NEPD Editor: Doug Kyed
This offseason, the Patriots decided to go old school and try to revitalize the fullback position.
At one point in late March, the Patriots actually had four fullbacks on their roster at once! I may be completely making this up, but I believe that’s the most fullbacks on a roster at one time since 1946.
Now in early August, the universe has returned to its natural state and the Patriots are down to two. So how is 2012 free agent signing Spencer Larsen faring in training camp?
Larsen was signed by the Patriots on March 22nd to a two-year $1.7 million contract with $250,000 guaranteed. The former Bronco was likely brought in for two reasons: his familiarity with Josh McDaniels offense and his versatility.
Larsen has been out for the last four practices with an unknown injury, but before then he had been looking like the “starting” fullback.
Tony Fiammetta was signed four days after Larsen back in March, but recently left the team due to personal reasons. The Patriots Super Bowl fullback Lousaka Polite was released by the team back in March.
That leaves just Larsen and former Navy Midshipmen Eric Kettani (who I will definitely mistakenly call Kyle Eckel at least five more times this season because all Navy fullbacks with the initials E.K. or K.E. are the same to me).
Larsen was drafted in the sixth round in 2008 after being a star linebacker for the Arizona Wildcats. He’s most famous for starting a game his rookie season at both middle linebacker and fullback.
Larsen has developed into a full time fullback the last two seasons, and could be a main contributor on special teams as well. He hasn’t played any defense thus far at Patriots training camp, but if the position gets thin, his added versatility is a major perk.
Larsen is mostly known as a blocking fullback, he’s only received 34 total touches during his four year career.
The Patriots could still be looking to add another fullback to the roster. Last weekend they signed FB Kareem Huggins after Fiammetta left the team, but released him a mere 18 hours later. McDaniels is a rare breed of offensive coordinators these days in that he likes to utilize the old school fullback. I’d expect to see at least one fullback remain on the Patriots roster in September, and Larsen has the advantage thus far. Larsen will need to get back on the field from his phantom injury though.