One of the biggest criticisms that former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians received from the fan base during his time in Pittsburgh was that he didn\’t use a true fullback and instead opted to use h-back David Johnson at times in a fullback type role as well as two and three tight end sets.
Now that Todd Haley has arrived as the new offensive coordinator we still do not have any clarity whether or not he will use a traditional fullback in his offense, but if it were up to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, he won\’t.
Roethlisberger recently sat down with Bob Pompeani from KDKA for a one-on-one interview and he was asked to give his thoughts about the Steelers needing to use a fullback, to which Roethlisberger replied, “I don\’t know if you need a fullback if you\’ve got a tailback that can pound the ball. I think last year we only missed one 4th and 1, and 3rd and short, and 4th and short we got almost every single one of them. That\’s because we had a big pounding back and I think if you have that you don\’t need a fullback.”
Now Roethlisberger has commented quite a bit on what he hopes Haley does and doesn\’t do with the offense since he was introduced as the new offensive coordinator. In all likelihood I think it is going in one ear and out the other of Haley though. That being said I have been on the same side of the fence as Roethlisberger is when it comes to a fullback. That angers many I know, but I would much rather have a second pass catching tight end on the field instead, especially if he can serve as an h-back in certain formations. Sorry folks, the Dan Kreider days are over.
As we sit here in early April the Steelers have yet to add a true fullback to the roster, but they have added another h-back in the form of Will Johnson, who certainly shows some promise on tape. They also tendered Johnson, who is a restricted free agent, as well and it looks certain that he will be fighting for a spot on the 53 man roster this year. The Steelers are unlikely to spend a draft pick on a true fullback, so it seems that Roethlisberger will get his wish in 2012. I for one am fine with that.
The fullback position was not the only thing that Roethlisberger discussed with Pompeani, but it is one of the things that stuck out to me in the interview. You can read more here.