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Wednesday, August 21, 2013 6:06:35 AM(UTC)
Jason Wilde said:
GREEN BAY — From what running backs coach Alex Van Pelt said Tuesday, Green Bay Packers fans can plan on still yelling Kuuuuuuuuuuuuhn! to their hearts content this season.
While there are very few certainties when it comes to the 53-man roster, Van Pelt all but guaranteed that John Kuhn, the team's veteran fullback, will have a spot on the roster.
"You never go in without a fullback," Van Pelt said after practice Tuesday. "So even though we're more of a three-wide (receiver), two-tight end team right now, there is always a place for a fullback in this offense."
Some had suggested that the team has so many running backs — rookies Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin, incumbent starter DuJuan Harris and veteran holdovers Alex Green and James Starks — that perhaps the Packers would steal an extra running back spot on the 53-man roster by cutting Kuhn and using one of their tight ends as a lead blocker in his stead.
That's not realistic, Van Pelt said.
"I don't think you want to. Tight ends, guys can do both, but having a true fullback is definitely a benefit," Van Pelt said. Asked what situations require a fullback, Van Pelt cited goal line, short yardage, backed up situations, as well as the four-minute offense when a team in the lead tried to bleed the clock with the run late in the game.
Kuhn, 30, is entering his eighth NFL season and set to earn a base salary of $1.8 million in the final year of a three-year, $7.5 million deal he signed in 2011. While Kuhn only carried 23 times for 63 yards in the regular season last year while catching 15 passes for 148 yards, Van Pelt said no player in his room knows the offense as well as Kuhn, who is limited as a pass catcher and running threat on third down but is the team's best pass protector.
"John's been around for a long time. Obviously he can make all the calls the offensive line can make," Van Pelt said. "He's in tune with the quarterbacks and there's more value there. And once again, he is our best third-down protector. He does a great job of that. He still has a lot of value."
Wednesday, August 21, 2013 6:12:09 AM(UTC)
wow. I am surprised. First that he calls Kuhn (and I love John and his heart.) a true fullback. I always thought he was a RB who wasn't big or fast enough so they made him lineup at FB. I am also surprised that there are not 2-3 other guys who will make the team that can do what he does. He may be a better pass protector than some of them but I don't see him as being a better all around player than others.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013 6:35:31 AM(UTC)
I'm surprised too, but than again I'm not a professional NFL talent evaluator. On the flip side, the article title takes the liberty of definitively saying he is staying, while Van Pelt really only goes so far as to say that Kuhn has value in the offense. On top of that, I'm not sure Van Pelt has the final say in who stays and goes.
Wednesday, August 21, 2013 7:38:43 AM(UTC)
Wednesday, August 21, 2013 8:43:50 AM(UTC)
I can see why he stays, at least for awhile. Protecting Aaron Rodgers is paramount, and until the other running backs show that they are better than Kuhn at doing so, Kuhn's roster spot is probably safe, especially with questions along the offensive line. Also, he's a really good special teams player, knows the offense incredibly well which helps the young players, and has some utility in the offense. Overall, he contributes to the team in several ways, more so than several other players. I'm not sure any young player, especially a rookie, can fill the void Kuhn provides this season. Perhaps later in the season if there's a guy coming off the PUP list and Lacy, Franklin, et al. have really picked up the offense and pass blocking, but that's probably the only way.
It will probably be a close call, but I think Kuhn sticks around for one more season. Hopefully the younger players have grown enough to make him expendable next season (if he's even under contract then).
Wednesday, August 21, 2013 8:54:23 AM(UTC)
With the current staff in place, I don't see him going anywhere until someone else at his specific position shows enough promise in blocking and catching. Gotta love his dependability too. I know I do.
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