Cardinals Positional Analysis: Fullbacks

Fullbacks playing in the Arizona Cardinals' offense don't get much attention. It is an underutilized position and partially to blame for the Cardinals' running woes. Arizona has added a couple veterans and kept Tim Castille in hopes of upgrading the rushing attack. Andy Bishop examines the Cardinals options.

In the 2008 season the Arizona Cardinals ran the ball 340 times and passed 630 times. The Cardinals obviously favor the pass a lot more than the run. Even when they do run, it is often times out of single back formations. The excessive use of multiple receiver sets left few snaps for fullbacks Terrelle Smith and Tim Castille last season. Together they combined for just six receptions for 35 yards.

With an added focus on the running game this season, the fullback position cannot be taken lightly.

The Cardinals did not re-sign Smith, but added veteran Dan Kreider to the mix this offseason. Kreider played for the Steelers for eight seasons and was their starting fullback when they won Super Bowl XL. Last year, he started four of the 11 games he played in for St. Louis before being cut in late November.

Playing for a rushing powerhouse in Pittsburg, Kreider brings the experience and toughness needed to improve the running attack in Arizona. He is the most technically sound fullback and thus sits atop the depth chart. The Cardinals hope Kreider will pave plenty of clear lanes for Tim Hightower and rookie Chris Wells.

Castille returns for his third season in Arizona. In his sophomore year, he played in 14 games, sharing time with Smith. Castille is coming off knee surgery, but should be ready for training camp. Castille is viable option at fullback and should challenge the seasoned Kreider for playing time.

The final fullback on the roster is Justin Green, who didn't play a down in 2008. Green played for the Ravens from 2005-2007 before being released. Primarily a blocking fullback, Green will have to impress during training camp to earn a spot on the final roster.

The Cardinals will keep no more than two fullbacks, so it should be an exciting competition during training camp between these three players.


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