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Hawaii 5-0
05-23-2012, 02:21 PM
David Johnson is your new Steelers full time Fullback

May 23,2012

So it appears that new Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley is putting at least some type of emphasis on the fullback position after all. Many fans were wondering if the team would draft a FB late in the draft last month, or perhaps pick up an undrafted free agent to fill that role. Things became a bit more clear, or perhaps even more clouded depending on how you look at it, according to Ed Bouchette via his blog:

Excerpt below (the full story can be read for subscribers). Either way there definitely appears to be a change of emphasis on the style of running that the Steelers will do.

"Steelers just finished their second spring practice and halfback Isaac Redman dropped some news – tight end David Johnson has been moved to fullback on a fulltime basis. He no longer attends meetings with the tight ends and will be part of the running backs meetings. Redman also said there will be more emphasis put on the running game this season."

to read the rest of the story click on the link below:

http://www.steeleraddicts.com/2012/05...

Fire Arians
05-23-2012, 02:35 PM
well, i hate DJ but I'm willing to give him a fair chance in this new offense. maybe he wont whiff his blocks if he's playing the position full-time instead of an afterthought. when he does land his blocks, he is a violent hitter.

Bayz101
05-23-2012, 02:39 PM
well, i hate DJ but I'm willing to give him a fair chance in this new offense. maybe he wont whiff his blocks if he's playing the position full-time instead of an afterthought. when he does land his blocks, he is a violent hitter.

If a player makes a mistake in a big game, fans can be hostile. Johnson deserves a chance in this new offense, and I can't believe i'm saying this, but so does Jonathan Scott. I recall him blocking well towards the end of the season, maybe he's just had some bad games?

Hawaii 5-0
05-23-2012, 03:14 PM
seriously, DJ is the best option we could come up with to play fullback? :banging:

casteeler
05-23-2012, 03:25 PM
I love this move! The NFL is obsessed with the "Passing Offense" and that is great but the fact remains that this Steeler team routinely passed on 3rd and very short and it resulted in 4th downs. The restructure of the Offensive line, addition of a REAL fullback and Redman(hopefully) will make 2nd,3rd or even 4th down & short situations more manageable and bring back the Run game to the Steelers. The power run game is becoming a lost art in football but maybe it can be a staple in this offense in 2012-2013

Riddle_Of_Steel
05-23-2012, 03:29 PM
If a player makes a mistake in a big game, fans can be hostile. Johnson deserves a chance in this new offense, and I can't believe i'm saying this, but so does Jonathan Scott. I recall him blocking well towards the end of the season, maybe he's just had some bad games?

David Johnson, yes. He whiffed on a couple of blocks last year, and the fans have never forgiven him since. When he does connect, he brings the pain. He needs this offseason to clean up his game, but I think will be a mauler by the time the season starts

Jonathan Scott, hell no. I have had to watch him getting spun around and lose his blocking assignments for two seasons now, and have had quite enough. I praise all these guys-- they are much better than I could ever be, but, I can't get over the way Suggs spun him around like a top and threw him at Ben in that first game last year. No more.

Steelersfan87
05-23-2012, 03:49 PM
David Johnson will have to compete with Will Johnson for the FB spot. May the best man win. DJ should only improve this year if he makes it by being able to focus on a central position and not be moved back and forth between the backfield and the LOS. I imagine Haley may have had this in mind when he (presumably) recommended the Steelers sign Leonard Pope.

Black N' Yellow
05-23-2012, 03:55 PM
Sounds good to me. He's not Dan Krieder but then again, not many fullbacks in the NFL are but I'm glad to hear this. He can only get better at blocking from here on out now that he isn't a TE lined up as a fullback.

finesward
05-23-2012, 04:27 PM
seriously, DJ is the best option we could come up with to play fullback? :banging:

Bring back Carey Davis and Sean McHugh... :sofunny:

Too bad we lost The Tank Summers to the Chargers! :banging:

FrancoLambert
05-23-2012, 07:04 PM
well, i hate DJ but I'm willing to give him a fair chance in this new offense. maybe he wont whiff his blocks if he's playing the position full-time instead of an afterthought. when he does land his blocks, he is a violent hitter.

I hate him too. Seems like there's some mild amnesia making the rounds.
Seriously, think of his positive plays. Compare that wilth his negative plays.
Yes he is a load and maybe concentrating solely on blocking as a FB will enable him to contribute. But I don't see it in this guy. Not just physically, mentally too.
If Haley can turn him into a productive FB he will be a miracle worker.

As for Jonathan Scott......PLEASE!!

QCbeauBlak
05-23-2012, 07:08 PM
I get a rise at the thoughts of seeing a power I formation with Decastro, Pouncy, and Colon leading the way with ANY fullback knocking out a linebacker. Then with a downhill guy like Redmen!!? That will blow up the middle of any defense!! It isn't like you have to run out of that formation 10 times a game. Just a couple of times to keep defenses honest. That would open up play action and even some quick outs to our speedy receivers. I cannot wait to see even the basic formations in this new offense.

