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October 25, 2011 @ 1:21 pm
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Bucs Seek Another RB As Graham Heads To IR

Written by Mark
Cook
Mark Cook

Mark
Cook

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The Buccaneers have some tough decisions to make during the bye week as backup running back and fullback Earnest Graham has been lost for the season after rupturing his Achilles tendon Sunday in the team's 24-18 loss to the Chicago Bears in London. The team also announced the release of long snapper Christian Yount today.

As feared, Buccaneers running back Earnest Graham will be placed on injured reserve after rupturing his Achilles tendon Sunday on Tampa Bay’s second offensive series. Graham is scheduled to have surgery to repair the damage and the injury could be a possible career-ender for the eight-year veteran, who turns 32 next year.

According to a report from Duke University orthopedic doctors, nearly 36 percent of NFL players who rupture or tear their Achilles are unable to return to football and a significant portion that do have decreased abilities. The average rehab time from the injury varies, but the study cited up to one year before a player is able to resume full contact and action.

Tampa Bay is hoping to have LeGarrette Blount back after the bye week but there are no guarantees Blount will be ready as he missed two weeks worth of practice time due to an MCL (medial collateral ligament) injury he suffered at San Francisco on October 9. A speedy recovery can’t come fast enough for the Buccaneers and Blount as the only other running back on the active roster is Kregg Lumpkin, who totaled just 15 yards on eight carries (1.9 avg.) last week while replacing Graham against the Bears.

Rookies Mossis Madu and the newly signed Chad Spann are both currently on the Buccaneers practice squad. Allen Bradford, who was released by the Seahawks last week and signed to the Seahawks' practice squad, is a possibility to be brought back by the Buccaneers due to his familiarity with the offense. The former USC star earned a roster spot out of training camp before being released to make room for safety Tanard Jackson.


Sources have told PewterReport.com that Madu is likely to be called up from the practice squad although no official announcement from the Buccaneers has been released.
 The team may also wait until after the bye week to make a roster move after seeing if any current veteran running backs are placed on waivers over the next week. Any other options to add a player are limited as the trading deadline passed last week.


Some notable free agent names that have surfaced as potential replacements are former Redskin Clinton Portis and former New York Giant Tiki Barber. Sources tell PewterReport.com that signing Barber is unlikely.

Graham, one of the most popular players in the locker room, had a 109-yard rushing effort in the Buccaneers 26-20 victory over the Saints and was expected to carry the load until Blount’s return. But Graham’s durability has been in question as the former Gator has ended up on injured reserve each of the last three seasons.


Graham joined the Buccaneers in 2003 as an undrafted free agent after a stellar four-year career at the University of Florida. The former Gator was always a standout each preseason earning the nickname “Mr. August.”

In 2007 Graham’s hard work and dedication paid off, when after replacing an injured Cadillac Williams, the Cape Coral native was inserted into the starting lineup and rushed for a career-high 898 yards and 10 touchdowns in 13 games.

During his Buccaneers career, the player head coach Raheem Morris calls "Insurance Graham" has amassed 2,047 yards rushing on 477 carries (4.3 yard-per-carry average) and added 904 yards on 129 receptions. Graham has 16 career touchdowns.

In the 2011 season, Graham had rushed for 206 yards on 37 carries and had 26 receptions for 163 yards.

In other roster news the Bucs released long snapper Christian Yount today. Andrew Economos is likely to be activated and resume his duties. Economos ironically is recovering from an Achilles injury suffered prior to training camp.

Last modified on Tuesday, 25 October 2011 16:13
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COMMENTS

  • avatar


    Caddy is gone for a reason, it's not like he carried thiis team. He is not playing great for the Ram's. It was time to move on, he won't make the Ram's roster next year. Time to move on from Caddy and forget Tiki, stay young at RB !
  • avatar

    EVAN ROYSTER is still on the Redskins practice sqaud. I think he is more than capable of helping at this particular moment. He is worth a look. Do something Bucs!
  • avatar

    I love the praise for Earnest but in reality if not for the great game against the Saints you guys would be saying "no real loss he is old and has lost a step" . This board was killing the decision to keep him earlier this season saying those exact things now he has a 100 yd game and he is one of our best players. This board is very fickle it goes week to week with the posters on here its quite hilarious and entertaining.
  • avatar

    Hope EG can come back from this injury. But for now, we could be screwed. I think with the way Freeman is playing (because of no running game) combined with, well, no running game, they should get Josh Johnson involved in the offense. With his mobility/ability to run, I think that would make the defenses have to respect that. I would have him throw the ball as well though (not as the main QB). Maybe have him in there with Freeman at times. After all, he is one of the best overall athletes on our team. Just a thought since we all know that there is a good chance they aren't going to do what we would all do if we were in their situation, which is go find the BEST option! NOPE! I'm sure we are all feeling the same way right now, which is.......they are going to settle! Hope I'm wrong. Either way......GO BUCS!
  • avatar


