The Miami Dolphins likely will be housing a fullback from now on
By Matt Serniak
There’s a decent chance, based on what Mike McDaniel has worked with in San Francisco, that the Miami Dolphins will be a team with a fullback on its roster.
I wrote yesterday about three elements that the Miami Dolphin’s offense will be entrenched with not that Mike McDaniel is operating the controls. I must say it was a fascinating article that everyone in America should read. You can read it here. One important element I failed to mention was that from now on, the Miami Dolphins will, probably and hopefully, be employing a fullback that can do a litany of tasks.
I say probably and hopefully because I actually don’t know Mike McD nor do I ever speak with him thus he doesn’t share the ins and outs of thoughts on roster development. It be a lot cooler if he did. So I guess it’s possible that he won’t be signing or converting someone else into an all-powerful fullback. This article is going off of the assumption that a versatile fullback will be on the roster come July to compete against other capable fullbacks throughout training camp.
The fullback is an American institution that any reasonable person can get behind. Institutions such as the auto industry in Detroit, malls that use to be plentiful in our fare land, and hot pockets are what made this great country what it is. Fullbacks are right up there as one of the best people that built this country into a superpower.
Yes, it’s true. The fullback has taken a bit of a backseat in the NFL to more glamorizing positions such as wide receiver, slot receiver, tight end, and of course quarterbacks. Never forget, like our beautiful country, the NFL was built off the backs of hard-working, gritty men that paved the way for greatness to occur. Men that used their bodies to cause destruction and score the ball. Men such as Red Grange, Durch Clark, Bronco Nagurski, and Ace Gutowsky were the NFL at one time.
Over time, the position evolved. Men such as Larry Centers, Tony Richardson, Tom Rathman, Lorenzo Neal, Mack Strong, Mike Alstott, and of course Miami’s own Larry Csonka. Csonka put swag into the position and made it cool to erase fools while carrying the rock like a locomotive.
Today, there aren’t many fullbacks left. Only a handful of teams carry a fullback on the roster. It’s a shame, indeed. Nowadays, teams have multiple running backs and they put two of those in the backfield if they want to run a play with two backs in the backfield.
There’s also the h-back, which is like the hybrid car of positions. The h-back is a cross of a fullback and tight end in one body. These guys have the ability to open up a hole while also being able to be relied on to catch the ball and get upfield. This is what I think the Miami Dolphins will be looking to have on their roster.
I, firmly, believe that Mike McD will be looking for the type of player more in that h-back role. A guy that you can line up anywhere in the backfield that can also be split out and be a viable option for the quarterback to throw to. McDaniel has experience with players like that. He worked with Chris Cooley back when he was in Washington in 2011 and 2012. Cooley was at the end of his career then but he was still a guy that could play.
Most recently, we all know how McDaniel has worked with Kyle Juszczyk. Juszczyk is what today’s fullback/h-back plays like. He has the ability to catch the ball very well downfield not just in the flat while also being athletic enough to start on one side of the formation and wham block or seal and edge to the other side. The key to today’s fullback/h-back is being athletic enough to move anywhere on the field in a very short amount of time. This video does an excellent job of highlighting the athletic ability of Juszczyk and the creativity of Mike McDaniel designed running plays.
I realize that Kyle Juszczyks don’t grow on trees but I have confidence that Mike McD can sift through all the running backs and tight ends out there and find a few that he can mold into this role. I think it’s a role that has tons of potential to take advantage of mismatches. Having a guy that leads on up through a hole that linebackers have to worry about going out for a pass who doesn’t come off the field is huge. It means the Miami Dolphins wouldn’t be tipping their hand if they’re running or not.
The Miami Dolphins haven’t had a real fullback since the automatic first down getter in Lousaka Polite. They flirted with Javorskie Lane for a second as well. We all remember Rob Konrad back in the 2000s who was actually decently versatile but not on the level of a Juszczyk. It will certainly be interesting to see if Mike McD looks to have that position be a part of this offense. I hope he does.
It’s also interesting to think about if McDaniel thinks there’s a guy already on the roster who can fill that Kyle Juszczyk. To me, I can’t think of anybody that I would want to be a blocker that can also catch passes. That means the draft or free agency is where McDaniel will be looking to fill that role. I haven’t looked at potential candidates for this position but I will. It’s important. It’s important for the Miami Dolphins and it’s important for America. Have a great day and God bless America.