During his turn at the virtual microphone earlier this week, special teams coordinator Heath Farwell was asked specifically by Ryan Talbot of NYup.com about the addition of undrafted free agent fullback Reggie Gilliam from Toledo. Farwell spoke highly of Gilliam and suggested that it’s not an open and shut case that there’s no chance he could supplant veteran Pat DiMarco.
“Reggie is a smart player that has picked up special teams as good as we have on this team, as far as the rookies,” said Farwell. “He’s a talented player, obviously you guys are aware of his history from college—but all phases I think has been impressive.”
Gilliam made himself known on special teams more than any other position at Toledo. In 2018 alone he blocked four kicks, contributing six total during his college career. He also developed a reputation as a powerful blocker, often being used in an H-back style lining up just behind offensive line and sliding into the hole as an extra lead blocker. He has turned some heads at training camp on offense as well hauling in a long touchdown pass from Josh Allen on Tuesday where Gilliam ran away from A.J. Klein in coverage.
“That’s a great battle. Pat [DiMarco] is of the same concept as Steve [Hauschka],” said Farwell. “Pat is a talented player that has played a lot of fullback but also special teams. So I think those are great players and I think anytime those rookies can learn from one of those veterans I would highly recommend it. And I think the value to reach to those guys and understand and kind of get some knowledge from them—the great thing about this game is when older players are willing to give information and a lot of times it can be the guy they are competing with for a job. That happened for me as a player and I know guys do this all the time. The guy who replaces you is the guy you helped.”
Perhaps sensing he was was suggesting that Gilliam was taking an early lead on possessing the fullback job, Farwell made it a point to also praise DiMarco’s performance this offseason but certainly didn’t close the door on the rookie’s chances.
“Pat is having a great camp and Pat can beat him out,” noted Farwell. “I’m just saying that Pat is giving him every bit of information that he can and is going to help the kid out as much as he can. Reggie is open to learning and wants to learn and cares and is having a great camp as well.”
These comments were made before Gilliam caught the attention of media members present at practices this week, so the rookie is impressing folks both inside and outside the organization early in camp.
DiMarco has been sidelined with a sore neck for most of the training camp practices further hindering his opportunities in the competition.