Packer Report continues its position-by-position training camp preview with a look at the fullbacks. The list after "depth" includes all of the players on the current roster. The list after "final cut" is our prediction on who will make the final roster, with the number of players based on past seasons.
Review: Hall started five games and Kuhn three last season and played about equal snaps. Combined, they'd make a pretty good player. Hall is more athletic and a decent receiver, and Kuhn is bigger (6-foot, 250 pounds compared to 6-0, 236 for Hall) and proved to be a good short-yardage runner. With the Packers moving toward a more physical attack, they landed LSU's Quinn Johnson in the fifth round. Johnson, by the Tigers' count, registered 72 pancake blocks and 11 blocks that resulted in touchdowns during his senior season.
Strength: A fullback's main job is to block, and Hall and Kuhn did a decent job of it last year. They helped the Packers rush for 1,805 yards and 4.1 yards per carry last season compared to 1,597 yards and a 4.1 average in 2007. More importantly, they came through in short-yardage situations. Ryan Grant converted 10-of-13 third-and-1 and fourth-and-1 runs last year after the Packers barely converted on one-third of those opportunities in 2007. Plus, Kuhn was 4-of-5 on third-and-1 rushes, though he was stopped cold near the goal line late in the loss to Carolina. Kuhn has been the better blocker while Hall has been the better receiver (seven catches and one touchdown last year). Both are good on special teams, with Hall — the former college linebacker — tallying 13 tackles compared to 12 by Kuhn.
Weakness: Their shortcoming is neither excel in any one area, which is the major reason why Johnson was added to the mix. Kuhn is a good but not great blocker. Hall is a good but not great receiver. At least Kuhn has been durable, playing in all 32 games over the last two seasons. Hall has missed seven games in that span, including five last year. One stat to remember: The Packers went 0-5 when Hall was out last year.
Quoteworthy: "I just love the contact," Johnson said. "It doesn't matter who it is. If you're in front of me, that's my job. I take my job very seriously."
Final cut (2): Hall, Johnson.
Unless Johnson somehow forgets how to block, he's a lock to make the roster. That means it will be Hall against Kuhn for the final spot. If Johnson is ready to start, then Hall's athleticism for special teams could be the difference. If Johnson isn't ready, the more physical Kuhn could get the nod.
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