It’s Earnest Graham Time

October 14th, 2011

Sunday is a really interesting spot for Earnest Graham with LeGarrette Blount on the shelf with a knee injury.

Frankly, Graham’s career could be on the line. Graham’s in the final year of his contract and, at 31 years old, he can’t afford to turn in any clunkers with this shot at reviving his glory season of 2007, when the Bucs locked up the NFC South with two weeks remaining.

Old and old-looking running backs won’t be in demand around the NFL come March.

Joe’s pulling for Graham, who’s really a class act.

Graham was buried inexplicably on the Bucs bench in 2009, though Greg Olson sort of said otherwise to the St. Pete Times yesterday.

“If we felt that way, we wouldn’t put him in there,” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. ” … We have all the confidence in the world in Earnest, and we always have in the time that I’ve been here.”

The Bucs handed the ball off to Graham just 14 times in ’09, even though they went into the campaign with a stated plan of having a three-headed monster backfield of Derrick Ward, Cadillac Williams and Graham and the famous 2-2-1 rotation that never got off the ground. Graham kept his mouth shut, played a little fullback, and then bulked up and showed up for 20 carries and the fullback job last year.

As a regular listener of Graham’s former radio show, Joe suspects Graham will come out as the prototypical “angry worker” Raheem Morris likes to have on Sunday. There were numerous times over the years when Graham nicely implied on the air that he wanted the damn rock again.

Whether he’s successful or not Sunday as the Bucs hopefully try to pound the ball and keep Drew Brees off the field is anyone’s guess. Joe’s wouldn’t bet on what happens, other than fans will see the absolute best Graham has to offer.

20 Responses to “It’s Earnest Graham Time”

  1. BecklesHeartsRuud Says:

    E.G. surprised us all once. He may do it again. Quite frankly its all down to this offensive lines run blocking performance. These clowns have had their run blocking vastly overrated the whole time Blount has been the starter. If we see a return to 2.5 ypc then we have proof that Blount has been getting his yards all on his own. Of course I already have my proof. Anyone who isn’t blind sees that the line opens up maybe two or three actual holes(more like small creases) per game while Blount has to make something out of nothing on every other carry. But im sure people will just call Graham old and slow if the run game fails instead of laying the blame where it belongs.

  2. McBuc Says:

    Joe, has anyone officialy said that Blount will not play? It seems to be the case, but JP seems to be the only source at this point. Have I missed something?

  3. Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    I hope EG has a great day. It really is too bad the former Gator star got stuck here in Tampa for all his career. IMHO we never used him like we should have. I hope he runs over the Saints!

  4. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    @McBuc — There’s no official word on Blount. In the story linked above, there are quotes from Graham and Davin Joseph that speak toward Blount being out.

  5. mikeck Says:

    What about Lumpkin? I thought he would get equal playing time?

  6. McBuc Says:

    Thanks Joe…I would just insert Lumkin into Blounts role and see what happens, keep EG the third down back. Of course this could be one of the many reasons I am not the coach…

  7. SteveK Says:

    Go ahead Big Ern!

    Last time you had the opportunity in 2008, you tore it up.

    These young Bucs need a tone setting veteran on offense. I hope you go out there and on the first play, run rift over Vilma.

  8. Mauha Deeb Says:

    It is more than possible to run on the Saints. Then again, they have been scoring quickly and often and we know Olsen propensity to panic when behind. Teams have ran well against the Saints, but the only way to win is to fashion long drives keeping the ball out of Brees’ hands.

    We can not afford any mistakes at all. No fumbles, ints, or penalties…. A very tall order for a team that has lacked football discipline all year.

  9. Vince Says:

    Good luck EG, we’re pulling for you.

  10. the_buc_realist Says:

    Prediction- by next week, the bucs will be looking to raid any teams practice squad for a available running backs.

  11. Cannon Says:

    Face it… Olson barely ran Blount… does anyone honestly think he will stick to the run with our backup running backs?

    I hope Freeman comes out like a man possessed.

  12. Buc N' A Says:

    I’m pulling for EG too. He’s been a class act his entire career. I hope he blows it up for 100+ yards. Also – I know just who we should pull off of a practice squad. Because he’s on OURS! Madu Mossis. The dude had some burst (unlike every other back we have) in the preseason games. Why not give him a chance to be a change of pace back in the regular season? What do we have to lose? Next man up indeed. Go Bucs!

  13. Mauha Deeb Says:

    @Cannin I hope he is possessed by the lost spirit of Peyton Manning over the lost spirit of Vinny Testaverde.

  14. stimpy Says:

    Graham has proven himself before and can do it again…but will need some serious help from our OL.

  15. bucfanjeff Says:

    Everyone knows we’re a run first, play action offense. Maybe we do what they won’t game plan for…4 and 5 wide spreads with no huddle. Pass the hell out of it and don’t think twice about it.

  16. McBuc Says:

    bucfanjeff…I am all for a no huddle two minute offense to start the game.

  17. Espo Says:

    I have a bad feeling about this… Hopefully I’m wrong.

  18. Bobby Says:

    I had a bad feeling about last week but this week I think we’ll be competitive. I’m not betting on us to win but only because we have two key injuries and you need to be 100% against the Saints. I think we are gonna be pissed off and I think we’re gonna play tough and angry. If we get some breaks like turnovers…who knows but I would have to give the edge to the Saints in this one. Hope I’m wrong.

  19. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Olson had to say that. But if it were true, Graham would have been starting all along.

  20. Pete Dutcher Says:

    I really hate making a prediction for a loss, but before the season started I predicted this upcoming game as a loss. I’m sticking to my guns.

    My belief is that in the first half of the season, our team won’t be as good as it can be. But I believe a lot of teams will be surprised in the second half of the season.

    My reasoning is the young defense. It only makes sense that as time progresses they will get better and better at their jobs. In 2 years, I KNOW they will be a top 3 defense…but they have to gell and trust each other first, and that’s not here yet…but will be soon.

    I remember the old bucs defense saying that they knew exactly what the guy next to them would do in any situation, and they always trusted things to be covered. They knew how a teammate would move, what direction, and more.

    That’s what this defense needs. Once they get there, they’ll be championship material.