    I would agree with scubog; Grahm's versatility is why he was here and Caddy wasn't. A FB with good pass pro and hands that could be on the field with Blount in 3rd down alignments. They thought they had solid depth with Lumpkin and Bradford. Maybe if there had been an off-season they could have diagnosed that they didn't. Bradford didn't hit the hole and tip-toed--well so did Blount early on, and so do a lot of young backs. Just saying. I gotta admit though, with Stocker being too inexperienced for the Bucs' to have any depth in the playbook for the "Tiger" alignment, and Josh being too inexperienced to effectively execute empty backfield sets--the Bucs' lean on play-action like a crutch. I'm disappointed that such a glaring hole has been exposed in the Bucs' offense. Olsen, Morris, and Dominik will truly earn there money over the bye. Chin up Bucs' fans, Green Bay found a running game mid-season last year. It can be done.
  • avatar


    I heard Ladell Betts as a suggestion as a back with something left in the tank and a veteran that can protect Freeman on third down. It doesn't solve all of the problems but not a bad idea. With the way the wr's are playing and I hate to say it, but TO might help and may teach the young guys how to get open.
  • avatar


    This is probably the first stain on Dominik's long list of good calls. Lumpkin was clearly not who they thought he was. He is NOT capable of being an NFL caliber back. As for bringing a Portis or Barber, anyone new player has to learn the system, and are not ready to start, so that does no good except provide depth. We will have to rely on Blount now, and hope he learned how to pass protect. For the last time, bringing in veteran players takes a job away from a young up and coming star. You bring in a veteran linebacker in 1995, and Derrick Brooks doesn't start for three years. You bring in a veteran D lineman, and DaQuan Bowers doesn't develop. There will be a time to bring in Free Agents.
  • avatar

    This is just bad planning by the organization. Almost every other team has a guy drafted in the early to later rounds learning the offense and waiting for his opportunity. Look at the Cowboys. They have Demarco Murray as their 4th running back and when he got his chance he exploded onto the scene breaking every Cowboy record for rookie RBs. Actually, he broke records of all RBs and not just rookies. We do not have that guy. If Madu or any other running back goes out there and runs for 200 yards I'll run naked up and down Dale Mabry with nothing but a donut on my deal. This is just bad planning. And to only have one other RB available during the Chicago game was even worse. WHAT ARE THEY THINKING?
  • avatar

    Guys I have no problem with them bringing up Madu or bringing back Bradford but I must admit the Bucs issues are just that. You can't compete with the Saints and Falcons for a division championship with a roster littered with practice squad players. The Bucs need to sprinkle in more productive veterans for depth and keep drafting. For example, right now the RB position, linebacker, and OL could use some veterans to fill the holes instead of practice squad players. There are just too many unknowns about these players. The proven successful franchises have players that know their systems and have skins on the wall.
  • avatar


    A player gets hurt and it's the Glazers fault for choosing Graham over Cadilac Williams? Could the decision been because of other factors besides money? Perhaps Graham's versatility. By the way, Williams was not "cut"; his contract expired and I doubt he broke the bank in St. Louis.
  • avatar


    The Glazers have to decide if they are going to be good owners. The Bucs have the lowest payroll in the league. We cut Cadillac to save money. How nice would it be to have Cadillac right now.
  • avatar

    They didn't cut caddy to save money, they just didn't resign him because they were trying to go young at the position. It was either Earnest or Caddy. Caddy isn't doing to well himself now a days in St. Louis.
  • avatar


    Great to see the accolades for Graham. He gave it his all unselfishly, and we would not have beaten New Orleans without his great effort. He should rehab his leg and take a well deserved retirement. He would make a great backfield coach! I agree fully with Horse this time. Bring up Madu and bring back Bradford. They both know our playbook. None of the retreads can learn it fast enough to be any help for us against a fired up New Orleans waiting for revenge Sunday. Did you see that Indianapolis Blow Out? I also agree Free has to have a running attack to succeed at this point. We also need to replace Madu on the Practice Squad with a full back who knows our system. Lumpkin can catch passes out of the backfield and block and should be our third down back the rest of the season, but he does not have what it takes as a RB. Of course it would help if Trueblood would play like the veteran lineman he is paid to be instead of making one mental mistake after another! Hope Lee is ready to step up!
  • avatar


    This should hopefully blow up the current idea that rb is a plug n play position. We are in dire need of an rb and I doubt there are many out there. We need to draft speed back early! In the meantime, what about the human highlight reel Noel divine? Maybe he'd do ok behind our good line...
  • avatar

    How about Kevin Smith? He's only 24 years old, ran for over 900 yards his rookie season.
  • avatar


    Earnest, good luck and God be with you with the surgery and rehab. You are a class act and one of my favorite Bucs all time. Look forward to seeing you back.
  • avatar

    It is what it is. I do know one thing...if we don't develop a running game Freeman will continue to regress. We only win games where the running game is working. Every game we lost this year we failed to get the running game going. Every game we won was because the play action was a real threat and it gave Free time to throw and the WR's weren't just blanketed because DB's knew we weren't going to or couldn't run the ball. Same thing last year. We only win when we can run the ball. Freeman is just not the type of passer like a Brady or a Brees who can do it all with his arm. He does have accuracy issues. He also has a cannon for an arm and can make some unbelievable throws. He just NEEDS the play action (at this point in his career) to make it work. If Blount can get healthy and we can sprinkle in Spann, Madu & Lorig to give him some rest...maybe we can survive until the draft. Defense should be healthy again after the bye week. Having McCoy back will be huge. Hope T-Jack is OK too. Why can't it be Talib who gets injured???! He hasn't impressed me at all this year. I'd almost rather see Lewis in there or give Gaitor more time out there and see what he can do. I know for sure that Gaitor is stronger against the run than Talib. Talib just looks for someone to block him out of the play.
  • avatar

