Three weeks into the season and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have found an identity as a physical football team, far different than anything we saw last year. The one person that still hasn’t found his role in this team, though, is backup running back LeGarrette Blount.
Everyone knew that Blount’s role was going to diminish when the Buccaneers traded back into the first round to select Doug Martin,we just didn’t know how much. Through three games he has played only a handful of snaps. For a team that wants to be physical and run the football it’s very confusing why they haven’t used him much.
Martin has been ineffective too much at times, averaging under four yards a carry on the year. Blount meanwhile boasts over five yards a career over his three short seasons in the NFL. He even averaged over four yards a carry last year when our offense was as predictable as it was last week against the Dallas Cowboys.
Blount showed some of the spark that nearly made him a Pro Bowler in 2010, where he was notorious for hurdling over players. Over the past sunday Blount got one hand off which he raced around the corner, hurdling a defender and nearly took the distance. This caught fans and media’s attention which was brought up to Coach Greg Schiano after the game.
Coach Schiano was quick to say that Blount will indeed see an increased role, but how much is increased? With the Buccaneers leading each game at half time they have failed to put teams away losing leads the past two weeks, and nearly blowing the first game to the Carolina Panthers.
The Buccaneers want to run the ball. That’s no secret especially once they have the lead in the second half. While I love the versatility and what the rookie Martin has brought to the team I think it’s time for a change.
To me this is the week to unleash Blount and let him run wild. He is a back that feeds off of getting multiple carries, and needs to develop a rhythm. Once he finds his groove he is more than just a power back. He has unique speed for such a big guy and has shown on multiple occasion that he can break the big one.
If the Buccaneers can get a lead like they have been able to each of the first three weeks I expect to see a heavy dose of Blount, until he breaks the big one and puts the game away. This would give the Buccaneers a huge win going into their bye week, and something else for defensive coordinators to have to account for if Blount can develop a role.