San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said he believes in using multiple running backs that can do different things on offense. "I'm a big believer -- we are big believers -- in a three-headed approach," Baalke said. "In other words, having a group of backs that bring to the table something a little bit different than the other one so you can do a lot of different things. But also having those backs be able to do enough things the same so you don't become so predictable on game day." RBs Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James likely will see playing time this season.
Huddle Up:Baalke's comments are the sharp pin deflating Gore's fantasy value; plan accordingly.
Chicago Bears quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh said he has been very impressed with QB Jay Cutler this offseason. "Very impressed with Jay," Cavanaugh said. 'Very impressed. He's borderline football brilliant. I think he gets it. I think he knows the game. I think he knows offensive schemes. I think he knows defenses." Cavanaugh said the coaches are open to listening to Cutler's ideas about the offense and that Cutler will have a say in the offense.
Huddle Up:Part of the reason Marc Trestman was brought in was to get the most out of Cutler, and Cavanaugh's addition to the staff furthers that agenda. If the coaching staff is taking suggestions from Cutler, that will go a long way towards keeping the famously dour Cutler happy. And a happy Cutler tends to be a productive Cutler.
Indianapolis Colts RB Vick Ballard is expected to enter training camp as the team's No. 1 running back, but that doesn't mean RB Donald Brown will not also see playing time. Head coach Chuck Pagano sees Ballard as a player who gets stronger as the game wears on, while Brown is considered more of a home run hitter for the offense. "Can Vick be an every-down guy? Yeah. Can Donnie be an every-down guy? Yeah. They are different types of runners and are more than capable on third down, knowing the protections and picking up blitzers and being effective once they get out to catch the football and doing those things out of the backfield," Pagano said. "Vick is a solid, solid guy; Donnie is a home run hitter," Pagano said. "If he gets the edge and hits a crease, he can take it the distance."
Huddle Up:Translating the coach-speak, Ballard will be the every-down back and Brown will be the change-of-pace guy. Brown has flashed some ability in that role, and limiting his touches should help him stay on the field for a full season. Ballard has yet to prove he can deliver a full season of feature-back duties, but right now he's in line for that opportunity and should be ranked as such on fantasy draft boards.