This fullback might want to have a fallback

Anthony Sherman has played 28 games with 11 starts in two seasons as the Arizona Cardinals' fullback.

The 2011 fifth-round choice should be on notice following Bruce Arians' recent hiring as head coach.

"I have not been a fullback guy, never have been," Arians said during the NFL owners meeting last week.

2012 NFC West FB Comparison

Arians prefers tight ends to fullbacks for the versatility they can provide.

"If you're a defensive coordinator and I send in a fullback and take out a tight end, I'm going to get your best call for that," Arians explained. "If I've got two tight ends, you don't know if one of them is going to play the fullback or one of them is going to be split out wide. You are going to be in that down-and-distance call. You don’t have a specific call."

The Cardinals' former leadership valued Sherman as a lead blocker and for his contributions on special teams. Arians was addressing fullbacks in general, not Sherman in particular. But if he views Sherman as an old-school blocking back with little else to offer, that would be bad for Sherman's prospects.

"If here comes the fullback, let’s get eight in the box," Arians said of a defensive coordinator's mentality. "The more flexible tight ends can be, one of them playing fullback, one of them being a threat as a receiver, the other being the dual in-line backfield blocker, the more pressure you can put on the defense."

That doesn't necessarily mean Sherman is doomed in Arizona. The Indianapolis Colts' offense made at least some room for a fullback with Arians as its coordinator last season. Robert Hughes, signed in October, played 28 snaps. But it wasn't an ability to play fullback that appealed to Arians.

"I see him more as a running back who can play fullback and gives us good quality depth," Arians said last season. "Big, power back and I didn’t really know he could do this job. He’s found a nice niche for himself. He’s got great hands. Again, he brings another receiver with some speed on the field. He's not a traditional thud fullback."

Sherman has one carry and eight receptions while playing about 22 percent of the offensive snaps over the past two seasons.