Bruce Miller isn’t merely transitioning from fullback to tight end this spring. He’s also been lining up at times at wide receiver, according to coach Chip Kelly.
“He’s playing both tight end and move tight end for us,” Kelly said Thursday on 95.7 FM radio. “And he’s playing a little bit of wide receiver for us. And he’s really adapted well to it.”
Kelly’s tight ends are active in the passing game – his Eagles group combined for 1,305 receiving yards last year – and they often line up in the slot like receiver or even out wide of the formation. Miller has been one of those asked to get down the field, and he’s fit in well so far.
“He can run,” offensive coordinator Curtis Modkins said of Miller. “He’s an aggressive personality because he has some of the other side of the ball in him. He understands football because I think he’s been exposed to a lot. He can just do a little bit of everything pretty good. So we’re excited about him.”
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As Modkins noted, Miller has had to adapt since entering the NFL.
During the 2011 combine he was a 254-pound defensive end – he ran his 40-yard dash in 4.85 seconds – whom the 49ers drafted in the seventh round with the intent of moving him to fullback. He embraced that role and is doing the same this offseason as learns yet another set of skills.
Miller said blocking is a little easier from the line of scrimmage because his targets are simply closer than they were when he lined up in the backfield as a fullback. He said he also likes being a target in the passing game. He averaged 15 catches per season as a fullback, but last year had a career-low 10.
Miller also has dropped some weight for his new role.
“I feel like I’m moving better,” he said. “But I don’t know. I just kind of look the same on film.”
As far as route running, Miller said he and his fellow tight ends have spent a lot of time watching cut-ups of the Eagles’ Zach Ertz and Brent Celek as well as other tight ends around the league.
“Jason Witten, I mean, he runs some of the best routes in the league,” Miller said of the Cowboys tight end. “So we watch him.”