Ravens fans have been wondering when fullback Kyle Juszczyk would be getting more attention on the field. A weird combination of size and speed that has seen him moved around the field as a fullback, runningback, and tight end, Juice as he's commonly referred to, has yet to really make a serious impact as an offensive weapon for the Ravens.
That looks like it might come to a stop this season as the Ravens want to push the former Harvard player. Under new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, Juszczyk will be given more freedom to run routes out of the backfield as we've seen during OTAs so far. Even without pads on, Juszczyk looks like he will be a difficult player to tackle once he gets a head of steam and could be a first down machine as an outlet valve for quarterback Joe Flacco.
"There’s time now where a short flat route to a back can be Joe’s first read, where last year maybe it wasn’t," Juszczyk said. "And there have been times where Joe has just gotten it out quick this year. I do kind of get the sense that there could be more of that."
Primarily used as a punishing fullback in front of journeyman rusher Justin Forsett, Juice could be a force with the ball in his hands as he is already used to batter defenders. His big frame doesn't mean that the big guy can't catch though. At Harvard, Juszczyk found his name on the all-time leader among tight ends list in receptions (6th all-time with 125), receiving yards (7th all-time with 1,576 yards), and touchdown receptions (3rd all-time with 22).
Juszczyk is setting new goals and focuses for himself this season after finding himself as a Pro Bowl alternate last season at fullback.
Every year you kind of set a goal for yourself. Last year I was averaging around 1.5 catches a game. This year I’d like to maybe be on the side of two or more per game. I’m shooting anywhere from 32-plus.
Each year brings on a new challenge, and I think in Year 3 it’s just kind of refining my craft. As a fullback, specifically, it was more getting on my guy and staying on my guy, and this year I’m going to focus a little bit more on trying to move my guy out of the hole where I can get Justin or whoever is back there the extra couple of inches to kind of make things easier for them.
The Ravens would love to get more production from their fullback and Juice would love to see himself get a Pro Bowl nod from improving as a blocker and becoming more of a receiving threat for the offense.