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michael89156

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« : August 31, 2011, 11:50:17 PM »

Youngters Vying for Reserve Roles in Tampa Bay Buccaneers Backfield
August 31st, 2011 at 11:41 PM
By Wolf Heard



With the NFL opener only a week away, all but two teams (Oakland plays Seattle Friday night) conclude preseason action Thursday. Although most of the league’s premier players and potential starters will enjoy the games from the comfort of the sidelines, the intensity of the games should remain competitive. Because rosters are scheduled to shrink by 25 percent Saturday, players on the edge of cut-lines will get the majority of playing time in Thursday’s action. One of the most competitive position battles on Tampa Bay’s roster is that for second and third running backs.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Earnest Graham (34) jumps into the endzone for a touchdown against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of their NFL football game in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 19, 2010. REUTERS/Chris Keane


With LeGarrette Blount entrenched as the team’s starter and veteran Earnest Graham slated to be the fullback and possibly the third-down back, the Bucs are looking for player (or two) to provide solid depth at the position. Kregg Lumpkin, a third-year man out of Georgia, has been listed as the backup throughout the preseason. The 5-11, 228-lb Lumpkin has totaled 11 carries for 40 yards. Lumpkin has shown solid receiving skills as well (4 catches, 26 yards), however his lack of a breakout effort has left the door open for a trio of rookies.

Among the rookies, bruiser Allen Bradford has seen the most action. The 6-0, 242-lb Bradford has carried a team-high 18 times, but only for a 2.2-yard per carry average. Bradford does have one of the backfield’s two touchdowns, but he is not much of a receiver and has not been targeted out of the backfield by Buccaneers quarterbacks.

Behind Bradford for most of the preseason has been Oklahoma rookie Mossis Madu. Madu, a converted wide receiver, has shown flashes of speed in limited action. Madu has had trouble finding room on the ground, accumulating only 17 yards rushing. He does have a pair of catches for 21 yards and could provide the Bucs a solid special teams player option.

The third of the three-headed rookie monster is Notre Dame’s Armando Allen. Allen, a Miami Lakes product, has had the success (3.7 yards per carry) of Tampa ball carriers this abbreviated training camp. Although his numbers are the best, Allen has yet to carry the ball in the first half of action, as he has been predominantly relegated to mop-up duty. Allen, too, could offer the Bucs options on special teams.

The final piece of this unanswered puzzle is the options that general manager Mark Dominik and head coach Raheem Morris will have after other teams trim their rosters. Much like the Blount pickup of a season ago, the Bucs will meticulously comb the waiver wire for fitting pieces. Given the right opportunity, Tampa could acquire another back all together. That would likely push the winner of the rookie battle to the practice squad.

Some names that could be out there include talented youngsters Chris Jennings (NY Jets), Anthony Allen (Ravens), Richard Murphy (Jags) or Brandon Saine (Packers).

With roster status uncertain, watch for the Buccaneers trio of rookies to try to make the front office cut down decision difficult.
« : August 31, 2011, 11:52:03 PM michael89156 »

The Anti-Java

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« #1 : September 01, 2011, 12:50:29 AM »

To me, Bradford has been a bit of a disappointment.  I expected more from him.


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« #2 : September 01, 2011, 03:55:27 AM »

Bradford hasn't gotten much help from his OL, but I would agree he's not been impressive. Didn't understand why we drafted him to begin with, he is pretty much a less talented Blount. I'm also not a fan of Lumpkin, Raheem and Dom talk up this guy but I see a guy who is a borderline #3 RB in this league, at best. I'm okay with Graham getting the snaps behind Blount, but RB is something that should be adressed next year. Even though Raheem says he wants power backs, I think a quick back with good hands is what this team needs

Bucman

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« #3 : September 01, 2011, 04:18:20 AM »

Bradford a bruiser? Yeah right, just because he is a bigger back doesn't me shat. He goes down far too easy for a back his size.


flaitguy

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« #4 : September 01, 2011, 01:14:16 PM »

they call him a "back" because that is where he spends most of his time.

1sparkybuc

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« #5 : September 01, 2011, 03:03:46 PM »

The lockout has really hurt these guys. They are not going to perform at the same level as past draft classes. They're less than a month from being civilians. Blount's been here a year and just now getting ready to pass protect and catch the ball. Also, playing behind our starting OL is no picnic. Playing behind their backups can't be easy. Cut them some slack.

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« #6 : September 01, 2011, 06:01:25 PM »

I am not in panic mode like most when it comes to the RB position.  Blount/Graham are a formidable 1-2 punch that have had 40+ runs in their respective careers, so any team that doesn't respect either RB is in for a surprise.  The key is to find a 3rd back that has upside really. 

Lumpking pretty much will win by default if no other young RB impresses, but I think that in the end that the team will hunt for a RB after the final cuts Saturday.


BuccaneersMagic1282

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« #7 : September 02, 2011, 12:07:32 AM »

No way Allen Bradford makes the roster. He's been absolutely horrible in preseason and he can easily be put on the practice squad to give him another crack next year. I think Lumpkin makes the 53 initially, but if Dom sees someone on the waiver wire, he'll be cut.

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« #8 : September 02, 2011, 12:08:37 AM »

Graham can get the job done. Dont know about any of the others.

alldaway

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« #9 : September 02, 2011, 12:12:04 AM »

No way Allen Bradford makes the roster. He's been absolutely horrible in preseason and he can easily be put on the practice squad to give him another crack next year. I think Lumpkin makes the 53 initially, but if Dom sees someone on the waiver wire, he'll be cut.

I see it the same way with Lumpkin keeping the seat warm until an upgrade is brought in soon-ish.

BTownBucFan

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« #10 : September 02, 2011, 12:13:06 AM »

not impressed at all.

RB has to be a possible move after final cuts.  There is no way they can be satisfied with what they've seen.

BucBalla85

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« #11 : September 02, 2011, 12:14:19 AM »

not impressed at all.

RB has to be a possible move after final cuts.  There is no way they can be satisfied with what they've seen.

I dont see it either. Bradford looked like he thought he was given the 3rd string job.

alldaway

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« #12 : September 02, 2011, 12:15:54 AM »

I would keep Madu over Bradford for the PS.  Maybe even Armando Allen.


BuccaneersMagic1282

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« #13 : September 02, 2011, 12:35:06 AM »

Dallas may cut Tashard Choice, if they do, he'd be a perfect target for us.

alldaway

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« #14 : September 02, 2011, 12:36:29 AM »

Dallas may cut Tashard Choice, if they do, he'd be a perfect target for us.

I haven't paid attention to Choice in pass pro, but can he do it?
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