The AFC coaches had their yearly breakfast during the NFL meetings, and Ed B of the PPG got to sit down with Tomlin and got an earful about some things that he hasn’t talked about since the end of last season. Of course part of what he had to say was his ownership behind the Arians’ firing/Haley hiring. Tomlin may have been the one to hand the slips out, but you can’t tell me that there wasn’t some major meeting between Rooney and Tomlin that gave a ‘gentle persuasion’ for changes.
The one thing Ed pointed out that stood out to me in a big way (and quite honestly made me thank baby Jesus) was this particular nugget:
‘Haley’s new playbook will include new nomenclature the players and coaches must learn and maybe a fullback, but there will be no overhaul in the blocking schemes.’ -Ed B’s paraphrasing of Tomlin
Did you catch it? Huh huh huh? Maybe. A. FULLBACK. Like for realzzzz fullback?! Oh please oh please oh please!!! Thank you baby Jesus! (see, I told you I said that). The re-introduction of a traditional fullback would be a huge boost to this Pittsburgh running game. This would do two things – 1. Put David Johnson back into a traditional role of TE – which he is much better when blocking at the line instead of having to go get a block when put back a few feet off the line. 2. GOOD FULLBACK = SMASH MOUTH FOOTBALL. Two words – Dan Kreider. Remember those days when our running backs ran right behind the 250lb wall known as Kreider? God, I miss those days, and I am giddy just thinking about the Steelers getting a fullback like Kreider once more. As much as I would love to see Kreider himself return, he is 35 now and hasn’t played since 2009 for the Cardinals … yes one of the Pittsburgh West converts.
However, things don’t look so rosy for finding that traditional fullback. The best FB out there is Marcel Reece from Oakland. He’s been tendered by the Raiders as an exclusive free agent and can’t be signed by another team or not play in 2012. Other good fullbacks have signed with new teams or resigned, so the prospects of a good fullback don’t exist in free agency. Could be a bit risky to draft one in, but this could be the back we take instead of finding a Mendenhall replacement.
Or…. in David Johnson we trust. Time to hike up those big boy pants, Davey.