    EG I wish you the best and thanks for your leadership by example. Bucs organization you truly dropped the ball on several issues this off-season and I see where the players that are feeling themselves get it from, the top. How do you place your season in the hands of an unknown and unproductive back and not to mention when was the last time EG finished a whole season. Well you get what you deserve and I guess the fans do to for supporting a cheap insufficient organization. You have blown so many moves as much as much as good moves. Explain Myron Lewis, Ahmad Black, Bradford, Stocker, and more. When other players were available that put up more production. If I were London I wouldn't want to watch and from what I hear the game didn't sell out. How does that make you feel when you cannot sellout home or on the road. That tells me there is something lacking with your team. Personnel and leadership is that missing link. Get it together because we faithful fans have endure so much but the economy makes it easier to lose interest.
  • avatar


    EG, I wish you the best. The purpose of the Practice Squad is to have players that are almost ready to play in the NFL if a spot becomes available or hiding a player that has potential for next year; I think? So right now we have no RB players on the Practice Squad that can play this year? Hmm, if that's the case then that is not very" forward looking" for the "what ifs" like injuries during this season. I don't get it that we have no one available to play from the Practice Squad; instead we think that Tiki Barber(Mister "it's all about me and feeding my big ego") and Portis whose knees are done. Right now I see the best options is to call up Madu from the Practice Squad and get Bradford back from the Seattle Practice Squad. I understand that neither one will make that much of a difference, but at least they know the play book and we can see what they really have. Some players are not good practice players, but can turn it up a notch in real games. Please do not play Blount until he is really healed. We do not need for him to get seriously injured then we are drafting for two RB's in the early rounds.
  • avatar


    I like alot of what Dom has done but >>>Call it what it is!! Dom shut his eyes and threw a dart in regards to rb , and now the rest of the team and the fans are paying for it.There is no way we should have entered the season with the depth we had at rb , there were also numerous backs that are good that could have been picked up for a fourth round pick prior to the trade dead line ( this is what scouts do, help you address a weakness when a gamble fails).Heck you can still get a back, you may just have to over pay a bit to have them clear waivers we have the cap room. Where is Steve Slaton Careless and Dumb no other way to say it ! I mean Dumb!
  • avatar


    Is there any star in the Canadian league or the Arena Football League worth looking at who's not a retread?
  • avatar


    You're right Pink, when Portis was playing he was the best blocking back in the league. I don't know what kind of shape he's in now since of all the teams looking for a RB this year and there's been several, nobody has brought in Portis for a look see. Alas Buc fans, there aren't any good options left. It seems "next man up " has become "last man standing" and if thats Kregg Lumpkin, I'm not buying! And now if Morris comes on and repeats that usual riff " It's only gray matter, next man up" in his next presser, I'm going to symbolically smack him on that little opcipital bun located at the back of his head! lol. Not giving up - just a little fed up!
  • avatar


    That really sucks about E.G. he was a great player that would do what was asked of him and never complain thats hard to replace but just like i thought we should of kept cadillac williams also a great back up its time to move on. I do like portis and tiki i don't know why the bucs are so against getting tiki it would only be for a back up plus only one year at a great price. Why not? Bradford is to young he needs time to grow and we dont have time but i would be happy with clinton also you would have to think he has to have something left in the tank.
  • avatar

    Going to miss Graham dearly. Somehow not sure how our only RB options on waivers are only Portis and Barber. Old re-treads. Has to be a better way to build a depth chart then going after players no one else wants. Without Blount coming back after the bye I dont see how we get our offense going with only Lumpkin and Madu at RB.
  • avatar


    That's a tough deal about Graham. However, I agree that Portis would be a good pickup. If nothing else he would be a great pass protecter. I still remember when he nearly put S. Quarles to sleep on a blitz pickup in 2005 when Portis was with the Redskins. They had to call the trainers out onto the field.
  • avatar


    Ernest Graham. There's not enough good things that can be said about him and his attitude and his performance over the years. If this is the end of his career, I hope the Bucs find a spot for him within the organization. I wonder why Tiki is out of the question? I don't care one way or the other. If he can do the job fine, if not, then no one will miss him.
  • avatar


    He's one of my favorite Bucs players. I remember just rooting for him to make the squad on special teams. He can play so many poistions well. Good luck to his recovery. I hope he can play again someday.
  • avatar


    I think Portis may be an actual good pick up. He could be a stop gap while one of the rookies become familair with blitz pick ups.
  • avatar

    Have a feeling EGs career as a Buc is over. They absolutely need to sign a vet fo this year as insurance and draft a back next year.
  • avatar


    Sad about EG. He has the perfect attitude.
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