Blurred Lines: To Run Or Not To Run

This past weekend's slate of NFL games bolstered a few intriguing matchups, however I admit that I was curious to watch a developing trend I have been paying closer attention to as of late.

This past weekend's slate of NFL games bolstered a few intriguing matchups, however I admit that I was curious to watch a developing trend I have been paying closer attention to as of late.  With the old stereotypes that black quarterbacks could only run and are not very good from the pocket, there seems to be a concerted effort to change the mindset and keep the wheels parked in the garage.  And while I totally understand the efforts to keep quarterbacks from exposing themselves and possibly getting injured, it seems that not running is taking away the one ingredient that has made the likes of Michael Vick, RGIII, and Cam Newton good players.

In the early 2000's, then Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was amongst the most dangerous players in the NFL. The former first overall selection in the 2001 NFL Draft possessed the speed and cutting ability of any elusive back, causing nightmares for defensive coordinators.  In 2006, Vick went on to set a single-season quarterback rushing record  with 1,039 yards.  Timed at 4.3 in the 40, he was not only one of the fastest quarterbacks, but one of the fastest players in the league.  Cam Newton set the league on fire upon upon his entrance setting rookie rushing records of 706 yards and 14 touchdowns.  Only a year later, Redskins QB Robert Griffin III upped the ante breaking Newton's rushing yards record by running for 887 yards. 

So what happened? Most teams prefer pocket passers such as Broncos QB Peyton Manning or Patriots QB Tom Brady, who pick defense apart with their arms. So far in this pass-happy season, there have already been 11 400-yard passing performances.

What does this mean?  Are the days of seeing running quarterbacks like Randall Cunningham and Donovan McNabb over?  With injuries at an all time high, no one wants to see someone go out and get hurt when it may not even be necessary.  But that is just it, why is running the football for a quarterback not necessary?  Is it considered to be a "punk-move" to slide?  So many questions and not enough answers.  With RGIII seemingly still recovering for a knee injury, Michael Vick playing in only half of his team's games each season, and Cam Newton along with Colin Kaepernick averaging five rushing attempts per game, it's not looking good.  

I can only hope that the dual-threat QB is not dead.  It was by far one of the most entertaining elements when watching a game.  For now all we can do is reminisce of the good old days when guys just took off when they "wanted" to.  To help us remember what it was like, take a trip back to the world of Michael Vick, circa 2006, what a rush.