Quick Snap: Thoughts on Jim Anderson's All-Time Big-Back List

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Former Cincinnati Bengals running Jim Anderson, who says that big backs still have a role to play in the NFL, offers the best big backs that he coached in the Queen City.

Jim Anderson spent 28 years in Cincinnati as the team's running backs coach before retiring after '12 and giving way to Hue Jackson -- who jumped across the line of scrimmage from assistant defensive backs coach to Anderson's former position in '13. Anderson, who still keeps in touch with the Bengals, offers his top-four big backs ranking during his tenure in Cincinnati to Bengals.com:

1) Corey Dillon
2) Harold Green
3) Rudi Johnson
4) Garrison Hearst

The point of Anderson's list was mostly to highlight big backs... a characteristic of a position that's fading because running backs are getting smaller and more athletic -- like linebackers.

I especially love the Johnson selection. He wasn't special in any particular thing but he scored 36 touchdowns in a three-year period when Cincinnati's offense was potent ten years ago -- you could say that he was part of a "big three" joining Carson Palmer and Chad Johnson.

"All Rudi did was be productive," Anderson said via Bengals.com. "Rudi was a big back; he just didn’t have the height. He had the leg strength. A guy who has the leg strength and the balance is key. Corey and Harold had it, but they had more versatility. He was one dimensional. Rudi would have had a tough time today because he was one dimensional (because he mainly just a runner)."

Hearst joined the Bengals in '96 and offered some talent in a backfield that desperately needed it. He rushed for 847 yards (a 3.8 yard/rush average) and scored... well, no rushing touchdowns. But that was Ki-Jana Carter's job... who the prototypical short-yardage runner with eight rushing scores that season (six from inside the five-yard line). Heart left Cincinnati and played the next five years in San Francisco, where he'd have earn two pro bowls ('98, '01) and an All-Pro award ('98).

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