by Steve Stegeman
November 13, 2002
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     Yea, what's new?  Steggie here is pissed off again.  I am sittin' here at this very moment at Punggi Station on that train line in the ROK, a Republican at heart, listening to The Eminem Show, specifically the song "Superman".  Talk about angry!  Talk about "all over the place!"  And, what's on my mind; what's got my briefs all up in a bunch here, where football could not be farther from 99.999...% of people's minds, including the few American males 'round these parts?  The public perceptions of two backup running backs (tailbacks, that is :rolleyes:) in New York.

     Those perceptions are perpetuated by (certain) writers who are so proud of themselves for having created the nickname Ron "Done" and do not want to let it go, at least not until they have ridden it... him until the bitter end.  Not that Dayne has really had the opportunity to change many minds...  But, I digress.  I can see when the direction of things changes and can admit to an (originally) incorrect projection.  Michael Pittman... it seems like I was wrong about him in my preseason article.  I do not feel too bad, though.  It looks like he even fooled a savvy NFL head coach too in Jon Gruden.

     Back to the topic at hand... an injury to Tiki Barber and it will be the birth of a bright career, that of Ron "Great" Dayne, whose knees and size will take their toll in the fourth quarter of games even though greater visionaries such as Mr. Tubman and his "Bench the Stud" pieces (of ...) over there at Fanball can't see it.  All the while, though, LaMont Jordan, whose future also looks bright, is looked upon as gravy.  Actually, the timing of this piece could not be much more perfect as "Flash" Jordan's 61-yard touchdown dash, en route to a 107-yard day against San Diego in San Diego Week Nine, while C. Mart had yet another lackluster performance... during the "consequential" part of the game though, is still fresh in people's minds.  Salivate all you want!  It was in the trashiest of garbage times.  Without that run, he "piled up" a pedestrian 46 yards on 12 carries, again, mostly during that garbage time.  Meanwhile, back in New York that same week, receiving a number of carries, moreover consecutive carries, on the border of being sufficient to get a big back rolling, Mr. "Done", with his "oxen-plowin'" style, quietly had a solid 52 yards on 13 rushes, a solid 4.0 average.  Of course, this was in the shadow of "the Barber's" sweet cuts and big game.  But, Week Nine's allusion... illusion aside, what do the numbers really say and how do the facts really bare out?  Let's take a look-see:

     Ron Dayne          LaMont Jordan
       6 - 10 - 0                  7 - 32 - 0
     11 - 18 - 0                   1 - 3 - 0
     11 - 48 - 0                  4 - 11- 0
        3 - 2 - 0                 12 - 34 - 0
       5 - 13 - 0                   1 - 1 - 0
       9 - 43 - 0                  7 - 14 - 0
       4 - 11 - 0
     13 - 52 - 0               13 - 107 - 1
       6 - 40 - 1                 6 - 20 - 0
     68 - 237 - 1             51 - 222 - 1

Quite similar, huh?  The interesting thing regarding Dayne is in games where he received a "significant" amount of carries, let's say the games in which he received nine or more, he had good numbers with the exception of one game.  On the flip side, he had putrid numbers in games in which he got less than nine carries, again, with just one exception.

     Yet, the public perception of these two players is so vastly different.  Look, I am not here to rip Jordan.  The guy is the real deal, versatile and shifty, but everybody seems to be convinced of this already.  I am just getting the back of the back in the Big Apple that has gotten a bum rap (there's that Eminem taking effect).  Dayne, a Heisman Trophy winner, #1 in rushing yardage in NCAA history, is seen as overweight, slow, without good field vision and, ultimately, without much promise while Jordan is viewed as a stud in the making.  Listen, I read Peter King's pre-draft analysis of Dayne back in 2000 and I have seen him play.  The guy is no Flash Gordon, but he is not a washed up Fat Albert either.  The guy is a "plow-ahead" type runner who needs carries to succeed.  He is not a "change-of-pace" back by any stretch of the imagination.  He is not at his best being used in spot duty.  Whenever the guy gets a "decent" number of carries, he typically goes for 4.0 yards per rush, solid.  If Ron Dayne toted the rock 25 to 30 times a game on a regular basis, he would go for 100+ yards regularly; moreover, he would pour it on in the fourth quarter like other successful "big" backs such as Bettis or George in their primes.  Actually, I would love to see Dayne somehow end up on the Steelers as the Bus appears to be running out of gas and into the wall, on which the writing says, "the End."  Then, we would see the masses jump on the bandwagon, or should I say, "the Great Dayne."  The lifespan of a big back is relatively short, though, so let's get the man his due opportunity here soon, coaches.

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