Welcome everyone to the fourth regular season installment to the Rookie Report. In case you missed the report during the first few weeks and preseason, each week, the report will cover topics, trends and a game by game analysis of notable performances by the NFL’s 2007 Rookie Class to assist in your pursuit of dynasty championship gold.
This week we will analyze the potential impact of running back
Brian Leonard from the St. Louis Rams with starter
Steven Jackson sidelined at least 2-3 weeks and possibly longer.
So sit back, but don’t get too comfortable because here we go with our fourth regular season week’s installment of this report on Brian Leonard…
The Ram’s Great White Hope…
Coming at of Rutgers University, many scouts at the NFL draft wondered how
Brian Leonard’s skills and size would translate position wise to the NFL. Leonard’s size and strength translate well to the fullback position, while his speed, agility, and receiving skills make him more than suitable for the fullback position. Leonard finished his productive four year college career with 2,775 rushing yards, 207 receptions for 1,864 yards, and 45 touchdowns as a hybrid fullback/tailback.
With Rams’ starting running back Steven Jackson’s 40% torn groin injury that will sideline him for at least 2-3 weeks and possibly longer, Brian Leonard enters the starting line up and is expected to get the “starter’s carries” that should amount to 20-25 per week. Backup Travis Minor and Antonio Pittman could also factor into a few carries; however, neither backup should receive significant touches unless Leonard struggles.
In four preseason games, Leonard caught 10 passes for 63 yards; rushed 39 times for 125 yards and scored a touchdown. In the preseason, Leonard was used effectively as a receiver out of the backfield. This is one of Leonard’s strengths as evidenced by his high receiving totals in college, and it is expected that Leonard will utilized by the Rams coaching staff in a similar way as the starter.
In the first three games of the regular season, the Rams’ coaching staff has slowly worked Leonard into games. Brian Leonard totaled 4 rushes for 21 yards and 6 receptions for 41 yards through the early part of the season. Hardly anything to write home about.
Based on Leonard’s college history and preseason action, the Rams’ coaching staff is going to utilize Leonard by moving him outside in short passing routes/screen plays to take advantage of his speed and great hands. Leonard should also excel in the rushing game as his size and strength give him the power to be an effective between the tackles runner, but his speed gives him the ability to get around the edge as well.
Leonard had a rough time this week against the Cowboys tough run defense only having 58 rushing yards on 16 carries. The Rams offensive line continues to struggle after all of the injuries they endured over the past few weeks.
With the Rams season hanging by a thread and their star running back out indefinitely, their Great White Hope Leonard is their only chance to come in and get their offense on track. My prediction is that Brian Leonard will rise to the challenge and make many Rams fans as well as many fantasy owners very satisfied until Steven Jackson returns…
The following section of the rookie report will recap performances by rookies each week for each game.
Texans vs. Atlanta Falcons
Falcons WR Laurent Robinson caught 4 passes for 31 receiving yards and rushed 1 time for 8 yards.
Cowboys vs. St. Louis Rams
Rams RB Brian Leonard had a tough time finding running lanes against Dallas’ defense rushing for 58 yards on 16 carries and caught 1 pass for 1 yard.
Cowboys PK Nick Folk went 5 for 5 on extra points.
NY Jets vs. Buffalo Bills
Bills RB Marshawn Lynch rushed 23 times for 79 yards and a touchdown.
Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns
WR/KR Yamon Figurs had 5 returns for 102 yards.
Bears vs. Detroit Lions
Bears RB Garrett Wolfe rushed 3 times for 3 yards.
Dolphins vs. Oakland Raiders
Raiders WR Johnnie Lee Higgins returned 2 punts for 9 yards.
Dolphins WR Ted Ginn, Jr. had 3 returns for a total of 58 yards.
Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson rushed 12 times for 112 yards despite only getting 2 second half carries. He also caught a pass for 6 yards. WR Sidney Rice caught 6 passes for 75 yards and a touchdown.
Packers WR James Jones caught 4 passes for 49 yards and a touchdown. PK Mason Crosby went 3 for 3 on field goal attempts and 2 for 2 on extra points. RB DeShawn Wynn rushed 10 times for 20 yards and caught 2 passes for 20 yards.
49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks
There were no notable rookie performances in this game.
Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers
Panthers WR Dewayne Jarrett caught 1 pass for 6 yards.
Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe caught 8 passes for 164 yards and a touchdown in an impressive win over the San Diego Chargers. His touchdown pass was on a 51 yard pass.
Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals
WR/KR Steve Breaston returned a punt 73 yards for the go ahead touchdown as the Cardinals surprised the Steelers at home.
Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts
Broncos RB Selvin Young rushed 8 times for 81 yards and caught 2 passes for 19 yards. Young is someone to watch in the coming week as starter Travis Henry suffered an injury causing him to miss a large part of the fourth quarter.
Colts WR Anthony Gonzalez caught 1 pass for 19 yards.
Eagles vs. New York Giants
Eagles TE Brent Celek caught 3 passes for 31 yards. RB Tony Hunt rushed 2 times for 7 yards.
Giants TE Michael Matthews caught 1 pass for 5 yards.
Due to the timing of this report, a recap of Monday night games will not be included in the Rookie Report.