RICHMOND – Soon after the Redskins introduced Jay Gruden as head coach of the Washington Redskins, fullback Darrel Young did his research to find out how the coach used fullbacks during his time as offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Seeing that Gruden only used a fullback for 91 plays last season, and that the previous year the Bengals didn’t even carry a fullback on their roster, didn’t exactly give Young the warm and fuzzies.
Initially, Young’s only hope was that was that offensive coordinator Sean McVay (promoted from tight end to coordinator) would put in a word for him and talk Gruden into adding a couple of fullback plays to his playbook.
Then during the offseason, Gruden talked with Young and told him Cincinnati was Cincinnati, and that Washington was Washington.
Asked by reporters about his use – or lack there of – of the fullback, the coach was blunt.
“I didn’t have Darrel Young in Cincinnati. If I had him, I would have used him,” Gruden said on Friday. “So he’s a very good fullback. He’s very versatile, he can run, he can catch. So we’re excited about having him. The personnel groupings will vary. We’ll have a fullback, two tight ends. We’ll have a fullback, one tight end. We’ll have two tight ends, no fullback. So the personnel will vary but D.Y. will be a major part of this offense.”
Young was encouraged by Gruden’s explanation when he spoke with the coach. But he disagrees with the notion that he has a roster spot locked up.
Young went through the offseason as the only fullback, and then earlier this week, Washington signed rookie free agent Stephen Campbell to the training camp roster. Although Young has the experience edge, and a seemingly strong endorsement from Gruden, Young said he is approaching training camp as if he is once again interviewing for his job.
“I feel like if I go out here, this is my chance to prove to him,” he said. “OTAs is cool, but when you put on pads, that’s where you separate guys. I want to be one of those guys he looks to in the future. I’ve got two years left on this deal, but I want to be a Redskin forever, so we’ll see what happens.”
Washington’s second practice on Day 3 begins at 4:10 p.m. in Richmond. Here’s our camp guide.
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