Fullback versus tight end

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    Fullback versus tight end

     

    There's been some discussion on this site about our TEs being essentially interchangeable with FBs.  I've never completely bought that argument, since I see FB as a distinct position that requires a slightly different set of skills (and often a different body type) than TE. BB was asked about the difference between going with two TEs (and no FB) and going with one TE and one FB. Belichick's answer is quoted below and is a great example of BB at his best when explaining basic football.  If you haven't read it already, read it now.  It's great stuff.  BB describes some of the strategic differences between the two-TE set and the two-back, one-TE set.  I'd add that the FB isn't just a different position from TE with different strategic possibilities, but also a position that demands a slightly different type of player.  While many TEs can do a lot of what FBs can do, FBs have to see the running play unfold in much the same way as a RB and need some of the same running skills as a RB (which often requires a more compact body type).  TEs, meanwhile, need to be taller, more like linemen, and think more like WRs.  So while you can get by with all TEs and no FB, if you are going to utilize a FB regularly, it's probably best to actually put a specialist FB on your roster.  Does this mean there's a spot for Develin this year? Not sure, but it will be interesting to watch as cuts come.

     

    Here's BB on the subject:

     

    Q: On the idea of running on a two-back set compared to two tight ends with one tight end on each side of the line or two tight ends on the same side of the line, what does that give you as an offense when you have a two-back set in the running game versus two tight ends? Is that a different dimension that’s a positive or are they equal in terms of the benefit they give you? 

     

    BB: You’re talking about two backs and one tight end versus one-back and two tight ends? 

     

    Q: Right. 

     

    BB: There are still two receivers in the game? 

     

    Q: Exactly. 

     

    BB: Well, I think when you, just fundamentally, when you have one back in the backfield and you have four on-the-line receivers, that gives you an ability to get into the defense potentially with four people. Or even if it’s three of them, sometimes the defense isn’t sure which three of them it is. One tight end could be in it and the other guy could be in protection, that type of thing. I think you’re able to attack the defense from the line of scrimmage a little bit quicker and with a little less predictability, depending on who those players are, of course. That's certainly a factor. But as far as your running gaps, I mean, you can put more width at the formation by having a guy on the line, whether it’s four on one side and two on the other side of the center or three and three. You just have a wider front, which there are some advantages to that. By having them in the backfield, you can create that same four-man surface or three-man surface after the snap so the defense doesn’t know where the four-man surface or three-man surface is. The fullback has to – he can build that from the backfield. And then there are also, let’s say, a greater variety of blocking schemes with the fullback in the backfield because he can block different guys and come from different angles. He's not always behind the quarterback. He could be offset one way or the other and create different blocking schemes and angles that it’s harder to get from the line of scrimmage. Also, depending on who your tight end is, it can be a little bit easier to pass protect seven men because two of them are in the backfield instead of us having one in the backfield. And then when you start running guys up the middle in the gaps and things like that. I think fundamentally it’s a little easier to pick them up when you a have a guy in the backfield that can step up and block him from the fullback position as opposed to a tight end in the line of scrimmage who probably isn’t going to be able to loop back in and get him, so the line is probably all going to have to gap down or not gap down if the guy drops out and all that. It just creates a different – it creates some advantages, I think, and it also creates some things you have to deal with. You just have to decide how you want to deal with them. Obviously when you have a guy in the backfield, it’s harder to get those two receivers vertically into the defense in the passing game. They’re usually running shorter routes to the flat or checking over the ball or those kind of things, short crossing routes – versus having that fourth receiver on the line of scrimmage who can run some downfield routes, again depending on who the individual person is. The skill definitely changes what you can do with that guy. So, I mean, I think those are the things that come into play. Some teams are very settled in one type of offense or another, so all of their plays and their rules or their adjustments come from that particular set. And other teams use multiple looks to, say, run the same plays or the same concepts to try to give the defense a different look. It’s harder for them to zero in on what they’re doing. But they’re able to do similar things from different personnel groups or different formations. That's a long answer to a really short question, but I hopefully that helps a little bit.

     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from quinzpatsfan. Show quinzpatsfan's posts

    Re: Fullback versus tight end


    Good post good read, I would like to see the pats keep develin, or really any FB, because I would like to see them be really physical running the ball.  However when you have TB as your qb it probably makes more sense to keep a TE like Howman, I think he lined up as FB in a few goal line situations but moreso he can line up as a blocker on the line and stay in to block for the RB, not as good as a FB for reasons like BB said the FB is a floating blocker and the Def doesn't know where he's gonna block presnap.   But when you have a great qb in the grand scheme with only 53 players you might be better off keeping Howman because the def will have to respect the fact that he might actually leave the line for pass.  

