Young fullbacks lead the way

Green Bay's rushing attack had another impressive outing Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. Two of the key reasons why Ryan Grant and the Packers have been able to move the ball on the ground during the second half of this season can be attributed to Korey Hall and John Kuhn, says PackerReport.com's Todd Korth.

William Henderson was a solid fullback for the Green Bay Packers for more than a decade. In fact, so good that it has taken two players to replace him, but that's OK.

Henderson is retired, kicking back on his sofa in Green Bay during Packers game days cheering on his former team. Henderson, no doubt, has to be impressed with the progress of rookie Korey Hall and second-year pro John Kuhn. Both have been key in Green Bay's success in the running game, which has topped the 100-yard mark in six of the past seven games.

In Green Bay's 38-7 rout of the Oakland Raiders on Sunday at Lambeau Field, running back Ryan Grant had his fourth 100-yard game of the season. He rushed for a career-high 156 yards on 29 carries, and is one of the top rushers in the NFL since Week 8.

Some of Grant's success can be attributed to Hall and Kuhn, who have been more consistent at opening holes. Hall, a converted linebacker, understandably started a little slow this season, but under the guidance of running backs coach and former fullback Edgar Bennett has gotten better over the latter half of the season. Kuhn, claimed on waivers on Sept. 2 from Pittsburgh, also used the first half of the season to get acclimated to the offense.

Both are sharing the load at fullback and also contributing on special teams with impressive results. Coach Mike McCarthy couldn't be more pleased with the two fullbacks.

"I'm glad you asked today, because they both played very well," McCarthy said after reviewing film of the game. "Korey Hall, probably his best performance of the year. I think he had six knockdowns in the run game, I think he had five tackles on special teams. Korey played at a very high level. John Kuhn continues to improve. He's been a core player for us on special teams. We've been putting him more into the lead-blocking situations, like at the end of the game there, with the two-back, two-tight end sets. I think John is a young, improving player that's now comfortable with our scheme. To answer your question, yes, I'm happy with their performance and I think they definitely can improve."

Neither of the two fullbacks have carried the ball from scrimmage this season, and only Hall has caught any passes (8 for 49 yards), but both have been instrumental blocking in an improving rushing attack and have contributed to Green Bay's drastically improved special teams.

A question mark at the beginning of the season because of the absence of Henderson, the fullback position has now become a bright spot in the offense with the emergence of a two-headed blocking monster - Hall and Kuhn.

Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at packrepted@aol.com.


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