Let's talk about the H-Back

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Dec 6th

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miloofcroton

On the Game Day Roster
Or F-Back or 'move tight end'... whatever you want to call it. With Develin retired and two young TEs who both seem capable in such a role, we seem to be moving back to it.

Despite the death of the fullback, it surprises me that there hasn't been a renaissance of the H-Back in the NFL. Why is it a valuable position?

1. Teams are most unpredictable out of under center formations. (Not the shotgun).
2. Running is best with a lead blocker coming roughly somewhere out of the backfield (regular I, weak I, strong I, etc)
3. The ability to move TEs around is equivalent to the ability to move LBs around in a 3-4 defense. If you can go from an I formation look, motion a guy a few feet, and suddenly you're in trips or 2 and 2 with a threat of 4 verts, that's a super powerful change. (Or, imagine the same but in reverse).

Most teams that use 2TE looks will stay strictly with a one back look, and I think this really limits them. The Pats historically (over the past 10-20 years) have been one of the best at using the H-Back to do a number of things on offense, and I'm excited for what this year may bring.

What say you?
 

DropKickFlutie

In the Starting Line-Up
Several NFL teams that run the RPO offense use the H-back and 2 TE sets ??? We'll see if the Pats manage to use either of their two new TEs or if this is like the 2006 draft when McDaniels got Dave Thomas and Garrett Mills and those guys did nothing.
 

Wozzy

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
Pats need actual TE's who can play on the line, both Keene and Asiasi fit that mold.

H-Backs and Fullbacks are the same in everything but name, assuming the player has that skillset to go out and catch passes like a WR.

Vitale is a really good athlete and very strong, he should be fun to watch either as a blocking fullback or as a weapon on offense. Block, catch, run... he can do it all.

Blocking should be much improved from last year with these three added and health.
 
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miloofcroton

On the Game Day Roster
Several NFL teams that run the RPO offense use the H-back and 2 TE sets ??? We'll see if the Pats manage to use either of their two new TEs or if this is like the 2006 draft when McDaniels got Dave Thomas and Garrett Mills and those guys did nothing.

Educate me... I've mostly seen RPOs in 3WR shotgun looks. Yes, there's also 2WR 2TE shotgun, but it always seems to be again a singleback backfield in the shotgun. Very different from a downfield rushing attack from under center with a lead blocker.

Pats need actual TE's who can play on the line, both Keene and Asiasi fit that mold.

H-Backs and Fullbacks are the same in everything but name, assuming the player has that skillset to go out and catch passes like a WR.

Vitale is a really good athlete and is very strong, he should be fun to watch either as a blocking fullback or as a weapon on offense. Block, catch, run... he can do it all.

Blocking should be much improved from last year with these three added and health.

Say you had an H-Back scheme and you eventually seemed to use a fullback. A fullback would be a specialized version of the H-Back, and it would definitely accomplish the most important role, which is lead blocking. However, it would be too bad if you couldn't have more versatility at the position. The ability to move them around and actually have them be threats in the passing game is super dynamic. And I don't mean 'good at pass catching for a fullback' at 6'0" 235 (agile but smotherable by linebackers) -- I mean being a difficult matchup for the defense at 6'3" 250 that can catch balls away from his frame and really threaten the defense on several routes.
 

DropKickFlutie

In the Starting Line-Up
Educate me... I've mostly seen RPOs in 3WR shotgun looks. Yes, there's also 2WR 2TE shotgun, but it always seems to be again a singleback backfield in the shotgun. Very different from a downfield rushing attack from under center with a lead blocker.



Say you had an H-Back scheme and you eventually seemed to use a fullback. A fullback would be a specialized version of the H-Back, and it would definitely accomplish the most important role, which is lead blocking. However, it would be too bad if you couldn't have more versatility at the position. The ability to move them around and actually have them be threats in the passing game is super dynamic. And I don't mean 'good at pass catching for a fullback' at 6'0" 235 (agile but smotherable by linebackers) -- I mean being a difficult matchup for the defense at 6'3" 250 that can catch balls away from his frame and really threaten the defense on several routes.

Baltimore, KC, Arizona, others I'm forgetting. Not always 3WR. A ton of 2 TE. Also SF, look at their fullback Krycek who is basically a H-back and they use a lot along with Kittles. Also look at Tampa, they are paying Brate 7M along with Howard in a lot of 2 TE sets where Brate is playing a H-back hybrid role.
 

Zuma

Wookiee
PatsFans.com Supporter
Pats need actual TE's who can play on the line, both Keene and Asiasi fit that mold.

H-Backs and Fullbacks are the same in everything but name, assuming the player has that skillset to go out and catch passes like a WR.

Vitale is a really good athlete and very strong, he should be fun to watch either as a blocking fullback or as a weapon on offense. Block, catch, run... he can do it all.

Blocking should be much improved from last year with these three added and health.

This...all of it. Keene and Asiasi will do a good job blocking on the line in TE roles and on occasion will lead block for the RB but nothing compared to FB’s Vitale and Johnson. I think it makes sense to occasionally have one of the TE’s lead block to keep defenses guessing...but those are one offs.
 

jacigar

On the Roster
VG Post . Finally someone that sees what BB is trying to do. JS will be mostly restricted to 10-15 yd throws YAC will be become critical .BB will use some speed/quickness at WR. I believe after Jun 1,Jules will join ,Tom in TB and Sanu will be cut/traded. That will leave receivers as Harry,Meyers,Lee and fast ,udfa Thomas/Zuper.
Te Asiasi HB Keene ,TE Izzo. BB will use curls,slants ,flat passes along with using White/JJ Taylor on screens.Can use Harry.Thomas as deep threat to keep defence honest.
 