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: Fullback versus tight end

    In response to quinzpatsfan's comment:

     


    Good post good read, I would like to see the pats keep develin, or really any FB, because I would like to see them be really physical running the ball.  However when you have TB as your qb it probably makes more sense to keep a TE like Howman, I think he lined up as FB in a few goal line situations but moreso he can line up as a blocker on the line and stay in to block for the RB, not as good as a FB for reasons like BB said the FB is a floating blocker and the Def doesn't know where he's gonna block presnap.   But when you have a great qb in the grand scheme with only 53 players you might be better off keeping Howman because the def will have to respect the fact that he might actually leave the line for pass.  

     



    I suspect you're right and that's what I've been thinking too. Hoomanawanui can line up in the backfield and block more or less like a FB, but a true FB would add something to the run game I think.  I don't completely trust any TE to lead the back consistently to the right hole if the TE is lined up in the backfield.  A true FB though, should read the play like a RB and lead to the right gap. 

    That said, the Pats have been primarily a one back team for a while and like to use the TEs as receivers, so a FB  may be a luxury who really wouldn't be used much.  And TEs and linemen can do in a pinch without taking up an extra roster spot.

     

     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from PatsEng. Show PatsEng's posts

    Re: Fullback versus tight end

    I'm not sure I see in his statement that you can't use a TE as a FB if they have the right skill set. I mean you would have to be completely ignore facts to realize a 2 TE set is different from a 1 TE and 1 FB set. However, FBs and TEs share a number of traits. Ability to block, to move while blocking, to release for passes. I can exactly see why conversion from TE to FB might be one of the easiest coversions to make, similar to CB to S. Take Hoom for example. A good blocker who can pick up rushers in space and has good foot work to allow for blocking moving both forward and back. As a TE he also has the ability to carry the ball and to release for a pass. He has a lot of the same traits needed for conversion to FB. The determining factor if he is successful is if he can handle learning the multiple sets required for blocking schemes vs more receiving patterns as a TE. This doesn't mean every TE can convert to FB but I do think there are some who have the capabilities and BB has used those types of players in the past to conserve roster space. We might think 53men is a lot of space and we can afford to give away 1 or 2 spots but in reality the more position flexibility is presented the more valuable the player becomes because it opens up a valuable roster spot. It's one reason I feel they've gone 2 QB's for so long now. To me BBs statement gives you a blue print for what to look for in a player for the F role more then saying a dedicated FB is better than a TE convert.

    It boils down to how useful is a speciality FB to the roster vs a TE who can play both positions to a lesser degree. If a TE does a good enough job then there is no reason to use 2 spots when you can carry 1 player. 


    I swear by lil 10 pound bearded baby Jesus

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: Fullback versus tight end

     

     I think the key to being a good FB is reading the play correctly like the RB would and having some running/movement skills similar to those of a tailback.  True FBs have those skills (and accordingly practice with the RBs, not the TEs).  No doubt some TEs can transition to FB, but I still see the FB as having different skills that make it worth keeping a true FB if you are going to regularly line a blocker up in the backfield.  If, however, you only line up a blocker in the backfield occasionally, then saving the roster spot and making use of a TE or lineman to block instead makes sense. 

     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from TrueChamp. Show TrueChamp's posts

    Re: Fullback versus tight end

    I'm guessing it was tough to employ a FB when your 2 best skill position players were Gronk and Hern. Can't really have those 2 and a FB on the field.

    I remember the argument being that we should use a FB "sometimes" because of what BB just said, it forces the defense to defend against different looks(keeps them guessing). We rarely used a traditional FB but did use Hern as a receiving FB and Hoomy as a blocking FB(and a good 1 at that)

    I hope we keep a traditional FB to not only help block for the running game, but bring back the FB draw, and screen options. Defense's certainly haven't had to worry about that aspect of our offense since Evans left.....

    Not having a traditional FB was a symptom of the problem of being a one dimensional down field passing offense.... Wait, was that what you were fishing for?

    Then again, I'm not sure Blount at 250 pounds couldn't be taught how to play some FB, and Hoomy certainly looks the part.

