What Is A Three Down Running Back In Football

A three down running back or three down back refers to a ball carrier that has the skillset to play all three downs in a series. Depending on your offensive situation varying runningback skill sets will be required.

For example on a third and long you are going to want a running back that can pass protect as well as catch balls out of the backfield. If you are facing a 2nd and 1 you may want a back strong enough to run between the tackles for a yard or two.

These different skill sets are usually spread throughout the running backs on your roster. But on some occasions, a single player can possess all the skills required to play in any needed situation.

Pros And Cons

Pros – Three Down Running Back

Getting Your Best Player The Ball

One of the biggest positives of having an every-down back is that you are going to have plenty of opportunities to get the ball in his hands. If you have a three-down back on your football team it is likely he is one of the best players with the ball in their hands.

This means you have to make a concerted effort to get them the ball throughout the game. When this player is a three-down back then you will have plenty of opportunities to do so.

Whether it’s a first and ten, a short-yardage situation or a third and long. A three-down rb will be able to help out the team in any of these situations.

This means you can easily get him the ball without bending the offensive playcalling around finding plays for him.

The three down back is a less descriptive title when compared to one cut running backs who’s style of running is indicated by their name.

Maintaining Chemistry

Another beneficial aspect of having a three down back is that they are able to establish chemistry with the quarterback and their line. If you watch a lot of football you likely know that running back is one of those positions with a high level of roster turnover.

Meaning teams often bring in new players to play the position. This makes chemistry difficult, which can cause issues in communication on the field.

With a three-down back the quarterback and the running back will have plenty of experience playing together, therefore, improving their chemistry and communication.

Create Mismatches

Another benefit of three-down back is that they can create mismatches. Say your back is the number one option on the team. The opposing team may begin to stack the box in order to focus on stopping the run game.

When you have a three-down back you can manoeuvre around situations like this. By motioning your running back out wide or into the slot you can present the defense with a tough matchup.

These sorts of manoeuvres are only possible with a three down back. As the defense can hone in on stopping a running back with a two-dimensional skillset.

Cons – Three Down Running Back

Wear and Tear

When it comes to the cons of having a three down back there really is only one. That con is the wear and tear this playing is going to endure from being on the field so much.

Previously a football players longevity would be measured by only his age. Now that more focus has been put onto the analytical side of the game we’ve realized the number of carries running back has amassed in is a better measuring point.

Essentially most runningbacks can only take so many hits throughout their career. A three down running back is going to be taking many more hits per game than most running backs.

This presents the problem of having a shorter career as well as an increased injury risk. Unfortunately, this is the cost of having a skill set that demands you be on the field at all times.

That is all on three down backs to learn more about other variations of this position check out articles on the similar feature back or the much larger goal line back.

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