“Go Get A Real Fullback”

March 31st, 2020

Bucs coach Bruce Arians.

It is naive to think when Tom Brady interviewed Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht and Bucs coach Bucco Bruce Arians two weeks ago, that the three did not discuss how Arians may adjust his offense to accommodate the six-time Super Bowl winner.

What Joe would like to know — and we will find out when/if the 2020 season kicks off — if Arians breaks a solemn oath “never” to have a fullback on the roster.

If the Bucs want to get the most of their new quarterback, Pat Kirwan hinted Arians may want to call a priest, ask for forgiveness for his sins, and beg Licht to sign a fullback.

Kirwan, a former Bucs scout (he famously turned in the draft card to select Bo Jackson) who later became a Jets linebacker coach and eventually the team’s pro player personnel director, said recently on his wonderful national radio show “Movin’ the Chains,” heard exclusively on SiriusXM NFL Radio, believes Arians may want to (finally) embrace a fullback to get the most out of Brady.

Arians has famously said he doesn’t believe in a full-time fullback. In fact, his “Football Life” documentary on NFL Network had a clip of Arians talking about being part of a Super Bowl victory parade in Pittsburgh when he was the Steelers’ offensive coordinator.

Arians chuckled when telling the story of how Steelers fans screamed at him when he rode by on a float, “Go get a fullback” and Arians hollered back “Never!”

Kirwan said that ought to change this fall.

Arians has said that his offense is not that much different than what Brady used in New England. Kirwan did some research and agreed with Arians, with the exception of one element: 21-personnel, meaning using a fullback.

“It’s what we call ‘regular,’ with a fullback in the game,” Kirwan said. The Bucs “were only [in 21-personnel] two percent of [the time] last year. Tom was almost 20 percent.”

Kirwan added that was the only big difference he saw between what Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels used in personnel groupings compared to Arians last season.

“I would say that [the Bucs] are going to look at this fullback world and think about the things Tom does from there play-action-wise,” Kirwan said. “And the way [Brady can] handle having a fullback and the way he likes having one. How hard is it to go get a fullback?

“So there is where I think there will be a bit of modification to make the two worlds meet: Tom’s world and Tampa’s world and it is no big deal between the head coach and the coordinator. When [the Bucs] go back and look at that reel of when their fullback is in the game in New England, they are going to like a lot of the stuff they see. And how hard is that to put in?”

One thing that Kirwan thought would be ridiculous is for the Bucs to misuse one of their talented tight ends as a blocking fullback.

“It’s not a place where I put O.J. Howard in at fullback!” Kirwan barked. “No more playing games. Go get a real fullback. He will play all the special teams. And get your 21-personnel up from 2 percent to maybe 15 or 20 percent range. I think that can happen and should happen.”

Joe wonders if Arians has designs on trying to turn Antony Auclair into a fullback? The third-string tight end, 6-6, 256, is a damn good blocker and a solid special teams guy. Can he catch and run well enough to be used as a fullback for Brady to throw to?

Joe cannot answer that but Kirwan does have a point. And fullbacks are cheap as well. Basically it boils down to this: Does Arians want to contend for a Super Bowl bad enough that he can hold his nose and not stomp his feet if Licht signs a fullback?

50 Responses to ““Go Get A Real Fullback””

  1. Craig Says:

    I think Auclair would make a decent fullback.

  2. Casual Observer Says:

    Boston College has a fine fullback. Draft in round 3+?

  3. Countrybrew Says:

    A.J Dillon out of Boston reminds me of Alstot 🤔 and should be available in rounds 4-5.

  4. unbelievable Says:

    I agree with him.

    I’ve been sick of watching our TEs try (and fail) as fullbacks / blockers.

  5. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Bingo Craig, Auclair or Vita Vea.

  6. SirClicksAlot Says:

    Auclair is great on the line but is too big to play FB. I like the idea of adding a blocking back but only if he has great hands and some route-running skills. This offense doesn’t need a pure blocker in the backfield.

  7. Jean Lafitte Says:

    A.J. Dillon in the 3rd round

  8. Jean Lafitte Says:

    He can catch and block.

  9. Frankinthe813 Says:

    Vita Vea is our fullback

  10. Leighroy Says:

    Maybe not a full time guy but find ways to use more of who we have? I’d love to see Vita Vea get more snaps at fullback in the goal line and short yardage situations. Maybe use Auclair as more of an H-back…

    Beyond that, I’m skeptical that either Arians or Licht can find a FB and use him as extensively as Kirwan suggests, whether TB wants it or not. Dan Vitale and Joey Iosefa certainly never stuck even w Koetter, and Arians is more allergic to FBs than Dirk.