        







    "Defense Wins Championships"
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from TrueChamp. Show TrueChamp's posts

    Re: Fullback versus tight end

    In response to PatsEng's comment:

    I'm not sure I see in his statement that you can't use a TE as a FB if they have the right skill set. I mean you would have to be completely ignore facts to realize a 2 TE set is different from a 1 TE and 1 FB set. However, FBs and TEs share a number of traits. Ability to block, to move while blocking, to release for passes. I can exactly see why conversion from TE to FB might be one of the easiest coversions to make, similar to CB to S. Take Hoom for example. A good blocker who can pick up rushers in space and has good foot work to allow for blocking moving both forward and back. As a TE he also has the ability to carry the ball and to release for a pass. He has a lot of the same traits needed for conversion to FB. The determining factor if he is successful is if he can handle learning the multiple sets required for blocking schemes vs more receiving patterns as a TE. This doesn't mean every TE can convert to FB but I do think there are some who have the capabilities and BB has used those types of players in the past to conserve roster space. We might think 53men is a lot of space and we can afford to give away 1 or 2 spots but in reality the more position flexibility is presented the more valuable the player becomes because it opens up a valuable roster spot. It's one reason I feel they've gone 2 QB's for so long now. To me BBs statement gives you a blue print for what to look for in a player for the F role more then saying a dedicated FB is better than a TE convert.

    It boils down to how useful is a speciality FB to the roster vs a TE who can play both positions to a lesser degree. If a TE does a good enough job then there is no reason to use 2 spots when you can carry 1 player. 


    I swear by lil 10 pound bearded baby Jesus




    Good post Eng, I agree.

     

    Are either of you guys still having problems posting? I need close the browser after every other post. Getting the <br br br> thing or whatever it is.

     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: Fullback versus tight end

    In response to TrueChamp's comment:

     

    I'm guessing it was tough to employ a FB when your 2 best skill position players were Gronk and Hern. Can't really have those 2 and a FB on the field.

     

    Yes, this is why the past few years I've been saying it's unlikely for us to see many two-back sets. Except in short yardage situations, you're not going to play with two TEs and two backs, thereby limiting yourself to just one wideout.  But with Hern gone and Gronk hurt, I could see less two TE sets and that might open up room for a true FB again.  

    I remember the argument being that we should use a FB "sometimes" because of what BB just said, it forces the defense to defend against different looks(keeps them guessing). We rarely used a traditional FB but did use Hern as a receiving FB and Hoomy as a blocking FB(and a good 1 at that)

    I hope we keep a traditional FB to not only help block for the running game, but bring back the FB draw, and screen options. Defense's certainly haven't had to worry about that aspect of our offense since Evans left.....

    Not having a traditional FB was a symptom of the problem of being a one dimensional down field passing offense.... Wait, was that what you were fishing for?

    Not having a traditional FB was symptomatic of what you said above--having two great TEs. But that could be changing.  

    Then again, I'm not sure Blount at 250 pounds couldn't be taught how to play some FB, and Hoomy certainly looks the part.

    We'll see, but I do think it is a special skill that not all RBs or TEs have. I'm not sure Blount has it.  Hoomanawanui seems closer, though I don't know if he can run from the backfield like a true FB should be able to do.    





     

     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: Fullback versus tight end

    In response to TrueChamp's comment:

    In response to PatsEng's comment:

     

    I'm not sure I see in his statement that you can't use a TE as a FB if they have the right skill set. I mean you would have to be completely ignore facts to realize a 2 TE set is different from a 1 TE and 1 FB set. However, FBs and TEs share a number of traits. Ability to block, to move while blocking, to release for passes. I can exactly see why conversion from TE to FB might be one of the easiest coversions to make, similar to CB to S. Take Hoom for example. A good blocker who can pick up rushers in space and has good foot work to allow for blocking moving both forward and back. As a TE he also has the ability to carry the ball and to release for a pass. He has a lot of the same traits needed for conversion to FB. The determining factor if he is successful is if he can handle learning the multiple sets required for blocking schemes vs more receiving patterns as a TE. This doesn't mean every TE can convert to FB but I do think there are some who have the capabilities and BB has used those types of players in the past to conserve roster space. We might think 53men is a lot of space and we can afford to give away 1 or 2 spots but in reality the more position flexibility is presented the more valuable the player becomes because it opens up a valuable roster spot. It's one reason I feel they've gone 2 QB's for so long now. To me BBs statement gives you a blue print for what to look for in a player for the F role more then saying a dedicated FB is better than a TE convert.

    It boils down to how useful is a speciality FB to the roster vs a TE who can play both positions to a lesser degree. If a TE does a good enough job then there is no reason to use 2 spots when you can carry 1 player. 


    I swear by lil 10 pound bearded baby Jesus

     




    Good post Eng, I agree.

     

     

    Are either of you guys still having problems posting? I need close the browser after every other post. Getting the <br br br> thing or whatever it is.



    Yeah, I've been having that problem on and off for a week.

