Edgerrin James NFL Stats
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Edgerrin James NFL Game Log
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Free Agent Team Injury Report
James totaled 1,426 yards with seven touchdowns
in 2007, but he wasn't all that valuable
in doing so. His 324 carries were just one shy of
leading the NFL, yet his longest run of the season
was 27 yards. He had just four runs of more than
20 yards, as his big-play ability is all but gone.
He's no longer much of a threat as a receiver and
got just 3.8 YPC. Forget the overall stats based
on a bunch of carries, on a week-to-week basis,
James is a below-average option. Additionally,
James' goal-line role is a question mark heading into training camp. If James loses his goal-line role, that would be the dagger in his already sinking value. He'll be 30 when the season starts, is coming off five straight 300-plus carry campaigns and has accrued 2,849 rushing attempts throughout his career. It's only going to get worse.
Leaving the Colts’ high-powered offense and stout offensive line for the desert didn’t exactly go as planned, as James averaged a paltry 2.8 YPC during the first half of last season. Despite 226 carries through 12 weeks, James didn’t record a single 100-yard rushing game, as his offensive line struggled mightily to open up any running lanes. Things began to improve late in the year, when James posted three 100-yard games and three scores over the final five weeks.
With Matt Leinart’s continued maturation and possibly the best wide receiver duo in the league, the Cardinals offense should be better. A new coaching regime can only help, as Ken Whisenhunt will bring the Steelers’ smashmouth culture to Arizona. James underwent minor clean-up surgery during the offseason, draining fluid from his knee. He was already good to go by minicamp, so it’s nothing to worry about. That he even showed up to voluntary minicamp in April shows he’s motivated for a bounce-back year. Whisenhunt’s goal is 325 carries for James, so he’ll be given plenty of opportunities this season.
James put together his second straight impressive campaign in 2005, rushing for more than 1,500 yards once again and scoring 14 touchdowns. He’s not quite as fast as he was pre-knee injury and his cuts aren't quite as sharp, but he still has more than enough ability to do serious damage in the right system. The big question mark with James heading into 2006, of course, is whether he’s still in the right system. From a historical perspective, taking the cash to go play for Arizona is a no-win scenario. The Cardinals have been so bad for so long that their fans still think the Jake Plummer-era was a golden age. Although his two-year record in the desert doesn’t show it, Dennis Green does seem to have the organization pointed in the right direction. The pieces are in place for a great NFL offense, while the defense has been remarkably solid for two straight seasons. More specifically, both Kurt Warner and Matt Leinart are comfortable in offenses that utilize the running back in the passing game, something that plays to James’ strengths, and the twin home run threats of Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald on the outside should leave plenty of space in the secondary.The Cardinals’ offensive line is a different story. Not that the Arizona backfield has been loaded with talent in recent seasons, but the team has not had a 1,000-yard rusher since Adrian Murrell in 1998. (Emmitt Smith has come closest in the years since, gaining 937 yards in his 2004 swan song.) This is still a team unfriendly to running back production until it proves otherwise. Green’s offense in Minnesota seemed to produce quality fantasy backs almost despite itself, but Robert Smith – probably the most talented RB Green’s Vikings had, though one with a very different skill set than James – never had a truly outstanding season with Green’s Vikings. Whether the coach can adapt his style to take full advantage of James’ skills, and whether Edge can adjust to being in an offense not quite as potent as the Colts’ remains to be seen. 9/3 Update: James finished a lackluster preseason with seven carries for one yard and two receptions for 11 yards. He says that he is not concerned, but the Cards' weak offensive line should give fantasy owners some concern. Edge is still a top-flight running back, but he will have trouble replicating his traditional numbers in 2006.
Three years after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL, it looked as though James was all the way back in 2004. Not only did he play 16 games for the first time since the injury, but he averaged a career-high 4.6 yards per carry. James also caught 51 passes for the second straight year and averaged 9.5 yards per reception, tying his career-high. In other words, James had better per-touch production than in any season of his career including his monstrous pre-injury 1999 or 2000 campaigns. James excelled in every area except one in 2004, and that was around the goal line. James tied for the fourth most attempts inside the five at 23, but he converted just five, giving him the second-worst percentage among all backs with 15 or more attempts. And James also struggled inside the five in 2003 with just eight touchdowns in 24 attempts. Normally, it would be hard to explain how a back averaging 4.6 yards per carry could struggle to get two or three yards at the goal line when the defense has so many other weapons to worry about, but in some ways the goal-line struggles tell a story obscured by the impressive overall stats. The Colts don’t have a real red-zone receiver, a big target like a Randy Moss or a Tony Gonzalez. And inside the five is the one place where Indy can’t spread the field and keep safeties 20 yards off the line of scrimmage. It’s the only place where James doesn’t have the tremendous advantage of being the least of the defense’s worries. And in those situations, he hasn’t done well. That could mean he’s really not all the way back to his explosive pre-injury form, and despite the stats, we get that sense while watching him play.
Although James scored just twice and averaged a paltry 3.8 yards per carry in last season’s first half, he turned into a poor man’s Priest Holmes during the final eight games, with nine rushing TDs and a 4.2-yard rushing average. James also broke his string of consecutive plays from scrimmage without a gain over 20 yards, which dated back to before his knee injury in 2001, but he’s clearly not the explosive runner he was during his first two seasons in the league. James does play in a very RB-friendly offense, however. He was second in the NFL in attempts inside the opponent’s 10-yard-line last year with 35, though he converted only nine times. Going back to 2000, James has scored on just 23 percent of his carries inside the 10, well below average.
Truth be told, James looked nimble enough as a receiver last year, but we wonder if he'll ever be a true power runner again. James was the type of back who didn't mind running over defenders during his first three seasons, but he wasn't anything like that last year – he was particularly ineffective as a goal-line and short-yardage back. He also didn't have a single carry over 20 yards, a telling stat. Don't listen to anyone who gushes over how great James's comeback was last year – he wasn't anywhere near the player we saw over the first three seasons. If James does make it to the fourth round or later, then your needs to that point in the draft will dictate whether you take the plunge. We can assure you he'll be one of the players we scrutinize most during training camp.