Will Patriots get back to fullbacks in 2012?
|06.15.12 at 11:25 am ET|
One of the oddest quirks to the Patriots’ offseason was their decision to stock up on fullbacks. After not having a full-time fullback on the roster since Heath Evans departed following the 2008 season, New England signed free agent fullbacks Spencer Larsen and Tony Fiammetta. They also welcomed back Eric Kettani, a running back who could also line up at the fullback spot.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked about the possibility of using a fullback on a regular basis once again, and sounded open to the idea, provided they could also show some consistent value in the kicking game. But he also hinted that all three players do have some positional versatility: Larsen has also played linebacker, while Fiammetta has also played tight end and running back, and Kettani has also played more of a traditional running back role.
“We’ll see how it goes in training camp,” Belichick said of how things are shaping up with the fullbacks. “With Eric there, we have three guys that kind of have some degree of fullback experience, a little bit of tight end experience, a little bit of running back experience, so there may be some crossover there. All three of those players have some value in the kicking game. We’ll see how all that plays out.
“I think that’s a possibility. That’s why they’re here. They’re here to compete for that role on offense and that role in the kicking game. How that compares to what other players do, we’ll just have to see. We’ll have competition from that spot relative to linebacker, tight end, possibly running back and in the kicking game.”
“Fullbacks Spencer Larsen and Tony Fiammetta were both signings that hint that Bill Belichick has something up his sleeve in terms of personnel if either one of them pans out,” said one NFC scout. “Both are good enough as lead blockers and can be outlet options as receivers.”
A large part of the unknown is that all three do not have a lot of experience in the New England system.
“It may change the composition of our team a little bit from what it was last year; it may not. We’ll see,” Belichick said. “Those guys haven’t really played for us. Eric was here, but then he wasn’t here, so I think he’s still a bit of an unknown quantity. We’ll evaluate those three guys with everybody else and see how it goes.”
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