     

     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from wozzy. Show wozzy's posts

    Re: Fullback versus tight end

    Good thread,

    Hernandez was labeled a tight end but took handoffs, regardless of his position we'd be hard pressed to find a better blocker out of the backfield than Huey, the guy really comes up and meets defenders, even standing up big guards and linebackers, whether he can carry the ball, which I think he can probably handle a handoff and once you have the ball the rules are the same for everybody.

    The most carries Heath Evans ever had as a Pat(2007)was 34 carries, Larry Centers 21 carries, Marc Edwards had 51 carries (2001) once, then 31 carries was his second highest total. 

    I guess the point is even if we carried a fullback they wouldn't carry the ball often, less often if they were less talented than Edwards who probably was our most talented all around fullback.

     
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    Re: Fullback versus tight end

    In response to prolate0spheroid's comment:

    In response to TrueChamp's comment:

     

    In response to PatsEng's comment:

     

     

     

    I'm not sure I see in his statement that you can't use a TE as a FB if they have the right skill set. I mean you would have to be completely ignore facts to realize a 2 TE set is different from a 1 TE and 1 FB set. However, FBs and TEs share a number of traits. Ability to block, to move while blocking, to release for passes. I can exactly see why conversion from TE to FB might be one of the easiest coversions to make, similar to CB to S. Take Hoom for example. A good blocker who can pick up rushers in space and has good foot work to allow for blocking moving both forward and back. As a TE he also has the ability to carry the ball and to release for a pass. He has a lot of the same traits needed for conversion to FB. The determining factor if he is successful is if he can handle learning the multiple sets required for blocking schemes vs more receiving patterns as a TE. This doesn't mean every TE can convert to FB but I do think there are some who have the capabilities and BB has used those types of players in the past to conserve roster space. We might think 53men is a lot of space and we can afford to give away 1 or 2 spots but in reality the more position flexibility is presented the more valuable the player becomes because it opens up a valuable roster spot. It's one reason I feel they've gone 2 QB's for so long now. To me BBs statement gives you a blue print for what to look for in a player for the F role more then saying a dedicated FB is better than a TE convert.

    It boils down to how useful is a speciality FB to the roster vs a TE who can play both positions to a lesser degree. If a TE does a good enough job then there is no reason to use 2 spots when you can carry 1 player. 


    I swear by lil 10 pound bearded baby Jesus

     

     




    Good post Eng, I agree.

     

     

     

    Are either of you guys still having problems posting? I need close the browser after every other post. Getting the <br br br> thing or whatever it is.

     



    Yeah, I've been having that problem on and off for a week.

     

     



    Since I switched to google chrome I have had no problems with this site not posting. Just the some slow down on gameday thread but I think that is a bandwidth problem of the site.

     
  12. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: Fullback versus tight end

    In response to wozzy's comment:

    Good thread,

    Hernandez was labeled a tight end but took handoffs, regardless of his position we'd be hard pressed to find a better blocker out of the backfield than Huey, the guy really comes up and meets defenders, even standing up big guards and linebackers, whether he can carry the ball, which I think he can probably handle a handoff and once you have the ball the rules are the same for everybody.

    The most carries Heath Evans ever had as a Pat(2007)was 34 carries, Larry Centers 21 carries, Marc Edwards had 51 carries (2001) once, then 31 carries was his second highest total. 

    I guess the point is even if we carried a fullback they wouldn't carry the ball often, less often if they were less talented than Edwards who probably was our most talented all around fullback.



    Wozzy, you're definitely right that a FB isn't going to carry the ball a lot.  But I think a true FB tends to think more like a RB and see the field and the developing play more like a RB than a TE does.  I wish I could find it, but years ago BB in one of his press conferences spent a ton of time talking about Patrick Pass's skills as a lead blocker and praising Pass's decision-making and vision.  One of the points BB was making about Pass was that a lead blocker had to see the play developing the same way as the RB saw it.  If he didn't he'd either lead the RB through the wrong hole or, if the RB didn't follow him, end up blocking someone away from the point of attack.  I think TEs can learn to see the play the same way, but FBs practice with the RBs regularly and have that RB mentality, which I think is valuable if you are blocking from the backfield.  

    I agree Hoomanawanui is the TE closest to a true FB, but I'm still not sure he's quite the same as a real FB.  Of course, using a roster spot on a true FB only makes sense if they plan to use a blocker in the backfield regularly.  If they just want an extra blocker on short yardage, using a TE or lineman (as they've done most years recently) makes more sense, since it doesn't use up a valuable roster slot on a specialist who won't play much. 

