Brian Leonard’s Spotlight Moment

November 15th, 2013

Drafted in the second round by the Rams to take a load off/complement Steven Jackson, Bucs running back Brian Leonard has built a career as a backup.

He got some starts in that 2007 rookie season with Jackson hurt, and Leonard had a 100-yard game (18 carries for 102 yards), but there haven’t been many big opportunities since. Leonard spent each of the past four seasons as a third-down back playing behind a 1,000-yard rusher in Cincinnati.

Then he joined old friend Greg Schiano this year as a backup to Doug Martin, and recently as a complement to surprising rookie Mike James.

Now, with those two injured, Leonard will get a clear shot to carry the load. Leonard’s 20 carries against the Dolphins were a career high, and the 57-yard total wasn’t as bad as it seems. Leonard’s final two carries for -4 yards were simply to run out the clock.

Bucs newcomer RB Bobby Rainey grabbed headlines Monday night with his breakaway run and game-winning touchdown, but Joe has not doubt it will be Leonard that will get as much work as he can handle Sunday. Schiano believes Leonard’s “a winner,” and Joe is sure Schiano want the ball in the hands of a guy he trusts, considering his head coaching job is on the line.

Leonard’s a guy that has made big plays on special teams this season, and he’s done will with his opportunities in the backfield. (You can also see here Leonard making what probably was a touchdown-saving, win-saving tackle on the return of Mike Glennon’s interception Monday.)

Joe’s pulling for Leonard, a real team-first guy in the Bucs locker room.

Joe talked to Leonard this week about how fired up he must be to get another shot to be a No. 1 back. It took Leonard a good while to stop giving the team-first, I-know-my-role answers and admit he’s relishing this opportunity.

6 Responses to “Brian Leonard’s Spotlight Moment”

  1. Surf Buc Says:

    Hell ya he stepped up. It’s his time to shine. Can’t wait to see the next game.

  2. Walter Says:

    The Bucs can beat the Falcons, hopefully the team can capitalize on their first win and get things rolling. A nice winning streak can save Schiano.

  3. BFFL Says:

    I love players like Leonard. Not elite talent but will do whatever it takes to win and has tremendous instincts for the game of football. A team full of Leonard clones would no doubt be Superbowl bound.

  4. adamant Says:

    no knock on Leonard, but Rainey should get the bulk of the carries this week. He appears to have legitimate speed to break off long runs and has quickness that Leonard does not. I do like Leonard to continue to be the 3rd down back since he has proven to be very good in that role. I foresee them sharing the carries roughly 50/50, but would prefer to see Rainey get more and see what he’s got.

  5. patrickbucs Says:

    I agree adamant. We really don’t have any speed on this roster now, he can break some runs.

  6. MikeJ Says:

    patrickbucs,speed or quickness. I was SO looking forward to seeing what Demps could do….