Paul Kuharsky doesn't hate guys who play fullback, just the message it sends when you put a fullback on the field:
I am anti-fullback and pro tight end. You might be throwing when a tight end or two is on the field. You’re probably running if a fullback is out there. It’s too narrow a role.
I agree. So does Nate:
A few months ago, it looked like the Colts were going to run a ground-and-pound offense. This would have been death to hopes of winning any time soon in Indianapolis.
So in less than three months the Colts have gone from talking about a smash-mouth offense designed to run between the tackles to one that looks less crazy and more intent on winning. By sending fullback Chris Gronkowski to the Broncos for a cornerback who likely will be buried on the depth chart even with a roster this thin in the secondary, the Colts have clearly signaled that fullbacks aren't a priority.
I can understand not putting a fullback on the roster because of space issues. But I am not sure if I agree that a full-back means you are running the ball, and I don't agree that signalling you are going to run the ball is a bad thing.
As posted earlier on the main site, fullbacks can fill several roles. There are fullbacks out there that make a difference and they don't only see the field for running plays. (Again, I'm not saying you should use a space for them, just that they are useful for more than running.)
And If you tell the other team "Hey we have a fullback out so we are running the ball", is that really so bad? I mean, you put a fullback in place for a running play then have Peyton do his song and dance, what is it going to be be? Run play? A fake out so Peyton can throw the ball?
Lets say the offense is committed to running the ball and the defense is commited to stopping the run. Who wins there? Isn't that how football started?
I see the point of this, but it makes me more skeptical of the Brody Eldridge cut. At the time I thought that made sense because there weren't enough roster spots available to keep a blocking TE who wasn't a receiving threat if they were planning on using two receiving TEs and a FB on a regular basis. And the FB would fill roughly the role that Eldridge would have had. But without a FB it seems like there is room for an Eldridge-type blocker as well as a back-up receiving TE, and that there will be plenty of situations where it would be helpful to have a guy like Eldridge on the field.
@paulcareyjr You beat me to it. :)
Yep. Ryan Mahaffey was the name of the guy. From Phil B. Wilson: http://twitter.com/pwilson24/statuses/207519872643645441
Man, that boat's getting crowded. I'm in it with Nate, Todd, and Paul. :D
With the modern passing offiense, the skill players in the backfield had better be able to rush and catch, and not do nothing except block. In short, they have to be a downfield threat, even if by "downfield" we mean only a yard or two past the line of scrimmage. If the entirety of their role stops at the LOS and they're not a lineman, then it's a wasted player IMO.
Note that I'm not including someone like Addai, who may have blocked a lot, but was meant to be a ball-carrying threat. He may have ended up a hell of a lot of blocking, but it was in the context of play acton, not outright declared run plays. Frankly, fullbacks aren't used as ballcarriers anymore.
Now granted: There's nothing stopping fullbacks from doing that. Heck, they were supposed to fill that role historically, if I understand the past accurately. It's just that everyone and his brother has pigeonholed "fullback" as "lead blocker" in their gameplans so they're now less a skill player than they are a blocking lineman who gets a running start out of the backfield. Like Kuharsky said, that is far too limited a role to be worth wasting a player on.
I'll accept blocking-only performances from linemen. They're slotted into that role by he rules. But putting a dedicated nothing-but-blocking player in the backfield is wasting an on-field position. You can accomplish what you need to with well designed guard-pulls, adept linemen, and where it applies, skillful use of zone blocking plays within your scheme.
No problem with the FB at all, the thing is people still have to stop it, and there are a ton of teams that use FB's that have very successful running games.
@paulcareyjr The key is "very successful running games." Good running games simply don't win championships.
Never have in fact. The interesting thing is that this signals that the Colts don't intend to create a "ground-and-pound" offense. Had they chosen that route they'd be looking at a much, much longer rebuild.