No, It’s Not “Too Early To Tell”

May 13th, 2013

There’s trying to be objective as a journalist, and then there’s plain silliness.

Joe will now bring you an example of silliness, courtesy of Bucs beat writer Stephen Holder.

Holder penned a piece studying position battles entering the start of Bucs OTA practices next week. Holder believes there’s a mystery at No. 2/backup running back.

While veteran free-agent signing Brian Leonard is a solid addition, he is best suited for the role the Bucs are projecting for him: a third-down back expected to be active in the passing game. That leaves sixth-round draft choice Mike James and second-year man Michael Smith as the primary candidates.

Some in the organization have indicated James has the edge here, but it’s much too early to tell. That’s, perhaps, something that can be clarified a bit in the coming weeks.

Joe zeroed in on Holder claiming it’s “too early to tell” whether Mike James has an edge on Michael Smith.

Jimminy Christmas! Of course James has an edge right now. Smith was captain of the Bucs inactive list after being the 2012 opening-day kick returner and subsequently getting permanently yanked, despite the Bucs turning to streetwalkers to return kicks. Then the Bucs went out this season and drafted James, a guy the organization has openly compared to Earnest Graham for his versatility, work ethic and team-first mentality.

Why the heck would the Bucs trade up and draft James if Smith was thought of so highly?

Plus, rockstar general manager Mark Dominik has said many times he prefers big running backs. James has 20 pounds and an inch on Smith.

Joe views James as the handpicked backup running back, a role he’s likely to keep unless he starts fumbling, which was an issue with Smith at times during 2012 practices.

24 Responses to “No, It’s Not “Too Early To Tell””

  1. Couch Fan Says:

    If Mike James has the edge then something is really wrong with Smith. The guy has been here a year now and should know the system well. Theres no reason he should be behind Mike James. We’ll find out soon enough.

  2. BigSombrero Says:

    Gotta give you props Joe, you have been on your game with the articles over the past few weeks. Between your “Tums” comment in reference to the secondary and your “street walkers” reference above, I have been laughing all the way through your blog today.

    I guess I should say they are also informative as well. But good stuff.

  3. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    Cue the conspiracy theorists (aka Blount fans) who are confounded as to why Smith isn’t playing and believe Schiano is “out to get him”.

    Fact is, both Blount and Smith leave a lot to be desired and that’s why you didn’t see more of them. Simple as that.

  4. Jrock Says:

    Holder is probably the worst beat writer that works the Bucs. His questions at press conferences, for example… he doesn’t throw softballs, he tosses underhand. Don’t like the guy

  5. mpmalloy Says:

    Mike James is a Buccaneer man.

  6. Eric Says:

    Yawn. If either guy plays much were in trouble.

  7. Mike J Says:

    This is something of a tempest in a teapot. James had some real versatility about his game, as a back-up at FB, HB, & as a possible one-back. He isn’t the same guy Smith is, to me.

  8. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I disagree, Joe.

    Smith seemed to be in the doghouse last year, but that doesn’t mean he actually was. He may well have needed further development in certain areas. Maybe he needed more muscle…it could be a number of reasons.

    I’m not saying your assumption will prove out wrong, I’m just saying anything can happen. Smith could be highly motivated to earn the spot now. He could step up. Remember, they kept Smith over Blount as well.

  9. Jonny 2.3 Says:

    @BuccaneerBonzai: They kept Smith over Blount because Blount had some trade value while Smith has none.

  10. MR.T Says:

    The bucs didn’t keep Smith on the roster all last year if they didn’t think he fit in their long term plans, they would have cut him if they thought otherwise. Clearly he was redshirted last year because they felt he wasn’t ready. With all the practice he got last year and will get this year he should be ready to contribute, if not they will cut him. We’ll see. I don’t recall him having any fumbling issues like Blount.

  11. Keith Says:

    Smith is old news. Typical seventh-round dud. No shame in that. He’ll be lucky to make the team.

  12. tmaxcon Says:

    James’s is much more versatile. I am a little biased being a Hurricane fan but this guy is a great pick up by the bucs. He will help this team and the Community. I love the Earnest Graham comparisons but he has to earn that honor.

  13. Bucs Fan #238 Says:

    Joe, why do you hate Steven Holder so much?

  14. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    I would expect nothing short of a straight up head to head competition for the number two spot. Anything less is detrimental to the team. Neither has any significant draft value over the other so the one who performs better in camp should get the nod.

    That being said, I think James ends up with the job.

  15. J 2.0 Says:

    Jonny 2.3 Says:

    May 13th, 2013 at 6:11 pm
    @BuccaneerBonzai: They kept Smith over Blount because Blount had some trade value while Smith has none.


    The Bucs got a 7th for Blount. The Bucs were offered a 7th from this years draft for Smith last year before he ever took the field. Dom and Schiano see something in him, but they are waiting for it to develop.

  16. Joe Says:

    @Bucs Fan #238 – Don’t be silly. Joe doesn’t hate Mr. Holder. Joe’s not expressing any hate or implied hate here.

  17. Raphael Says:

    As a cane fane I can tell you Mike James is for real …

  18. BigMacAttack Says:

    I’ll hate Holder for you. I can’t stand the guy. He’s worse than Shawn King.

  19. Joe Says:

    Thanks Sombrero!

  20. Andrew 1 Says:

    If James is in the lead for the backup job its only by a nose. the truth is James and Smith are both unproven and both are late round draft picks. its not like James was a second round pick therefore he is not guaranteed anything. Sure the bucs may say they really like James and so on, but they say that about every player they draft just like they said the same thing about Smith last year.

    who knows, Smith could have really improved to the point that the bucs like him more at this point in time than James. So yes it is still to early to say for a certainty who will win the backup job. If someone had to guess though then yes James looks like the logic decision, but it is still only a guess. Nothing is written in stone at this point.

  21. MR.T Says:

    Another thing, Smith got married a couple of months ago which I’m sure will be a big motivation for him to do well. We’ll see.

  22. mcBuc Says:

    I dont think modivation was ever the issue.

  23. Dreambig Says:

    Smith was not even talented enough to start for Utah State. He was just fast as crap which is why the Bucs took a chance on him in the 7th round. My guess is that experiment is over and the Bucs hopes are set on James.

  24. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Bucs Fan #238 Says: May 13th, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    “Joe, why do you hate Steven Holder so much?”

    I can’t speak on behalf of Joe, but as for myself, I don’t care for journalists that make up the news just to get attention. Several sports reporters in Tampa are known to do that. The get their gut feelings and then claim “sources tell me”…when in fact there are no sources. Then after the things predicted do not happen they act as though they never said such things by not talking about it.

    Holder is one such reporter.

    Whenever a reporter uses “unnamed sources” I am leary. That’s the same thing as saying “let me blow smoke up your rear and see how people reacte…maybe I’ll get some exposure from it.”

    Was a time when things reported required documented proof. Not any more. While there are a few true reporters protecting their sources, there are more that hide behind the claim to avoid accountability.