QUESTION: Do you believe the Rams’ release of fullback Mike Karney Tuesday is a sign that new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels plans to pound the ball less with Steven Jackson and open up the aerial attack more with QB Sam Bradford?
Karney already was being phased out late in the 2010 season when he didn’t dress for four games. But there’s no doubt losing Karney isn’t great news for Jackson. It’s another sign that the offense is being tilted more toward Bradford than Jackson.
I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. McDaniels doesn’t deploy a fullback, per se, in his scheme, but will line up a lead blocker, often a tight end, at times in the backfield. Michael Hoomanawanui was filling that role before his season-ending ankle injury.
Karney was a failure. Even if the Rams planned to come back with the same West Coast offense, Mike had to go. He just didn’t get it done. He lost his job during the season. That said, the new offense figures to rely on multiple backs doing a variety of things. Based on McDaniels’ previous work, I’m not sure the Rams will employ a fullback who can do little more than block.
I think Karney’s release was more a reflection on Karney than McDaniels. Karney was being phased out near the end of last season. He returned to the lineup only because of Brit Miller’s knee injury. I think if McDaniels is anywhere near as good as his reputation, he’ll use Jackson in a less predictable way. If that means less “pounding,” so be it. Jackson can run and catch out of the backfield. The variety and unpredictability would make Jackson more of a weapon, more valuable to the offense, not less, even when he pounds the ball.