Where’s The Veteran Running Back?

May 6th, 2012

Joe sees that Greg Schiano mentor Bill Belicheat has now signed high-mileage, free-agent running back Joseph Addai, and Joe wants to know when the Bucs are going to stop going all yungry in their backfield and land their own veteran backup.

Addai has seen better days, but the guy doesn’t fumble, is known for his blocking, and probably has one or two more solid starts, if necessary, in his body.

It’s awesome that Doug Martin and LeGarrette Blount can slug it out to see who plays bell cow, but Joe would feel a lot better having a veteran in the mix to back them up.

Rockstar general manager Mark Dominik has always had veteran RBs during his tenure. Last year it was Earnest “Insurance” Graham. Cadillac Williams and Derrick Ward were here with Graham before that. Surely Dominik sees the value in having a proven pass blocker and rock-toter around his franchise quarterback and young backs.

Joe’s written previously about the availability of Ryan Grant, who also visited the Patriots recently. Thomas Jones, LaDanian Tomlinson, Bucs killer Maurice Morris and Cadillac are all out there and seemingly healthy, versatile and content with backup roles.

With a head coach that wants to run the football like the NFL hasn’t seen in years, Joe can’t imagine the Bucs passing on a veteran back. It wouldn’t make sense.

39 Responses to “Where’s The Veteran Running Back?”

  1. Jonny 3.3 Says:

    If there is any position that may least require a veteran, it is RB. I think Bucs are good with what they have.

  2. MOBucs Says:

    Not happening. 4 backs on the roster after the draft. Don’t see where a “stud” like Maurice Morris would fit in.

  3. Adam Says:

    I’d like to see Graham brought back. Any back at this point would need the versatility to play FB.

  4. Brandon Says:

    Coaches and players will tell you the whole “mentor” thing is highly overrated, that’s what coaches are for. Either the players we have can do the job or they can’t. Do we really need a veteran RB in there with not much tread, if any, left on his tires? Sure, some of those guys could contribute, but our young guys have the dynamic ability to make plays.

    Blount has unmatched power. No RB in the NFL breaks tackles and moves the pile as well as he does. Should we bring in one of the other RBs used to have decent power, but relied more on speed that is now long gone?

    Doug Martin spent 5 years in a pass happy, pro protection style college offense. He might have been the best pass protector in the draft. He is the complete RB on the Bucs roster. Should we take him off the field, and hinder his development, in favor of a an incomplete version of formerly complete RBs? Sure, Tomlinson and Jones can pass protect, but can they still run, are they a threat with the ball in their hands? Not really.

    Michael Smith is the 2nd fastest RB in the NFL (perhaps the fastest if Chris Johnson has lost a step which is entirely possible). His speed is gamebreaking and could be a constant threat on defenses. Do we take him off the field for a guy that doesn’t even run fast enough to hit the hole while it is still open? No. We keep and develop our 3 potential stud RBs.

    Bringing in a veteran RB, that doesn’t play special teams is a wasted roster spot and a waste of time for the team and player.

  5. Jessup Says:

    Doug Martin is a rare breed. We drafted him because he can come in and immediately block, run, and run routes like a vet. Running back is a young man’s game. We don’t need any old timers in the backfield.

    Only place we needed to add an experienced vet was linebacker…but it didn’t happen.

  6. Jessup Says:

    Shoulda drafted Joe Martinek though. That was a mistake.

  7. Bishop Says:

    For all we know Doug Martin could be the next Laurence Maroney. (2nd running back taken in first round 2006 by Pats). Happens every year. There’s no reason our fourth running back shouldn’t be a vet. Why does Belichick want Addai? Smith can play special teams if he can beat out Madu and get a spot. THere’s plenty of guys here that can play special teams.

  8. Bishop Says:

    @Brandon — Actually coaches and players will say the exact opposite about the whole “mentor” thing. ONly in stupid Raheem world did they think coaches could somehow fill that role.

  9. jLM Says:

    We a got a solid rb coach. They’ll be ok.

  10. Bishop Says:

    Just because he played in the league that doesn’t make him a solid RB coach.