I remember back in the early 00's, we used to run bunch sets right off the edge of our line. We would pass but would sometimes run out of that set and it was a very efficient offense. You'd see one receiver motion to the other side and when the ball was hiked, him along with a true fullback would clear the way off the edge for the Bus and it was marvelous... While we were never explosive, we were efficient. With this new cast of playmakers and maulers, the sky is the limit!

Whodis
05-23-2012, 07:23 PM
I don't the he has what it takes and seemed as if he lacks aggression. I hope I'm wrong.

Riddle_Of_Steel
05-23-2012, 07:24 PM
I hate him too. Seems like there's some mild amnesia making the rounds.
Seriously, think of his positive plays. Compare that wilth his negative plays.
Yes he is a load and maybe concentrating solely on blocking as a FB will enable him to contribute. But I don't see it in this guy. Not just physically, mentally too.
If Haley can turn him into a productive FB he will be a miracle worker.

As for Jonathan Scott......PLEASE!!

The only plays I can recall where DJ stunk outright, were ones where they tried to make him the ball carrier/receiver. For being such a load, he is not a downhill runner, nor a good catcher-- too slow and lumbering.

But as a pure blocker, and without the distraction of "Arians position versatility", I think he can be a dominating presence as a lead blocker. His blocking is the main reason Tomlin kept him a couple years ago-- he was one of the only guys in practice that could consistently pick up Silverback and actually stop him.

Imagine Redman running behind Colon, Pouncey, DeCastro, with David Johnson as a lead blocker? They are going to gut the Raven's defense and make Ray Lewis retire finally.

I can hardly wait....:tt04::tt04::tt04::tt04:

finesward
05-23-2012, 07:48 PM
There is.no.dominant fullback in the NFL. Sorry guys. Even the.best at the position whiff now and then. Long gone are the days of kreider, no more mike allstots. If we gotta deal with dj then fine. Until someone steps up and proves to be better than him go Johnson! Lol

Dalarin
05-23-2012, 07:51 PM
We cant forget about the blocks he outright missed all the other years he has played. We got our next Faneca now give me a damn Kreider!

Fire Arians
05-23-2012, 07:59 PM
The only plays I can recall where DJ stunk outright, were ones where they tried to make him the ball carrier/receiver. For being such a load, he is not a downhill runner, nor a good catcher-- too slow and lumbering.

But as a pure blocker, and without the distraction of "Arians position versatility", I think he can be a dominating presence as a lead blocker. His blocking is the main reason Tomlin kept him a couple years ago-- he was one of the only guys in practice that could consistently pick up Silverback and actually stop him.

Imagine Redman running behind Colon, Pouncey, DeCastro, with David Johnson as a lead blocker? They are going to gut the Raven's defense and make Ray Lewis retire finally.

I can hardly wait....:tt04::tt04::tt04::tt04:

I'm really looking forward to seeing how well colon/pouncey/decastro match up against cody and ngata. it will be interesting.

QCbeauBlak
05-23-2012, 08:11 PM
There is.no.dominant fullback in the NFL. Sorry guys. Even the.best at the position whiff now and then. Long gone are the days of kreider, no more mike allstots. If we gotta deal with dj then fine. Until someone steps up and proves to be better than him go Johnson! Lol


Ray Rice and Arian Foster will have to disagree with you...

Vonte Leach? Lawrence Vickers?

ETL
05-23-2012, 08:41 PM
David Johnson is ... NOT my choice for Breakout player of the year

Ricco Suavez
05-23-2012, 08:50 PM
I remember back in the early 00's, we used to run bunch sets right off the edge of our line. We would pass but would sometimes run out of that set and it was a very efficient offense. You'd see one receiver motion to the other side and when the ball was hiked, him along with a true fullback would clear the way off the edge for the Bus and it was marvelous... While we were never explosive, we were efficient. With this new cast of playmakers and maulers, the sky is the limit![/QUOTE]

Not doing this to call you out only to prove a point. You did say never explosive but efficient. Yet during those years we scored as follows in total points
2000---321
2001--352
2002--390
2003--300
2004--372
2005--389
2006--353 A 7 year average of 353.85 points per year.

Now the dark years without a FB
2007--393
2008--347
2009--368
2011--375
2012--325 A 5 year average of 361.6 points per season

As you can see even with last years sub par scoring effort we still surpassed the 2000 and 2003 seasons. Fullback is not the answer, Goodell has killed the fullback.
I hope everyone will temper their giddiness of the idea of returning to old glory days of the running game controlling opponents defenses and realize that in todays NFL it is highly unlikely.

Hawaii 5-0
05-23-2012, 09:03 PM
Johnson Versus Johnson Training Camp Battle Appears To Be On The Horizon

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012 by Dave Bryan

The Pittsburgh Steelers have completed their first two OTA practices of the 2012 season and quite a good bit of information has come out since the team has reassembled this week in Pittsburgh. The past few days we received confirmation on what we already knew heading into the week and that is that there are two fullbacks on the roster in the form of David Johnson and Will Johnson. Running back Jonathan Dwyer let us know this on our podcast just prior to this week and fellow running back Isaac Redman confirmed it to the media on Wednesday.