     
  13. You have chosen to ignore posts from anonymis. Show anonymis's posts

    Re: Fullback versus tight end

    Wasn't it BBs decision to have the TEs or other player play h back or fback?

     
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    Re: Fullback versus tight end

    In response to PatsEng's comment:

    I'm not sure I see in his statement that you can't use a TE as a FB if they have the right skill set. I mean you would have to be completely ignore facts to realize a 2 TE set is different from a 1 TE and 1 FB set. However, FBs and TEs share a number of traits. Ability to block, to move while blocking, to release for passes. I can exactly see why conversion from TE to FB might be one of the easiest coversions to make, similar to CB to S. Take Hoom for example. A good blocker who can pick up rushers in space and has good foot work to allow for blocking moving both forward and back. As a TE he also has the ability to carry the ball and to release for a pass. He has a lot of the same traits needed for conversion to FB. The determining factor if he is successful is if he can handle learning the multiple sets required for blocking schemes vs more receiving patterns as a TE. This doesn't mean every TE can convert to FB but I do think there are some who have the capabilities and BB has used those types of players in the past to conserve roster space. We might think 53men is a lot of space and we can afford to give away 1 or 2 spots but in reality the more position flexibility is presented the more valuable the player becomes because it opens up a valuable roster spot. It's one reason I feel they've gone 2 QB's for so long now. To me BBs statement gives you a blue print for what to look for in a player for the F role more then saying a dedicated FB is better than a TE convert.

    It boils down to how useful is a speciality FB to the roster vs a TE who can play both positions to a lesser degree. If a TE does a good enough job then there is no reason to use 2 spots when you can carry 1 player. 


    I swear by lil 10 pound bearded baby Jesus




    Good post! It helps the no-huddle so you don't have to swap one in for another by just having one guy that can do it all

     
  15. You have chosen to ignore posts from prolate0spheroid. Show prolate0spheroid's posts

    Re: Fullback versus tight end

    In response to anonymis' comment:

    Wasn't it BBs decision to have the TEs or other player play h back or fback?



    Of course.  But BB doesn't do the same thing every year.  He could switch (and definitely will switch if he thinks it best for the team). With BB, he's always adjusting both scheme and talent in an iterative process to get the best from his squad.

     
  16. You have chosen to ignore posts from zbellino. Show zbellino's posts

    Re: Fullback versus tight end

    BB's comments are only about the 'front' you present to defense. 

    I was pretty prolix about this when they bailed on Evans after the ghastly extra man penalty. 

    2TE presents a four man receiving front, RB/FB sets present a three man front. 

    In this E-P offense ... syntactically and conceptually on passes it likely doesn't change a thing. You are going to run the same passing concepts for the most part, but the defense will know, a.) Which player (the FB or TE) is more likely to remain a blocker, and b.) the concept that the FB is involved in will take longer to develop because the FB isn't aligned in the front. 

    Still, when you are dealing with interior rushers, a FB is a much better option. Given that NE's main pass-pro struggles have occured in the middle of the offense, there is an advantage to this. But it does come at the cost of bringing an extra defender into the box, in this day and age, for alll that means (defense also commits to a front, offense has to deal with a crowd at the LOS).  

    All in all, if you can find an H-back type of guy (not a Dallas Clark or Hern who are really more like slot-TEs) it's a steal .... but carrying a FB, imo, gives you access to a range of premium power running formations. NE has really only had the few that 2TE presents, and then only with personell changes before the snap. 

    Adding a FB is a good idea, imo. It dramatically augments your ability to run when it's expected, and it also augments your protection packages. 

    The drives they've run it on have been hit and miss this preseason, but then without Gronk (And with some pretty lackluster performances on the interior by Svitek and Wendell) there is a lot of noise in there with the signal.

    For the MOST part, Develin has performed his fullbacking duties well, even if he hasn't run the ball well. 

     
  17. You have chosen to ignore posts from ArmyPatsFan. Show ArmyPatsFan's posts

    Re: Fullback versus tight end

    Outstanding discussion topic.  A true fullback has a specific skillset and bodytype that isn't easy to teach if you have been either a true tailback or tight end for most of your career.  The best fullbacks that the Pats have had have been versitile, jack of all trades players.  These guys played special teams, blocked like battering rams, ran hard in short yardage and could catch out of the backfield.  If the team could find a true hammer like a Vonte Leach, Lorenzo Neal or Sam Gash, then that one dimension might be worth it. 

    However, guys like Edwards and Evans were probably some of the best all around fullbacks the Pats have had in the Belichick era.  They ran, caught and blocked for the offense and also played special teams.  Marc Edwards was probably the most talented of the two, but Evans played very hard and ran angry.  He brought a toughness to the offense that has been missing since he left (outside Mankins). 

