JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jaguars offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is looking to resuscitate a long-suffering running game this season.
He plans to accomplish that feat with the help of a position that has seemingly been buried by most of the teams in the NFL.
Hackett will implement the use of a fullback in the Jaguars' offense this season. Jacksonville signed veteran Tommy Bohanon during free agency and then selected rookie Marquez Williams with the team's final pick in this year's draft.
The two players will battle for the job during training camp, as the team hopes to find a genuine lead blocker for first-round pick Leonard Fournette and veteran Chris Ivory.
Along with opening up running lanes, Hackett believes the fullback position gives the offense several options in the passing game.
“Well, I think the fullback in general, that position is always something that can make you very dynamic because you can do a lot of different things," Hackett said on Thursday. "Whenever you put a fullback in front of a runner, it gives you a lot of different blocking schemes, lot of different kinds of runs that a lot of people don’t do anymore and it also allows you to get a lot of different protections, play-actions and a lot of different things.
"It makes you very multiple, you can still go empty, you can still spread it out, bring it back in and pound the rocks. I think it gives you a lot of different things, but that guy has to be able to catch, has to be able to move, has to be able to do a lot of different things."
Hackett used the position during his time in Buffalo with head coach Doug Marrone. While it wasn't a frequent chess piece, Hackett used the fullback in specific situations to open up holes for running backs.
From 2013-2014, Hackett used the position on a total of 337 snaps, which was good for roughly 17-percent of his overall offensive plays during his tenure.
During his first year in Buffalo, Hackett used the position on 21-percent of his plays. The offense finished second in the league in rushing yards.
Hackett is hoping to duplicate that success in Jacksonville. Now calling his own offense, he will have a key package of plays for two-back sets.
"That’s a very unique position," Hackett said. "Any one of that extra, that fifth guy that comes on to the field, whether it’s wide receiver, tight end or a fullback, anytime you can have multiple of those guys, it’s going to make you better.”
The Jaguars were quick to use two tight ends in the past. Adding a fullback to the mix gives the offense that much more to play with in short-yardage situations.
If Bohanon or Williams prove to offer upside in the passing game, teams will eventually be forced to prepare for another weapon in the Jaguars' arsenal.
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.
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