While training camp is still a good two months away from getting underway, it certainly seems that one of the battles setting up this far out is Johnson versus Johnson. David was a restricted free agent this offseason after his rookie contract was up and has since been tendered and re-signed. He was drafted in the 7th round of the 2009 draft and has played tight end, h-back and fullback for the Steelers over that span of time. He also has played on some special teams units in addition.

In three years David has caught 18 passes for 146 yards during the regular season to go along with 1 touchdown, which he scored last season against the Tennessee Titans. He also has nearly 870 offensive snaps under his belt over the course of the last three seasons that consist of a few great blocks to go along with a few missed blocks and assignments. While David is far from being a Pro Bowl caliber fullback type, and even farther away from being a Pro Bowl tight end, he did have four or five good cumulative games last season in the blocking department. He will never be the type of pass receiving option to run away from linebackers as either a fullback or a tight end and he is certainly not regarded as a special demon.

The other Johnson fullback currently attending running back meetings is Will, the 6 foot 2 converted WVU wide receiver who caught the eye of head coach Mike Tomlin at the Mountaineers pro day prior to the draft. This Johnson went undrafted in 2011 and was pretty much lost in laundry thanks to lockout last off-season. He worked three jobs this past year and continued to train in hopes of impressing scouts and coaches alike when he showed up at the aforementioned pro day back in March.

Although not part of the 2012 draft class, Will put up 225 pounds 30 times on the bench, which was more than anyone at that pro day, and one scout reportedly timed him at an unofficial 4.49 during his 40 yard dash. He played under the recently deceased Bill Stewart while at Morgantown, where he reportedly grew into his frame his final few seasons there. Stewart of course was responsible for giving Tomlin his first college coaching job many moons ago, so it would not be surprising to find out that Tomlin had already heard about Will prior to this past March.

The college tape of Will shows smooth route running and he plays fast on tape out of the backfield in addition. The only real question about him is if he can handle blocking at the NFL level. He played in 45 college games during his career at WVU and recorded 25 catches for 249 yards to go along with 4 touchdowns. Another pending question will be his ability to play on special teams. He is credited with 5 total tackles during his college career, 2 of which were solo.

While more and more tidbits continue to emerge as to what we can expect the new offense of Todd Haley to look like, it appears on the surface that a fullback could be included in certain packages. The only other player on the roster that appears to meet the criteria of a true fullback is Jamie McCoy, who spent a good part of the 2011 season on the Steelers practice squad. We have yet to hear the name of McCoy mentioned though in any of the fullback talk this off-season, so it figures that it could possibly come down to a Johnson versus Johnson training camp battle, if indeed the idea is to keep one of the two.

We will revisit this potential battle this closer to training camp getting underway as quite a bit can happen in the way of roster moves between now and then. If another true fullback type is added, hopefully his last name is not Johnson as well. I wonder if Ben Roethlisberger still thinks the team doesn't need a fullback.

http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/article_external/johnson_versus_johnson_training_camp_battle_appear s_to_be_on_the_horizon/10859810

QCbeauBlak
05-23-2012, 09:08 PM
Not doing this to call you out only to prove a point. You did say never explosive but efficient. Yet during those years we scored as follows in total points
2000---321
2001--352
2002--390
2003--300
2004--372
2005--389
2006--353 A 7 year average of 353.85 points per year.

Now the dark years without a FB
2007--393
2008--347
2009--368
2011--375
2012--325 A 5 year average of 361.6 points per season



I don't see the correlation. Those point totals were really good in the past considering that we were more of a run oriented team. Meaning more clock eaten up and less points. Now we are a pass first team with a slightly better scoring average in a pass first, high scoring league? Shouldn't our point totals be much higher?

To this day I have yet to see us have a truly explosive offense. We have a chance to have that now. The point I was trying to make was that our offense was very efficient before. I think the point totals you posted, coupled with the offensive philosophies of then and now, paint that picture as well. Efficiency is a good trait to have. If we luck up and become a well oiled machine like the Saints or Green Bay offensively, then that's icing on the cake.

Hawaii 5-0
05-23-2012, 10:27 PM
Ed: Steelers Move David Johnson to FB Fulltime

WEDNESDAY, 23 MAY 2012 WRITTEN BY ED BOUCHETTE

Good afternoon,

Steelers just finished their second spring practice and halfback Isaac Redman dropped some news – tight end David Johnson has been moved to fullback on a fulltime basis. He no longer attends meetings with the tight ends and will be part of the running backs meetings.

Redman also said there will be more emphasis put on the running game this season.

Johnson’s move raises a question whether the Steelers will keep two tight ends and one fullback, three tight ends, one fullback and fewer running backs on the roster and, of course, who those will be.

