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RobFuseRaven

Fullback position not dead yet, Ravens resuscitate

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I was just sitting here thinking that the NFL is a league of imitation. The top dog is always looked at thoroughly to find new ways of success. The fullback position is becoming extinct. Why? Because more teams want high octane pass happy offenses. Wait a minute. The Super Bowl champ has a fullback and the best fullback at that [i]and [/i]a high octane offense. Our team shows that with an effective fullback, you can have smashmouth blocking and still have the ability to catch the ball and make plays. You still need the run for effective play action. What's the point of getting rid of fullbacks, when you can still win championships with them? Will fullbacks continue the pace of slowly fading out or have we set an example on how they should be used? Discuss.
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Let's also not forget Vonta catching the ball out of the backfield and bulldozing defenders trying to tackle him and getting 10 yards. He clears the way, sure we have a great pass attack (sometimes) but it's Ray Rice that our offense runs through.
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[quote name='SideStep77' timestamp='1360590313' post='1354253']
Let's also not forget Vonta catching the ball out of the backfield and bulldozing defenders trying to tackle him and getting 10 yards. He clears the way, sure we have a great pass attack (sometimes) but it's Ray Rice that our offense runs through.
[/quote]

No doubt, but Vonta obliterates people and opens holes. Ray Rice is a very good running back, but there are a lot of plays where there is nowhere to run unless Vonta opens a hole.
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Sadly, Leach could well be a cap casualty this season. We'll have to compensate for the loss with 2 back sets and hope Pierce has mad blocking skills.
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Well I think the key is, and the evolution that needs to happen to keep the position relevant, is for fullbacks to be pass catching threats out of the back field. Typically that hasn't been part of the necessary skill set which makes the position one dimensional and less useful. Now when Leach is in you have to guess what his role is bc he doesn't just block.

That's happening to backs in general, versatility is becoming more and more valuable. I don't think there is a place for the traditional, hard hitting, block all the time and carry on short distances type fullback anymore. But if you have a leach who can play that tole but also be a weapon in the passing game - well then you've got something. The question is, is that worth $4 million or whatever his hot will be this year.
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[quote name='BOLDnPurPnBlacK' timestamp='1360590948' post='1354261']
Well I think the key is, and the evolution that needs to happen to keep the position relevant, is for fullbacks to be pass catching threats out of the back field. Typically that hasn't been part of the necessary skill set which makes the position one dimensional and less useful. Now when Leach is in you have to guess what his role is bc he doesn't just block.

That's happening to backs in general, versatility is becoming more and more valuable. I don't think there is a place for the traditional, hard hitting, block all the time and carry on short distances type fullback anymore. But if you have a leach who can play that tole but also be a weapon in the passing game - well then you've got something. The question is, is that worth $4 million or whatever his hot will be this year.
[/quote]

In short you think the position will go,back tomhowmthe top teams (sf and Dallas) used them in the past.
Moose and Rathman were involved in the passing game as well as run blockers.

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[quote name='SideStep77' timestamp='1360590313' post='1354253']
Let's also not forget Vonta catching the ball out of the backfield and bulldozing defenders trying to tackle him and getting 10 yards. He clears the way, sure we have a great pass attack (sometimes) but it's Ray Rice that our offense runs through.
[/quote]

That all sounds good, but this offense no longer "runs through" ray rice and the fact that people still think that, leads me to believe they don't watch the offense closely. This offense is a balanced one, but it's Flacco and the passing game that leads the way. The Texans offense runs through the run game, the Vikings and 49ers runs through the run game. The Ravens just have the unique ability to be able to pound defense late with the running game.

Now with that said, Leach is the man but i'm not sure he has a place in this offense at his cap hit. This offense, if the Super Bowl run is any indication, will be ran alot out of 3WR, 2TE and bunch formations. Yes, Leach will still see the field, but only in situational football. Is that worth 4M? Only Ozzie knows.

