Superstar running backs can’t stay healthy in 2023.
We may only be through 2 weeks of the NFL season, but already, several superstar running backs have gotten hurt this year. Nick Chubb is out for the year with a leg injury he suffered last night, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. Several big name RBs have gotten hurt early in the year. Saquon Barkley, Austin Ekeler, and Aaron Jones have either all missed a game or likely will. Barkley hurt his ankle in Big Blue’s big comeback in Arizona. Although head coach Brian Daboll has played it close to the chest, it doesn’t seem like Barkley will be able to go, and given the expected lopsided nature of the game, it makes sense to give Barkley time to rest.
What does all of this mean? We all know that running backs typically have very short careers, and it’s not surprising that many of the running back injuries so far have been to guys who also catch the ball out of the backfield. The more you touch the ball, the more likely you are to get hurt. In addition, when you consider that many of the top teams don’t have a top tier running back, with the 49ers being a prime exception, it’s hard to argue that they are needed to win. The two best teams last year, the Eagles and Chiefs, didn’t have elite running backs. In fact, the Chiefs selected Isiah Pacheco with the 251st overall pick!
The running back position feels like it has never been more devalued. The league has become more passing-centric, and has gone this way for several years, thanks to rule changes that favor quarterbacks and wide receivers. Hopefully, these running backs come back from their injuries and get back to dominating like we all expect them to. It’s a long season, which will help. Surely, at least one of these studs will come back and help lead their team to the playoffs.