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New York Giants Considering 53-Man Roster Without a Fullback: Report

July 27th, 2014 at 9:00 AM
By Dan Benton

As we've mentioned in recent days, the New York Giants have taken an interesting approach to their fullback position since the start of training camp this past Monday. And by interesting, we mean they've been nearly non-existent, with both Henry Hynoski and John Conner seeing very few reps. However, that's not to say the fullback position hasn't been scrapped all together, as the team's tight ends — yes, the tight ends — have been filling in that role.

Now, with the first fully padded practice only mere hours away, The Star-Ledger is reporting it's no fluke the tight ends have been used in place of the fullbacks as the team is strongly considering a 53-man roster without a traditional fullback.

According to multiple people within the organization who requested anonymity in order to speak freely on the matter, the Giants have informed their tight ends that there is a good possibility that a fullback won’t make the final 53-man roster — leaving all of those duties up to the tight ends. Though injuries, personnel shifts and observances in the preseason could change the team’s plans, they entered the year hoping to keep their best four tight ends and give themselves some options on cut-down day.

This drastic change in philosophy flies in the face of comments offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo made earlier this offseason when he said he was brought up in the league using the traditional fullback and that, at least in some degree, would continue to use the position.

"Henry and John have both done a nice job. We mix — we’re in and out of personnel groups and those types of things at this point," McAdoo said. "You like to use the fullback. The way I was raised, a fullback’s a big part of the things you do. Henry and John have both done a nice job so far."

While the fullback position will still exist within the offense, it just may not feature an actual fullback. Rather, as some of the tight ends alluded to prior to the start of camp, their roles will be expanded.

"The role of the tight end is to get the ball. I mean, we're a big part of this offense," Larry Donnell told "It's not like we're option No. 3 or option No. 2, we're option No. 1 most of the time. We have a lot of designed plays [for the tight end] to get the ball and make plays."

Several other tight ends on the current 90-man roster have expressed similar sentiments to Donnell, telling reporters that they may, in fact, play one of the largest and most important roles in the offense all together. And should the team eliminate their fullbacks, instead choosing to carry four tight ends, that would certainly seem to support their beliefs.


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17 Responses to “New York Giants Considering 53-Man Roster Without a Fullback: Report”

  1. Dan BentonDan Benton says:

    Wish I had gone with my gut and posted this earlier this week. Took me only two practices to realize fullback may be scrapped. They’ve seen next to no time in practice and I even told the Facebook group the other day I didn’t think they’d be keeping fullbacks.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      Reading the practice reports from OTAs until now it was clear that keeping no FBs was a possibility. We just haven’t used a FB in a traditional role much. And the single back sets using a traditional FB just never made sense to me to use in a real game. I was thinking that the performance of Cox determined if we should keep a FB but looking at the GB roster last year I see they kept only 4 RBs including Kuhn. Considering the roster crunches we could have some places I could see us doing the same should Cox not perform to level that makes us need to keep him on the 53 man roster. Plus Gaskins still has PS eligibility her so we would still have another RB ready.

  2.  William says:

    Going back to the Will Hill issue and the Raven signing… I, like a lot of us were blinded by the talent and potential of the kid on the field and wanted us to give him another pass despite the bad example for the organization.
    But, someone on this blog turned my opinion 100% by pointing out that if he can’t be trusted to be on the “field” then he can’t be on the “TEAM”. How are the Ravens missing that issue. He comes back late this year you get him in the lineup and you rely on him, his performance and give home all the first team reps and film time and build strategies around his talent meshing with others and then boom….he’s gone this time for a solid year!!! How is that worth the risk? That’s real downside for the team at all kinds of levels outside only the money issue.

    • Dan BentonDan Benton says:

      That was the exact argument I made when the Giants released him. Think of it like an injury-prone player. We all know how everyone around here hates them. How is Hill any different?

      •  William says:

        He’s actually worse because players can’t for the most part avoid injury. On the other hand you can control your Ganga intake. That’s a TEAM failure..

