July 28, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals fullback John Conner (32) works out during training camp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Connor remains a free agent to this day, a victim of a NFL that is trending away from the position. But as numerous top tight ends drafted have demonstrated in the last five years, effective run blocking at the next level is harder to teach than receiving. Additionally, while blocking at the second level is achievable from two tight end sets through screens and slant routes, the simpler draw-style runs can be contained at the point of penetration by loading the box and shooting the gaps when the play calling is obvious; a weakness in contemporary offensive systems.
If for this reason alone, a full back is not only still a legitimate inclusion to an NFL roster, but more than ever is an under-rated and dynamic enhancement to an offense. Noting that it is easier to teach a full back to catch as well as run as a singleton, but their continuations on special teams as a lead blocker are undeniable. Further, any aspect of an offense that is different than the offense that was played the week before it requires a disproportionate amount of practice time dedicated to defensive preparation. The Baltimore Ravens’ offensive field day against the preeminent Houston Texans this past weekend is a sound reminder as Houston did not adjust from the Tennessee Titans’ high powered, but full back free, offense the week prior.
Peko’s goal line performance last Monday night was a creative answer to a surprise situation, but as Week 4’s match up against the Cleveland Browns approaches Charles’ role needs to be put to the test see if it was worth a critical roster spot. If it proves not, or if another injury surfaces, the Bengals should significantly consider signing Connor back to the roster.