By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Patriots desperately needed a fullback. So it’s a good thing they had a guy like Elandon Roberts who’s willing to switch to offense and run through motherf***ers’ faces.
Running backs coach Ivan Fears had his own hilariously vulgar way to describe the physical edge that Roberts, who played a season-high 21 offensive snaps against the Bills, brings to the side of the ball that he’s least accustomed to playing.
“We needed a fullback. We needed to be able to keep the steam going. He was very willing to do it,” said Fears during his media availability on Friday in Foxboro. “And as you guys all know, Elandon is great at going downhill and knocking the piss out of somebody.
“So, [we’re] kind of excited to have him do it. If we can use that to help us, we’re gonna use it.”
Despite the gradual improvements that Roberts has shown at fullback in recent weeks, the hardest part could have been not to get him to execute but to convince a reserve linebacker to play fullback in the first place. Luckily for the Patriots, Roberts is one of the more selfless players on the team and has embraced the role amid season-ending injuries to both true fullbacks on the roster.
“We had a need. Injuries have been big, and he’s there, he’s at game day, he’s going to be there at game day, so why can’t I get a little more out of him?” said Fears. “But most important was he was willing, he wanted to do anything he can to help. That made it a lot easier.”
Roberts still prefers to be referred to as a linebacker, and his coaches continually add all kinds of qualifiers to his performance in the role. So let’s not expect him to permanently take over for James Develin or anything. But the Patriots offense has taken on something of a physical identity in the stretch run, and Roberts knocking the piss out of guys has been a factor in that. The hope is that Roberts can keep it rolling and perhaps even get better as the competition gets tougher in January.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at email@example.com.