As football has evolved in recent decades, many of the teams in the NFL have gone away from using a fullback at all, and several teams don’t even carry one on the roster. During the Pete Carroll era the Seattle Seahawks have been one of those teams that do carry a fullback, including several who have converted from playing another position to play fullback.
The impressive list of conversion projects includes a former quarterback (Michael Robinson), a former defensive tackle (Will Tukuafu) and a couple of former running backs (Tre Madden and Derrick Coleman), and once again the mad scientists at the VMAC have converted offensive linemen to other positions.
Without a fullback since Madden was placed on injured reserve following the Washington game, Seattle found itself facing second and goal at the one yard line of the Philadelphia Eagles just over halfway through the third quarter. Earlier in the game the Hawks had completed one red zone touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham, who himself has changed positions this season from overpriced bum to touchdown machine, and after tossing an incompletion in Graham’s direction on first down the offense was looking for something else to try.
And try they did, trotting out just about the most jumbo package they could. Darrell Bevell sent in a three-tight end, two-running back package that included two offensive linemen masquerading as skill position players. Here is a look at the pre-snap alignment.
In that formation the Seahawks are using 2,405 pounds of blockers along the offensive front, and that doesn’t even take into account the players in the backfield. Tackle Matt Tobin lines up at tight end on the left end of the line, but the fullback is obscured by Mike Davis in this shot. Once the ball is snapped, the fullback becomes visible.
Now, 64 is not a number that is typically reserved for fullbacks, which helps explain why undrafted free agent rookie Jordan Roos reported in as an eligible receiver. Both Roos and Tobin reported as eligible on this play and while the team did not score on this play, they now have on film one extra situation for which defenses must prepare.
In addition, with both second year tight end Nick Vannett and touchdown machine Graham on the field on this play, this run for no gain by Davis is likely to be enough to set up play action from a similar situation in the future. And it will be interesting to see if the team takes to using Roos at fullback on a more regular basis, or if this will simply remain a short-yardage jumbo package.