Wozzy

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
Whoever came up with “move TE”?

Has always been a pet peeve of mine.
This ^

Entirely too much attention is paid to positions and not skillsets.

TE, FB, Move-TE... who cares.

What can you do, can you block on the move, can you get in the backfield and get under opponents pads to lead block, can you run routes and catch over the shoulder like a WR?

Keith Byers was a FB or a Move-TE depending who you ask... in his 13 seasons, Byars rushed for 3,109 yards, caught 610 passes for 5,661 yards, returned five kickoffs for 94 yards, and completed 6 of 13 passes for 119 yards and six touchdowns, with one interception. He also scored 54 touchdowns (23 rushing and 31 receiving). His six passing touchdowns are the third highest total by a running back in NFL history. Byar's 610 receptions are the 2nd most catches by a fullback and 4th most by a halfback/fullback/running back in NFL history.

He was a good football player at any position.
 
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TheRainMaker

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
This ^

Entirely too much attention is paid to positions and not skillsets.

TE, FB, Move-TE... who cares.

What can you do, can you block on the move, can you get in the backfield and get under opponents pads to lead block, can you run routes and catch over the shoulder like a WR?

Keith Byers was a FB or a Move-TE depending who you ask... In his 13 seasons, Byars rushed for 3,109 yards, caught 610 passes for 5,661 yards, returned five kickoffs for 94 yards, and completed 6 of 13 passes for 119 yards and six touchdowns, with one interception. He also scored 54 touchdowns (23 rushing and 31 receiving). His six passing touchdowns are the third highest total by a running back in NFL history. Byar's 610 receptions are the 2nd most catches by a fullback and 4th most by a halfback/fullback/running back in NFL history.

He was a good football player at any position.
I think it was term “move TE” was a media/analyst creation.
 

luuked

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
I believe after Jun 1,Jules will join ,Tom in TB and Sanu will be cut/traded.

There are not June 1 designations (trade or cut) this year:


So there is zero reason why the team would wait with trading Edelman.

Similarly, there is no upside to cutting Sanu before the end of camp because he has not a single dollar in guaranteed money. That is unless they need that cap space quickly or he asks to be released via his agent.
 

miloofcroton

On the Game Day Roster
This...all of it. Keene and Asiasi will do a good job blocking on the line in TE roles and on occasion will lead block for the RB but nothing compared to FB’s Vitale and Johnson. I think it makes sense to occasionally have one of the TE’s lead block to keep defenses guessing...but those are one offs.

I think a FB who just plays fullback, instead of doing an equal amount of wing TE and slot WR, makes the offense less dynamic. Sure, you can go to 3WR, 2WR2TE, or some other personnel if you want to change up your looks, but what if you can get your 5 best guys on the field and have them do more than just one of those things. I don't see what is so hard about getting a 2nd TE who can lead block well enough to be an asset in such a scenario. In fact, I'm surprised it's not *easier* than finding a TE who can block inline.
 

Zuma

Wookiee
PatsFans.com Supporter
I think a FB who just plays fullback, instead of doing an equal amount of wing TE and slot WR, makes the offense less dynamic. Sure, you can go to 3WR, 2WR2TE, or some other personnel if you want to change up your looks, but what if you can get your 5 best guys on the field and have them do more than just one of those things. I don't see what is so hard about getting a 2nd TE who can lead block well enough to be an asset in such a scenario. In fact, I'm surprised it's not *easier* than finding a TE who can block inline.

It’s important to keep defenses guessing...I agree. And having your best players on the field is equally important. Using a TE to lead block on occasion is fine to keep defenses guessing...it’s also important to have your best lead blocker doing that job most of the time....it’s better to succeed most of the time then fail. The coaches will come up with a good balance.
 

miloofcroton

On the Game Day Roster
It’s important to keep defenses guessing...I agree. And having your best players on the field is equally important. Using a TE to lead block on occasion is fine to keep defenses guessing...it’s also important to have your best lead blocker doing that job most of the time....it’s better to succeed most of the time then fail. The coaches will come up with a good balance.

I agree that having the best lead blocker is most important if your scheme relies heavily on a lead blocker (and it should, if you know what's good for you). But, it's not like there's a HoF FB on the roster. I just don't know that we have someone who is so much better at lead blocking that it's worth having a guy play FB who you would never want to split out or line up at TE.

Another thing about motion with the H-Back: you can use it as a tool to diagnose defenses. Might come in handy with a young starting QB.
 

Zuma

Wookiee
PatsFans.com Supporter
I agree that having the best lead blocker is most important if your scheme relies heavily on a lead blocker (and it should, if you know what's good for you). But, it's not like there's a HoF FB on the roster. I just don't know that we have someone who is so much better at lead blocking that it's worth having a guy play FB who you would never want to split out or line up at TE.

Another thing about motion with the H-Back: you can use it as a tool to diagnose defenses. Might come in handy with a young starting QB.

So if the FB’s are not HOF players then you prefer to use TE’s...got it.
 

primetime

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
Baltimore, KC, Arizona, others I'm forgetting. Not always 3WR. A ton of 2 TE. Also SF, look at their fullback Krycek who is basically a H-back and they use a lot along with Kittles. Also look at Tampa, they are paying Brate 7M along with Howard in a lot of 2 TE sets where Brate is playing a H-back hybrid role.

Arizona plays a spread Air Raid with 1 RB, 4 WR base. Their tight ends are awful receivers and only see the field on short yardage.
 
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