Leonard Call “Above My Pay Grade?”

November 13th, 2013

Veteran Bucs running back Brian Leonard has been with the team all through training camp and the offseason, and he’s been a reliable third-down back and solid in diverse action.

Consider that on the Bucs’ game-winning scoring drive Monday night, it opened with five consecutive runs by Leonard (8, 11, 3, 6, and 2 yards) for 30 yards — six yards a carry. That came before new backup RB Bobby Rainey finished off the drive with a breakout run and a TD.

Leonard had 20 carries against the Dolphins, an all-time high in his seven year career.

So Leonard is surely the No. 1 back against the Falcons, right? Maybe.

Joe asked offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan today if Leonard would be the main man on Sunday and to talk about what he offers. Sullivan told Joe he was asking the wrong guy.

“I think any of the [discussions] as far as who’s the starter and who plays, you know, that’s above my pay grade, you know, in terms of who the starter is. That’s something you have to go check with Coach Schiano about,” Sullivan said. “I do know that there is a great confidence that we have in [Leonard] and I think the fact that he’s done so much on third down for us throughout the year, and that versatility is going to be a important to us to keep him on the field.”

Frankly, Joe found this answer slightly somewhat odd. Really, Coach Sullivan, you’re a second-year offensive coordinator and its above your pay grade to talk about who plays?

Sullivan often speaks openly about guys who are starting or moving into starting roles, or getting specific guys more involved, or potential matchups. Rainey has only been with the Bucs three weeks and has very little NFL experience. The other running back is an undrafted rookie signed today. Isn’t it a no-brainer that Leonard will carry the load as the next man up?

13 Responses to “Leonard Call “Above My Pay Grade?””

  1. Bucks_Sam Says:

    They off season practice with Bill Bellicheck…. nuff said.

  2. Mark G Says:

    That is ridiculous! How is an OC supposed to make a game plan and not know who his starting running back is? He is just putting this out in the press now so that he is better situated for his interviews with other teams once he is fired in Tampa.

  3. trusomaroff Says:

    Screw that keep Brian in the 3rd down role. Put him in more obviously, but finally we have a player they don’t know fully. Hell since 2010 I’ve been able to call out buc plays before just based on the formation. Let Rainey shine and Brian come in on 3rd and in short so we can be somewhat unpredictable. I hope Sullivan is gone next year though. Our offense as a whole took 2 steps back this year.

  4. RCS Says:

    So many times during the season I’ve come on this site and seen fan after fan bash the coaches for being to open about their gameplan and now people are crying that their not giving away who’s the starter? Why should he or Schiano say anything. Let Atl prepare for BL and he power game AND try and prepare for Rainey and he speed. Why give that away.

  5. adamant Says:

    Keep Atlanta guessing. That’s all Sully is doing by dodging the question. It is clear that Rainey should take over for James and keep Leonard in on 3rd downs and to spell the kid. GO BUCS!

  6. YourMom Says:

    Leonard is Schiano’s guy. Rainey is Dom’s guy. I don’t think Sully wanted to get in the middle of it.

  7. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Remember a while back when Freeman was here I mentioned the possibility that Sullivan was purposely tanking to get Schiano’s job?

    It backfired because it made him look bad as well, but I agree with Joe, all OCs are involved in the decisions as to who starts. He may not have final say in the matter, but he has strong input.

    He was passing the “Buc”.

  8. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    YourMom Says
    “Leonard is Schiano’s guy. Rainey is Dom’s guy. I don’t think Sully wanted to get in the middle of it.”

    Except that Schiano expressed his pleasure that Dom had gone out and gotten the guy and how well it worked out. So I think it’s more of a committee thing.

  9. Ryan CO Says:

    Take a look at a couple Michael Hill videos on YouTube…assuming the kid can block he looks like a decent runner to me. Given coaching and a week or two to acclimate to the system and there’s no reason he can’t get in there and be productive.

  10. Pete 422 Says:

    Yeah right. Coach speak…

  11. bigpoppabuc Says:

    Rainey will be more of a playmaker, but Leonard is probably much more trust worthy in pass protection. But I agree with some of you guys…nice to see a little unpredictability in this offense.

  12. Adam L. Says:

    Sometimes I think Kathleen Sebeillius is running this team.

  13. Tomcin Says:

    I still would have liked to have gotten D. Herron.