Yesterday, the Buffalo Bills signed a second running back in less than week, agreeing to terms with second-year pro Rodney Ferguson. That signing, coupled with last week's signing of street free agent Walter Mendenhall, boosts the Bills' running back depth to four bodies, with the other two, of course, being Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch.
Add in the fact that head coach Chan Gailey would like the team to add a "water bug" scat-back type to the roster, and two questions emerge: what exactly is going on at running back, and why are the Bills signing backs that are the opposite of "water bugs"?
The answer is simple: Lynch is reportedly on the trade block, and word is that he's fallen out of favor not only with Gailey and GM Buddy Nix, but also with team owner Ralph Wilson. If Lynch is traded, he's expected to be traded over draft weekend, if not sooner. In preparation for that possibility, it's clear that the Bills were looking to add bigger bodies behind Jackson to help take some of the wear and tear away from their starter and whichever water bug back they acquire. As BuffaloBills.com's Chris Brown astutely points out, both Mendenhall (223 pounds) and Ferguson (234) are big-bodied backs that excel between the tackles and are physically capable of taking a pounding.
Jackson (215 pounds) is a bigger back himself, but is more of a slasher than a bruiser. He'll need depth behind him if he's to survive a full season as the Bills' lead back.
Running back was not a position many expected to get a makeover upon Gailey's arrival in Buffalo, but the re-model has already begun - and now it's a wild card position that could really shake up the way the team goes about acquiring rookies next Thursday.