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83-Steelers-43
08-11-2007, 12:05 AM
Fullback spot going, going, not quite gone
Saturday, August 11, 2007

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers have Troy Polamalu, who acts at times like a Tasmanian Devil. And they have Dan Kreider, who looks more and more like a Tasmanian wolf.

The Tasmanian wolf -- not really a wolf, by the way -- has been thought to be extinct for half a century. Still, there have been reported, but unconfirmed sightings, which closely describes the fullback position in the Steelers' offense.

The fullback is not extinct in the Steelers' game plan, but it is on the endangered list and there may be games this season in which they do not dress their only fullback.

Kreider is the one true fullback on the 86-man roster. Two others are halfbacks trying to serve dual roles, John Kuhn and Carey Davis.

All three will be on display tonight when the Steelers play the Green Bay Packers at Heinz Field, but perhaps not as often as in the past at that position.

Fullback once was a glamour job filled by Franco Harris. Then, the offense changed for good when Bill Cowher and offensive coordinator Ron Erhardt arrived in 1992 and installed the backfield scheme that, for the most part, exists on the team today -- one tailback and one blocker, who carries the name of fullback. Or, as coordinator Bruce Arians referred to the position, "guard."

"That's been traditional here with the fullback," Arians said. "He's another guard who hopefully can catch."

Kreider's career statistics will confirm that. He has been with the team since 2000 and been the starting fullback since 2002. He has 30 rushing attempts in the regular season, including one in 2006. He has 59 receptions. He has scored four touchdowns.

Now, he likely will not play as much. Arians will introduce four receivers on occasion on first and second downs with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger under center and not in a shotgun. They will line up Willie Parker as the only back on more occasions and use more tight ends in the backfield in the old fullback spot as H-backs.

"There will be fewer snaps,'' Arians said of the fullback position.

It's odd in a sense because the Steelers believe Kreider is the best at what he does in the NFL.

"I don't think there's any doubt," Arians said. "For a pure lead fullback, I don't think I'd want anyone else in the league."

Trouble is, as with typewriters, there's not much call for a lead fullback anymore in the Steelers' offense. Diversity and balance is the name of the game and lining up on first and second down in the I formation is outmoded.

Kreider says he understands that.

"Obviously, in the passing game, we have a lot of weapons, and you want to spread it out when you can and let Ben do his work," Kreider said. "At the same time, you still want to be able to run the ball. As it stands right now, they seem to still have the desire for a fullback. We'll see what happens."

Kreider turned 30 in March. By that age, blocking fullbacks normally are done, the victims of crumbling shoulders (Tim Lester) or back problems (Jon Witman). That is what happens when even someone who weighs 255 pounds makes his living running five yards and burying his shoulders into players who regularly outweigh him, whether they are linemen or linebackers.

But Kreider has not had those problems.

"I try to take care of my body in the offseason and during the week. I have someone who does some soft tissue work on me and a chiropractor and stuff."

While Arians does not foresee the fullback disappearing or becoming extinct here, he has developed more alternatives and may actually turn to those at times instead of Kreider on game days.

"The only problem comes on your game-day roster," Arians said.

"If injuries occur and you're short a place or if you want different personnel, that spot right there could be axed if you have a tight end who can do it. On goal line, you can use somebody else."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07223/808742-66.stm

The Duke
08-11-2007, 12:34 AM
Kreider is definitely the best in what he does. I hope he stays beyond this season, he'll most probably have to take the pittsburgh paycut, but maybe he'll accept it after he's accepting a reduces role in the offense

Preacher
08-11-2007, 12:59 AM
Kreider is definitely the best in what he does. I hope he stays beyond this season, he'll most probably have to take the pittsburgh paycut, but maybe he'll accept it after he's accepting a reduces role in the offense

If the role is reducing, I doubt that they would extend a contract to him. Why fill up roster spots and cap room with a player that won't dress for a number of games? That is where our O is going.

83-Steelers-43
08-11-2007, 01:03 AM
I love Kreider. Doesn't complain. Doesn't cry and moan. Goes in there and does his job and does it well. IMO, the guy is Steeler through and through.

