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Fullbacks Pack A 1-2 Punch


The Green Bay Packers have developed one of the finest running games in the NFL over the past few seasons, posting some of the best numbers in the team's 80-plus year history.

Running back Ahman Green and the men in the trenches, the offensive line, no doubt deserve a lot of credit for rising to make the running attack the focal point of the Packers' high-powered offense.

They have not gone without recognition, and rightfully so, with Green earning a Pro Bowl selection in each of the past three seasons. He has also been joined in Honolulu by linemen Mike Flanagan and Marco Rivera.

There are two more men who are key cogs in the running attack who do not frequently get the recognition. These are two of Green's top blockers, fullbacks William Henderson and Nick Luchey.

The Packers have luxury of rotating a pair of fullbacks, each of whom could start for most teams in the league.

Henderson, who is in his 10th year in Green Bay and is one of the few remaining members of the Super Bowl XXXI Champion squad, is on top of the depth chart for the ninth consecutive season. However, Luchey, who signed with the Packers as a free agent prior to the 2003 season, is enjoying an increased role in the offense this year, and is making the most of it.

GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman spoke highly of his fullback tandem when asked to assess their performance.

"I'm excited about both players," Sherman said. "I think they're both having good seasons. William is involved more in our base package. He's a good blocker and he's a good route-runner - he catches the football.

"I think Luchey has come into his own this year, more so than he did a year ago. He's definitely dependable, accountable - he's practicing at a higher level in my mind. It took him a year to get used to how we do things. He's really assuming a positive role on our team. At 270 pounds, he's a big fullback that defensive backs and linebackers have to contend with."

Luchey is happy with the role he and Henderson play in the system, but can't deny he would welcome an increase in playing time.

"I think we're two of the best fullbacks in the league," Luchey said. "We obviously give a powerful one-two punch. I'm pleased with how everything's going. Of course, Will would want to play more snaps and I would want to play more snaps. Put us somewhere else, and we're both starting. That's always going to be tough."

While carrying two top-tier fullbacks isn't really conventional, Sherman believes his system is working well, and is sure there are some teams envious of the Packers depth at the position.

"I think they both have very valuable roles in our offense," Sherman said. "In this day and age in football, some teams don't even have a fullback on their roster, and we have two. I feel very good about both of them."

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