  11. Nick2 Says:

    He might be the first 6’6″ fullback to ever play the game but I like Auclair as a blocker. Might need a true fullback so he can be a little more low to the ground with some of those edge rushers diving at Bradys legs. For some reason I picture the whole NFC South and their D Coordinators scheming to get knock Brady out. Thankfully Greg Williams is no longer in New Orleans.

  12. Chesapeake Bucco Says:

    Joe, define what the role of a FB would be? To block for Brady in passing downs? Don’t need a FB for that, you can use the larger/tougher RB on the roster. Most teams that use a FB and they are few, is to lead block for a fast runner, especially in short yardage situations. BA doesn’t like a FB because a FB is not used that much; has a limited role; and takes one more target for the QB to throw in the spread offense. Sure, you can throw a screen to a FB, but that is unusual and gets limited use. Don’t think we need or BA will get one.

  13. Owlykat Says:

    A. J. Dillon is not just a blocker. He can run the ball (remember Alstott) and he can catch the ball out of the backfield. Last year it was a bad struggle for the Bucs on third and short. A. J. Dillon will fix that and he can also be used 20 percent of the time with what Brady is used to. In the red zone just bring in Vea to block for Dillon and the Defense will have to adjust by going all in to stop the run exposing the end zone for Easy Pickings for Brady to pass for TDS. That is exactly why my mock drafts all include obtaining Dillon! I also know BA wants a new third down back at a time there are more shrimp size highly touted RBs than ever before, and none of them will be able to keep Brady standing when he is blitzed on third downs—and precisely why we need Dillon then. Much later in the draft there will still be explosive smaller RBs who can be picked up then and can also catch passes, such as RB Lamical Perine, which has also been in all my mock drafts too. Let all the chumps waste high picks on Akers, Swift, Dobbins, and Edwards Helaire’s. Taylor is going in the first round when we need to get a top OT, so he is out too.

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    Agree with those who say Auclair is just too tall to be a good fullback. We need a bowling ball for that role; someone’s who’ll drive whoever’s trying to fill the hole backwards and onto his arse.

    AJ Dillon (6′ & 245 lbs) is almost exactly the same size as A-Train was (6’1″ & 248 lbs) and close to the same size as one of the best FBs ever … Lorenzo Neal (5’11” & 255 lbs). Guys like that become beasts. In his 16-year career, Neal only had 226 TOTAL carries (like less than 1 carry per game?). And yet, he made the Pro Bowl in 4 of his last 7 years, and 1st Team All-Pro twice. After his rookie season, he only missed 3 games in those 15 years. THAT’S a BEAST! So Jason, bring one home come draft time. His name is AJ Dillon.

  15. WestChap Says:

    Doubt it. Too many weapons that have multiple ways to threaten/spread a D to take a piece out for a one dimensional FB. Besides, Tom is fine with empty… he’s not going to waste energy arguing for 2 RBs.

    More likely to see something sneaky like a running QB… keep your eye on Hurts if he’s still around after critical needs have been met.

  16. View from 132 Says:

    I think anyone that is tagged as a fullback on this team has only two options: be a folk hero on their own or never live up to Alstott’s legend. That position is like playing shortstop for the Yankees post-Jeter.

  17. Ndog Says:

    Tom Brady is getting underpaid since he was basically brought here to fix this entire team, playbook, attitude, personnel, culture, etc…

  18. AJ Says:

    Please….we are going to take a top 5 offense. Stick the GOAT QB in the lineup. And then bog it down with a Fullback. I don’t think so…

  19. Will Says:

    For the Love of God I hope Licht and BA read this stuff. AJ Dillon should be one of our picks this draft. BA can even say he still didn’t go get a fullback because Dillon has decent speed and can be used for more than your traditional full back. The kid is a mix of Alstot, Blount and Henry. The mock draft that had us getting him and Akers was great but I don’t see Dillon lasting till round 6.

  20. Bucsfan951 Says:

    To be honest, Ndogg, Brady has actually been underpaid for a very long time. From 2015-19, he averaged 14 million dollars a year.

  21. JimmyJack Says:

    I think this whole scheme fit thing is totally overblown. People just remember recent history best where Brady lived off or the short reads……….Well according to a Patriot beat writer I heard in a podcast Brady has run several different types of offensives. Likely based off personal.

