[EDITOR’S NOTE: WE ARE ASKING EACH OF OUR JOCKS TO DECIDE IF A BUBBLE PLAYER FOR THE HOUSTON TEXANS IS GOING TO MAKE THE CUT AND BE ON TEAM’S 53-MAN ROSTER OR MISS THE CUT AND BE CUT BY THE TEAM. THE THIRD OF THE SERIES IS BY SEAN PENDERGAST – TRIPLE THREAT 2P-6P – ON FULLBACK JAY PROSCH]
Last month, Japan’s Funai Electric Company manufactured the last new VCR on the face of the earth. With sales dwindling down to just 75,000 units per year, down from the all-time peak of 15 million annually, the VCR market had gradually dried up to the point where the device had outlived its usefulness.
I feel like this is about where we are with the fullback position, a roster spot that used to be prominently featured by nearly every NFL team in so many ways — blocking, receiving, short yardage running— but is now an archaic novelty, like the VCR. While more and more pass happy offenses are zipping around from scene to scene like Apple TV, the handful of remaining fullbacks are sitting through a cumbersome fast-forward scan.
So it is with that metaphor as the backdrop that we count down the days remaining in the Texans career of fullback Jay Prosch, who at his best is a homeless man’s Corey Schlesinger and on a daily basis, with this revamped roster, is occupying a spot that should be reserved for a sexier, more impactful piece.
After being drafted in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Prosch was believed to embody the toughness that Texans head coach Bill O’Brien would be looking for in his first Texans’ offense, old school and blue collar. Along the way, O’Brien and offensive coordinator George Godsey even tried to convince us at various times that Prosch is something he clearly isn’t, lining him up on occasion as a single setback or splitting him out wide, an odd concession of playing 10-on-11 if there ever was one.
That was all well and good when this offense was scratching two sticks together in 2014 and 2015, with its stooge row of quarterbacks force feeding DeAndre Hopkins, but this is a new day, with sleeker, faster toys, and quite frankly, it’s not so much that Prosch is bad at football (although saying he is good at football is certainly a reach) as much as it is there being other pieces that make more sense for O’Brien to keep, especially when you consider Prosch only played in 15 percent of the offensive snaps last season (football’s answer to the VCR only selling the aforementioned 75,000 units last year).
Add up the numbers in the backfield — Lamar Miller and Tyler Ervin are locks to make this team, while the coaches have an odd fascination with Alfred Blue, which leaves the versatile and dependable Jonathan Grimes, the speedy Akeem Hunt, and the suddenly shifty Kenny Hilliard still vying for spots in the backfield. That’s too many bodies. So I would ask that you assess the complete skill set of at least two of those three men (pick your best two), and ask yourself “Does Jay Prosch have any irreplaceable skill that makes it worth cutting one of these guys to keep Prosch?”
If your answer is “No,” then you are correct.
This isn’t Jay Prosch losing his fullback spot to undrafted free agent fullback Soma Valnuku, this is Jay Prosch losing his job to progress. Prosch is, quite simply, the next to go in a dwindling line of soon-to-be obsolete human cinder blocks around the league.
Soon, like the Funai Electric Company, the NFL will manufacture its final fullback, with Prosch a footnote in the position’s obituary. The question will then become, “What NFL position is the DVD player?”
Listen to Sean Pendergast on “The Triple Threat” from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. weekdays, and follow him on Twitter @SeanTPendergast.