In other news:

--- Rashard Mendenhall continues to run as he rehabs from his ACL. He said today that he has no real timetable, just to continue to rehab until he’s ready. He said he feels good and he’s doing more than just running in a straight line.

--- DE Brett Keisel and LB Jason Worilds are still not here.

--- Rookie NT Alameda Ta’amu also cannot attend these things until classes end at the University of Washington.

--- Ike Taylor practiced today after missing yesterday.

--- Newly minted Hall of Famer Dermontti Dawson turned out today to watch some practice.

http://plus.sites.post-gazette.com/index.php/pro-sports/steelers/116478-ed-steelers-move-david-johnson-to-fb-fulltime

Millers the sh!t
05-24-2012, 12:07 AM
This is bullshit. Redman don't need no stinking fullback blocking for him.

TheVet
05-24-2012, 12:34 AM
I remember back in the early 00's, we used to run bunch sets right off the edge of our line. We would pass but would sometimes run out of that set and it was a very efficient offense. You'd see one receiver motion to the other side and when the ball was hiked, him along with a true fullback would clear the way off the edge for the Bus and it was marvelous... While we were never explosive, we were efficient. With this new cast of playmakers and maulers, the sky is the limit!

Not doing this to call you out only to prove a point. You did say never explosive but efficient. Yet during those years we scored as follows in total points
2000---321
2001--352
2002--390
2003--300
2004--372
2005--389
2006--353 A 7 year average of 353.85 points per year.

Now the dark years without a FB
2007--393
2008--347
2009--368
2011--375
2012--325 A 5 year average of 361.6 points per season

As you can see even with last years sub par scoring effort we still surpassed the 2000 and 2003 seasons. Fullback is not the answer, Goodell has killed the fullback.
I hope everyone will temper their giddiness of the idea of returning to old glory days of the running game controlling opponents defenses and realize that in todays NFL it is highly unlikely.

They weren't dark years because we were without a fullback; many NFL offenses function quite well without a fullback.

They were dark years because we were without a competent Offensive Coordinator. Fullback or no fullback, an offense needs to be competently designed and executed. It didn't help that we had a bottom-tier OL, but in fairness to those guys, they weren't the primary problem.

This is bullshit. Redman don't need no stinking fullback blocking for him.
He's certainly proven that - hell, he doesn't even seem to need holes or actual designed plans to be productive! Lets see how much better he can be with an OC, an NFL-caliber OL, and hey, why not toss in a fullback, too.

Hawaii 5-0
05-24-2012, 01:20 AM
WEDNESDAY, MAY 23, 2012
posted by Dale Lolley

OTA news and notes

Isaac Redman told reporters today that the Steelers do, indeed, have a fullback on the roster. The Steelers have moved David Johnson to fullback on a full-time basis.

Redman said this will help Johnson as a blocker since he formerly had to go to tight end meetings and did not attend sessions with the running backs. Redman, who is glad about the change, said the running backs will be better able to show Johnson where they would like their lead blocker during their film breakdowns.

http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/sidelines/

Hawaii 5-0
05-24-2012, 01:38 AM
MarkKaboly_Trib via twitter:

Liking what I see from Will Johnson at fullback

http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/

ricardisimo
05-24-2012, 02:25 AM
All I can say is: "Poor Rashard Mendenhall." He deserved a fullback. He deserved a DeCastro and a Colon blocking in front of him. Now we won't know just how good he is until he's playing for another team. :banging:

Kingmagyar
05-24-2012, 08:47 AM
Here's hoping Will Johnson lights it up and knocks DJ off the team. If Haley is truly looking for pass catching from the backfield, Will Johnson with his speed would be a better weapon catching the ball. And DJ falls into that making too much money category where if the Steelers historically have a cheaper option they go with the savings.

And speaking of savings, Jonathan (I play LT like a stumbling drunken fool) Scott is set to earn 2.2 million this year. Give you any ideas what might happen to him?

steelfury02
05-24-2012, 09:36 AM
Just keep Heath Miller in blocking as much as possible - that will work better than anything else :couch:

Sixburgher
05-24-2012, 11:03 AM
Just keep Heath Miller in blocking as much as possible - that will work better than anything else :couch:

Now that it's starting to look like the Steelers will field an actual NFL-caliber offensive line for the first time in over half a decade, hopefully that won't be necessary.

MasterOfPuppets
05-24-2012, 11:30 AM
All I can say is: "Poor Rashard Mendenhall." He deserved a fullback. He deserved a DeCastro and a Colon blocking in front of him. Now we won't know just how good he is until he's playing for another team. :banging:
i've posted before that mendenhall has got to be the most pissed of person in pittsburgh right now. arians offensive philosophy was a proverbial ball and chain around his ankle for 4 years . that wasn't defenses stuffing him behind the line , that was arians genius hitting him as soon as he touched the ball.

