As Paul Kuharsky pointed out recently on his AFC South blog, the teams that play in the AFC South have committed to using a fullback this coming season. Mike Mularkey and the Jaguars are no exception. With talent like Greg Jones at the position, it makes sense to try and utilize the ex-halfback as much as possible. Unfortunately, the league passing by teams that use the fullback position. Leaving them in the dust as they pass the ball through the air.
Last year the Jaguars used a fullback on 48.3% of snaps (511 of 1058). Greg Jones was in on 38.71% of all offensive snaps last season. Brock Bolen and Montell Owens were used to a much lesser extent. Kuharsky makes the case that the teams in the AFC South need to move away from the antiquated offenses that they field. Everyone behind the Texans focuses more on the run game, and even though the Texans use the fullback position more than anyone else in the division they have a very versatile threat in the backfield in James Casey.
With a new head coach, albeit one who is committed to the run and the fullback position, will the Jaguars continue to use the fullback as much as they did in the Jack Del Rio era?
The Mularkey and Bob Bratkowski led offense is going to be more focused on options and getting the offensive attack to be more balanced than it has been in the past. This should lead to more passing to the backs. I would imagine that Jones will have to show that he is better at catching the ball than Bolen in order to keep his job. The blocking of fullbacks in Jaguars teams is highly valued and shouldn’t be overlooked. However, a need for more receiving options to help Blaine Gabbert can’t be overlooked.
It will be interesting to see the future of the position on the team after the first year of Mularkey’s time as head coach. It makes me worry that maybe Jones won’t be with the team much longer with his larger salary, aging body, and the movement toward the passing game. But if someone can integrate it will, my money’s on Mularkey.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims