View Full Version : Centers and Gilbride: A poor match?
07-25-2002, 11:11 AM
Kevin Gilbride, to my knowledge, has had only one back that's caught more than 40 passes in a single season (Lorenzo White, 57). Moreover, in most seasons a Gilbride-led offense generally has a couple of RBs with around 20 catches (sometimes less).
If that's the case with the upcoming season, is there any point in retaining a roster spot for a guy that won't be returning next season anyway?
07-25-2002, 11:27 AM
A poor match? I didn't know that there were even seeing each other!
07-25-2002, 11:38 AM
Did a little more digging...here's some numbers to chew on...
For all the teams Gilbride has had a hand in running, only one team threw to the backs 70 times. In most cases, Gilbride has thrown less than 55 times to backs, and spread it around. Here are the years, teams, total receptions and RB pass catchers...
1990: Houston 55 for 499 (L. White, 39)
1991: Houston 58 for 440 (A. Pinkett, 29)
1992: Houston 58 for 646 (L.White, 58)
1993: Houston 57 for 487 (L. White, 34)
1994: Houston 42 for 398 (L. White, 21)
1995: Jax 44 for 410 (J. Stewart, 21)
1996: Jax 44 for 281 (J. Stewart, 30)
1997: SD 70 for 476 (T. Fletcher, 39)
1998: SD 52 for 318 (T. Fletcher, 30)
1999: Pitt 62 for 486 (R. Huntley, 27)
2000: Pitt 45 for 381 (J. Bettis, 14).
07-25-2002, 11:57 AM
The thing about Gilbride is he alters the offensive scheme around the players he has so he will work Centers in the game plan accordingly.
07-25-2002, 12:05 PM
30 catches is not insignificant, especially if 20 of them come on 3rd down. I think larry knows his role will be decreased. I don't see him as a selfish guy who's gonna complain about getting the ball less. He wants to win. He's a leader and a veteran, and I am happy to have him on this team.
07-25-2002, 12:10 PM
I think he will utilize Center's skills IMO. I just have a hard time understanding why he is still on our roster because Morris and Huntly can give us decent hands out of the backfield and we have 2 FBs that can both block better than LC. Sure he is the best combo, but I figure we will be playing 2 TE sets a lot, so we will rarely use a FB anyways.
Interesting points there ask!!!
One other thing to note is that in most of those cases you cited, the leading receiving RB was the F/T starter too. Centers very clearly does not even have a shot at being that F/T starting RB.
I've been wondering all offseason what KG's plans for Centers will be. If Henry turns into a decent receiver too, surely any utility for Centers will have been significantly mitigated, eh!
In only 13 games played last year, Henry, who was not supposed to be a solid receiving RB, caught 22 passes and that was w/ Centers being the 3rd down back in a "WCO", or at least presumably. LOL
I didn't see much evidence that Henry wasn't a good receiver. To the contrary actually. I thought he was fine. Anyone have any stats on how many drops Henry had?
Bryson, Alexander, particularly Alexander, can also catch. How badly do we need a 3rd-down back in such a system who poses no threat to run the ball w/ any effect?
I'm not saying he can't be utilized, but he's clearly a bit more expendable now than last season.
07-25-2002, 12:27 PM
But then what's the harm in having many different ways we can be a threat... keep other teams D's guessing on what we're going to do...
I really don't see Huntley around unless he impressed the daylights out of the coaches. If he's here, then either Centers and/or Morris will be gone. Huntley's done nothing in the 5 season's the I've seen him play to tell me he's got anything that 100 other RBs in this league don't have.
Henry, Bryson (barring trade), Alexander (won't go on PS b/c some other team would pick him up), and we'll probably carry 5. That leaves Morris, Centers, who I think will still be here, and Huntley a couple of other guys who don't have a chance. I'd still take Morris over Huntley.
Good question. There's no harm, but if we can have the exact same threat w/ a RB who can also run the ball, and especially if it's our primary rusher, then why put in an RB who doesn't have nearly the same array of skills in substitute for that?
With Centers in there, even on 3rd down, you lose a dimension. Unless of course DB's gonna run the ball...
07-25-2002, 12:36 PM
I just don't think any of our RB's can come close to matching Center's pass catching ability. He's not terribly expensive and he's an important veteran leader. I think it would be a wise idea to keep him as long as possible even if his role is diminished to use in just some special situations.
07-25-2002, 12:37 PM
We should bring in RJ as a special guest to teach DB how to run :D
07-25-2002, 12:38 PM
HAHA... so it's morning to you too :D I only got up about an hour ago... Good morning wys
The question on the RB thing though is the diminished ability of a RB to catch a ball worth the total acquiesence of not having a running threat on the same play?
I don't think it is unless one RB is so incredibly superior to catching the ball than the other who can also run well. How large that discrepancy is remains to be seen/tested. But last year it was rumored that Henry couldn't catch coming out of college. That, at least as I saw it, wasn't true. I thought he caught just fine when called upon to do so.
Essentially it boils down to this:
Option A on 3rd down:
An RB who is an excellent rusher who can catch (we'll say) very well for an RB.... On such plays, the D must be careful or the O will capitalize on an audible if there looks like huge holes are possible if the D "stacks the pass."
An RB who's made a career out of catching the ball, often not only on third downs, but when he lines up, it's an obvious passing play and thus allows the D to set up as such knowing that any run likely won't result in more than 2 or 3 yards even if the D is in a pass spread?
Again, it depends highly on the discrepancy between the propensities of the 2 RBs to catch. The knock on Henry's receiving ability, IMO as seen last year, is not valid. Since he didn't even play in obvious passing situations, the 22 catches that he had could easily have been 50+ had he been in on all the 3rd-downs.
07-25-2002, 02:31 PM
I'll challenge that misconception about Larry Centers.
Even without Larry's yet-to-be-signed contract extension, Centers' contract still carries a burden of at least $450000. As a strictly dollars and cents thing, Jimmy Robinson, Curtis Alexander and Grant Irons cost half that much. We could carry two emerging undrafted, promising players that would be here next year (which of course, Larry won't be) for the cost of Larry Centers.
But its much much more than that. The "cost" of Larry Centers resides in lost opportunity. Only five "skill" players other than the QB can be on the field at any given time; nearly all the other players will deliver improved productivity each time they touch the ball.
All the WR get 12-17 ypc. The TEs should get at least 10-12 ypc. Centers gets less than 8. Should we tailor a system to take advantage of the least productive member of the pass-catching unit?
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