Jamize Olawale has played 32 regular season games as the Cowboys’ fullback and has just two catches since coming to Dallas. Will the arrival of Mike McCarthy as the new head coach change how Olawale is utilized and make him a bigger part of the offense?
Jamize went undrafted in 2012 but has stayed in the NFL this long thanks to his all-around game. Olawale is a classic “jack of all trades, master of none” player whose value comes from versatility over any one exceptional skill.
For two years Dallas has really only used Jamize as a run blocker and on special teams. He hasn’t received a single carry and has been targeted just six times as a receiver, resulting in two catches for 13 yards.
Unfortunately for Olawale, the one play most remember is a dropped pass during Dallas’ blowout loss to the Indianapolis Colts in 2018. But given that he’s only been thrown at a few other times, it’s not like he’s been given an opportunity to redeem himself.
Olawale proved that he could be an occasional offensive weapon during his years with the Oakland Raiders. In one season he had 24 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown, and in another he had 12 receptions for 227 yards and a score.
For whatever reasons, those skills have not been utilized by the Cowboys. But now Mike McCarthy will be influencing the offense and he has a long track record of getting the ball into his fullbacks’ hands.
John Kuhn was the Packers’ fullback from 2007-2015, which covered all but a few of McCarthy’s seasons in Green Bay. He made the Pro Bowl three times and was a consistent contributor on offense.
In his best overall season in 2020, Kuhn rushed 84 times for 281 yards and four touchdowns. He also had 15 catches for 97 yards and two scores. That led to Kuhn’s first trip to the Pro Bowl, and also was the year that Green Bay won the Super Bowl under McCarthy.
In 2016, Aaron Ripkowski replaced Kuhn as the Packers’ fullback. He turned in 34 rushes for 150 yards and two touchdowns plus another 46 yards and a touchdown on nine receptions.
So clearly, Mike McCarthy knows how to get production out of the fullback position. And Jamize Olawale has proven he has way more to offer than what the Cowboys have asked of him so far.
When Dallas re-signed Olawale last year they made him one of the five highest-paid fullbacks in the NFL. It’s hard to argue that that contract has been justified thus far, but perhaps McCarthy can help turn that around.
With Jamize turning 31 in April the Cowboys could be looking for a younger player at the position this offseason. But as long as the physical tools are still there then Olawale seems like a great fit for this new coaching regime.
Hopefully, this shift gives the Cowboys another weapon on offense in 2020.