    If we can find a fullback who brings that toughness, meanness, versitility and skill, then he would be worth a spot on the roster more than a 4th TE who might just be used for blocking.  But that is my opinion.

     
  18. You have chosen to ignore posts from zbellino. Show zbellino's posts

    Re: Fullback versus tight end

    In response to ArmyPatsFan's comment:

    Outstanding discussion topic.  A true fullback has a specific skillset and bodytype that isn't easy to teach if you have been either a true tailback or tight end for most of your career.  The best fullbacks that the Pats have had have been versitile, jack of all trades players.  These guys played special teams, blocked like battering rams, ran hard in short yardage and could catch out of the backfield.  If the team could find a true hammer like a Vonte Leach, Lorenzo Neal or Sam Gash, then that one dimension might be worth it. 

    However, guys like Edwards and Evans were probably some of the best all around fullbacks the Pats have had in the Belichick era.  They ran, caught and blocked for the offense and also played special teams.  Marc Edwards was probably the most talented of the two, but Evans played very hard and ran angry.  He brought a toughness to the offense that has been missing since he left (outside Mankins). 

    If we can find a fullback who brings that toughness, meanness, versitility and skill, then he would be worth a spot on the roster more than a 4th TE who might just be used for blocking.  But that is my opinion.



    Yeah, it is an odd sort of skillset.

    They need a low center of gravity.

    Must impact block extremely well. 

    Be able to change directions well.

    Must have torso flexibility and good hands because they are primarlily receivers when they aren't blocking.

    And they need to be decisive and powerful short yardage runners, which is not a natural upshot of having a low center of gravity, but takes training and practice. 

    I really love the position, and what it brings to the field. 

     
  19. You have chosen to ignore posts from Salcon. Show Salcon's posts

    Re: Fullback versus tight end

    Before this thread,  I never really knew the value of having a true, skilled fullback in the backfield.  

    It seems like a unique position where there probably aren't many players that fit the bill out there.

    I remember those days of Pass, Edwards, Evans etc. catching passes out of the backfield, running in short yardage situations, lead blocking and blitz pickup.  

    I guess running backs like Ridley, Bolden and Vareen would have to adjust their game with a FB leading the way?

     
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    Re: Fullback versus tight end

    Vontae Leach was available this offseason. He is a great run blocker from what I have seen. 

     

     

    "I swear it upon Zues the most exceptional runner cannot be the equal of an average wrestler"  Socrates

     
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    Re: Fullback versus tight end

    In response to Salcon's comment:

    Before this thread,  I never really knew the value of having a true, skilled fullback in the backfield.  

    It seems like a unique position where there probably aren't many players that fit the bill out there.

    I remember those days of Pass, Edwards, Evans etc. catching passes out of the backfield, running in short yardage situations, lead blocking and blitz pickup.  

    I guess running backs like Ridley, Bolden and Vareen would have to adjust their game with a FB leading the way?




    I don't think they would need much of an adjustment, plus just having another option in the back field helps to confuse a defense. For example, I just watched the 1st qtr of Pats Bucs again and on the opening drive we lined up Bolden and Vareen split on either side of Brady. We still had Amendola, Ballard, and Suddfield in the game. I love seeing an offense like this mixed in with our other down field stuff. A 2 back set with 2 RB's or 1 RB and 1 FB can give a D another aspect to defend against.

    To me it is what we were missing in the Obrien era(not saying its all OB's fault). We didn't have this dimension to the offense for whatever reason. In the play I mentioned Bolden went right and Vareen was wide open in the left flat for a 1st down pass from Brady. I expect/hope to see more of these type plays being called this season. Like you I remember the days of our FB's picking up key 1st downs and our offense being being more diverse. If it's not Devlin, it will be Hoomy, or Bolden, or Blount. While they are not true FB's I think they have the physical make up to get the job done. It might not be worth keeping Devlin on the roster if other guys have more value for positional depth and can still fill the void at FB.

     
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    Re: Fullback versus tight end

    In response to Salcon's comment:

    Before this thread,  I never really knew the value of having a true, skilled fullback in the backfield.  

    It seems like a unique position where there probably aren't many players that fit the bill out there.

    I remember those days of Pass, Edwards, Evans etc. catching passes out of the backfield, running in short yardage situations, lead blocking and blitz pickup.  

    I guess running backs like Ridley, Bolden and Vareen would have to adjust their game with a FB leading the way?



