INDIANAPOLIS – Being creative and adding various dimensions to his offense has been a staple of Frank Reich.
Even with a historic performance on the ground in 2019, Reich and the Colts feel the need to add another wrinkle to their rushing game this fall.
Bring on fullback Roosevelt Nix.
“I did feel that it was a missing a little bit last year,” Reich says of using a lead blocking back. “We are primarily a one-back offense. We won’t change from that, but when you go back to ’18 and we had (Ryan) Hewitt and we could do a little bit of that, we just think Rosie fits that mold.
“Obviously, (Nix) is a great special teams player, but can also help in the two-back offense stuff. So I would envision, he has to stay healthy, and we can have some other guys who can back him up and supplement the role that he plays, but we would just kind of roll out some of our two-back packages like we did in ’18 and have it further develop as it succeeds. I can envision it being 10 to 20 percent of the offense, let’s just say. That would be the goal that it is somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of the offense.”
While Hewitt (6-4 and 255) was a tight end upon coming to the Colts just days before the start of the 2018 season, Reich mainly used him as that h-back fullback. Hewitt played around a dozen offensive snaps per game in 2018, yet was targeted just two times the entire season.
Nix (5-11, 248) has exclusively been a fullback in his NFL career, blocking in Pittsburgh from 2015-19.
As a defensive tackle in college, Nix has shed some weight from those days to become a veteran fullback in the NFL.
The expectation in Indianapolis for Nix is to continue to be a mainstay on special teams, along with providing that sledgehammer in the run game.
“You have to be able to play special teams, you have to be able to adapt and understand that sometimes the game plan isn’t going to have a fullback in it for that week,” the 28-year-old Nix says. “You just got to be able to help the team in other ways besides not being on the field, being a leader, just things to help the team be a team.”
Since joining the NFL as an undrafted free agent in 2014, Nix has played 60 career games, all with the Steelers.
Pittsburgh released Nix back in March, with 2 years still remaining on a 4-year extension that he signed back in 2018. Nix played just 3 games last season for the Steelers, as he dealt with a knee injury.
Throughout Nix’s time in Pittsburgh, he hardly touched the football. He has 4 career carries and 12 total catches.
Oftentimes in recent years, the Colts have used an in-motion tight end, or a pulling lineman to break some big runs.
Now, they have one more piece to work with in the run game.
“There are things that you can do in a two-back offense run and pass game that are unique,” Reich says. “It is a way to be more multiple in the run game. It is a way to keep teams guessing a little bit more in the run game. On one hand you say, ‘Well, they can stack the box more.’ But there are other advantages that you can have offensively that we will try to utilize and think Rosie is a good fit for that.”