LINK to the article Clutts looking to carve out spot in Tice system
By Brad Biggs, Tribune reporter 10:53 a.m. CDT, July 25, 2012
BOURBONNAIS -- Tyler Clutts doesn’t need a history lesson on Mike Tice to know what his situation is.
The Chicago Bears’ new offensive coordinator has a track record of being involved with powerful running games. Tice has done so largely without a fullback in the past, something that creates a considerable challenge for Clutts at the outset of training camp as he battles for a roster spot.
When Tice was head coach of the Minnesota Vikings from 2002 to 2005, he had a fullback on the roster just one season. Instead of fullbacks, Tice prefers versatile tight ends that can be moved all over the formation, including into the backfield.
Clutts, 27, was picked up from the Cleveland Browns after final cuts last summer and quickly developed a niche on offense and special teams, so he’s entering his first Bears’ training camp with a simple goal.
“Grow and get better at the position, really earn a spot on this team,” Clutts said. “I want to come in and show why they need to carry a fullback.”
The former defensive end at Fresno State has fought to earn a living playing football, playing in Canada and indoors as he’s evolved, also picking up long snapping as a skill. He realizes the new offense might not have a perfect fit for his position.
“I can’t worry about that kind of stuff right now,” Clutts said. “I’ve got to worry about playing the best that I can, playing mistake-free football and being physical and having a presence while on the field. And then I have to really contribute on special teams and step my game up there.”
The Bears drafted Temple’s Evan Rodriguez in the fourth round as an “F” tight end and they have big blockers in veterans Kellen Davis and Matt Spaeth. Kyle Adams will also get a look. If the team keeps four tight ends, that could put a squeeze on the fullback position right there. The club went without a fullback in 2010 but opted to add one to Mike Martz’s scheme last year.
Clutts’ goal is to prove he has the versatility to do other things, including catching the ball out of the backfield.
“Now, it’s my job to show them to get them to trust me to do those things,” he said. “I can’t worry about the things that are out of my hands. What I can control is myself and how I approach every day on the field. I’m going to go out there with a chip on my shoulder like I have my whole career.” firstname.lastname@example.org