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May 15, 2012 @ 4:35 pm
Current rating: 4.67 Stars/3 Votes

Blount Says He Now Welcomes The Competition

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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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.”

Last modified on Tuesday, 15 May 2012 16:44

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    All I can say is as much as I am happy having a good running back tandem what good will they be if the defense can't stop teams from scoring forcing us once again to abandon the run game? I know the armchair gm in all of us will second guess our picks but with the uncertainty of our resident thugs court case and the lackluster play of the secondary last year maybe we should have picked a cb. I'm just saying
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    Horse: Here's my take since you asked. We had six choices entering the Draft and came away seven selections; including not one, but two first rounders. Four of those seven choices were on the defensive side which all would agree is our biggest problem. Since no team, especially ours, is able to line up with 22 Pro-Bowl caliber players there are numerous "needs"; some of which aren't known until injury strikes (see Bowers) That's why I'm still a proponent of taking the best player and not thinking short-term like many do and determine that cornerback is our biggest "perceived" need thus we must take a cornerback first. Doing that weakens the roster over time. Many thought the first choice should have been Claiborne because it made sense. But with his former position coach on our staff, Dominik thought it wiser to draft the safer pick in Barron. Apparently he didn't have any of the remaining cornerbacks or linebackers available at # 31 as highly ranked as Martin. One could say, "But we have Blount". Then injury strikes and Madu is your starting RB. Point is strength can become weakness very quickly. Just look at our defensive line with your favorite "bust" unable to stay on the field. Bottom line, take the best player and in the long run the team will be better for it.
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    Blount will have to cure the fumbling problem, because Schiano won't stand for it. The other thing is Doug Martin is a hell of a back too. Both he and Blount will be the main mail carriers for the Bucs...Who starts? Who cares? The new regime believes in TEAM FIRST!!!
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    Fantastic comments. I totally agree last year was on the coaches and the media keeps bashing LGB. They are baseless sentiments. LGB never doubt that you have real fans in Tampa. The way he runs is astonishing! Best power rusher since alstott, bettis, the Nigerian nightmare, and iron head. Some of his runs are so elite, his highlights approach earl Campbell ability (there's only one of him though). So, obviously LGB is my favorite buc right now... I understand we needed to add more rb's, but I would've gone defense with the Martin pick, but he looks to be a decent all around back. What drives me crazy is reading/hearing national media state with complete authority that martin will step right into the starting lineup. Just goes to show the toughness of LGB who's had people writing him off for years. Keep your head in the playbook, give it all you've got in practice and stay away from bad situations LeGarrett and the respect I have for you will become widespread after you dominate on the field this year. I'll be wearing your jersey at every home game.
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    Blount will have to cure the fumbling problem, because Schiano won't stand for it. The other thing is Doug Martin is a hell of a back too. Both he and Blount will be the main mail carriers for the Bus...Who starts? Who cares? The new regime believes in TEAM FIRST!!!
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    Blount will forever have the punch on the Boise St player attached to his name. It's a thin line to control violence in a game that requires violence for players like Blount's survival. Now Blount will be teamed with a RB from Boise St. to form a successful running tandem in Tampa Bay. It's almost like deja vu all over again. Losing Earnest Graham last year put a lot of pressure on Blount and except for a fumble or two, I think he handled things pretty well. None of our offensive players exactly burnt the house down last year. I think Blount has worked hard to make himself a better person (citizen, teammate) and while I think Martin will be outstanding, I also think Legarrett will be outstanding also. There will be enough carries to go around for the Blount/Martin tandem to keep them both happy. By splitting time, both backs will be trying to maxamize their playing time and they will both be fresher too. Fatigue makes cowards of us all.
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    To put blame on Blount for last years season is shameful. This guy is a beast, Caddy was not worth a top five pick. I would have picked Blount over Caddy had they been in the same draft class. I'm still a big fan of Blount until Martin can take his job. Many top RB's have failed before, we know what we got in Blount. Blount will be a top RB we need to sign him long term Dominik! This guy had over 1000 yards in just eleven games with bad play calling, leave this guy alone, he is not the problem.
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    As much as I know we need Defense, Martin will be a valuable for the Offense this year. I believe that Blount is the man as long as he stays healthy. Pertaining to Winslow, cut or trade him now. Pertaining to Briscoe, no one believes me, but either the guy has an emotional problem of some sorts or he is wanting to be cut and go play for the Redskins. Either way, I would let him go. Pertaining to Price, I am hoping that he wasn't there because of rehab versus not being out of shape,
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    Well said mjmoody. The reference to the great #40 was exactly what I was thinking after reading Mark's article. Funny how during the 2010 and 2011 seasons no one made an issue of of his alleged "inability to block, inconsistent hands and fumbling issues." No, all that was talked about was his leaping over and running through defenders like few others can do. Then when the disastrous 2011 season finally concluded, suddenly the media, and fans who follow their every decree, decided that Blount was a thug, too stupid to learn the playbook, block, catch passes or hold onto the ball." The things on which Blount needs to improve can be taught with experience, OTA's, mini camps and training camps. Something he never really got until now. But those highlight reel runs of his are just a natural talent. For someone to declare Martin is already better before he's made his first NFL carry is just a tad presumptuous. I for one, am looking forward to our new backfield of Blount, Martin and Smith. I'll bet the Saints, Falcons and Panthers aren't.
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    scubog, I agree with you. Martin is a good pick up and we will now have depth, but at the cost of not drafting enough Defensive players in this past draft. I understand we have good back up, but first you have to fill the starter needs and that would be with our Defense that has a few empty spots. It was strange that Wright wasn't starting. What's your take on that one Scubog?
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    We cannot help but be better with these two guys in the backfield. Add Smith and we have a very potent running game. It would appear that Coach loves him some speed. Watching Preseason games this year might actually be fun.
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    LGB, Play your best and you'll see the ball plenty. Hold onto the ball and run hard, the rest will take care of itself.
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    These comments are not directed at Mark Cook--who has put together some fun stuff as it relates to the Bucs' future run game. Seriously, Blount made an off comment at a photo shoot and it got whipped into some controversy--don't get distracted by the fluff. The point is Martin's versatility combined with Blounts evolving ability, behind a solid power Oline. Don't forget that Green Bay run. Alstot had the same words written about him early--a big body with too much finesse and not enough power. His time in a multiple back system improved his game. When Gruden had to hang all of the Bucs' rushing yards upon his shoulders years later, Alstot was a beast. Blount is amazing in his raw form. Imagine that genetic ability combined with some real coaching and play calling. The fact that he's a UFA is ridiculous. The fact that he's also getting some unfounded crap shoveled on his doorstep and is still there day 1 to meet Coach Schiano + working his butt off in OTA's says to me his maturity level is much higher than he is getting credit for. If he walks like a duck and quacks like a duck than regardless of what anybody else says (Olsen) he is a duck.
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    Honestly I like Blount's attitude about it. The fact is that he just isn't as talented as Martin but with the right tude and effort to get better, Blount and Martin can be a nasty tandem behind our monster Oline!
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