Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris mentioned Monday that Earnest Graham is currently penciled in as the Buccaneers’ third-down running back.
On Tuesday, Morris said he wants to see RB Kregg Lumpkin to play his way back into the mix during Thursday night’s preseason finale at Washington, hinting that a renewed desire needs to be put on display from the former Georgia Bulldog.
“This is a big game for Kregg,” Morris said. “It’s a huge game for him. I want to see Kregg Lumpkin run the ball. I want to see him protect. I want to see him catch the ball out of the backfield. I want to see him go out there and compete with Earnest Graham and give us the battle that I liked to see when they started camp.”
“I’m not down on Kregg, but I certainly want to see him get back in this battle with Earnest to earn the right to play, to show that he wants to play, to show that he should be out there. And that’s a good thing. I want to give him an opportunity this week.”
Lumpkin has received minimal action since Tampa Bay acquired him off waivers last September after being released by the Green Bay Packers. The 5-foot-11, 228-pound back checked into 11 games last year and attempted one rush for no gain and caught one pass for 12 yards.
Neither running back has shown significant separation from the other in terms of rushing the ball or receiving this preseason. Lumpkin has gained 40 yards on 11 carries, an average of 3.6 per attempt, and has caught four passes for 26 yards. Graham's rushed only three times for five yards and has five receptions for 52 yards.