With Doug Martin and Michael Smith being drafted last month, incumbent Bucs' running back LeGarrette Blount know the path to starter will have some hurdles, but the third-year back is welcoming the competition.
During the unveiling of the new NFL jerseys in New York prior to the NFL draft last month, Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount was asked how he would feel if Tampa Bay selected Alabama running back Trent Richardson. Blount answered the reporter saying he wouldn’t like it very much, creating a bit of controversy.
The Bucs didn’t end up with Richardson last month, but still managed to add two running backs including Boise State running back Doug Martin with their second pick in the first round, and later took speedster Michael Smith in the seventh round.
On Tuesday after the Bucs OTA (organized team activity) practice was over, Blount came over to the media and faced the question again. This time the third-year running back had changed his tune regarding competition in the backfield.
“We needed it,” Blount said. “I can't carry the load by myself. We had Mossis (Madu) as a good addition. We added Doug Martin so we're going to see how that pans out.”
Blount, who has rushed for 1,788 yards and 11 touchdowns over the past two seasons, seemed confidant in his abilities.
“I think nobody can affect my carries but me,” Blount said. “We drafted him because we needed him but at the end of the day – we're both going to play. But don't nobody affect my carries but me. Not what he does, only how I practice, and how fast I get the offense down and things like that. That's the only thing that will affect my carries.”
Blount has heard all the negative talk about his inability to become an every-down back, but is motivated to prove he can make the transition.
“I'm proving more and more every day that I can play every down,” Blount said. “It's still a process, but at the end of the day, I have the offense down pat pretty much so I've been showing them I can be an every down back and I'm in really good shape so the ball's in my court.”
Since the comments about Richardson, Blount has had some time to reflect on his statements and now appears to welcome the competition.
Yeah, I think I can become a better play by having other guys compete for the job,” Blount said. “Them drafting a running back might be what I needed to become an every-down back. You got to compete and be a competitor and competition is what makes guy better than what they were being.
“You can never be comfortable. No one in the NFL can ever be comfortable. You have your select few that can, the Adrian Petersons and Ray Rice's and Arian Fosters, but I haven't gotten comfortable. I haven't established that kind of credibility yet.
“I want to run it as many times as they'll give it to me. Ten, 20, or 30 carries. And when I get it I'm going to run it as hard as I can.”
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