Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett has revealed how much he hates cutting ties with players he truly feels are part of his football family. Five new pieces of the training camp puzzle hit the blocks on Tuesday, and with the cut to the final 53-man roster just a week away, it’s just a matter of holding on.
Bringing a multi-dimensional ability to the table can be the ace in the hole for any player still desperate to make a living playing pro football, especially when you occupy the lower end of an NFL roster.
One such utility-type player is Andrew Beck, whose value to the Broncos was highlighted when Hackett talked about the specifics of the tight end/fullback hybrid.
“He’s a guy that’s come here and played that swing position,” Hackett said Tuesday. “He’s been both back, he’s been on the line, he’s been a ‘Y’ [tight end] under 11 personnel, so he’s a guy who’s kind of like a swiss army knife. He can do so many different things.”
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For Beck, hearing his head coach speak so highly of his versatile skill set should come as a shot in the arm, but with a week to go before D-Day, he’s still riding a rollercoaster of opportunities.
Mastering the tight end spot is hard enough – never mind getting all the nuances of the fullback position down just right. The NFL is largely making the fullback position obsolete, and more is a shame.
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Coach Hackett feels a little differently, mainly because he sees in Beck his potential to kill two birds with one stone, covering a couple of spots on his 53-man roster. When you add in Beck’s unique ability to catch the ball further downfield, you can see why Hackett likes having him around.
“He does a really good job of stretching the field down vertically, but has also done a really good job of learning the fullback position and how we want to do it. So where it goes, you never know,” Hackett said. – We want to be as many as possible. We want to take advantage of defense, so as much as we can use him in that role, we will.
The Broncos’ crowded tight end room will be a tough nut to crack, but Beck has the advantage of having the football intelligence to also learn the fullback position, giving his coach another club to add to his bag, and that certainly helps Hackett with his overall shot selection.
Most importantly for Beck, it gives him a chance to not only stick around, but make a tangible contribution this season — if he can survive next week’s final roster cuts.
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