(ABC)–When Jay Gruden was hired to coach the Washington Redskins, Darrel Young did some research.
The results were not encouraging.
Gruden, as Young discovered, didn’t have much use for a fullback over the last three years as offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals.
“I think it was around 91 plays,” Young said, “that the fullback played in that offense.”
So would Gruden find room for Young, the steady hard-worker who made his mark by switching positions after going undrafted as a linebacker out of Villanova?
Surely the past four years with the Redskins should count for something, even if it was a different regime.
Gruden has a simple answer.
“I didn’t have Darrel Young in Cincinnati,” Gruden said Redskins at training camp, which began last week. “If I had him, I would have used him. 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.”
Making him a “major part” might be a stretch. The Redskins already have an impressive list of skilled position players who’ll be lining up for the ball.
Robert Griffin III will be throwing to DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts, Santana Moss or Jordan Reed when not handing off to Alfred Morris or running the ball himself.
Besides, Young is used to sporadic work. Over four years, he has 36 carries for 153 yards and four touchdowns, and 28 catches for 329 yards and another four touchdowns. Less noticed is his grunt work on special teams, or the way he handles a linebacker to open a hole for Morris.
“When I came into this business in 2009, I said I want to be that guy that you have to rely on to make plays and stuff like that,” Young said. “And here I am in a situation where when you get down to the goal line, you might need me once or twice. But you never know.”
Indeed, no one knows exactly what to expect from Young or anyone in the months ahead. Gruden is running an NFL team for the first time.
“I look at it as a situation like this: He’s going to do what he does as a coach,” Young said. “No one knows that. This is his first time as a head coach. We’ll see what happens this year.”
“At the end of the season, we’ll do a review,” Young added with a laugh. “I’ll tell you how it went.”