  3.  GOAT56 says:


    Just got caught up. I’m happy that some like F55 see my point about not keeping a FB. I just double checked on the link below and GB did only carry Kuhn as a FB last year.
    If another FB was used it was a TE. Just like how we used Pascoe we could use one of the other TEs on the roster as a true FB when needed. From all that I have read about practice and recall from watching GB 2 backs are rarely used. It’s basically a short yardage only package. But not keeping a FB does depend on Cox. I think Cox will be worth keeping but that remains to be seen. I liked what I saw from Cox in the preseason last year but he struggled to translate it into his regular season play.

    Keeping 2 FBs doesn’t make sense. There are a number of reasons why but the simplest to understand is that because not many teams use a FB, a quality one can be found on the street if needed. Maybe even the FB we cut. That’s why Conner was available last year.

    With Nassib people need to exercise some patience. Nassib is learning a new offense, yes it’s similar to his college offense but this is the NFL. With Nassib getting such minimal reps last year I see him as closer to a rookie than a 2nd year player.

    I really like our top 3 RBs. Jennings is to me in some ways like Brown because he’s an all around RB except he’s a little better overall and durable. Wilson is another player some have written off too fast. Even I have put him into a box too much. If he has learned pass blocking Wilson is also an allround RB and can be much more than just a chance of pace. Williams as I have said for months is a bigger Bradshaw. He runs with that same type of fiery. Also from the reports his skill as a receiver are similar, he can catch the ball but not a natural. Long term his skills are almost a perfect balance with Wilson’s.

    Definitely let ODB get healthy. I never thought he was a given to start even if healthy. Rookie WRs just don’t start from day 1 and with us it’s even less likely.

    •  rlhjr says:

      Jim Brown would have struggled behind some of the recent Giant offensive lines.
      We’ll never know how truly good Jacobs and Bradshaw would have been if they were not forced to take on tacklers at or behind the line of scrimmage. Please note the exception was the EW&F years.

      The key thing to watch for this preseason is the Giant offensive line getting off the ball and generating a PUSH one hopefully two yards past the line of scrimmage.
      It will also be nice to see a guard and/or tackle be able to kick out and lead a running play on occasion. And maybe the offense can run a screen using offensive linemen and not receivers as blockers.

      •  skinnydoogan says:

        I am fairly certain this years line will be light years better than the last few.

      •  fanfor55years says:

        True, but why do people understand this yet hold Eli accountable for his poor numbers over the past two years?

        The fact is that they should be singing his praises for having won two championships with what were not “great” offenses around him in either season, particularly in 2011 when he essentially carried this team to a championship.

        I think this offensive line is headed toward being a very good one. If Pugh continues improving and Mosley proves to be what I think he is, the right side of the line will be set for years. In Richburg we have a very athletic center who can pull in either direction but is also good in straight-ahead blocking (at least based upon his college career). Schwartz is an example of getting a solid player who appears to be ascending and just reaching his potential, and should be an anchor at LG for years. Beatty is a question mark, but there are early indications that he might be at least adequate this season. We eventually MUST get a very good left tackle (whether by drafting him or by getting much better play from Beatty than even that which he gave us in 2012). If we do, I think we will see this offense kick into very high gear.

        •  skinnydoogan says:

          Hopefully you are not referring to me, I dont recall ever saying Eli was to blame.

          •  fanfor55years says:

            No, I mean the legions of Eli bashers all over the world! I think most here realize that the guy was getting no help from his teammates or coaches over the past few years. There are a few Giants 101 exceptions but they are in the distinct minority.

  4.  skinnydoogan says:

    Last year had to be rock bottom.

  5.  skinnydoogan says:

    This is of course if Brewer does not somehow make it into our line up.

  6.  Krow says:

    I was musing for some time that Hillis was the most likely candidate for the suddenly “versatile” FB position.

    •  skinnydoogan says:

      I am warming up to that idea, makes a lot of sense. He brings more to the table than just a traditional FB, and he showed up at camp looking like a total beast.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      Yep, you and GOAT appear to have been right, though the team saying they’re considering this doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. It certainly is an intriguing possibility but I think it depends heavily on their determining that they have some VERY good blocking tight ends.

      One thing that this thinking tells me is that Fells and Robinson and Donnell are making the roster, and that Davis could very well make it too.

      Anyway, good on you for having been early on this one. I didn’t see it coming and actually heard otherwise from my supposedly decent team source. Shows that minor owners never know what they’re talking about.

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