    FB is a unique position.  It's used less frequently for a lot of reasons:

    1. The advent of three receiver sets--you only have five "eligible" players, so if you use a slot and two wides, someone has to go and its usually not going to be either the RB or the TE.

    2. More reads for RBs--in the old days, the play was designed to go through a specific gap, so the FB and RB would always be on the same page and would head for the same hole as long as they both knew the play.  Today's running games give the RBs more options to read.  Coordinating the FB and RB can be complex because they both need to read the play the same way if it's going to be effective.  Sometimes it's easier to just move another TE to the line and let the RB read the gaps without having to worry about where the FB decides to go. 

    3. The use of two TEs--partly the result of number 2 above, but also something that teams use for the reasons BB explains (guys at the LOS are more effective receivers than FBs, able to run more routes and get into the defense quicker).  Again if you need to add another TE, generally you're not going to do it at the expense of a WR or RB, so the FB is again the odd man out.  Plus FBs and TEs overlap in their roles, since both are heavy blockers. 

    Still, the FB is definitely a unique position and one that I believe still is nice to have.  I'm with the guys above who all say they'd like to see one back.  The RBs would probably like a blocker, but there is some adjustment to the plays.  Big thing is what I said before--a lot of running plays give the RB lots of options and the FB and RB really need to be on the same page if they are going to coordinate well. 

     

     

     

     
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    Re: Fullback versus tight end

    In response to TrueChamp's comment:

    In response to Salcon's comment:

     

    Before this thread,  I never really knew the value of having a true, skilled fullback in the backfield.  

    It seems like a unique position where there probably aren't many players that fit the bill out there.

    I remember those days of Pass, Edwards, Evans etc. catching passes out of the backfield, running in short yardage situations, lead blocking and blitz pickup.  

    I guess running backs like Ridley, Bolden and Vareen would have to adjust their game with a FB leading the way?

     




    I don't think they would need much of an adjustment, plus just having another option in the back field helps to confuse a defense. For example, I just watched the 1st qtr of Pats Bucs again and on the opening drive we lined up Bolden and Vareen split on either side of Brady. We still had Amendola, Ballard, and Suddfield in the game. I love seeing an offense like this mixed in with our other down field stuff. A 2 back set with 2 RB's or 1 RB and 1 FB can give a D another aspect to defend against.

     

    To me it is what we were missing in the Obrien era(not saying its all OB's fault). We didn't have this dimension to the offense for whatever reason. In the play I mentioned Bolden went right and Vareen was wide open in the left flat for a 1st down pass from Brady. I expect/hope to see more of these type plays being called this season. Like you I remember the days of our FB's picking up key 1st downs and our offense being being more diverse. If it's not Devlin, it will be Hoomy, or Bolden, or Blount. While they are not true FB's I think they have the physical make up to get the job done. It might not be worth keeping Devlin on the roster if other guys have more value for positional depth and can still fill the void at FB.




    That was a nifty little play, but it was more a two tailback formation than a FB type formation.  I think they used that formation twice early in the game.  Once was the pass to Vereen you're talking about and once was, I think, a pass to a WR (maybe Edelman?).  The two backs give you different pass blocking options in that play (Brady was in shotgun I believe) as well as options for a draw play.  Vereen runs great wheel routes, so he's also almost like a WR.  And Bolden is not bad catching the ball either.  So it's a play with a lot of versatility, especially if you have a guy like Vereen who has great speed and can get into the defense quickly even when lined up behind a guard.  

     
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    Re: Fullback versus tight end

    In response to prolate0spheroid's comment:

     

     

    There's been some discussion on this site about our TEs being essentially interchangeable with FBs.  I've never completely bought that argument, since I see FB as a distinct position that requires a slightly different set of skills (and often a different body type) than TE. BB was asked about the difference between going with two TEs (and no FB) and going with one TE and one FB. Belichick's answer is quoted below and is a great example of BB at his best when explaining basic football.  If you haven't read it already, read it now.  It's great stuff.  BB describes some of the strategic differences between the two-TE set and the two-back, one-TE set.  I'd add that the FB isn't just a different position from TE with different strategic possibilities, but also a position that demands a slightly different type of player.  While many TEs can do a lot of what FBs can do, FBs have to see the running play unfold in much the same way as a RB and need some of the same running skills as a RB (which often requires a more compact body type).  TEs, meanwhile, need to be taller, more like linemen, and think more like WRs.  So while you can get by with all TEs and no FB, if you are going to utilize a FB regularly, it's probably best to actually put a specialist FB on your roster.  Does this mean there's a spot for Develin this year? Not sure, but it will be interesting to watch as cuts come.

