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Mailbag: Determining The Battle At Fullback? Shuffling The Linebackers?

Assuming Rod Smith is selected to be the fullback for the team, do you think he could be versatile to remind us of Robert Newhouse and/or Ron Springs?  Do you feel he can run from the fullback position two or three times a game and be targeted two or three times a game?

Bryan: I like the direction you are going because I grew up watching Cowboys games where those two players played extensive roles in the success of the offense. I just don't get the feeling that we are going to see these offensive coaches use the fullback position the way that Tom Landry used it in the 70's and 80's. The strength of the current group of running backs on this roster is as one back runners so I see the coaches playing to that. It would not shock me at all if this club went with four running backs and no fullbacks on the final 53.

David: I think Smith's experience as a running back can only help him in his endeavors to make this roster, but I don't ultimately think it'll make that big of a difference. The most important aspect of the fullback position, in this team's mind, is as a blocker and special teams player. Tyler Clutts' abilities on special teams are what helped him stick around so long. That's what's going to determine who makes the team. Anything Smith can do as a runner or receiver would only be a bonus, in my opinion.

I want to know what you think of Damien Wilson or Mark Nzeocha playing the Mike with Jaylon Smith at Will. All are big enough and fast. Can they hold up in the middle?

Bryan: Coaches will tell you that Wilson is better on the outside. Nzeocha has the size and the length to play in the middle and possibly at the SAM as well. This time next season we will know about Smith and where he stands on this roster. In college, he was a Mike and I believe was drafted to one day take over that role from Rolando McClain. Smith has the size and athletic ability to hold up in the middle in this league.

David:I'm really intrigued by the thought of Jaylon Smith playing on the weak side, because he's got the athletic ability to excel in coverage and inside the box. That said, I doubt you'd see it unless Sean Lee suffers further significant injuries. Smith is an absolutely monstrous guy, and he certainly looks like the player the coaching staff envisions manning the middle for the foreseeable future.

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