Fire Arians
05-24-2012, 12:06 PM
All I can say is: "Poor Rashard Mendenhall." He deserved a fullback. He deserved a DeCastro and a Colon blocking in front of him. Now we won't know just how good he is until he's playing for another team. :banging:

i don't think he's going to get many high offers from other teams coming off an ACL injury. I think the steelers can sign him for another multi year deal without breaking the bank.

he can shine under haley's offense, I feel mendenhall wasn't a power runner, but best when he has space to work with.

TheVet
05-24-2012, 01:40 PM
So true, but it's hard for me to feel sorry for Mendenhall, since he didn't give his full effort reliably. I much prefer a guy like Redman, who brings everything he's got on each play.

Still, I would enjoy seeing Mendy tip-toeing indecisively behind the line of scrimmage, or ducking out of bounds upfield rather than picking up a few extra yards - for some other team, that is.

dyce23
05-24-2012, 01:54 PM
i don't think he's going to get many high offers from other teams coming off an ACL injury. I think the steelers can sign him for another multi year deal without breaking the bank.

he can shine under haley's offense, I feel mendenhall wasn't a power runner, but best when he has space to work with.

I think Mendy can shine with the new offense too. Redman will get the job done while he's out, but I still hope we give him a chance to show what he can do in this new offense. Like you said, I think he's best in space. While he's not a top three type back regardless, I do think he can be exciting. Redman looked great behind that horrible line we had because he's a straight ahead runner, and I actually like that. He didn't dance at all. He just lowered his shoulder and took what he could get. Mendy always looked for a way to get into open space, and that hurt him in our system. He'll have more space in the new offense, though, and I'm excited to see which one between him and Redman will improve and benefit the most from the new system and improved O-Line. Regardless of who we decide to go with in the future, I think we'll be alright. I do, however, think Mendy may be better suited for this new offense in the future if he returns and stays healthy.

FrancoLambert
05-24-2012, 03:55 PM
I want Mendy back. I'm sorry, the complaints about his tip-toeing had more to do with his O-linemen getting blown off the ball than a lack of toughness or commitment.
I don't think he plays soft at all, in fact, I see him as a tough competitor. He had, and hopefully regains, the right combination of speed and power. He ran through arm tackles and away from tacklers. He was definitely under utilzed in the passing game. When he got the ball in open space and was able to turn up field he usually made the first tackler miss. Redman's a tough possession runner and very good at breaking tackles but he won't break off the long one that hurts a defense.

Ricco Suavez
05-24-2012, 03:56 PM
I agree with the posts that state the Steelers have never been an explosive offense. We have never been a high scoring offense, in the past Cowher would get a lead and depend on the Defense and the running game to put one in the W column. It was successful as long as we did not fall behind by two or more scores then we were pretty much toast. I will just again caution everyone that the "new" offense may take a while to become effective, I honestly will be surprised if we score more on offense than in the years past, and since we led the league in TOP and third down conversion during last years down year I do not see big improvements there. What I would like to see regardless is better red zone scoring, better protection for our QB, effective short yardage plays, and an element of surprise.

Steelersfan87
05-24-2012, 04:17 PM
I want Mendy back. I'm sorry, the complaints about his tip-toeing had more to do with his O-linemen getting blown off the ball than a lack of toughness or commitment.
I don't think he plays soft at all, in fact, I see him as a tough competitor. He had, and hopefully regains, the right combination of speed and power. He ran through arm tackles and away from tacklers. He was definitely under utilzed in the passing game. When he got the ball in open space and was able to turn up field he usually made the first tackler miss. Redman's a tough possession runner and very good at breaking tackles but he won't break off the long one that hurts a defense.

:thumbsup:

tanda10506
05-24-2012, 05:49 PM
i've posted before that mendenhall has got to be the most pissed of person in pittsburgh right now. arians offensive philosophy was a proverbial ball and chain around his ankle for 4 years . that wasn't defenses stuffing him behind the line , that was arians genius hitting him as soon as he touched the ball.

I completely agree. Redman was a better fit for our team last year, but I think Mendy does have a chance of being really good behind a good O line and an actual FB. Arians plan screwed Mendy because even when they ran it they made it obvious that they were running and where they were running too. I don't think Arians liked Mendy. Behind this good O line that we will have, with a real FB blocking, and a proper running play called, Mendy could likely be a top RB. He has a lot of talent and looks good in the open field. I think Mendy could be a Ray Rice type with this O line and Haley as OC, a good runner and a good dump off back. Then again who wouldn't be a good back with a FB, good OC, and great O line. Redman will likely have a big year and I really doubt Mendy will be back after that, he has enough potential and talent that someone will pay high for him and we won't even come close.

