RICHMOND—A lot of players don’t read the papers or follow team scuttlebutt that moves over the Internet. Redskins fullback Darrel Young does follow what’s being said and he was well aware that some were saying during the offseason that his job might be eliminated.
Last year in Cincinnati, Jay Gruden’s Bengals did not employ a full-time fullback. The team ran with one running back on 83 percent of its snaps. On the plays where they did line up with a fullback they used a tight end or a defensive lineman at the position.
Young heard the talk but he didn’t really worry about it. “I just try to put myself in a situation where I make them believe that they need a fullback,” he said after practice on Friday morning. “I heard there was a lot of speculation in the offseason about not keeping a full back. Of course, you think about it, you go, oh, man, I hope they keep one. But at the end of the day all you can do is line up and play and they’re still using me.”
Some players might be angry about the possibility of being cast aside after four years of loyal service. But Young didn’t take the talk personally. “It is what it is, I understand the business of things,” he said.
But as it turns out he shouldn’t have anything to worry about. On Friday afternoon Gruden was asked about his history with fullbacks in Cincinnati and what that might mean for Young’s future with the team.
“I didn’t have Darrel Young in Cincinnati – if I had him, I would have used him,” said Gruden. “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 DY will be a major part of this offense.”
You won’t find a more ringing endorsement of a player than that. It spikes any speculation that Young might end up on the wrong side of the roster bubble.
To be sure, with all of the offensive weapons Gruden has at his disposal it might be hard to give Young a big role in terms of catches and carries. But he will make the team and block for Alfred Morris and Robert Griffin III and play special teams and get an occasional carry or reception. In other words, he’ll do what he’s done for the Redskins for the last four years.