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Who will be the Buffalo Bills’ lead rusher in 2019?

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Which running back will lead the Buffalo Bills in 2019?

The 2019 version of the Buffalo Bills will look a lot different than the team that took the field in 2018. Some position groups were radically changed in an attempt at improvement—running backs being a prime example. With all the changes, it’s fair to wonder who will emerge as the leading rusher for the Bills.


Unlikely

  • Patrick DiMarco
  • Senorise Perry
  • Marcus Murphy

We may as well include Patrick DiMarco in the running back room otherwise he become a position group of one. Buffalo trusted him to carry the ball only one time last year and it was after literally every other running back on the team was hurt. Personal bias in favor of DiMarco aside, it ain’t happening. Senorise Perry has yet to carve out significant playing time outside of special teams and has been in the league since 2014. Marcus Murphy was definitively “Plan C” at best for the Bills in 2018 behind LeSean McCoy and Chris Ivory and that might be a best case for him this season.

It could happen

  • T.J. Yeldon
  • Devin Singletary

By process of elimination you may already know who goes in the next section. Both T.J. Yeldon and Devin Singletary should be considered to be behind Frank Gore and LeSean McCoy on the depth chart until it’s definitively otherwise. Both Yeldon and Singletary have good arguments to be in the plans for the future, but this year they’re not likely to surpass the veteran duo. Circumstances could fall to their favor easily enough, however. Whether it’s injury or talent falling off the age cliff after all, whoever stands out to the coaching staff between Singletary and Yeldon will be the next man up. These scenarios are far from implausible.

Prime candidates

  • LeSean McCoy
  • Frank Gore

Both LeSean McCoy and Frank Gore have some gas left in the tank. Behind what should be an improved line the elder statesmen of the group still make a case for the two best backs on the team. Both are essentially playing for their next contract and are fiercely competitive. It’s possible (perhaps likely) that neither are in Buffalo next year. As a result, Sean McDermott and Brian Daboll may not be quite as cautious in limiting carries to prolong careers.

Best Guess

The best guess still seems to be LeSean McCoy. On a team that places locker-room leadership and effort in the highest regard it’s notable that McCoy is considered a team leader. That often translates to opportunity on the field. As mentioned, there’s no reason not to push McCoy to his limit as there’s not much long game left to worry about for the running back.

Human nature is always a consideration as well. McCoy’s high price tag will discourage possible trade partners. While a cut would save money, the potential damage to the locker room could pose a problem. These factors push McCoy toward an active role with the team where the high price tag pressures the team to get the best return on their investment.

This prediction must include a bit of a bounce back for McCoy as well. Despite plenty of blame placed on the offensive line, McCoy shouldn’t be held entirely blameless for his disappointing 2018. It’s also a gamble, as a rolled ankle for McCoy could be a death knell rather than a speed bump.