Hawaii 5-0
05-24-2012, 06:53 PM
Fullback Is Nothing New For David Johnson & His Position Switch Is Not Surprising

Thursday, May 24th, 2012 by Dave Bryan

http://img2.yardbarker.com/media/e/0/e02d5450dc435835c6bc0152cb45c8b855bdc5bd/related/Pittsburgh_Steelers_Practice_77b3.jpg?stamp=133720 8243

The big news from day two of the Pittsburgh Steelers first OTA session of the 2012 season that everyone is buzzing about today seems to be the announcement that David Johnson is no longer considered a tight end now, but a fullback instead. There are even some clamoring that he needs to hurry up and change his number to one in the 40's as well. The truth is that Johnson is no stranger to lining up in the backfield with his hand in the dirt through his first three seasons in the league.

I went back and did a quick check of our game participation charting from last year, and during the regular season Johnson was lined up as a fullback 113 times out of 451 regular season offensive snaps. That 113 does not include times when he was in the backfield as an h-back either. That 133 equates to a quarter of his offensive snaps basically and roughly 7 snaps a game that he lined up as a fullback.

I posted early this morning on what the characteristics of the offense of Todd Haley is starting to look like, and yes, I included the use of a fullback. Not sure why that is a huge surprise, but many I think believe that this means 25 to 30 snaps a game that Haley will use one with his hand in the dirt. I don't think so and in fact would be surprised if one was used more than 10 times a game total on average. Assuming the Steelers offense runs on the average of 60 offensive plays a game, or roughly 1000 plays for the season, 160 plays that utilize a fullback would be about right. It might end up being even less than that.

Haley has shown to be very multiple in his personnel groupings over the years, so there figures to be quite a bit of shuffling of players throughout a game between running backs, wide receivers, tight ends and yes, fullbacks. The news on Wednesday that Johnson is a true fullback now signals that he is no longer considered a tight end anymore, but didn't we really already know that headed into this week? Just look at the build and physique of Johnson for Christs' sakes.

Some are clamoring for the Steelers to go out and get a true, "traditional" fullback, and while there are a few street free agents still out there, I doubt one will be added. The league has shifted away from the traditional fullback now and even linebackers coach Keith Butler said as much after the draft when he was quoted as saying, "Everybody is using tight ends as fullbacks and sometimes they use them when trying to lead and sometimes they don’t. A lot of stuff today is mis-direction and trying to fool you or out-number you one way and then give you a different look coming back the other way." Basically the fullback is no longer just a straight ahead lead blocker like most like to pigeon hole the skill set of that position as being is what Butler is saying.

Just because a player has a fullback designation next to his name does not mean that every snap he takes on offense will have him with his hand in the dirt and lined up straight ahead of the running back. The fullback position is not the fullback position of 10 years ago, just like the tight end position has started to become more hybrid, so too has the fullback position. Don't freak out just because Johnson had the letters "TE" removed from beside his name and the letters "FB" used now instead. This is nothing new for Johnson.

http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/article_external/fullback_is_nothing_new_for_david_johnson_his_posi tion_switch_is_not_surprising/10864427

4xSBChamps
05-24-2012, 09:35 PM
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y272/Glensgages/football/RoethlisbergerArians.jpg

"... what's a 'fullback' ???"

Bayz101
05-24-2012, 09:39 PM
:rofl:

Hawaii 5-0
05-25-2012, 02:00 AM
Steelers offense is under construction

May 24, 2012
By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Todd Haley already has answered questions about his offense without ever speaking a word publicly. There will be a fullback, there will be more passes thrown to backs, there will be an increased devotion to the running game, including in practices, and there will be a greater attempt to keep Ben Roethlisberger out of harms way.

Two practices into the month-long spring drills and players are revealing more and more about their new offense. Isaac Redman is the latest to do so; the presumptive starting halfback announced Wednesday that tight end David Johnson, who sometimes acted like a fullback in Bruce Arians' offense, has been switched to fullback fulltime.

"Yeah, there's a fullback in the offense," Redman said. "They moved David Johnson over to fullback. He's not a tight end anymore, he's strictly a fullback now."

There's even another officially listed fullback on the roster, West Virginia's Will Johnson.

While Johnson's move might sound as though it's merely a name change because he likely played fullback more often than he did tight end, the switch means something.

"That's going to help develop him," Redman said, "now that he's in our meeting rooms and being able to see what type of blocks that we have, and what type of blocks that we want from him. Instead of him being a tight end in the tight-end room and kind of doing fullback as a second job, he's strictly focusing on fullback. I think that will help him a lot."

What that means in terms of roster makeup -- two tight ends, one fullback instead of three and zero, or one fewer halfback? -- has not yet been determined, or at least revealed publicly. What it means in terms of philosophy is simple: The Steelers want a better running game that also will help their play-action passing game.

They would not appear to be dealing from strength in that matter since their horse of the past three seasons, Rashard Mendenhall, had ACL surgery in January.

But Redman and coach Mike Tomlin, among others, believe they have enough quality and quantity at halfback to make it go.

Redman will start, barring unforeseen circumstances. The others include Jonathan Dwyer, John Clay, Baron Batch and rookie Chris Rainey.

