Neil’s NFL Daily: Tuesday, June 11
After passing judgement on Tim Tebow's move to New England, Neil Hornsby gets down to some fullback news.
Neil’s NFL Daily: Tuesday, June 11
It’s becoming something of a habit — me thanking other PFF staffers for standing in, but the body is becoming old and frail, and the constitution of Peter King I do not have. So thanks to Steve Palazzolo for his excellent work yesterday in talking you through the Gabe Carimi pick up by the Bucs and Ahmad Bradshaw’s expected impact in Indy (if he actually ever signs that is).
Just as we all remember where we are when certain historic things happen (I for example was in a swimming pool queue with my kids when I heard Princess Diana had died), perhaps I’ll remember I was on a plane, ironically on my way to Boston, when I heard Tim Tebow had signed with the Patriots. A clever move or a needless extravagance? Let’s discuss.
Tuesday, June 11th
Patriots Take Tim Tebow
I did think about apologizing to you readers for doing this — spending 200-ish words on a third-string QB that is — but then I realized this is ProFootballFocus.com. We spent more time yesterday discussing the trade of a backup guard, and on Saturday talking about some undrafted Jaguars, than we will on Tebow today, so don’t go all Django Unchained on me, OK?
Let me be clear, as more of a Tebow fan than most, I really can’t see the point here. What can Tebow do? He can throw a reasonably accurate deep ball and run the read-option. What does he struggle with? Accuracy under 20 yards. What does New England do on offense? Well, you get the point.
I didn’t go as far as begging the Seahawks to take Tebow instead of Brady Quinn when they were looking for a replacement for Matt Flynn, but at least that would have been vaguely logical. In my opinion, having a guy who can run the read-option as a backup in a team that likely will utilize it, even if he struggles to throw, is a far better option than a quarterback whose QB rating under pressure is 3.2 (as Quinn’s is). However, for the Patriots, while I know Bill Belichick will manage the distraction well, this move doesn’t pass my risk/reward test.
Fullbacks in the News
Three fullback’s came across my radar yesterday, but only one is going to be happy about it. Firstly, the Bears were forced to let the promising Evan Rodriguez walk after a couple of off-the-field incidents this year. The 2012 rookie started last season extremely well, particularly in his role as a lead blocker — he did hit a couple of minor bumps midseason (including dropping the only pass thrown his way against Arizona), but ended with a decent showing at Detroit. It’s a shame as I was looking forward to seeing his development, but one man’s trash is another man’s treasure and Chicago replaced him with Tony Fiammetta. On-field it’s a downgrade for the Bears, because while Fiammetta has played well on occasion you have to go back to the latter part of 2010 to see it. He struggled with concussion last year and in his last significant action for Dallas in 2011, at Tampa Bay, Ronde Barber in particular gave him a real working over.
Finally, it appears Vonta Leach may be on his way out of Baltimore. I don’t know what sort of salary reduction they had in mind from his $3m base, but for a guy who played 41% of snaps I may well have taken it. That’s hard on Leach, who was by some margin the best lead blocker in the NFL, but it’s also an indictment of both the nature of the fullback role in the NFL and the offense Jim Caldwell is likely to run. For those Ravens fans who can’t remember, in Indianapolis Caldwell was so unimpressed by the position, if he needed one, he used defensive tackle Eric Foster in the backfield. Now, no one is suggesting he’s going back to that level, indeed once Caldwell took over last year (ignoring Week 17 when no starters played that much) Leach’s snaps only dropped from 47% to 39%, which may well have been the number for 2013.
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Neil Hornsby | PFF Founder
Neil founded PFF in 2006 and is currently responsible for the service to the company's 22 NFL team customers. He is constantly developing new insights into the game and player performance.