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Thread: David Johnson is your new Steelers full time Fullback

  1. #31
    Legend hawaiiansteel's Avatar
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    Fullback Is Nothing New For David Johnson & His Position Switch Is Not Surprising

    Thursday, May 24th, 2012 by Dave Bryan



    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/ar...ising/10864427

  2. #32
    Legend RuthlessBurgher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBR96A View Post
    Wouldn't this necessitate a number change? You can't wear #85 if you're a FB. Maybe he'll have to switch to #35 or #45.
    Gosh-darn-it!!! Just when he was ready to make the all-too-popular transition from Johnson to Ochocinco too.


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  3. #33
    Hall of Famer Djfan's Avatar
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    Good article, Hawaiian. Nice find.

    I hope that the skill set of the players dictates the style, not the trend of the league. I think the guy has the tools. Maybe he needs coaching? He's clearly a load of a man. Hit the hole and level someone. Even if it takes you out of the play, you moved one guy. That's 1-3 more yards for the ball carrier.

    Let's hope. I'm pulling for him. Coach him, Haley!
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  4. #34
    Legend fordfixer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher View Post
    Gosh-darn-it!!! Just when he was ready to make the all-too-popular transition from Johnson to Ochocinco too.
    He could still change his name to "Sir Wiff Alot"

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  5. #35
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    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/...on-637341/?p=0

  6. #36
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    I leave the country and go to England for the week and you guys let this crap happen. The idea is to get rid of Johnson nor change his position. He sucks everywhere!!!
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  7. #37
    Legend hawaiiansteel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBR96A View Post
    Wouldn't this necessitate a number change? You can't wear #85 if you're a FB. Maybe he'll have to switch to #35 or #45.
    oh no, what will both of the Steelers fans who bought DJ's #85 jersey do now?

  8. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel View Post
    Steelers offense is under construction

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



    "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."

    http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/...on-637341/?p=0
    If David Johnson did as well blocking from the fullback position, as he did, with what seems to be little or no practice to do it, as Redman indicates; then I am very encouraged about what type of FB DJ could become. The board gets on a guy, like DJ and it can be relentless and completely lacking in perspective. This junk about how he whiffed on half his blocks is complete fiction. He figured it out pretty well and did a solid job leading the runner and had some key blocks where he freed Mendenhall or Redman for nice gains. So I see the spirit and fire in Johnson and that is why I support him. With full time focus on FB, I think he will deliver some true kayo kind of blocks. I am not discounting Will Johnson, who is probably a better offensive player, but DJ will indubitably be the better blocker.

  9. #39
    Legend hawaiiansteel's Avatar
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    Interesting Developments: Steelers Johnson Named As A TE

    Aug 8th, 2012 by CraigSteelers



    When the Steelers signed Leonard Pope to a contract during the offseason and then drafted David Paulson in the draft, I was pretty certain that David Johnson would be named the team’s fullback. He was… but then Mike Tomlin pulled a bit of the ol’ switcharoo when announced that Johnson would be back at playing his dual role as FB/TE. And, with that announcement brings even more uncertainty to an already crowded position for the Steelers.

    The Steelers haven’t had a ‘real’ fullback since Dan Kreider in 2007. Underutilized with the arrival of Bruce Arians, Kreider was quickly dismissed and was picked up by the Rams and then finished his career in Arizona. David Johnson joined the team as a 7th rounder in 2009. Johnson quickly began playing a dual role as TE and FB. Seemingly a better blocker after getting a head of steam, Johnson appeared more comfortable in the FB position. In May of this year, the coaching staff said that Johnson would be playing fullback in the upcoming season. That was good news for Johnson, and I for one was excited for the change. I liked Johnson – quiet but a continually hard worker throughout the season – and did not want to see him fall victim to elimination by numbers.

    It only took less than three months of a few OTA’s, mini-camps and two weeks of camp for Johnson to get moved back to the dual role. Ok so it’s not 100% official, but Tomlin said that Johnson would be taking significant reps at TE when the team returned from Philly. I don’t think this is ‘bad news’ for Johnson. I’m sure he’s been doing just fine at FB. I think what it really means is that this is code from Tomlin stating that he’s not happy with his other tight ends. Putting Johnson back at TE puts pressure on the others already there – would the team really carry 4 TE’s or more? Doubtful.

    So who’s the one not stepping up? Heath Miller? Are you kidding? Newly acquired Leonard Pope? Suspended Wesley Saunders? Or is the rookie, David Paulson, out of Oregon already blowing it? My money is on the uncertainty of Saunders state of readiness when he returns from a four game suspension. He was an undrafted FA last season and had yet to really impress. He could be on a short leash when he returns. The team may be getting Johnson ready for the possibility of playing TE either until Saunders returns, or that Saunders absence becomes a permanent one. David Paulson is probably safe for at least this year until he can develop during his rookie season. Leonard doesn’t seem to be the right choice in this mix of ‘who’s it gonna be?’ because he’s come straight from Todd Haley’s system over in Kansas City.

    I still believe that Johnson will ultimately get to play FB and only FB for the majority of the season. The Steelers, as in Steeler fashion, are just doing a bit of CYA in case they can’t get three strong TE’s within the first few weeks of the season.

    http://nicepickcowher.com/2012/08/08...named-as-a-te/

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