"I like all the men," Tomlin said in March, while addressing the backfield. "When given the opportunity, they've all shown that they are capable of being reasons why we win ... Isaac Redman has proven that he is a legitimate NFL running back. He is not an unknown commodity. Jonathan Dwyer has been in our program for a number of years now. He had a 100-yard game a year ago. We all are excited about Baron Batch ... John Clay got an opportunity, and all he did was score the first time he touched the ball in the NFL."

None, though, has done it on a fulltime basis in the NFL.

Redman, undrafted from Bowie State in 2009 when he was on and off the practice squad but never the 53-man roster, more than doubled his '10 rushing attempts to 110 last season. That comes to almost seven per game. Mendenhall averaged more than 20 carries in '10.

Redman said he is "getting ready to carry this load if that's what they want me to do ... Just trying to make sure I'm in tip-top shape to be called on 20-25 times a game, which I know I can handle."

He may not have to do that. Haley might have a different philosophy on using his backs, splitting things up rather than giving 300 carries to one.

But, "We kind of emphasize getting the ball to the running backs a little more this year," Redman said. "We'll see how that goes ...

"We're definitely eager to see how this thing is going to go and how the running game is going to work out. It's tough on everybody to learn a new offense and to learn a new system and new verbiage. We're just trying to get the hang of it ... This new offense is supposed to be easier on the offensive line, and we have a couple of new O-linemen coming in, so hopefully that will open it up."

Mendenhall running, but ...
Mendenhall has been on the field running in practices and said his repaired ACL is doing well.

"Everything's gotten a lot better. It's been healing well, there are no setbacks, I'm feeling great ... I talked to a lot of guys who have been through this. The way I feel now, the way it's been healing, the way I take care of my body, I'm not worried at all."

The Steelers' first-round draft choice in '08, Mendenhall's injury occurred in the final regular-season game in Cleveland last season, which ended a disappointing year for him. He missed one other game with an injury and finished with 928 yards rushing, his lowest total in his three otherwise healthy seasons after he missed most of his rookie year with a broken shoulder.

This is the final year of his contract, usually one that would involve negotiations on an extension.

With the injury and unknown status entering the '12 season, no talks are known to have taken place.

Mendenhall said there is no timetable on his return to the team.

Doctors told him recovery could be anywhere from six to 12 months. General manager Kevin Colbert said in March that Mendenhall likely would open on the physically unable to perform list.

"I haven't really thought about anything like that," Mendenhall said.

"I just focus on getting 100 percent."

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sports/steelers/steelers-offense-is-under-construction-637341/?p=0

FrancoLambert
05-25-2012, 09:11 AM
Can't resist piling on my favorite tackling dummy.
I loved reading this quote:
"David Johnson is no longer considered a tight end." :applaudit:

How long before we hear "he's no longer considered a fullback." :doh:

Hawaii 5-0
05-29-2012, 04:14 PM
Steelers Officially Have FB, Running Game to Follow, Right? Right!

Posted on May 29, 2012 by ryan

I think it’s sweet, all this talk about the return of the fullback to the Steelers’ offense, and even the mention of getting reacquainted with the running game. But let’s not all hop into the way-back machine at once because none of this means that Pittsburgh’s going to run the ball a lot more than they have in recent seasons.

I talked to Joel Thurmond and Andy Benoit about it in recent podcasts and the thinking about what we can expect in 2012 is some variation of “Haley will fit his scheme to the players,” which is another way of saying “It’s not unreasonable to think that the Steelers will throw almost as much as they did in previous seasons with Bruce Arians calling the plays.”

Conventional wisdom seems to embrace the notion that Haley, on upper management’s edict, will commit to the running game in an effort to keep Big Ben upright. The problem with this logic: Ben’s style of play lends itself to a lot of hits and running the ball won’t magically make up for that. But there are ways to keep things humming along while minimizing the weekly beatings Big Ben endures.

First, take a look at this: a table of the offenses under Haley in Arizona and Kansas City compared to the Steelers in the same seasons.

FYI: these numbers are courtesy of Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Sack Rate metric (ASR below). Also: SACK is ‘sack rank’, SACKS is ‘No. of sacks that season’, and %PASS is how often a team threw the ball.

2007
TEAM SACK SACKS ASR %PASS
ARI 9 24 4.7% 60%
PIT 31 47 10.1% 49%

2008
TEAM SACK SACKS ASR %PASS
ARI 8 28 4.4% 66%
PIT 29 50 9.2% 55%

2009
TEAM SACK SACKS ASR %PASS
KC 25 46 7.8% 58%
PIT 28 50 8.5% 58%

2010
TEAM SACK SACKS ASR %PASS
KC 18 32 6.8% 48%
PIT 29 43 8.6% 53%

2011
TEAM SACK SACKS ASR %PASS
KC 19 34 7.1% 53%
PIT 20 42 7.2% 57%

One takeaway? Benoit mentioned it in the podcast, but Haley likes to use three-step drops, something that makes sense with Kurt Warner under center (and which explains the low sacks in ’07 and ’08). Roethlisberger has shown the ability to get the ball out quickly but it’s not a strength. Doesn’t mean he can’t, but honing that skill seems like more efficient way to a) mitigate hits and sacks, and b) matriculate the ball down the field instead of relying on the running game.

