Remember back in April, amidst "Golden Slumbers," when there was much ado about Vikings running back Adrian Peterson putting on ten to twelve more pounds this off-season in an effort to become more durable and more punishing? Peterson, who is 6'1", has been playing at 218 pounds but plans to get to 230 pounds by the start of 2009 training camp. Said the running back...
"I don't think too many guys would be excited to see me at 230 two times a year,"
You may also remember these plans were met with some skepticism by a number of people including his coach, Brad Childress, and other NFL running backs like LaDainian Tomlinson. You see, while adding weight so that you can better run over lineman sounds like an awesome idea, it often comes at a price. Speed, quickness and agility are all at risk of being sacrificed. Clinton Portis, who added significant weight to withstand the punishment he would face in the tough NFC East after being traded to Washington, has admitted to losing breakaway speed and says simply...
"You have trade-offs,"
Even worse, injury becomes a greater possiblity. More weight that a players body has to carry around equals more stress being placed on his knees, joints, everything. All of this leaves many to wonder if it's the right move for any running back.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch our very own Pierre Thomas, who is listed at 5'11", has had the same idea as Peterson.
"I've been trying to bulk up a little bit. I've got a little extra weight with me now," Thomas said. "I'm bouncing around now between 220, 225. I'm going to try to see if I can keep that."
Not to mention the fact that dude can now squat 675 pounds! That's the same as like one and a half Hollis Thomas'.
Yet nobody in Who Dat Nation has raised an eyebrow. Peterson says he's thinking about it and people around the league are all over it. Thomas actually does it and crickets chirp. So what gives? Why hasn't anyone expressed concern over Pierre Thomas' decision to add weight this off-season? Is Pierre's situation somehow different from Peterson's?
Wouldn't it be nice if Deuce were still here and could offer his advice on this situation? Turns out, he did have something to say when the topic first came up with regards to Adrian Peterson.
"You think you're going to be more durable, but injuries are still going to be there because of his [physical] running style," says former Saints back Deuce McAllister. "You say 10, 12 pounds is going to enable you to punish defenses, but the reward is not worth the risk."
McAllister played at about 220 as a rookie in 2001, then started putting on weight for the rigors of a full-time role after Ricky Williams was traded to Miami in '02. In '05 and '07 McAllister, who weighed 232 by then, sustained ACL tears without being hit. "I believe if I hadn't put on the weight, it wouldn't have happened," he says.
The fact is, we've all liked the idea of Pierre bulking up this off-season but perhaps we need to take a step back for a moment and re-evaluate the situation. Thomas has stayed pretty healthy throughout his short career so far and I would hate to see that change because of his desire to fix something that wasn't necessarily broken to begin with. And wouldn't it be typical Saints luck for PT to get injured the season he finally gets his chance to shine? While I love what Pierre has done this off-season and the promise that it brings, I will still remain cautiously optimistic about the 2009 season until "The End."