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Run game suffers in today's NFL

By Mark Gaughan

I'm convinced the running game in the NFL suffers these days due to limitations on hitting in training camp, the necessary emphasis on pass blocking in today's game and a general lack of depth along the offensive lines compared with past eras. Throw in the reluctance of coaches to practice the run game enough. It's just harder to develop a smash-mouth mentality on the offensive line unit than it used to be. Today's Bills practice at St. John Fisher College will be the first in pads. In terms of player safety, it's obvious the current limitations on padded practices are a good thing, and there's no question that justifies the limitations. But I doubt ex-Bills coach Chuck Knox would be happy about the kind of camp he'd have to run in today's NFL.

Bills coach Chan Gailey, however, never seems to have any interest in complaining about NFL rules. No matter what the policy issue is, his answer invariably is: We'll work with what we have.

Asked about the challenge of creating a tough-running mentality, Gailey said: "If you look at the statistics over the past couple years it’s been growing the number of passes we throw percentage-wise each year. So obviously a lot of people are not spending time on the running game. I think we can get the job done. We’ve got the time and we’ve got enough pads practices and enough preseason games to get where we want to get to. I don’t have an issue about that."

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham | [email protected]


Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan | [email protected]


Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski | [email protected]

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