Hartsock has some BIG shoes to fill for the Falcons

Hartsock has some BIG shoes to fill for the Falcons
Ben Hartsock

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

            "I'm 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.

Combination with Hartsock

            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

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