Last night on the radio, Damon Amendolara (host of 98.5 The Sports Hub's D.A. Show) and I discussed how to get the most out of Laurence Maroney.
And since I blogged yesterday about how he's improved -- in picking his spots with his approach -- D.A. raised the question of whether or not he needs to be a full-time back to be most effective. Most people look at what he did at Minnesota, sharing carries with Marion Barber and Gary Russell, and say the answer has to be "no". But I'd argue that the Gophers ran the ball so much, that there could be more than one guy carrying a full load, and the 22 carries per game that Maroney averaged over his final two years at Minnesota bear that out.
Anyway, D.A. and I agreed to mark a "full load" at 18 carries, and I said I'd look at how much better (or worse) he's been when given that kind of work. Here's what the numbers say ...
10/8/06 (vs. Miami): 18 carries, 38 yards, 0 TDs
11/19/06 (at Green Bay): 19 carries, 82 yards, 0 TDs
1/7/07 (vs. Jets): 18 carries, 69 yards, 0 TD*
9/9/07 (at Jets): 20 carries, 72 yards, 0 TD
9/23/07 (vs. Buffalo): 19 carries, 103 yards, 0 TDs
12/16/07 (vs. Jets): 26 carries, 104 yards, 0 TDs
12/29/07 (at Giants): 19 carries, 46 yards, 0 TDs
1/12/08 (vs. Jaguars): 22 carries, 122 yards, TD*
1/20/08 (vs. Chargers): 25 carries, 122 yards, TD*
11/8/09 (vs. Dolphins): 20 carries, 82 yards, TD
11/22/09 (vs. Jets): 22 carries, 77 yards, 2 TDs
* -- playoffs
Totals: 228 carries, 917 yards (4.02 yards/attempt), 5 TDs
Other games: 368 carries, 1,578 yards (4.29 yards/attempt), 15 TDs
So ... Statistically, there really hasn't been that much of a difference, although it's worth mentioning that his three biggest games in the regular season have come in the 14-16 carry range. For whatever reason, it's seemed to me that he's more effective when he's in there more, but maybe that's just my eyes lying to me.
Either way, with Sammy Morris on the mend, we may not get much more evidence on this. Take it for what it's worth.