It is always interesting to watch the evolution of a head coach in the NFL. The idea of needing to adapt is something you see from the best coaches. Look at the New England Patriots during the Tom Brady and Bill Belichick era: going from defensive, to high-flying, to ground-and-pound and being successful at every stop.
Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians does not like the idea of a fullback. He has said so many times before. But in the early stages of training camp, he has used one in "running back" Robert Hughes.
Is Arians ready to adapt his style into a more traditional power running game with a fullback to accompany his new toy in left guard Jonathan Cooper? It's an interesting look at the offense and a slight change, although Arians is a fan of using an H-Back in numerous ways.
Hughes was a big running back at Notre Dame with whom Arians is "familiar" because of their time in Indy together -- Hughes played 28 snaps in five games on offense during Arians' short stay.
Arians may also be experimenting with combinations that will allow him to get the most weapons out in routes at once. If you have Hughes in the game, you may not need to wait to see how Troy Niklas is developing as a route-runner (slowly) or whether or not Andre Ellington can pick up a blitz (he will definitely try). Instead you can get Ellington and John Carlson, or Ellington and John Brown out into routes along with Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd.
Hughes' ability to hold his own as a blocker in pass protection and likely getting better as a run-blocker makes him an interesting weapon and option in the offense going forward while also giving Arians more toys to play with.
The other thing that has been talked about slightly more at camp this year is getting a screen game going. Arians and his offense ran exactly three screens to running backs last season, which seems like a gross under-utilization of Ellington. And if he is truly going to be a featured player this season, then we can expect more from him in the screen game, which, in turn, should help open up the deep stuff even more.
It is something to watch throughout camp and into the preseason, to see just how Arians will adapt his play-calling in year two in the desert.