    I doubt he’s trying to come in here and have Chris and Mike attack only a third of the field. Im betting he wanted to come here to run a different scheme where he can air it out a little more. And I bet that’s why he didn’t go to Indy or Tennessee. He wants to run something similar to what Arians does. I’m sure he’ll make some changes and tweaks……I don’t think he’s wanting to get hit as much as we saw last year……….But if what Tom wanted was to run 2019s Pat’s offense with a full back why the freak did he choose the Bucs? Naaah…..He’s wanting to run a potential offense. That’s my guess.

  22. Adrnagy Says:

    Really ??
    Now the Bruce Arians offense is the same as the patriots … lol.

    Let’s say it how it is ! … Tom Brady is changing the whole offense. Which is smart. He knows Bruce offense is garbage.

    What a garbage HC and situation coming up in game times. After reading what Godwin just said about Winston makes it clear , Bruce is a two face and garbage. A lot of fans are also two face and bandwagon.

  23. Adrnagy Says:

    Fullback ?

    First TE don’t workout in “Bruce Arians offense”. Then they do. Lol

    Fullback non existing in “Bruce Arians offense”. Then they do. Lol

    Why didn’t this offense guru or so call good coach adjust aor change plays or whatever to jameis Winston ?

  24. Adrnagy Says:

    Smart of Brady … saying to himself , I can go play with Evans. Brate. Oj. Godwin also I have a HC that’s going to bend over for me to hit it
    So I can add some piece in the run game and run my Brady patriot offense.
    Hell yeah !

  25. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Yeah Ndog

    Just think Mr. “check yo sheet” wanted $30m for his BS.

  26. JimmyJack Says:

    Don’t worry Adnargy…….There’s always room for one more on the bandwagon. But sorry you have to sit below deck. The top is reserved and spoken for.

    We got a real nice chair just for you located next to the men’s room.

  27. Oneilbucs Says:

    A.J Dillon is the guy .

  28. Buccan8 Says:

    Where’s an Earnest Graham-type when you need him? Run skills of a RB, but the ego of a FB, willing to do either one—and play special teams too!

  29. Hodad Says:

    It’s hard to run spider 2 y banana without a fullback. There was a reason the 49ers ran the ball so well, they use a fullback.

  30. Bucsfanman Says:

    An Alstott-like FB would be ideal, for sure, but they are rare.
    I have been pounding my fist for a FB since forever. Want to shore up the run-game? Um, hello! Want to shore up the OL? Um, downhill blocking anyone?!
    Talk about culture change and attitude! Man please, teams don’t want to face successful downhill running teams late in games, especially if they have the lead.
    But, I know, we love our passing stats around here!

  31. Adrnagy Says:

    Again ! Your wrong. It’s not up to you to decide.
    I will never be in your two face club bandwagon.

    I got my own bandwagon. Loyal.

    JimmyJack Says:
    March 31st, 2020 at 1:19 pm
    Don’t worry Adnargy…….There’s always room for one more on the bandwagon. But sorry you have to sit below deck. The top is reserved and spoken for.

    We got a real nice chair just for you located next to the men’s room.

  32. Adrnagy Says:

    Man … I’m telling you. What two face fan are willing to do… bend over. Lol.

  33. Oneilbucs Says:

    Now we have to change everything for Brady . I guess he can’t read defenses eather . Now Bruce Arians is talking about the runningbacks but last year at this time he said he didn’t value runningbacks but now he does . He set Jamies up to fail and this is proof .

  34. Jeagan1999 Says:

    I been on the AJ Dillon bandwagon for a long time. He is a 245lb load! Kind of a Derrick Henry clone, more than a true fullback.

    Probably worth a 3-4th round pick.

  35. Adrnagy Says:

    Two face Bruce Arians

  36. Adrnagy Says:

    If we don’t go to playoff Bruce will blame it on the fans. Fans were not loud. Don’t support the team like other cities. Lol.

  37. JimmyJack Says:

    You think your loyal? You came into a article about our team and our QB talking about a non Buc player……..You might be loyal all right but it’s not to the name on the front of the jersey.

    You aren’t a Buccaneer fan. I know exactually who you are. You are a yannkee reject who hates his home team because we are different then you lod trash city you left. You aren’t fooled me for a second. I’ve seen you kind come and go a thousand times over. Your a phony and your a fake. And I wager you wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for Brady.