  11. Adam Says:

    His track record tells you he’s a good coach

  12. Garv Says:

    I don’t think bringing a veteran RB is all that necessary either. Maybe Cadillac Williams but I’m not sure he’d make the team anyway. Due to injuries, same goes for Graham.

    For now, we’re covered in the backfield IMO.

  13. garry Says:

    Because he’s a good running back coach is the reason he’s a good running back coach.

  14. Macabee Says:

    OLD TEAM: NEW TEAM: POS

    Blount Blount RB
    Lumpkin Doug Martin RB
    Madu Robert Smith RB
    Bradford Robert Hughes RB/FB
    Graham Cody Johnson FB
    Lorig Dunsmore HB/TE

    ** Madu to practice squad
    Lorig to compete w/Dunsmore

    ** Training Camp will decide

  15. Macabee Says:

    Sorry, did not format properly, but you get the idea!

  16. Fin Says:

    Macabee – Graham was the No. 2 running back and third-down back and not the fullback. Your chart is off.

    We got stuck with Blumpkin because DOminik wouldn’t give Raheem Cadillac as he wanted.

    All you yahoos that rave about how Vincent Jackson can mentor the wideouts all of a sudden don’t want the same for the RBs, who are an even less experienced group.

  17. McSiD Says:

    We do not need a vet running back. If Graham is healthy I would
    Like to see him back in Pewter and Red. If not just go with what we have and we will be fine.

  18. Jessup Says:

    Graham is 32 and tore his Achilles 6 months ago. Hes done. Not an option. Not part of any equation. I love the guy, but his career is over. People should stop bringing him up as a possibility.

  19. Fired Greg Olson! Says:

    Jessup is 100% correct.

  20. Bobby Says:

    I would have to agree that RB is one position that requires fresh legs. I don’t want to bring on some aging vet just to have him on the team if he can’t contribute in some other capacity other than mentoring. Blount is a third year player now. He’s not a rookie. All the player fom last years draft class were baptized by fire and they will be ready to deal rhis year. Youth won’t be an excuse on offense this year. Defensively we will be young but much wiser than last year and much better coached. I’m not worried about the lack of a veteran RB. If we get one..fine. If not, that’s fine too.

  21. Macabee Says:

    Fin,

    Graham was FB until Bradford was cut. Then moved to RB!

  22. SouthTampaBucman Says:

    Glad everyone’s just fine with the Utah State backup running back serving as our number 3 back. This year’s Kareem Huggins.

    Would love Ryan Grant in here. Arent’ we supposed to covet compeition at all positions?

  23. Miracle Says:

    The only veterans I’d like to see is Cadillac or Graham, but both cases are for inspirational reasons. They both would be excellent mentors, but I don’t see that it is worth it.

    If we wanted, I could see us able to drop Madu and pick up a veteran. We have 3 young RB’s that are developing. Even if Madu develops, he’d still be stuck behind a logjam of talented RBs

  24. McSiD Says:

    Funny how Graham and his Dr.’s say he will be able to return this month. And yes he may be 32 but it’s not like he has been taking the NFL beatings for 12 years. Can’t wait for him to prove you two wrong.

  25. Mark Says:

    We have a veteran RB on our payroll Joe. His name is Ernest Byner and he’s the RB coach. We don’t need a retread to gobble up snaps from the RB’s we already have. These days its about fresh legs and we have a bunch of them. We have a smorgasbord of talent between Blount, Martin, and Smith and we need to develop it and run with it…pun intended.

  26. BonesMahoney Says:

    If there was any position that didn’t need a “mentor” it’s RB. Especially since they would end up stealing carries from RBs that are actually good or at least have the potential to be good. Every single one of the RBs listed in the initial post is done, washed up.

  27. Big Picture Guy Says:

    Dominik didn’t turn down a future 6th round draft pick to cut this year’s 7th. So that leaves 3 RB’s set on the roster + Lorig. I don’t see where a veteran fits in, unless its a veteran FB. That, would be most important to me, especially given that most of our TE’s are pass catching specialists.

    Veteran FB’s out there are down to slim pickings and really no name out there that anyone would recognize, but there are options. That’s the type of vet we need to pick up for the backfield.

