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yuccaneers

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: January 19, 2008, 03:45:53 PM

Well continuing on in the series “State of the Bucs Roster”. It is time to dive into the backfield,   Find out what we thought of the FB’s & RB’s in this edition. Some players made name for themselves while others find it harder and harder to stay healthy. Should Mike Alstott retire? Do the Bucs resign Bennett or Pittman get our take.


So here goes folks, is the first posting of what will likely be at least 13 such posts in a series we'll call "State of the Bucs Roster". We'll start the discussions off with - what else - the quarterback position, while running down each position leading up to the draft. Keep in mind the following: this exercise isn't entirely about talents and strengths/weaknesses as much as it is about status, usage and growth potential. This is a tool to help us predict / determine what the best plan of attack is for the Bucs this off-season as they attempt to build on the playoff roster from 2007.

I would like to take the time to thank Mike Alstott for all the memories, but it is time that he walk away from the game that he loves of suffer permanent injuries.

With Michael Pittman want a chance at another ring and more playing time unless there are no suitors for his services the team might bring him back at a reduced price for insurance. Bennett while being traded for late in the season has been out spoken about wanting more carries not sure he meshes well with the current team first attitude the Bucs front office is going for, thus think the team might not want him back.   

Here's a breakdown of Bucs current RB’s & FB’s under contract:

Carnell Williams: After leading the team in rushing as a rookie, Williams suffered through a sophomore slump. Weather it was because of a porous offensive line or instability at the quarterback position Williams for the most part looked tentative running the pigskin in 2006. Coming into the 2007 season rumor was that Williams was flashing his rookie form again while establishing himself as a receiving threat during training camp. What many fans expected to see was an explosive homerun hitter, what they got was a player fighting through nagging injuries through the first four games. Williams ended his season vs the Panthers when he was carted of the filed with a torn patella tendon. News now being floated about is that Williams might not be able to play in 2008 and his career could be over. As of last week he was seen hobbling around the locker room.

 
Earnest Graham: What a rags to riches story! Going from Mr. August to what many feel good be a feature back for a few years to come. Graham finally got  a chance to prove to the thousands in attendance at RayJay and the millions watching on the tube what he can do given an opportunity to shine. Graham lead the Bucs in rushing yards with 898 yards, while stampeding his way in the endzone for 10 scores. He showed great hands in the passing game, while delivering a brutal stiff arm and some wiggle. Graham runs with a powerful lean when running inside the tackles, can make the first guy miss doesn’t go down on first contact.

BJ Askew : Mr. Unsung Hero, to many observers Askew is what made the running came click, a powerful lead blocker, shows great pop at the point of attack. Askew show great ability to settle in the soft zone while plucking the ball out of the air. Askew has some decent ability after the catch. Look for him to be more involved in the passing game as he fully understand the little intricacies of the offense.

Kenneth Darby: A seven round pick that bounced around from the practice squad to the active roster. Darby showed some nice vision in the running game but is not polished as a receiver. Similar to what Graham went through in 2003, Darby needs to show he can continue to get better and contribute on special teams if he wants a chance to stick in 2008.

Off-Season Outlook
Clearly, the Bucs will be looking to upgrade the backfield. With both Michael Pittman and Michael Bennett being free agents looking for playing time and a chance to add some bling it looks as though the team will be looking towards free agency and the draft to add talent. With players like Julius Jones, Michael Turner and Mewelde Moore being the best available in free agency the team may decide to fill other holes before the draft and target  a RB in the draft. With so many junior declaring, Rahsard Mendenhall, Jonathan Stewart, Darren McFadden, Ray Rice, Kevin Smith and Felix Jones the team may decide the better option is to draft a young back with less wear and tear then a free agent.

Possible additions: veteran backup / feature back draft pick
Possible subtractions: Pittman / Bennett / Alstott / Darby / Storer


In Football, RESPECT is never given freely by your opponent. It must be TAKEN from them...VIOLENTLY

Great players cost a lot of money but help win games. High-priced players - a byproduct of poorly run front offices with bad scouting departments - only cost a lot of money.
"Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."
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#1 : January 19, 2008, 04:01:42 PM

if williams is healthy he and graham would be a great 1-2 punch and maybe sign a mewelde moore type and progress on darby we could be sitting pretty.


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yuccaneers

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#2 : January 19, 2008, 05:10:58 PM

Williams is the big if, GM Bruce Allen should approach the off-season as if Williams will not be available to the team and plan accordingly

In Football, RESPECT is never given freely by your opponent. It must be TAKEN from them...VIOLENTLY

Great players cost a lot of money but help win games. High-priced players - a byproduct of poorly run front offices with bad scouting departments - only cost a lot of money.
"Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."
Oliver Goldsmith

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#3 : January 19, 2008, 05:29:02 PM

Williams is the big if, GM Bruce Allen should approach the off-season as if Williams will not be available to the team and plan accordingly

we might if we do we will probably see Michael "the burner" Turner in here or even a RB like Rashard Mendenhall, Felix Jones or kevin Smith (pending 40's)


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#4 : January 19, 2008, 06:08:19 PM

Moore is the perfect pickup for now.  He can catch and run...He is also a pretty good punt returner and lord knows we need one of those.  I seriously doubt Cadillac will be back next year at all and I think it would be better not to rush his rehabilitation.

I would not mind picking up a back in the draft somewhere in the first three rounds as long as he fits the BPA tag.  I do think on Day 2 we need to take a shot late at Thomas Brown.  I think he would easily beat out Darby and fits what Gruden likes in a back.  Actually, he runs, catches and plays alot like Cadillac (though much better hands) with reckless abandon.  I know I stated this earlier, but I have a good connection with the UGA program and that coaches love the kid (tremendous work ethic).  It looks like he has already impressed at the Shrine game...

I think we are set at fullback with Storer and Askew but there are going to be some interesting H back options in free agency...which would make sense because we are looking for some more depth at TE (Becht will probably be gone).

Not sure about Turner's hands which is a must in our offense...If we use a pick in rounds 1-3 on a RB, then I would not only like one who can catch but someone with tremendous speed who could possibly return kicks...We need to add more playmaking speed to this offense...

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#5 : January 20, 2008, 11:36:15 AM

Would look to sign a home run hitter in J. Jones, Moore as a replacement for Pittman, and Graham as a complement to J. Jones...sign K. Wilson as a hybride FB/TE...draft Jacob Hester from LSU as our new Mr. August

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yuccaneers

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#6 : January 20, 2008, 12:19:03 PM

Thinking  that if Pittman does leave Moore would be the player to replace him, as far a s a speed guy that can catch and is a homerun hit anytime he touches the ball would be Chris Johnson

In Football, RESPECT is never given freely by your opponent. It must be TAKEN from them...VIOLENTLY

Great players cost a lot of money but help win games. High-priced players - a byproduct of poorly run front offices with bad scouting departments - only cost a lot of money.
"Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."
Oliver Goldsmith

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#7 : January 20, 2008, 01:58:12 PM

Thinking that if Pittman does leave Moore would be the player to replace him, as far a s a speed guy that can catch and is a homerun hit anytime he touches the ball would be Chris Johnson

I read his measurables yesterday, 4.2 in the 40...not bad...what type of playing experience and durability does he possess?  Personally would rather have experience (years in the NFL) than a rookie playing skill positions (QB, RB, WR)...JMO

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