     

    Here's BB on the subject:

     

    Q: On the idea of running on a two-back set compared to two tight ends with one tight end on each side of the line or two tight ends on the same side of the line, what does that give you as an offense when you have a two-back set in the running game versus two tight ends? Is that a different dimension that’s a positive or are they equal in terms of the benefit they give you? 

     

    BB: You’re talking about two backs and one tight end versus one-back and two tight ends? 

     

    Q: Right. 

     

    BB: There are still two receivers in the game? 

     

    Q: Exactly. 

     

    BB: Well, I think when you, just fundamentally, when you have one back in the backfield and you have four on-the-line receivers, that gives you an ability to get into the defense potentially with four people. Or even if it’s three of them, sometimes the defense isn’t sure which three of them it is. One tight end could be in it and the other guy could be in protection, that type of thing. I think you’re able to attack the defense from the line of scrimmage a little bit quicker and with a little less predictability, depending on who those players are, of course. That's certainly a factor. But as far as your running gaps, I mean, you can put more width at the formation by having a guy on the line, whether it’s four on one side and two on the other side of the center or three and three. You just have a wider front, which there are some advantages to that. By having them in the backfield, you can create that same four-man surface or three-man surface after the snap so the defense doesn’t know where the four-man surface or three-man surface is. The fullback has to – he can build that from the backfield. And then there are also, let’s say, a greater variety of blocking schemes with the fullback in the backfield because he can block different guys and come from different angles. He's not always behind the quarterback. He could be offset one way or the other and create different blocking schemes and angles that it’s harder to get from the line of scrimmage. Also, depending on who your tight end is, it can be a little bit easier to pass protect seven men because two of them are in the backfield instead of us having one in the backfield. And then when you start running guys up the middle in the gaps and things like that. I think fundamentally it’s a little easier to pick them up when you a have a guy in the backfield that can step up and block him from the fullback position as opposed to a tight end in the line of scrimmage who probably isn’t going to be able to loop back in and get him, so the line is probably all going to have to gap down or not gap down if the guy drops out and all that. It just creates a different – it creates some advantages, I think, and it also creates some things you have to deal with. You just have to decide how you want to deal with them. Obviously when you have a guy in the backfield, it’s harder to get those two receivers vertically into the defense in the passing game. They’re usually running shorter routes to the flat or checking over the ball or those kind of things, short crossing routes – versus having that fourth receiver on the line of scrimmage who can run some downfield routes, again depending on who the individual person is. The skill definitely changes what you can do with that guy. So, I mean, I think those are the things that come into play. Some teams are very settled in one type of offense or another, so all of their plays and their rules or their adjustments come from that particular set. And other teams use multiple looks to, say, run the same plays or the same concepts to try to give the defense a different look. It’s harder for them to zero in on what they’re doing. But they’re able to do similar things from different personnel groups or different formations. That's a long answer to a really short question, but I hopefully that helps a little bit.

     

     

    Pro, the answer is quite simple and does not require as nearly a convoluted explanation as what Bill provides. BB is a football genious and loves to speak about the details from both perspectives, so in his above answer he covers the characteristics and advantages of having either one. Great info, but ultimately just like a NASA engineer talking about different propulsion systems.

    With the advent of the spread formation, the use of a full back has become obsolete. With the TEs and receivers all that much closer to the line and on the edge away from the big bodies inside, offenses have become so much more quick hit threats. A FB is for the most part a glorified offensive guard with a little more agility and ball skills. Sure, if you are committed to the run, then a FB makes lost of sense. Unfortunately, those day are GONE and NOBODY in today's NFL is. The TE/H-Back is simply a more versatile player who can adequately accomplish the FB duties if ever needed. To have a "FB specialist" on the team would be a gigantic waste of a slot unless the guy can legitimately play another position and proves he is a consistantly exceptional special teamer.

    I do not expect that we will have a "true" FB on the NE Patriots for as long TB is our QB, and then likely even after he is gone. The game has, and continues to evolve away from blockers who line up in the backfield. Makes no sense at all to have one when the superior athletes that tight ends, or even agile guards can assume the same role on the few occasions that they are called on to do so.

     
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    Re: Fullback versus tight end

     

     Rally, you're right, of course, about the way the game has been evolving and the decline in the need for fullbacks with spread formations.  But the FB isn't dead, and teams like the Ravens, the 49ers, the Giants, and even the Packers incorporate one into their offense.  Will the Pats go that way?  Not sure, and the odds probably weigh against it, but with Gronk and Hern both likely not to be around at the beginning of the season, I see a somewhat higher chance of a FB making the Pats roster than I have seen in several years. 

     

     
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