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The Near Extinct Position and Why It's Needed




For the longest time i the NFL the Fullback position was considered a necessity. The fullback was the teams power runner and best blocking back. These were guys like Franco Harris and Larry Csonka. Gradually as there became more athletes at the Running-back position the full back became a pure short yardage back and blocker. Today however the fullback position is all but extinct. However the fullback position is still very important in the rushing game that is why teams like the 2010 Jets and 2010 Houston Texans rank 4th and 7th respectively and averaged per rush much higher than the Steelers where the fullback position is extinct in Bruce Arian's offense. To further show this I have took a look at two of the best at the position and how there teams fair with and without them.

The first is by far the best blocking fullback I have ever seen in Lorenzo Neal. Neal block for many great which include Eddie George, Corey Dillon LaDanian Tomlinson and the Ravens back field in 08 that rank 4th with him behind them. 

When adding the carries and the yardage without here is what I got;

2296 attempts for 8939 yards averaging 3.89 yards per attempt, there were 4 Pro Bow appearances and 0 All Pro selection

With Lorenzo Neal the rushers had 3201 attempts for 13071 yards averaging 4.08 yards per carry. A statistical improvement but the bigger improvement is in the Pro Bowl and All Pro selections. With Lorenzo Neal the runners behind him had 8 Pro Bowl selections and 4 All Pro selections.Further analyzing his blocking we will look how just LaDanian Tomlinson did.

Without Neal L.T. had 887 attempts for 3523 yards averaging 3.97 yards per attempt. and 1 Pro Bowl selection.

With Neal L.T. had 1654 attempts for 7731 yards averaging 4.67 yards per attempt, with 4 Pro Bowls and 3 All Pro selections a significant improvement.

The next analysis will be on the best FB of the day of Vonta Leach. Leach has been with the Texans as a contributor since '07 and the improvement has been noticeable.

Without Leach in 05 and 06 the running backs of the Texans had 649 attempts for 2606 yards averaging 4.01 yards per attempt with no Pro Bowls or All Pro Selections

 

With Leach since the running backs had 1277 attempts for 5573 yards for 4.3 yards per attempt  with 1 Pro Bowl and 1 All Pro selection. This is a big improvement.

The point of this article is that a Fullback is a Running-backs best friend and significantly helps out the rushing attack. I am a true believer one reason Fast Willie Parker's numbers went down in '08 after two Pro Bowl season is because we let go of Dan Kreider. This is why I believed in 2010 we should have drafted John Conner and why I believe we need a true FB on the roster. It is also why I have a bad feeling about playing the Ravens rushing attack this year after they signed Leach. Look for Rice if healthy to put up career numbers this season.

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