Roster cut downs are nearly upon us and many tough decisions will need to be made. One name that’s been closely watched has been that of fullback Patrick DiMarco. A perfect storm of diminished play time last year, the vanishing role of the fullback, and notable additions to the running back and tight end position groups in Buffalo has led to frequent questions if DiMarco’s days are numbered. Sean McDermott isn’t promising roster spots, but he did give some insight into the value of DiMarco.
McDermott was directly asked what “makes [Patrick DiMarco] valuable?” This question was framed in context of the “minor role” the fullback position generally has in the league and specifically in Buffalo last season. McDermott hasn’t been shy about his belief that a veteran presence can be beneficial and cited this as a positive for DiMarco.
“Experience is number one. He has played in big games. He played in a lot of games and big games both here and in Atlanta.” McDermott also pointed to Patrick DiMarco as a leader, bringing value in “what he does for us Monday through Saturday, leadership wise, in the huddle leadership wise, in addition to the things you see on tape.”
The current front office has preached competition at every position and McDermott was asked about DiMarco’s competition, because no other fullbacks were brought in.
“Overall, he completes with the standard that he sets for himself and our standard every day.”
As the only fullback on the roster the notion of self-competition is both poetic and literal. Pundits and fans have wondered if DiMarco might lose his spot to a player at another position. This notion wasn’t lost on McDermott.
“Then it’s a numbers game. Whether you keep a fullback or not or, if you keep an extra tight end.”
Of course McDermott wasn’t about to tip his hand on whether or not DiMarco makes the cut, but was willing to give a little more insight into how the decision is made.
“We look at it from all different angles. The special teams component, leadership component, what a player has in terms of their value energy wise, chemistry wise, in addition to their line of scrimmage value in this case as a fullback so to be thorough we try and look at it through multiple angles really.”
For those of us that look to usage for a gauge, signs are positive for DiMarco making the roster. Appearing in 11 snaps out of 190 so far this preseason doesn’t look promising. However, DiMarco has only taken the field with the starting offense led by Josh Allen and has appeared in 19% of plays so far, an uptick from last season.