I’m combining the reviews of the fullbacks and H-backs because all of them but one are guys who can play multiple positions and it’s nice to have a few guys like that on your team. All of them also contribute on special teams.
The two positions can sometimes be used interchangeably, as well, although I don’t recall Mike Heimerdinger doing a lot of that in his previous OC stint with the Titans.
Here’s my take on the players currently in the mix.
Ahmard Hall – The Titans certainly missed Hall when he was out for five games with a broken arm. Not that he was the reason for it, but Tennessee lost three of those five games. Hall’s primary contributions are as a lead blocker for the running backs and as a pass protector and safety valve for Vince Young. The Dinger will find Hall to be more of a Lorenzo Neal-type blocking fullback than a Robert Holcombe or Troy Fleming. As long as the Titans continue to have 1,000-yard rushers running behind Hall’s blocks, Jeff Fisher will be happy with that. Ahmard is one of my favorite Titans and I’d like to see him in two-tone blue for many years.
Bo Scaife – He’s included in my positional review of the tight ends, but he’s really a H-back. Scaife also saw a little time at fullback in his rookie year when Fleming was injured. I’m hoping for the Titans to be able to keep Ben Hartsock as their blocking TE and to add Alge Crumpler, if he’s healthy, so they can use Scaife more as a H-back. There’s a Texas connection between Scaife, Young and Hall. Scaife is a restricted free agent who the Titans will definitely tender.
Casey Cramer – He’s also included in my positional review of the tight ends, and as noted there, he’s listed as a fullback on the Titans’ roster and also played fullback with the Carolina Panthers. The Titans have used him primarily as a H-back, where he saw most of his regular playing time in 2006. Cramer has been a special teams standout, so if he returns to the team and makes the roster this year, it may be because of his abilities on special teams.
Jeremy Cain – Cain is listed as a LB/FB on the roster and is included in my positional review of the linebackers. Because he’s also a snapper, he can fill in at three positions, and like Cramer, his versatility and special teams ability are a key to making the team.
Quinton Ganther – Yet another multipositional player, Ganther is included in my positional review of the running backs and is the only Titans running back who can also play fullback. He’s a good guy and has a great story, but I seriously doubt if he’ll be a Titan this fall.
Outlook: Hall and Scaife stand head and shoulders above the rest. Barring injury, they’re both guys who will be starters every time the Titans’ first offensive play involves a fullback or H-back. The future doesn’t look nearly as good for the others. I doubt if either Cramer or Cain has even a 50-50 chance of making the team and Ganther’s chances are probably slim to none.
Next in the series of positional reviews: the kickers and punters.