL.

Addai, who led all rookies in rushing last year with 1,081 yards, is third in the NFL in yards per game (98.7) this season, with 592 yards on 123 carries, a 4.8-yard average. His seven rushing touchdowns lead the league, and he has eight scores overall. He is the primary ballcarrier for the Colts, who have the fifth-ranked run offense in the league at 140.3 yards per game.

Coming off a promising rookie season, Maroney also is averaging a robust 4.8 yards per carry - 74 rushes for 358 yards. But he has yet find the end zone, and has had to endure both nagging injuries and nagging questions about his durability and running style. A groin injury sidelined him for three games, and he has carried the ball 20 times just once this season, logging 20 rushes for 72 yards in the season opener against the New York Jets.

Coming out of college, Addai was the one with durability concerns, an ankle injury that hampered him during his senior year and concerns about a torn ACL he suffered in high school. However, he has played in 26 of 27 games, including the playoffs, since turning pro, and this season has had 20 or more carries in four of the six games he's played. He had 19 carries for 136 yards against Denver Sept. 30 before being forced to leave the game with a bruised shoulder.

Maroney said he feels he can carry the load like Addai and be an every-down back.

"Right now, I'm just playing my role and that's whatever role they have for me," said Maroney. "If they need me to carry a load this game, then I can do that. If they need me to have a lesser role, then I'm going to do that. I'm just a team player. I'm going to be prepared and ready for whatever they deal my way."

The two are friendly rivals. They text and talk on the phone. Maroney said he'll call Addai after a game to offer his encouragement. This week he called him for help.

"I just talked to him the other day because I needed some tickets," Maroney said. "He ain't call me back yet."


...you'd think the ones for whom a big performance would be most decisive have to be Joseph Addai and Lawrence Maroney, although a plausible argument can be made for Bob Sanders.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 2, 2007 7:13 AM
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