  28. SensibleBuc Says:

    @Big Picture

    Ahmard Hall
    Mike Sellers
    Moran Norris
    Owen Schmitt

  29. k_bassuka Says:

    One we don’t need a vet runningback and why will they want to come here for? Yeah we are all hype about our chances next year but we felt the same way the year before and look what happened, I know its a different regime this time around but more likely than not we gonna be as good as we were last year…

  30. Garv Says:

    So………k_bassuka feels that “more likely than not we gonna be as good as we were last year…” after picking up Vincent Jackson, Nick Price, Eric corner Wright, the D line getting healthy, a new Head Coach most are impressed with so far and what has been seen by most as an excellent draft class?

    What’s the point? Go to the Skyway now and save yourself the pain you know is coming. AND SPARE US!!!!

  31. Garv Says:

    Sorry, bit into the negativity again.
    Back to the point of the thread…….RB’s have running back coaches to “mentor them, to teach them, to coach them. No vet is going to come here to help a young player get a job at his expense. Not going to happen, unnecessary and impractical as far as this team goes.

    And yes, after his last injury and given his age and wear and tear? Earnest Graham is probably going to retire and be remembered as a very popular team player and Buccaneer. Who doesn’t like Earnest Graham? Or Carnell Williams for that matter?

  32. K_bassuka Says:

    @Garv
    Let me guess. After all last year we heard about how winners are built through the draft and from within, now all of the sudden a couple of what seem to be good FA acquisitions and a draft class that is not seen as the great draft class of last year, and to tap it off a rookie HC that in case you forgotten wasn’t the first or the second or the third option for this team…

    Yeah, I thought so. I still will cheer for the team and hope we win it all, but just like last year I’m not drinking the cool aid at least not quite yet…

  33. Kujolw Says:

    Earnest Byner will take care of them, but Blount,Martin,and Smith, those are the only backs we need on the team. That being said Earnest Byner is the veteran RB, he was a good RB and he was complete, so he will being developing our RB to be a complete RB that can block,catch,and run. Plus we use Erik Lorig as FB blocker even though he can catch passes and Robert Hughes as the FB that gets short yardage. The RB will be fine runnning behind Penn,Joseph,Nicks,Trueblood,and Zuttah, not to mention we can have Stocker TEand Lorik FB. That’s some beastly people to have blocking for you and not we have the Blount force, the Paitence, and the Speed. You imagine beating down Defenses with Blount and Martin and in the 4th courter while the defense os tire bring Smith in to just out run a already tire D. Sounds pretty Bad Ass if you ask me. Getting the football package this yeah Baby!!!

  34. Kujolw Says:

    “4th Quarter ” brain fart

  35. The Dutcher Journal (Pete Dutcher) Says:

    Brandon Says:
    May 6th, 2012 at 7:39 am

    Coaches and players will tell you the whole “mentor” thing is highly overrated, that’s what coaches are for.

    .

    I’m sorry, Brandon, but you are mistaken. The reality is that veteran players don’t just lead on the field by example, they lead off the field as well. They spend personal time with the young players, imparting wisdom.

    And veteran players on the field can teach in different ways than coaches. In fact, in many cases, coaches teach game plans, not technique.

    . . . . . . .

    Fin Says:
    May 6th, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Macabee – Graham was the No. 2 running back and third-down back and not the fullback. Your chart is off.

    .

    You are mistaken.

    . . . . . .

    Oh, goody…a fun one:

    k_bassuka Says:
    May 6th, 2012 at 11:53 am

    1) …why will they want to come here for? Yeah we are all hype about our chances next year but we felt the same way the year before and look what happened…

    2) …After all last year we heard about how winners are built through the draft and from within, now all of the sudden a couple of what seem to be good FA acquisitions and a draft class that is not seen as the great draft class of last year, and to tap it off a rookie HC that in case you forgotten wasn’t the first or the second or the third option for this team…

    Yeah, I thought so. I still will cheer for the team and hope we win it all, but just like last year I’m not drinking the cool aid at least not quite yet…

    .

    1) There is a huge difference between this year and last…experience. After completing the defensive line by getting our defensive ends last year, with a healthy Price and a healthy GMC, many fans falsely assumed it would be a bed of roses. First..the lack of an off season program had to affect things.

