Packers Training Camp: A New Fullback Era In Green Bay?

Since 2006, the Packers haven’t had the luxury of a Fullback capable of being a viable blocker who is able to pave the road for the running game while at the same time providing that little extra in blocking for the passing game.

They have longed for a competent and capable every-down receiving threat out of the backfield to break up the coverage schemes of defenses league-wide.

They wait for that one player who is going to step up, and reintroduce some good old-fashioned smash mouth football that only a fullback can provide where a tailback cannot.

This year, that could very well change, and the Packers may have exactly the caliber of player they have been looking for.

Last year, the tandem of both Korey Hall and John Kuhn provided a competent attack both in the air and on the ground in situational play for the Packers. They gave the passing game a lot of help in the blocking department.

Korey Hall, who battled a knee injury for four weeks at the beginning of the season, afforded the Packers 38 yards on seven passes with a single touchdown, but was never used in the running game. Even so, Hall was considered a dependable receiving threat just enough for defensive coordinators to take him into consideration.

John Kuhn, who didn’t even see action until week seven against the Colts, finished the year with 21 yards on seven receptions and two touchdowns, alongside 10 yards on eight carries with a single touchdown.
But this isn’t the type of threat the Packers can take advantage of for 16 games.

Enter recently-signed Quinn Johnson, and suddenly we see a possible change in the landscape at a position that is often overlooked but rarely forgotten.

Quinn is known for his smash-mouth style lead blocking skills that the Packers have desperately salivated for in recent years, and they may just have what they are looking for.

At LSU, Johnson was almost exclusively used for his penchant for blocking and, on occasion, utilized for his wonderful ability as a backfield receiving option. When one sits back and ponders, they beg the question: Is this the guy?

Johnson has tremendous size and bulk. He’s considered a premier and dominant lead blocker which could help to improve upon Grant’s 3.9 yards per carry from a year ago.

Johnson is a very physical and aggressive back who also has a huge upside as a special teams candidate which always bodes well for a rookie.

So with all of this said, how do we go through the mire of fullbacks competing in training camp? Just how does the team decide, outside of individual performance, who’s the best fit?

Hall provided an ample, sometimes average, 2008 performance. Unless he steps up his game this year, chances are he could be the odd man out.

Aside from his lack of running ability, a knee injury for a fullback is not something any team wants to take a chance on, even if he did recover.

Kuhn, on the other hand, made a name for himself by becoming a reliable short yardage back in crucial situations for the Packers; I suppose it also helps to have his friend Rob Davis in the front office.
But the Packers never went to him all that much as a viable receiving back. Rather, they leaned on Hall for that.

Kuhn has the better chance of being retained by the team in the long run, which opens up the door for Quinn.

Sometimes, decisions work themselves out.

This is, of course, my take and pure speculation, but I also feel it is the best course of action if Johnson can prove himself, and one of the biggest humps to get over is pass protection as a rookie fullback.
Did I mention he was almost exclusively utilized for that at LSU?

But wait—there’s more!

We haven’t considered an option which—albeit rare—is another possibility: what if the Packers sported a roster with three fullbacks?

Now, things get interesting.

The Packers are already fast becoming a team built around sick and crazy potential depth that makes their “B squad” look more like an 8-8 starting team in the NFL, so why not continue on with this trend where it really counts—the trench soldier.

Imagine an already bolstered depth chart with the receivers. Now you add that same type of depth at fullback? I, for one, think it could speak volumes of things to come if it works.

William Henderson was a household name a couple of years ago. If the Packers can utilize and harness the talent and physicality of Johnson while preserving the blocking skills and situational offensive threat in Hall and Kuhn, the team will undoubtedly add yet another dimension to a rapidly emerging intimidating offense that will quite frankly be able to take on any defense.

And who said training camp isn’t fun?


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3 Responses to “Packers Training Camp: A New Fullback Era In Green Bay?”

  1. Peter says:

    . Nobody says, “Our season went to hell when we lost our fullback.”

    When with the strongest trenchmen. That’s football.

  2. Jim Bush says:

    Finally; at last, a return to the “glory days” of Packer physical football….when players had the tough mentality….it’s exciting to think about a stable of fullbacks that can flatten DE’s and LB’s to open lanes for the RB’s…..that possiblity opens many pleasant thoughts..especially when playing against the Vi-Queens “formidable front?”…..Go Pack!!!

  3. John Zoul says:

    Quinn Johnson, currently is third on the depth chart. This is probably a result of working on learning the playbook (a work-in-progress). He’s proclaimed to be a “stud hoss” of a blocker. More like a linebacker than a fullback. Kuhn and Hall have each been adequate at fullback since the release of Henderson a few years ago. The jury is still out on Johnson. I’m certain he makes the team. he may not start this year. I like the idea of retaining all three players. Am not so certain that TT and MM feel the same way.

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