Full Back Shuffle Never Ends
By Zachary Best
The Eagles have announced that DT Dan Klecko will now be the full time full back. Tony Hunt started the season at FB, but will go back to playing his natural position, RB.
When the Eagles signed Klecko in march, the original plan was for him to be the teams full back. That experiment did not last long, and he was quickly changed to defensive tackle. Desperate for a FB, the Birds’ traded for Luke Lawton from the Colts, but he was unable to even make the final roster cuts.
In a somewhat surprising move, Andy Reid announced that RB Tony Hunt would be switched to full back only weeks prior to opening day. The problem was Hunt is not a capable lead blocker, and is just not a full back.
This lack of a true FB is a major reason why the Eagles continue to falter near the goal line in short yardage situations. When you need a tough yard, a FB is essential to help seal off defenders.
This is why I was extremely puzzled at the Eagles letting go of Jason Davis. He was the only player on the Eagles roster who actually played full back full time in college. He was not a spectacular player, but he was solid in every aspect of the position. He is certainly much better than any player on the team now.
After being released Davis was claimed off of waivers by the Chicago Bears. Letting him go looks to be a mistake that is haunting the Eagles.
There is one more option for the Birds’, and that would be to call up FB Jed Collins from the practice squad. Collins played tight end in college, but looked like a pretty good lead blocker in the preseason. I think he is still learning the position, but is much better at it than Tony Hunt or Dan Klecko. It will likely take a player landing on IR before Collins ever gets called up.
Klecko will be the FB for now, but look for Collins to be there before this season is over. Who knows, maybe the Eagles will make another surprise move for a player outside of the organization.
Maybe the Eagles should have signed Thomas Tapeh in the off season.
Welcome Back VA:
After being the best run defense in the NFL, the Eagles got ran over by the Redskins. Washington found a crack in the armour, and continued to exploit it all game. They tested the edges of the Eagles defense, and were able to have great success. The Birds’ have small defensive ends, and their bigger linebackers appear a bit slow when forced to run laterally.
Victor Abiamiri can help this issue. VA is the biggest defensive end on the roster, and based on last year the best end on the team against the run. He uses his big frame to take on blockers, and hold his ground. He fights through double teams, and can also be disruptive in the backfield. Abiamiri was slated to start at LE, until he dislocated his wrist in training camp.
Victor won’t be starting yet, and may not even get many snaps at DE at first. Jim Johnson thinks he can utilize him as a pass rusher from defensive tackle, in a similar way to how the Giants use Justin Tuck.
"“If he’s going to play, he’ll play mainly some tackle because we’ll put (fullback Dan) Klecko at offense, and he’ll play more tackle,” Johnson said. “I think because Victor came back, I think it’s a big plus for us, and that’s the reason we were able to do it. (Klecko) might still play some defense.”"
It’s great to have him back, and he should be working his way into more playing time each week. If he is able to get more reps at LE I think part of the problem with the edge rushing defense can be solved.