But after hearing a few interviews with Kreider, I wouldn't be surprised to see him retire after this season. I guess you can call it a hunch on my part, but the last interview I saw (not even two weeks ago on FSN Pittsburgh), it doesn't sound like Kreider would want to play in a different city. If the Steelers decide to keep him around (which I do not see happening after this year), I could see him sticking around for another year. Pure speculation on my part.

Preacher
08-11-2007, 01:19 AM
I love Kreider. Doesn't complain. Doesn't cry and moan. Goes in there and does his job and does it well. IMO, the guy is Steeler through and through.

But after hearing a few interviews with Kreider, I wouldn't be surprised to see him retire after this season. I guess you can call it a hunch on my part, but the last interview I saw (not even two weeks ago on FSN Pittsburgh), it doesn't sound like Kreider would want to play in a different city. If the Steelers decide to keep him around (which I do not see happening after this year), I could see him sticking around for another year.

I could see him staying for another year or two... but I do think the role is disappearing.

He may stay to help transition the team

83-Steelers-43
08-11-2007, 01:21 AM
I could see him staying for another year or two... but I do think the role is disappearing.

He may stay to help transition the team

I agree. But as we already know, Kuhn doesn't need any help. HOF bound baby, HOF bound.

rog
08-11-2007, 12:22 PM
It will be a sad day when the Steelers are playing and I won't get a chance to see Kreider take someones head off. I love watching that guy.

jjpro11
08-11-2007, 12:37 PM
kreider + bettis = pure pain for defenses. that was a fun combo to watch.

OneForTheToe
08-11-2007, 12:54 PM
I think Kreider is like Jason Voorhees. He will always find his way back, no matter how many times he's written off. Plus, he has spoken publicly about as often as Jason has during the ten plus Friday the 13 movie sequels.

I have no problem with the new offense that lets Willie run more behind two TE's or a spread offense. The spread offense fits Willie's style better. Still, I would be surprised if Kreider stays inactive for too many games. He is just too damn good at his job. Imagine a scenario wherein Kreider in inactive for a game, and the Steelers fail on a short -yardage or goal-line situation because of a missed block by a halfback or TE. I could imagine Tomlin thinking, “damn I wish Kreider had been in there.”

Again, I’m in favor of the new system. It’s just difficult for a coach to keep a player completely off the field who is one of, if not, the best at his position.

SteelCityMan786
08-11-2007, 02:04 PM
I love Kreider. Doesn't complain. Doesn't cry and moan. Goes in there and does his job and does it well. IMO, the guy is Steeler through and through.

But after hearing a few interviews with Kreider, I wouldn't be surprised to see him retire after this season. I guess you can call it a hunch on my part, but the last interview I saw (not even two weeks ago on FSN Pittsburgh), it doesn't sound like Kreider would want to play in a different city. If the Steelers decide to keep him around (which I do not see happening after this year), I could see him sticking around for another year. Pure speculation on my part.

Let's win the Super Bowl for Dan in the event he does retire.

SteelDogFan
08-12-2007, 02:12 PM
When I first read that the Steelrs were going to three and four reciever sets on first down I thought it was a good idea. But when I read that they were on there way to phasing out the fullback position I have to wander, is that a good decision for Willie.

I believe Willie is the type of back that thrives in a two back system (1400-1700yrds). But is only a good/decent back in a single back offense (1000-1200yrds). Even L.T. in San Diego has a fullback, Lorenzo Neal, and if you here him speak he would not be as good without him. I believe Neal and Krieder are the best at thier position and to remove Dan may be a mistake.

MY TAKE: Bettis in a single back offense, when he got hit at the line of scrimage he would still gain three to four yards after first hit/contact. We've all seen Willie get hit and yes he is very strong for his size and will break some tackles. But he is not THe BUS or Larry Johnson. Even though he may gain some yards after first hit/contact his body will take the toll. Also if he gets hit straight up he may not gain a yard. That means 2nd and 10 or 3rd and 10

I agree with going to three and four reiever set on first down at times. But going to single back offense full time I believe to be a mistake, I hope I'm wrong.

