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Monday, July 12, 2010
Jackson, Gore and NFC West runners

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

The Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks each had two running backs with at least 100 carries in each of the past two seasons.

Seattle has had two 100-carry backs in each of the last four seasons, including two when Shaun Alexander was still with the team.

The trend toward using more than one primary running back could affect the NFC West again this season. The Cardinals' Tim Hightower and Beanie Wells both figure to carry the football extensively unless Wells breaks out this season. The Seahawks' Justin Forsett and Julius Jones could share carries again, with Leon Washington and Quinton Ganther also possibly becoming factors.

The chart, pulled from Matthew Berry's fantasy column via Keith Hawkins of ESPN Stats & Information, shows how many teams have had more than one running back with at least 100 carries in each of the past 10 seasons.

We can see how prominent the St. Louis Rams' Steven Jackson and the San Francisco 49ers' Frank Gore have remained in their offenses even though both have fought injuries in recent seasons. None of their teammates has reached 100 carries in a season since each was a rookie. Even if one suffered a serious injury, it's unclear whether any of the current backups would be good enough to command most of the carries consistently.