    That’s cool have your fun. Winning will shut you up. Always does.

  38. Cobraboy Says:

    I miss Lorenzo Neal. Now THAT was a fullback!

  39. Bucsfan951 Says:

    I swear I’m reading Adrnagy have a complete meltdown every time I read his or her posts. It’s funny but kinda sad 😳

  40. Adrnagy Says:

    Just like you. It takes one to know one. Dumbass

    JimmyJack Says:
    March 31st, 2020 at 2:24 pm
    You think your loyal? You came into a article about our team and our QB talking about a non Buc player……..You might be loyal all right but it’s not to the name on the front of the jersey.

    You aren’t a Buccaneer fan. I know exactually who you are. You are a yannkee reject who hates his home team because we are different then you lod trash city you left. You aren’t fooled me for a second. I’ve seen you kind come and go a thousand times over. Your a phony and your a fake. And I wager you wouldn’t even be here if it wasn’t for Brady.

    That’s cool have your fun. Winning will shut you up. Always does.

  41. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I have been begging for a good fullback for years. I’ve had at least one on most of my draft wishlists.

    Oh, and btw, Joe…my vote is to change the ‘Den of Depression’ to ‘The Cove of Brutality’ when the time comes.

  42. Adrnagy Says:

    You don’t know nothing. So stop crying to your mom and become a man. You and jimmy are like boys. Grow up!

    You guys think your always right.

    Bucsfan951 Says:
    March 31st, 2020 at 2:48 pm
    I swear I’m reading Adrnagy have a complete meltdown every time I read his or her posts. It’s funny but kinda sad 😳

  43. WestChap Says:

    Adrnagy, so you’re not joining the 2020 Bucs “bandwagon” ever… because you’re “loyal”… to whom? IF you’re a Bucs fan, root for the Bucs. IF you need some sort of grievance to nurse, switch to Jameis Twitter feed and begone.

    Imagine typing nonsense like “stop crying to your mom and become a man”… are you a 10 year old? Sad.

  44. Bucsfan951 Says:

    Adrnagy: *anything. You don’t know anything.
    *you’re. You guys think you’re always right.

    I hate to be the grammar nazi and all. I may know nothing and I’m sure your right tho!

  45. Jason Mclaurin Says:

    Once again I am all in for Dillion out of BC. He would be a great fit for our 3rd down and red zone offense. Ruggs, Delphit, and Dillion are the three players I’d like to see drafted. Ruggs in the first would change our returner situation. I really do feel we should trade up and draft Ruggs in the first round and then Delphit in the second round to solidify the Safety position. He will push Edwards and Whitehead. Adams will do good work as well back there. Ruggs and maybe one more speedy CB that can return as well later in the draft. If they draft a lineman it Should be late in the draft but they could really use a guard in one of the top four rounds of the draft. Find a DT and another edge later if we don’t have to trade those picks. I hope Ruggs is there when we draft I feel the 49ers are all in for Jeudy or Higgins and the Raiders are looking at edge rushers I believe. Ruggs may fall in our lap if both Kinlaw and Brown are off the board which I predict will happen. As well as a few other WR in front of Ruggs. I think we can get this draft just like this:
    1). H. Ruggs, 2). G. Delphit 3). AJ Dillion, 4) OG or pass rusher, 4) DT, 5) CB that can also return kickoffs. 6) another Pass rusher or OG

  46. Bucsfan951 Says:

    Tough talk there, my dude. I’m sorry! My mommy likes that I don’t know “nothing” and that “your” always right!

  47. jmarkbuc Says:

    Cobra

    Alstott became Alstott because of Lo Neal..

    Love that guy.

  48. geno711 Says:

    Not sure where the fullbacks playing on New England 20 percent of the time comes from. It is a pretty simple stat. New England had 2 guys that played full back last year. You can check snap counts on Pro Football Reference. They took a total of 129 snaps out of 1150 snaps for the offense. That is 11 percent. Those two guys to another 32 snaps on special teams out of 326 snaps. That is 10 percent of the time for special teams.

    Not saying that you can’t consider a fullback but that may be a luxury type of guy playing 11 percent of offensive plays and 10 percent of special teams plays.

  49. Robbie Says:

    Aj Dillon bc value pick in the 5th or 6th round

  50. Brandon Says:

    No point in a fullback if you have a TE that can perform the same tasks AND line up at TE. Joe Gibbs and Don Coryell proved this a long time ago. Fullbacks are unnecessary for an offense.