Hartsock has some BIG shoes to fill for the Falcons
Alge Crumpler had been a pro bowl TE for the Falcons for
several years. At the end of the season
last year, the Falcons released Crumpler who later signed with the Titans. Ben Hartsock left the Titans as an
unrestricted FA and signed with the Falcons.
With the Titans scheduled to play the Falcons in a preseason game on
Friday, questions from the media about the comparisons were bound to be asked. Hartsock wanted to make it clear that he was
not the same player that Crumpler is.
By Bill Smith
Looking for Blocking
not here to be an Alge Crumpler replacement," Hartsock said after
Wednesday's practice. "That's not something anybody can do. He's a special
type player.” Crumpler may be special,
but he is not the kind of TE that new coach Mike Smith is looking for in that
position. Crumpler is what is
euphemistically called a “receiving TE” which means the coach can not depend on
them to block for the run. Despite his 4
pro bowl seasons, the Falcons released Crumpler because they were looking for
blocking—a lot more blocking—from that position.
Hartsock is 6-4 and 265 pounds. While he was not “the” starting TE, he shared
the position helping the Titans run the ball.
Last year, Hartsock caught only 12 passes in 07. The Falcons liked his combination of being a
very solid blocker with better than average speed and very soft hands. That is why they signed him.
It's just a different role,"
Hartsock said. "When I was at Tennessee
I was sharing a lot of reps with Bo. I was the run-blocker and he was the
pass-catcher. Here I'm able to just go in and be more of a complete player
where I'm asked to do everything. I
think the coaches obviously know if the ball is thrown to me I'm going to be
able to make the catch," he said.
Crumpler with Tennessee
Tennessee needed more skilled receivers to
help the development of Vince Young.
Given the recent history of the Titan's draft, Young can use all the
good hands people he can get. As a
result, Crumpler is looking forward to playing for his new team. Crumpler told two Tennessee newspapers he is not bitter about
his release from the Falcons.
"I understand it's a
business," Crumpler said. "I gave those fans everything I had, and I
still live in Atlanta
in the offseason. Every time I've been down there, I've bumped into many, many
fans, and they want their team to win. That's why they're in the stands. If I
get booed or jeered, that's all part of it.”
Bill Smith is a
former coach of several semi-pro teams and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for http://BrutusReport.com. He has
also published several novels on http://ebooks-library.com/index.cfm and edits http://fryingpanpolitics.blog.com