Redskins Training Camp Preview: Fullback
Today we continue our annual survey of the Redskins roster, seeking to determine which players are most likely to make the final 2013 team and which are not. We will look at every position on the roster and today we cover fullbacks.
ON THE ROSTER: Eric Kettani, Darrel Young
STARTER: Darrel Young
ON THE BUBBLE: Eric Kettani
ANALYSIS: Like the tailback position, fullback has a well-established stater who, barring injury, whose place in the starting lineup is not seriously threatened by anyone on the roster. However, while the backups behind Alfred Morris are completely in flux and set for perhaps the best battles of the training camp and preseason, the real question at fullback is whether or not the Redskins will bother with any backups.
In 2012 Young held down the fullback position by himself and did quite well. Young averaged 4.3 yards per carry on 14 carries in 2012 and caught eight passes for 109 yards and 2 TD. In fact, his 13.6 yards per reception — most of it coming after the catch — indicates the Redskins probably should have thrown to Young more often. Of his eight catches, four went for at least 15 yards and two went for at least 24 yards.
In fact, I had Young down for only one poor game in 2012 — the overtime win over Baltimore, when I thought his run blocking was insufficient, particularly by his standards. Otherwise, Young was one of the most solid and consistent parts of a first-rate NFL offense last year. He was terrific in both wins over Dallas and had a big game in the win over the New York Giants on Monday night — probably his best game of the year.
The Redskins rewarded Young last March with a new three year contract with a $1 million signing bonus and an overall value of as much as $6.2 million. The 26-year-old from Villanova remains one of the coaching staff’s favorite players and if he’s healthy the starting job is his without question.
The issue for U.S. Navy Lieutenant Eric Kettani, a 26-year-old who came into the league as an undrafted free agent signed and subsequently cut by the New England Patriots, is whether or not the Redskins will keep more than one fullback. They didn’t last year and there is no reason to assume they will change that this year. Kettani must make the Redskins change their minds about keeping a backup by outplaying guys at tight end, particularly Logan Paulsen, who played some in the backfield last year and would probably have stepped in for Young had the starter missed time due to injury. So Kettani would probably have to outplay Paulsen in preseason or take advantage of an injury to Paulsen. The latter seems more likely since Paulsen is a very solid blocker who knows precisely what he needs to do to stay on the team. In addition, Paulsen, like Young, received a new contract and is considered a key role player on the team.
PREDICTION: Young wins the starting job, of course, and Kettani is cut, as the Redskins go with one fullback.