    Most fans did not consider that the line needed time to mesh. Expecting a defense with two 2nd year DTs, 2 Rookie DEs and 1 Rookie MLB to excel was misguided. And I even said so before last season started.

    This year, we have our 2 DEs with experience behind them, and we actually have depth at DT now. We know we have something great in Clayborn and there is a good chance we will in Bowers as well.

    2) Wow. Where do I start? Okay, first off, the team WAS built thru the draft. Even THIS YEAR. Mark Dominick clearly stated all along…you build through the draft, you plug holes thru free agency.

    They have not departed from that and it is working.

    “…now all of the sudden a couple of what seem to be good FA acquisitions…”

    You’ve got to be kidding me. Eric Wright would be considered a “good” free agent. Nicks and Jackson are GREAT free agents. The offensive line got upgraded at guard and center (I hope at center).

    Josh Freeman made mistake last year because he didn’t have a system he could trust. He’s in the best shape of his life this year, and he has top-of-the-line coaching. HE could well have 4,500 years this year. Certainly, given the way his new coaches teach, he will not make the same mistakes.

    “…and a draft class that is not seen as the great draft class of last year…”

    Ahem. How do you know that? How many block buster hits came out of last years draft. A few? Even if you name 10…sorry to break it to you, but that’s not a deeply great draft class.

    If you are referring to our own drafted players from last year…take a good look at Clayborn. Remember Bowers only played part of the season, and he improved from game to game.

    And FINALLY, the main reason things are different…NO LOCKOUT. The rookies this year, and the Rookies from last year, will finally have the benefit of coaching this year before the season starts. Blount, who has not had an off season training program since he started playing two years ago will finally have one…and he will be coached right.

    See, k_bassuka, here’s the problem I have with your words. They are short-sighted and thoughtless. By this I mean you consider the disaster of last year without considering the cause of the disaster.

    Like it or not, no matter what you, Thomas or anyone else tries to claim…there was more to last season than bad coaching. The Packers did well because they had experience. We didn’t. It’s the nature of the beast when you rebuild thru the draft.

    So what if we had a bad season last year. What does it matter now? What does matter is that we recognize not only the problems from last year, but the solutions that have taken place.

    ’nuff said!

  36. Garv Says:

    Nice work Pete, excellent job of expressing justified optimism backed up by facts.
    I’m impressed and glad you are among us unlike some “dark clouds” who seemingly enjoy doom and gloom in the face of a lot of very good things that have occurred since December.

  37. K_bassuka Says:

    @The Dutcher Journal
    I see why you may think that. And you can think what you want but, Freeman had the same issues being inaccurate when we were winning two years ago, to think that the reason why he was so off mark last year was due to coaching only is ridiculous or just being misinformed, the same goes to believe that the only reason why we sucked so bad was due to coaching the good thing is that we are about to find out soon…

    “Ahem. How do you know that? How many block buster hits came out of last years draft. A few? Even if you name 10…sorry to break it to you, but that’s not a deeply great draft class.”

    Well last I remember all the media and even MD called it the deepest draft class in a while, so now they’re all wrong but not you?

    Considering Wright a “good” player is completely arbitrary, the other two were great in the systems they used to play that doesn’t mean that they will be as good, Jackson can’t help Freeman be more accurate neither can Nicks help our RBs not fumble the ball or stop the run… With that said I will not be surprised if we go 14-2 as well as 2-14 and if I have to put money on it I would say we have a better chance of being mediocre than good, that’s all. We often forget that one team its going to suck on any given year. And like last year I think we will have such faith even when my hard says no, just because we had a lot of changes.
    That said I hope I’m wrong and we move forward I’m tired of coaching changes and ok teams it’s time we build a winner here, will believe it when I see it…

  38. teacherman777 Says:

    Does anyone else think we shouod jumping through the roof about our RB situation??

    Blount AND Martin?!!?!

    Plus a 4.3 speedback?

    Dude. We handled our lack of RB depth in the draft.

  39. Kujolw Says:

    Teacherman777

    Agreed!! We did handle the RB position in the draft. Martin is a Stud and Smith is a hidden Gem, well at least I hope. Giving them to Earnest Byner to coach them up will get the most out of those kids. Blount, ,Martin, Smith , Lorig, and Hughes just got better this year.

 
 

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