Bruce dont get carried away with the need to air it out. We just one a superbowl with this offense. The reason our
play-action is the best in the game is because Willie could hit the corner for 80 yards on any play.

GO STEELERS!!

The Duke
08-12-2007, 02:19 PM
Lt doesn't always use Neal.

delhess
08-12-2007, 02:38 PM
knowing dan kreider on a personal level, he's a great guy. i would love to see him stay two more years, and i hope that's not wishful thinking. i don't see him going to another team. i think he plans ahead, has a house near me and on in the burgh, has young children ready to start school... i don't see him looking for another team.

the nfl is a business after all, and they could cut him after this year. but that would be a sad day.

i hope he sees a chance to get another ring. it's not out of the question.

Jman
08-12-2007, 02:43 PM
Someone mentioned the Steelers are going to go to a Chargers-like system for running, and if that's the case, the FB position isn't going anywhere.

Aussie_steeler
08-13-2007, 07:33 AM
Fullback spot going, going, not quite gone
Saturday, August 11, 2007

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers have Troy Polamalu, who acts at times like a Tasmanian Devil. And they have Dan Kreider, who looks more and more like a Tasmanian wolf.

The Tasmanian wolf -- not really a wolf, by the way -- has been thought to be extinct for half a century. Still, there have been reported, but unconfirmed sightings, which closely describes the fullback position in the Steelers' offense.


http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07223/808742-66.stm

The animal in question is actually a Tasmanian Tiger. The last known Tasmanian Tiger unfortunately died in 1936. In 1986 it was officially listed as extinct. Rumours abounded about sightings of this once regal animal.

http://www.dpiw.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/WebPages/BHAN-53777B

It took Australians 50 years to come to the realisation that our STRIPED animal had disappeared for ever.

The thylacine was shy and secretive and always avoided contact with humans. Despite its common name, 'tiger' it had a quiet, nervous temperament compared to its little cousin, the Tasmanian devil. Captured animals generally gave up without a struggle, and many died suddenly, apparently from shock

Incredible how this story has a greater correlation to the Bengals rather than Kreider. The striped cats are often rumoured to have been sighted but they quickly disappear without a trace. The quote regarding how striped animals cope with captivity is also not very encouraging.

How much longer before they will be officially be declared extinct by the NFL???

I think Kreiders prospects are a lot more promising. A steelers running game without a fullback just doesnt seem possible to me.

Zeb
08-15-2007, 12:24 AM
One day when they get some smarts again and get back to how football is supposed to be played, some new, bright coach with an appreciation for the wisdom of the basics will incorporate a running, pounding fullback into the game again. If Tomlin refuses to utilize this, it's gonna hurt him and the team.

He's got a great running fullback, Kreider, but a lot of people have abandoned fottball's roots and have forsaken what got them there.

Parker's a great halfback, but it gets boring watching them use him too much, though, when he runs into the line and falls down over and over again when he's just too winded and tired sometimes. They need to use a pounder in these instances, but Cowher didn't seem to be able to figure this out last year. Parker's a great halfback, but he can't carry the run game alone.

Kreider averaged the most yards per carry for the past couple of years from the few times he ran with the ball, but apparently Cowher didn't pay too much attention to statistics. He's also the same height and weight as Bettis, and the guy can run with the ball, and he did damn well running in high school and college.

They need to mix it up more in the running game and let a fullback run with the ball more, IMO. They also have Kuhn now, too, and he's a big boy and he could be a pounder as well.

Stainless Steel
08-15-2007, 12:56 AM
I too am proud of Kreider and his servant 'tude. No whining. Just does the job. I too would like to see him get the ball more.

Preacher
08-15-2007, 01:28 AM
I too am proud of Kreider and his servant 'tude. No whining. Just does the job. I too would like to see him get the ball more.

Hmmmm... I wonder if Kreider can play Left Guard?