The Cleveland Browns have their initial 53-man roster set as of Tuesday at 4 PM. By Wednesday at 4 PM, there may be a couple of changes to that 53-man roster and we will have the team’s initial 16-man practice squad names.
Fullback Andy Janovich made the team’s initial 53-man and is expected to stick. While Janovich only played in 180 offensive snaps last season, Cleveland sees value in having him on the roster for a variety of reasons.
Primarily is his blocking ability. Last year, according to Pro Football Focus, Janovich graded out at a 90.0 pass blocker while his run blocking was graded down at 63.8.
In a pass-heavy NFL, Janovich must be able to be on the field for both run and pass plays. Last year, 117 of his 180 snaps were run plays giving the defense a clear indication of what is coming when he was in the game.
The benefit to his good pass blocking ability is that when the team runs a play-action fake with him in the game, the defense is expecting a run and the fullback is able to help in protection. We saw that in the final preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons:
I think Hance & Forbes (slowww out of his stance) owe Janovich something here. They fail to cut off the nose off this run-action and Janovich stuns him so well that 95 loses his football cognition for a second. One of the league’s best FBs. #Browns pic.twitter.com/m96Csp6w2F
— Jake Burns (@jake_burns18) September 1, 2021
As Kevin Stefanski has a year of experience as both head coach and play-caller, it will be interesting to see what adjustments are made. Last year, Janovich was only targetted five times in the passing game (two receptions) and ran the ball two times.
Will the fullback’s usage increase or is his value as a blocker enough for Stefanski? We see in the above video just how valuable his blocking is.