Earnest Graham’s Boasts Don’t Hold WaterJune 2nd, 2010
Fresh off a season in which he and his backfield mates finished 25th in the NFL in average yards per carry, Bucs fullback Earnest Graham preached from his pulpit Monday that the Bucs are one of the best running teams in the league.
Caught by Joe’s friend Tom Balog of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune at the start of the latest Bucs OTAs, Graham claims few NFL teams can match the Bucs in talent.
”I’ll put this group up against any group in the league,” Graham said Tuesday after the team’s organized team activity voluntary workout. “We’re definitely looking to make our stamp this year, as opposed to what we were supposed to do last year.”
If this were 2005, maybe Joe would agree. Now Joe doesn’t expect Graham to say the Bucs stink worse than a BP oil spill, but it would have been cool to read that Graham called out everyone in the backfield — including himself — to live up to their previous reputations.
Graham, however, is too nice of a guy to do something like that.
Hey, the numbers don’t lie. The Bucs were woeful in the running game last year and it’s not unlike the Bucs have total stiffs up front. Maybe part of the reason is the top three running backs (Derrick Ward, Cadillac Williams and Graham) are basically the same kind of running backs. Perhaps the Bucs could have used a speedy scatback as a change-of-pace kind of runner?
Balog also quotes Graham as fingering the change in offensive coordinators as a culprit to the (lack of) rushing production. Joe doesn’t buy that either. Both Buffalo and Kansas City canned their offensive coordinators the same week as the Bucs jettisoned offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski, yet the Bills and Chiefs had significantly better rushing attacks than the Bucs.
Currently, the Bucs don’t even have the best running attack in the NFC South — far from it in fact — much less the NFL.