More Play At Fullback Could End Graham’s Career

June 17th, 2010

earnest graham 0617Joe has written that great guy Earnest Graham, 30, can only be depended on doing so much because he’s becoming a graybeard.

The versatile Bucs back is selfless. He will play just about any position so long as he’s playing. And this lack of ego may bring an end to his Bucs — or NFL for that matter — playing days.

Take for example this little nugget from dapper Rick Brown of the Lakeland Ledger concerning Graham playing fullback:

Entering his seventh year, Graham has suffered injuries the past two seasons at fullback that have ended his year prematurely.

Graham is expected to be the Bucs starting fullback this season. Brown’s information just reinforces Joe’s fear that Graham has already seen his best days.

This also moves Joe to write once again that the Bucs aren’t as deep at running back as some would have you believe. Graham gets hurt playing fullback. Cadillac Williams is a(nother) play away from a(nother) knee injury. Kardashian-chasing Derrick Ward? Jury’s still out.

After the Bucs drafted a quarterback in the first round last year, added tight end Kellen Winslow last offseason and drafted two rookies at wide receiver high in the draft this spring (Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams), Joe doesn’t think he’s out of line suggesting the weak link of the Bucs’ offense is at running back.

17 Responses to “More Play At Fullback Could End Graham’s Career”

  1. bucfanjeff Says:

    Surely Joe must know why Huggins hasn’t seen the field yet as a RB.
    Please enlighten us. We always here how great his work ethic is in practice. Why don’t the give him a shot?

  2. Ian Says:

    Isn’t everyone in the NFL one play away from a knee injury?

  3. Joe Says:

    Of course Ian.

    But a guy already playing on two surgically-rebuilt knees, moreso.

  4. Capt.Tim Says:

    I actually thought that the Bucs put Graham at Fullback to extend his career. The longevity is alot higher than RB, as far as injuries go.
    He was listed at fullback, but wasn’t he playing RB when he got hurt last year? His style at RB makes him very prone to injury

  5. Joe Says:


    Work ethic is great. That only gets you so far.

    Remember that the Bucs backfield is crowded — Joe has maintained with average backs — who get paid big bucks. Bigger than Huggins. So to beat out guys higher up the depth chart who also happen to make a lot more bread, a backup running back really has to stick out, sans injuries.

    Also, do not forget that Huggins was cut last year. Only after he cleared waivers (meaning 31 other teams also passed on him) did the Bucs bring him back on the practice squad.

    Joe thinks the world of Huggins and he may very well turn out to be a fine running back. Doug Williams LOVED the guy. But the fact 31 other teams passed on Huggins when he was there for the taking sort of tells Joe something.

    It’s not like other teams didn’t have film on him.

  6. BigMacAttack Says:

    What’s the deal with Khloe Kardashian? She married Lamar Odom almost a year ago. Ward was just a passing fling for her.

    Sounds like Kareem Huggins needs to work on his tackling & kick coverage to try to make the roster on special teams. I’d much rather see Huggins on the roster than CCClayton. With the Bucs’ HMO Backfield, a 4’th back is a good idea and much better than a 6’th string receiver, making big bucks who can’t catch.

  7. Matt Says:

    The Bucs should address RB early in next years draft. Anywhere from round 1-3, depending on how our OL and DEs do.

  8. Joe Says:


    With the Bucs’ HMO Backfield, a 4′th back is a good idea and much better than a 6′th string receiver

    You’re forgetting Peanut Smith.

  9. lightningbuc Says:

    This Kareem Huggins talk reminds me of the Scott “the Gambler” Milanovich days!

  10. Dave Says:

    I disagree. EG does not have much mileage on him and will take less punishment at FB.
    Ward…. I wish they traded him. They got Huggins and Smith to try as a backup.

    As far as Caddy, he does not have much mileage on him either and the doctor’s that operated on his knees said his knees are stronger than before. It was also supposed to be a two year recovery process and caddy came back from both in about a 1 year. This year should be his first fully healthy season in 3 years. I expect him to break out and have his explosion back.

    If not, then RB is atop the list along with DE for next years draft.

  11. Joe Says:


    As far as Caddy, he does not have much mileage on him either and the doctor’s that operated on his knees said his knees are stronger than before.

    Of course the doctors are going to say that. They want repeat business.

    Does anyone believe surgically-repaired knees are better than a pair of healthy originals? Joe knows medicine has advanced significantly in recent years but Joe’s not sure we’re at the bionic man stage yet.

  12. Derek "OldSchool" Fournier Says:

    This just in, Peanut fumbled again (yes, I know he is something special in the return game but ole boy needs to hold on to the rock to get snaps in the backfield)

    I agree with Joe on the risk with Graham. He is getting brittle and that is troubling. We have a backup that has some experience behind him and EG in the FB spot makes that backfield pretty dynamic, but a thing to remember is that putting him in is not about extending his career. If he is kept on the bench he would be healthier but our ROI on him would be, well, crap.

    Two legitimate running threats in the backfield can really change a game plan on offense (even with Olson calling the plays). That paired with EG’s ability to pick holes and block like a RB make his use in the spot worth the risk IMO.

    Can’t play scared of injuries. They happen. There are always young guys yet to be discovered and retreads looking to extend their career. Heartless, maybe, but these guys are assets to be leveraged toward success of the team. They know that.

  13. Eric Says:

    Graham isn’t all that good a FB, but slightly above average at RB.

    But, given the number of backs, and the dough paid to Ward, its the only position where he will see the field. So, I can understand playing him there.

    The overall running back package is average at best. Although, if they have a ring of honor for courage, Caddy is in for sure.

  14. Patrick Says:

    Graham is still with the Bucs and his career is currently still going on. We should be making the best use of him. He is a big talent but is gonna have another year of his career wasted by our HOF staff

    Make Caddy and Graham the top #2 backs. Graham had earned himself a spot and proven himself with the Bucs before Ward even came here.

    Graham at fullback=DUMB. Why the hell do we even have Pressley and Taylor around?? They should be starting one of them at fullback, as they actually play the position! Both of them actually have the size for a fullback, Graham doesn’t. Pressley is 5-11, 260 lbs and Taylor is 6-2, 265 lbs. Graham is 5-9, 217 lbs. Too tiny for a fullback. More play at the fullback position will definitely shorten Graham’s career!!

    Graham at fullback. Kind of reminds me of when they tried to switch Philips to linebacker. And he played safety. Yeah our HOF staff knows what they’re doing!

  15. act12greg Says:

    I remember how good Graham looked in the pre-season 2 or 3 years in a row and didn’t get a shot until all other alternatives were injured. That, I think, was a huge mistake. I hope the same mistake isn’t made with Huggins. Joe, you gotta give Kareem some love.

  16. Radio Mushmouth Says:

    Graham is undersized as a fullback….so yes he WILL get injured at that position and yes it WILL end his career early.

    I never thought I would long again for the Razzano era…

  17. Sgt Mike Says:

    Who are the speculators top ten college RB’s for next year draft? Knowing that we will probably have another top ten pick maybe even top five. Who are the early favorites, given the college season hasn’t even started yet, to be top ten RB’s?