Monday, June 3, 2013

Pair of divisional RBs could land on Top 100 list


A total of 12 running backs were selected to's Top 100 Players of 2013 list; half of those backs have yet to be revealed. (photo: Matt Britt, Flickr)

With the top 40 players still to be announced, two AFC East ball carriers who made a big impact last season still have a chance to be recognized: Buffalo's C.J. Spiller and New England's Stevan Ridley.

Spiller, who put up more than 1,200 yards last season at an average of six per carry, was the lifeblood of the Bills' offense last season despite his lack of touches. His ability to elude would-be tacklers and bounce outside at any given moment put him second among all backs in carries of 20 yards or more.

The 25-year-old was on NFL Total Access this week and talked about what it would mean for him to make the exclusive list and his goals for the upcoming season.

"If I'm not on the list, it just adds another road block to the fire," Spiller said. "This list here is what the players vote on, so any time you get on this list it speaks volumes of your peers, what they think of you as a player. But if I don't get on it, I'll just put another road block in the fire and keep it moving. I won't have any hard feelings against anybody, I'll just go out there and try to prove everybody wrong again.

"That list, I'd be great to make. But if it doesn't happen, so be it. The main focus for me is trying to end this 13-year drought of making the playoffs."

Ridley already has his fair share of playoff memories, though not all of them are ones he'd like to remember. The 24-year-old has played in three playoff games in his two years in the league, but he left his last one with a concussion after a brutal hit by then-Ravens safety Bernard Pollard.

Despite the disappointing finish, Ridley had one of the best years of any running back in Patriots history. Tallying more than 1,200 yards himself, including 12 touchdowns, Ridley was a force between the tackles for New England. Though he ran mostly under the radar throughout the season, Ridley is currently working to not only improve on last year's performance, but to prove that he's the team's outright No. 1 back.

"During the season, we’re focused more on our opponents, and game film and putting in more time in the film room," Ridley said via Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. "But now, there’s not as much of that, so you invest your time in other areas. For me, that’s the weight room, running and conditioning. It’s just trying to get in the best shape and put myself in the best position to come out and have a great year."

Philadelphia Eagles back LeSean McCoy is currently the highest ranked ball carrier on the list at No. 45. The other five running backs currently on the list are Tampa Bay's Doug Martin (57), Tennessee's Chris Johnson (62), Washington's Alfred Morris (64), Cleveland's Trent Richardson (71) and Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew (98).

According to the league's website, Spiller was No. 80 overall in the fan voting; Ridley was snubbed. The next 10 players on the list will be revealed at 8 p.m. June 6 on NFL Network.

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