It’s no secret that the traditional fullback is slowly becoming an extinct breed in today’s pass-happier NFL. True bruisers like Mike Alstott and Lorenzo Neal are being traded for a third wide receiver or a second tight end that is more of a pass-catcher. Raiders fullback Marcel Reese may be the future of of NFL fullbacks: backs that can line up at tight end or even wide receiver while having enough strength to line up in the backfield and lead-block for his runningback.
But the Bengals’ Chris Pressley is one of the few remaining “true” fullbacks in today’s NFL. Pressley has participated in just 187 offensive snaps this season, and he scored his first career touchdown when he caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from Andy Dalton in a 27–10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this season.
Seldom was he used earlier in the year when the Bengals were hell-bent on establishing their passing game and weren’t as focused on the running game. But once they hit a four-game losing streak that had them on the brink of a lost season, they made a small but dramatic change to their offense: utilize Chris Pressley more in the running game. Instead of just leaving him in to pass block while Dalton airs it out, allow him to actually lead-block more while giving BenJarvus Green-Ellis more carries.