I actually think the Ravens will convert Ant Allen to the FB position and take even more advantage of the play making aspect. Juan Castillo will bring more of a single back zone running game to the offense and FB won't be featured as much imo. Not sure the Ravens will make other teams move back to more of a I Formation smash mouth style offense. If anything people will just convert TEs to FB and continue to spread defenses out.
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[quote name='Ravensfan23' timestamp='1360592871' post='1354282']
That all sounds good, but this offense no longer "runs through" ray rice and the fact that people still think that, leads me to believe they don't watch the offense closely. This offense is a balanced one, but it's Flacco and the passing game that leads the way. The Texans offense runs through the run game, the Vikings and 49ers runs through the run game. The Ravens just have the unique ability to be able to pound defense late with the running game.

Now with that said, Leach is the man but i'm not sure he has a place in this offense at his cap hit. This offense, if the Super Bowl run is any indication, will be ran alot out of 3WR, 2TE and bunch formations. Yes, Leach will still see the field, but only in situational football. Is that worth 4M? Only Ozzie knows.

I actually think the Ravens will convert Ant Allen to the FB position and take even more advantage of the play making aspect. Juan Castillo will bring more of a single back zone running game to the offense and FB won't be featured as much imo. Not sure the Ravens will make other teams move back to more of a I Formation smash mouth style offense. If anything people will just convert TEs to FB and continue to spread defenses out.
[/quote]

While what you say is true, would you agree that Ray Rice is the "core" of the game-plan for defenses? I think Ray is their (the defense) primary responsibility. I know the playoffs are what's fresh in mind, but don't forget what got us through the regular season.
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Sadly, our offense really opened up when we started taking Vonte out and putting Jacoby in. If our backs can learn to survive in a 1 back system, it makes us much more explosive.
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[quote name='jberta1' timestamp='1360597138' post='1354341']


While what you say is true, would you agree that Ray Rice is the "core" of the game-plan for defenses? I think Ray is their (the defense) primary responsibility. I know the playoffs are what's fresh in mind, but don't forget what got us through the regular season.
[/quote]

I think since the end of last year a little switch has been made to stop Torrey yet he still seems to get behind people. I can't believe what I'm about to say, we might have too many weapons on offense. Pitta and Boldin move the chains, JJ and Smith open up underneath and Rice is the safety net. With Flacco being able to make any throw yii have to defend the whole field. I honestly hope Streeter develops how I think he can cause this offense can be prolific.

To answer your question, the last 3 teams to win a sb all used their fb. Maybe not the same we we use Leach but they found ways to get them involves.
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[quote name='H8R' timestamp='1360597905' post='1354354']
I love Leach... but his cap number is absurd IMO.
[/quote]

True. Unless we get him the ball more often.
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Going to get negged for this and I love it.

I'd keep Leach over Boldin. First of all, Leach is critical on 3 & 1, 4 & Inches, goal-line plays. His ability to destroy LBs is a huge reason for our success in those areas. Leach is also cheaper, even at $4M a year. That's a lot for a FB, sure. But Leach can catch the ball pretty well, he's also able to be a bruiser-type of RB and grind out a few tough yards. I love Leach.

With that said, I would ONLY cut Leach if Allen or Berry could play the FB spot as well or close to his production. Boldin, while I love him and I do, is $7.5 Million--that's 3.5 more than Leach. If we cut him, we only save 6, but that's 2 million more. Not sure what Leach's guaranteed is. He might have none. But regardless, I feel like Leach is more important than Boldin at this point.
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[quote name='jberta1' timestamp='1360597138' post='1354341']


While what you say is true, would you agree that Ray Rice is the "core" of the game-plan for defenses? I think Ray is their (the defense) primary responsibility. I know the playoffs are what's fresh in mind, but don't forget what got us through the regular season.
[/quote]

I think the running game is the chief concern for any defense. Even when you play the likes of the Pats and a Peyton Manning led offense, the number #1 concern for your defense is to stop the run, because if you don't it'll open up their entire offense.

So yes, teams want to stop Ray Rice, but they aren't selling out to stop him like most people suggest when they make that statement. Ray Rice is just a part of this car, not the engine like a lot of people say. If Ray Rice doesn't perform well, the car will still run, not as well, but it'll run.

Under Cam, Rice was so important because Cam didn't scheme. He just asked guys to win individual matchups. The offense was stagnant at times under Cam because running the ball successfully on 1st & 2nd downs were so important. Now the short passing game is just as important and actually opens things up for the running game.

