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Mailbag: Lance Dunbar On Punt Returns? Clutts' Value To The Run Game?

JESS HAYNIEROANOKE

How much credit does Tyler Clutts get for the run game success last year, or the fullback position in general? What's the likelihood that they will go with no fullback and keep a fourth tight end? Would James Hanna be the backfield blocker?

Nick:I don't think Clutts gets a lot of credit for last year. If he did, they wouldn't have let him sit around without a contract for a few weeks. I do think they realized he was better than the other guys they added. And he's got some potential to run and catch the ball. I think he makes the team for sure. Hanna will be used back there occasionally, as will Escobar and Witten. But this team needs a fullback and Clutts looks like the guy.

Bryan: I believe you have to say that Clutts does deserve a bit of the credit for their ability to run the ball – but where I think folks miss the point in the rushing attack was what these tight ends were able to do at the point of attack. You will continue to see Clutts on this squad because of what he can do as a lead blocker but more importantly in what he does on special teams. Using these tight ends out of the backfield has proven not to be the best option.

NOEL VALEMORRISTOWN, FL

Why is Lance Dunbar not a punt return option? Can he not field the ball cleanly on a consistent basis? I would think punt returns would be some good touches for him in space on occasion. Thoughts?

Nick: Good question and I've thought about that myself. I think he would be good back there and once he fields it, he's not a bad player to have in the open field. Again, it's not a position for the weak. And I'm not calling Dunbar that. I'm just saying, some of the best players in the NFL might not be so good at returning punts. You have to be fearless. If he can show that and catch the ball well, he'd be a good returner.

Bryan: That's a good question from the aspect of getting him the ball in space, but for the life of me, I am struggling to remember how well he does that in practice? The player they like as that space player is Cole Beasley, so you will most likely see him more than you will Dunbar, who is used as a blocker on the outside.

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