The San Francisco 49ers have often had a fullback on the roster but the same can not be said for the many lot the other 31 teams in the league. In 2016, 14 NFL teams did not list a fullback on their rosters. Kyle Juszczyk, who just became the highest paid fullback in the league, doesn’t take that position name too seriously. He will do whatever it takes to get on the field.
Is this an opportunity to get a good amount of playing time as a fullback?
Most definitely. And John [Lynch] not referencing me as a fullback but as an OW as he said, yeah, definitely was a big part of the appeal to come here because I can line up and run isos, I can do whatever is called upon me, but I can do a lot of other things as well. I feel like here is a place where they will allow me to do those certain things.
Will it be more similar to what you did at Harvard?
Yeah, I imagine so. Really my whole football career, all the way from high school I’ve played played a lot of different positions, been lined up all everywhere the field. That is what I did at Harvard, so I could definitely see that translating here in San Francisco.
Were you a tight end at Harvard?
Yeah, so I was listed as a tight end/H-back. We ran a two tight end offense at all times. There were at least two tight ends on the field, if not more.
But it was a spread?
Yeah, it was more of a spread. We were a pass team first. I spent a lot of time in the slot, I ran a lot of routes from there. I did do some in line blocking and then on goal line and short yardage situations I would kick back into the back field and play that full back position.
What Kyle does, you can run or pass out equally well out of the same personnel groups, is it similar to what you did at Harvard?
Exactly, because when you have guys that can be used in different roles, and can be used in run and pass, it forces the defense to choose what kind of personnel they want to match up with you, whether they want to bring another linebacker, whether they want to bring in another corner or safety, and that can really dictate what advantage the offense has. You want to run against a light box and so if they are going to bring a lot of DBs out there, start pounding the ball, you know?
Fullbacks are kind of a dying breed, is your mentality to do anything necessary to get on the field?
Honestly, yes. Whatever I can do to get on the field. There are limited snaps for that traditional fullback role so you gotta find other ways to contribute and one of the things that’s really helped me get back onto the field was third down protection as a halfback, in the shotgun next to the quarterback and the last two seasons that’s helped get me a lot more snaps on offense.
Are you the only guy in the backfield on those plays?
Typically yeah, on third down.