I don't wanna seem like i'm knocking Ray Rice, it's just that people put way too much stock into the number of touches he gets making the offense go. He's just another part of this offense that can take over a game, no differen then Q, Pitta, Torrey or even Pierce for that matter.
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Did we win with the best fulll back in the league on our team? Yes, but we won because of Joe Flacco and a passing attack. If any thing really, this makes the fullback position even less important.
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i just hope that Ozzie work his magic again. critical players like boldin, leach, big mac and ellerbe needs to be signed, on the other hand i wouldn't be suprised if FO released or didn't signed , with the exception of ellerbe. does anyone know if FO can like give for example, give leach like $3 million signing bonus and his base salary is 1 million would that lower his cap hit??
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[quote name='Ravensfan23' timestamp='1360602554' post='1354452']
I think the running game is the chief concern for any defense. Even when you play the likes of the Pats and a Peyton Manning led offense, the number #1 concern for your defense is to stop the run, because if you don't it'll open up their entire offense.

So yes, teams want to stop Ray Rice, but they aren't selling out to stop him like most people suggest when they make that statement. Ray Rice is just a part of this car, not the engine like a lot of people say. If Ray Rice doesn't perform well, the car will still run, not as well, but it'll run.

Under Cam, Rice was so important because Cam didn't scheme. He just asked guys to win individual matchups. The offense was stagnant at times under Cam because running the ball successfully on 1st & 2nd downs were so important. Now the short passing game is just as important and actually opens things up for the running game.

I don't wanna seem like i'm knocking Ray Rice, it's just that people put way too much stock into the number of touches he gets making the offense go. He's just another part of this offense that can take over a game, no differen then Q, Pitta, Torrey or even Pierce for that matter.
[/quote]

Your points are both valid and true. I would agree that he's just another "game changer" we have on our roster. I know you're not knocking him, just being objective. Many people just expect you to say "every Raven is the best ever!" I enjoy conversations like this.
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I noticed that unlike Cam, Caldwell has given Leach more passes and even used him as a release valve on a few critical first downs.
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[quote name='ravensdfan' timestamp='1360590871' post='1354259']
Sadly, Leach could well be a cap casualty this season. We'll have to compensate for the loss with 2 back sets and hope Pierce has mad blocking skills.
[/quote]

Or they could do an extension that lowers his cap number. I don't see us cutting Leach. Folks are buying too much of what was said. Y'all seriously believe everything that was said? Come on. Ozzie never tips his hand.
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Leach will stay somehow. His # will be lowered bc I think he'd be willing to in order to stay.

I think both he and Boldin stay for a reduced salary, rather than hit free agency (or retire).

Leach may play the market and then come back when he realizes we will offer him near fair market value.
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[quote name='BOLDnPurPnBlacK' timestamp='1360957253' post='1358694']
Leach will stay somehow. His # will be lowered bc I think he'd be willing to in order to stay.

I think both he and Boldin stay for a reduced salary, rather than hit free agency (or retire).

Leach may play the market and then come back when he realizes we will offer him near fair market value.
[/quote]
I'm confused. Do you think we cut Leach & re-sign him? Or do you think we restructure him? Or do you think we cut his pay? You said he will play the market, which suggests that he will be cut and re-signed. He's under contract and not a free agent, in case you think he is an UFA.
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I think we let Leach ride out his contract, and then try to give him a cheaper deal after this season. If not, Allen for fullback!

Who else is really heartbroken by the insignificance of the fullback position? I'm devastated.
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[quote name='The Raven' timestamp='1360959528' post='1358725']
I think we let Leach ride out his contract, and then try to give him a cheaper deal after this season. If not, Allen for fullback!

[b]Who else is really heartbroken by the insignificance of the fullback position? I'm devastated.[/b]
[/quote]

I certainly am. It was only several years ago every team had to have a hammer paving the way for their feature RB. Now, it's rarity.
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[quote name='Ed_Reed20' timestamp='1360959840' post='1358732']
I certainly am. It was only several years ago every team had to have a hammer paving the way for their feature RB. Now, it's rarity.
[/quote]

It's a little warming to know that the top two teams this year both had a fullback and a running game. Maybe we'll see a shift back to the running game, who knows?