And while the Steelers put the ball in the air more than 55 percent of the time in three of the previous five seasons, Haley was happy to throw with Warner, but more conservative with Matt Cassel in Kansas City. Partly because it was Matt Cassel, but also because the Chiefs had Jamaal Charles.

So what does this mean for Pittsburgh’s 2012 season? The boring answer: expect Haley to find a balance between the air assault in Arizona and the pass-run ratio that got Arians fired this offseason. This isn’t me backtracking on the “let’s not get carried away with the running game” chatter but to suggest that Haley will have Ben throwing it more than handing it off, just not 57 percent of the time (which was the case in ’11). Unless, of course, Roethlisberger masters that three-step drop.

http://www.steelerslounge.com/2012/05/steelers-running-game-haley-fb/#more-6844

Hawaii 5-0
05-30-2012, 11:01 PM
Steelers David Johnson enjoying move to fullback

UPDATED MAY 30, 2012

http://img3.yardbarker.com/media/e/0/e02d5450dc435835c6bc0152cb45c8b855bdc5bd/related/Pittsburgh_Steelers_Practice_77b3.jpg?stamp=133841 8444

PITTSBURGH (AP)
When the Pittsburgh Steelers asked David Johnson to convert from tight end to fullback full-time in time for the 2012 season, the burly 270-pound Johnson's first thought was ''I need to go on a diet.''

A couple months and 20 pounds later, Johnson is embracing a move that could extend the former seventh-round pick's NFL career indefinitely.

To be honest, the decision came as a bit of relief for Johnson. He spent last season meeting and practicing with the tight ends all week only to be thrown into the backfield as a lead blocker in goal line situations with little preparation.

''Last year, he was just trying to hit it on the fly,'' tight end Heath Miller said.

Now Johnson - who will keep the No. 85 - sits in meetings trying to absorb as much of new offensive coordinator Todd Haley's playbook as he can while getting a feel for what his role will look like when the season starts in September.

''It's actually a little bit easier,'' Johnson said. ''That's all I've got to learn now is fullback. At first I had to know both tight end positions and fullback. Now I just focus on fullback and just create my better habits on that and become the best at it.''

The position, once a mainstay, has been phased out by most teams in favor of three-receiver sets even in Pittsburgh. The spot has been vacant since Dan Kreider left the team following the 2007 season as former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians opted for a more pass-heavy attack.

While Haley still plans to let quarterback Ben Roethlisberger do his thing, he also wants to give Pittsburgh's running game a physical presence it has lacked at times since Jerome Bettis' retirement following the 2005 season.

Haley utilized a fullback expertly while head coach Kansas City from 2009-11. Tim Castille helped pave the way for the Chiefs to lead the NFL in rushing while winning an unlikely AFC West title in 2010. The team then signed Le'Ron McClain last season, with the former All-Pro keeping Kansas City productive despite a rash of injuries.

Johnson will try to do the same for a backfield missing Rashard Mendenhall, who remains out indefinitely as he comes back from a torn ACL in his right knee.

Isaac Redman will get the first crack at replacing Mendenhall. He ran for an eye-opening 121 yards in a Wild Card playoff loss to Denver, some of the yards coming with Johnson smashing into linebackers.

Hey, it beats Johnson's old job, when he would try to ward off 300-pound defensive linemen. It's more of a fair fight at fullback, and though he's trimmed down, Johnson allows he's ''still pretty big.''

And not too tall. At 6-foot-2, Johnson is short enough where leverage won't be an issue. Part of his job description is to pick a target in front of him and get low. Not a problem for a player Miller considers one of the better athletes on the team.

Johnson hopes his willingness to take on the position and his soft hands will still make him a threat when he's not sticking his helmet into tight places. He caught 12 passes for 91 yards and a touchdown a year ago.

Haley's system gives his backs chances to catch the ball. McClain hauled in 14 passes for Kansas City last year and Castille grabbed 10 in 2010.

Those numbers are fine by Johnson, who doesn't expect to be handed the ball by Roethlisberger. Johnson's last carry as a running back came during Pop Warner.

''I'm OK if I get a couple of passes in the flat,'' he said.

Anything to stay on the team. Johnson knew his role as the team's No. 2 tight end behind Miller was in jeopardy after the rise of rookie Weslye Saunders last season and the signing of veteran Leonard Pope.

He accepted the move with open arms, knowing being more versatile can only help him stick around.

Besides, being a fullback may be the quickest way to the Pro Bowl. Though the position is increasingly rare, the best at it still earn a trip to Hawaii at the end of the season.

Johnson doesn't see why he can't find his way there next January if the Steelers aren't in the Super Bowl.

''I hope so,'' he said with a laugh.

http://network.yardbarker.com/nfl/article_external/steelers_david_johnson_enjoying_move_to_fullback/10907033