To the proud franchise legacy of Dan Doornink and John L. Williams and Mack Strong and Michael Robinson, the 2016 Seahawks add well, nobody.
As of Sunday mornings second practice of training camp, the Seahawks had zero players listed as fullbacks. Brandon Cottom (listed at tight end) and Tre Madden (running back) will serve in the role when needed.
But that won’t be very often.
“It’s just that the offenses are changing with the three wide receivers and four wide receivers, its a passing game,” running backs coach Sherman Smith said. “You can run the ball without a fullback, you can find ways to run without them.”
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Smith was the teams original running back in 1976, following the lead blocking of Don Testerman, David Sims, and Doornink over the years.
“What we’ve done is our fullbacks are ex-tailbacks because we want our guys to be able to read (the defenses) like a tailback and make those adjustments,” Smith said. “We have Brandon and Tre and they’ve shown they can do that when we need it.”
The Seahawks have been among the last teams in the league to veer away from tailback use. Super Bowl winner Denver, for instance, didn’t have a fullback on the roster last season.
The Hawks, though, still ran the ball (501) more than passed (489) last season. For much of last season, they plugged in versatile Will Tukuafu at fullback, along with his part-time duties at defensive tackle. It was light duty, though.
“We don’t do a lot of that (isolation) blocking, so we don’t need a big lead blocker,” Smith said. “We need more of an athletic guy.”
Using three tight ends, too, has added point-of-attack blocking power.
“Now, with the throwing game, you can get people out of those big personnel groups so they have to put five or six DBs out there, and then you can run the ball against that,” Smith said.