I can picture people scratching their heads and wondering what I am going on about. What is a Deus ex machina? The briefest definition is a plot device used in ancient Greek plays where a character that can conquer a seemingly impossible obstacle very easily; as in perhaps a God, is introduced. In more modern times the definition is used a bit more liberally. This is where I come in. More importantly this is where Kyle Juszczyk comes in.
What few people may know; outside of Ravens fans, is that Kyle was not a star running back at Harvard University. He wasn’t a star fullback. He was a first team All American as a Tight End after posting a season of 52 catches for 706 yards and 8 touchdowns. This means Kyle is smart, he knows how to run routes, and he has some pretty reliable hands. At 6’1” and 250lbs he isn’t the prototypical TE size so a position change in the NFL was inevitable.
This is how I envision his role with the Ravens this season. Having “Juice” in the backfield now represents a true dilemma for opposing offenses. Is he going to lead block, is he going to run the ball, or most importantly, which route will he run to catch a pass? As great as Vonta Leach was, he was a one dimensional fullback. Very few teams still use a player of that mold now. With Leach out, Juszczyk in, the other weapons that are in place, and now Gary Kubiak’s offensive scheme being implemented this could be a very productive year for “Juice.”
He isn’t the same powerful lead blocker as Leach was. It wasn’t something he did much in college, but he’s worked hard in that area all off season. It is paying tremendous dividends as he’s starting to get noticed for his blocks. He’s also not the kind of fullback that will simply stand around in the flat and catch a dump off pass. He can actually run a route tree and his hands are not made of cement. With the injury to Dennis Pitta, I see Kyle getting a lot of opportunities to contribute in a similar fashion in the passing attack. If an opposing team does not account for him he will rack up yards and the opposition will be left wondering how they lost the game.
And I will simply utter what I think should be the new nickname for Kyle. The Juszczyk Machina.