I've always thought that with all these teams being built for pass defense, some teams will take advantage of it and just get a lethal ground game like San Francisco is doing.
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[quote name='The Raven' timestamp='1360960088' post='1358737']
It's a little warming to know that the top two teams this year both had a fullback and a running game. Maybe we'll see a shift back to the running game, who knows?

I've always thought that with all these teams being built for pass defense, some teams will take advantage of it and just get a lethal ground game like San Francisco is doing.
[/quote]

I'd love to think so but the league (football in general) seems to be dominated by open, pass-happy offenses and I'll be surprised if it reverts back.
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[quote name='GrimCoconut' timestamp='1360957465' post='1358696']
I'm confused. Do you think we cut Leach & re-sign him? Or do you think we restructure him? Or do you think we cut his pay? You said he will play the market, which suggests that he will be cut and re-signed. He's under contract and not a free agent, in case you think he is an UFA.
[/quote]

I think we try to restructure for less. Either he's willing or he's not.

I think if he's not willing we cut him, and since hes played more than 4 years and its offseason i dont know if he has to clear waivers, but even if he had to my guess is he would bc i doubt anyone would pick up his $4mill+ salary... and once a free agent realizes our restructured offer was in line with what he could get elsewhere and chooses to come back.

All i was saying was that regardless of how, i think leach will be back and for less.
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[quote name='BOLDnPurPnBlacK' timestamp='1360961980' post='1358755']


I think we try to restructure for less. Either he's willing or he's not.

I think if he's not willing we cut him, and since hes played more than 4 years and its offseason i dont know if he has to clear waivers, but even if he had to my guess is he would bc i doubt anyone would pick up his $4mill+ salary... and once a free agent realizes our restructured offer was in line with what he could get elsewhere and chooses to come back.

All i was saying was that regardless of how, i think leach will be back and for less.
[/quote]
Ahh, I see. That makes sense. It's a risk to cut him. A team could pick him up but yeah, it's a little doubtful since not many teams use FBs and 4M could be too high. I see a FB as being worth about 3M max, and even that's a lot. I think 1.5-2M is the price now for a FB. But, you have to remember one thing: we have to see what happens with Felton. If Felton gets a deal, then that essentially sets Leach's market.
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[quote name='Ed_Reed20' timestamp='1360960796' post='1358746']
I'd love to think so but the league (football in general) seems to be dominated by open, pass-happy offenses and I'll be surprised if it reverts back.
[/quote]

I had a thought the other day about fullbacks. With the increasing athleticism of offensive linemen who can get to the second level, why is a fullback such a necessity? An offensive lineman who could double team and then get to the second level and block effectively used to be a luxury, but it's becoming common place now. That could also be making the fullback unnecessary.
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[quote name='The Raven' timestamp='1360962269' post='1358762']
I had a thought the other day about fullbacks. With the increasing athleticism of offensive linemen who can get to the second level, why is a fullback such a necessity? An offensive lineman who could double team and then get to the second level and block effectively used to be a luxury, but it's becoming common place now. That could also be making the fullback unnecessary.
[/quote]
To play devil's advocate you could say that the increased athleticism at LB also makes a FB necessary to productive running. Very few HBs who are Pro Bowlers run without a FB (save for Foster because of the zone stretch). What may actually bury FB into the ground is this zone read garbage from college that I hate. I don't know how people watch college football to be honest, its like a basketball game too often with some of the scores.
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[quote name='Bltravens' timestamp='1361120259' post='1359935']
To play devil's advocate you could say that the increased athleticism at LB also makes a FB necessary to productive running. Very few HBs who are Pro Bowlers run without a FB (save for Foster because of the zone stretch). What may actually bury FB into the ground is this zone read garbage from college that I hate. I don't know how people watch college football to be honest, its like a basketball game too often with some of the scores.
[/quote]

Really interesting point.

I have a feeling that we'll be using a fullback for a while. Maybe not a traditional one like Leach, but we will have a guy who can still bring the wood. Harbaugh, Caldwell, and Ozzie seem to really like a completely balanced offense, so a fullback would be needed.
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