He might have only been here for two days, but its looks like Leonard Fournette will play a part in the Bucs’ game plan when they take on the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
The late signing and the quarantine protocols for the season means that Fournette has had to pickup the Bucs playbook quickly. Even in that short amount of time, Bruce Arians is confident enough to use Fournette in one way or another.
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“He’ll have a solid role in this plan,” Arians said. “He’s a very bright guy, he picked it up pretty quick today. Obviously he can’t do everything, but he’ll have a solid role in the plan for the week.”
With Ronald Jones set to be the No. 1 starter going in to the year, Fournette doesn’t have to be relied upon right away. However, if the opportunity presents itself, Arians will play the back that is hot at the moment. Arians did this often times last season, and we could see that happen at least for one week.
“If one were to develop, yeah,” Arians said. “It’s going to be situational, too, these guys are gonna have a role situationally.”
Fournette has been complimented as a smart player that can pick the game plan fast. He said that it’s going well for him with learning the Bucs’ playbook.
“We’ll see,” Fournette said. “I’m learning bit by bit right now, it’s not that hard. Just going home, understanding it, understanding what the coaches want to, and we’ll see. I’m picking it up right now. If you weren’t smart you wouldn’t last in the league, so you kind of have to put a lot of the offense in your own way and try to understand the best way you can and break it down. I think I’m doing a good job of handling that right now.”
Fortunately for Fournette, Arians said that right now it’s more about establishing the game plan against New Orleans than it is understanding the playbook as a whole. The game plan is about a one-third of the entire playbook.
“The beauty of it is we don’t have to learn the playbook anymore,” Arians said. “We just have to learn the game plan. It’s about one-third of the playbook, so just study the game plan this week and he [Fournette] should know it by Friday.”
RB Leonard Fournette – Photo by: Getty Images
While Arians has historically been known as a coach that likes to air it out, the run is important to him. The Bucs rarely were able to establish a running game the way Arians would have liked last season, and that was because Bucs continued to be down early in games last season.
“We needed it last year but we kept falling behind by 14 points in the first four minutes,” Arians said. “So your run game’s out the window, especially in the two games against the Saints. That’s where we start every week, where we’re gonna run the football, how we’re gonna run the football. Upgrading it from last year was really just a matter of eliminating turnovers early in the first quarter.”