Camp Chat: Jason McKie

With Bryan Johnson now expected to miss significant time with a hamstring injury, Jason McKie looks to be the man to line up behind quarterback Rex Grossman. The former Owl talked to Bear Report after Wednesday night's practice about being back at Soldier Field, his competition in Bourbonnais, and whether or not fullbacks will ever get the recognition they deserve.

22,000 fans came out tonight just to watch the team practice. How does it feel to finally be home at Soldier Field again?
"Oh, it's great, man. It's exciting, man. It's better to be back under better circumstances, especially after the way it ended last year. The fans in Chicago are the like best in the NFL, so we love to come out here and perform for them."

At the outset of training camp, any one of four fullbacks had a legitimate chance to win the starting job. Do you relish the competition, or would you prefer to be the unquestioned guy?
"Oh, it's better when it's wide open. You get the best competition out of everybody. So that means everybody's going to be out there practicing and bringing their ‘A' game every day. It's definitely better for our position and better for the team."

When everyone's healthy, there are three pretty good tailbacks on this team. Do you have to alter your blocking style at all depending on who's getting the football behind you?
"I think all three tailbacks we got do everything well. Cut back. They run with power. T. (Thomas) Jones is powerful, Ced (Cedric Benson) is powerful, A.P. (Adrian Peterson) is powerful. The fullbacks, all we do is gotta get on our guys, give them a little bit of room, and they'll take care of the rest."

With Jones and Benson due to miss the game on Friday night, you might line up at tailback for a while. Do you miss carrying the ball more, or are you resigned to be a fullback the rest of your career?
"Anything they ask me to do. It's nice to get a bone every now and then. We take a lot of the hits, so it's nice to get a bone every now and then. But whatever they ask me to do, I'm willing to do it."

Fullbacks just aren't used as runners or receivers in the NFL as much as they used to be. Do you think it's a cyclical thing, or are the days of the fullback handling the ball more extinct?
"For what fans see, they just see us blocking. But what they got to realize is we're in there picking up blitzes. We're also like hot reads for the quarterback to check down on. It's a very integral part of the offense. For a fullback, you've got to be intelligent because you've got to know defenses and read defenses. You're like the eyes for the running back."

JC


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