When there’s a #Fatback signed by the Bills, you know I’m going to go to town. Before I do, I wanted to get a local perspective of the newest Bill, fullback Patrick DiMarco – and I was beyond happy to have Aaron Freeman of FalcFans.com to pop in and chat with us. If you have a chance, check them out on Twitter and online at FalcFans.com. Aaron’s got a good mind for football with a Falcons twist so this was quite informative!
What can you tell me about how DiMarco fit in the Falcon’s offense? Was he purely a “fatback fullback” as my partner says, or was he more dynamic?
DiMarco’s role in the Falcons offense was very diverse thanks to the variance instilled by Kyle Shanahan. While the bulk of his duties was to be a lead blocker, the Falcons prided themselves on giving defenses multiple looks to keep them on their heels in 2016. Which resulted in DiMarco being asked to contribute as a receiver.
While he saw limited targets, the Falcons weren’t afraid to split him out wide in the slot to use him to draw coverages or be used as an outlet receiver in the flat or down the sideline. This proved valuable at times in the red zone when due to the plethora of weapons, he was often exploited to the Falcons great success as an afterthought to defenses.
What holes, if any did you see in DiMarco’s game as a Falcon?
There aren’t many “holes” per se but there are certainly areas that he’s not great in. He’s not a steamroller as a lead blocker in the sense that he’ll just level defenders, but he’ll bring the pop in the run game. Even though he was used as a receiver, he’s not going to be a dangerous threat there that will force defenses to adjust their coverages for him.
I saw your tweet that you’d have questions if DiMarco walked in FA. What are his best traits and why would he elicit such a response?
His best traits are his reliability and vision. He’s consistently able to hit his blocking assignments, which is a trait that cannot be undersold. His vision is excellent because the outside zone-blocking scheme employed by the Falcons in recent years isn’t as simple as “go here and hit this guy” and requires adjustments made constantly as defenders react and holes open up. DiMarco became exceptionally good at making those adjustments on the fly.
What game(s) would you point to as statement DiMarco games?
Late in the season, it was noticeable how dominant at times DiMarco was blocking in games like Week 15’s blowout of the 49ers and Week 16’s win over the Panthers. There were other strong games but those stood as ones we featured on our Locked on Falcons Podcast, merit in lengthy discussions.
Anything else we should know about Patrick?
He’s just a good dude. Should’ve been voted to his second consecutive Pro Bowl this past year over Mike Tolbert, but the voting process was clearly flawed. But either way it doesn’t diminish that he was one of the elite lead blockers in the NFL the past two seasons. Which is made even more compelling by the fact that he barely made the roster in 2015, being stuck in a training camp competition with Collin Mooney that came down to the wire. Fortunately for Patrick and unfortunately for Collin, the latter suffered a season-ending injury in the preseason finale and the rest is history.