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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs' hurry-up offense minimizes Blount's role

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2013 at 10:03 PM

TAMPA Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount spent more time on the sideline against Detroit than anyone could have predicted.

Blount had only five carries for 15 yards during Tampa Bay's 27-20 loss, rushing only once in the second half. After rushing for more 1,000 yards as a rookie last season, Blount spent most of the second half Sunday watching backup Earnest Graham carry the ball instead.

Tampa Bay trailed 20-13 at halftime and switched to a hurry-up offense in the second half. Since the Bucs were not confident in Blount's abilities in the hurry-up, he was barely utilized.

"When we get into our two-minute offense, or our faster-paced offense, that kind of took him (Blount) out of the game a little bit," Bucs coach Raheem Morris said. "That's an area he's got to improve in, obviously, with the pass protection and all (those) aspects of it.

"He kind of got himself out of the game by them starting fast. That hurt him, his ability to touch the ball and his ability to be effective on the trip."

Graham had six carries for 13 yards as Tampa Bay finished with 16 rushes for 56 yards total.

Blount declined to speak with reporters after the loss.

"It's not LeGarrette. That's the two-minute offense," Morris said. "LeGarrette was never featured in the two-minute offense. Earnest Graham has always been in on third-down offense, the two-minute offense, right now, him and (Kregg) Lumpkin. Those are the guys who are doing it.

"Obviously, LeGarrette has been working at it. Obviously, we're going to try to get him in there a little bit more. Hopefully, we don't play that type of game all the time. That's not our type of game and that's not the type of game you're going to win."

Morris said Blount's starting job is not in jeopardy, but the team will continue using Graham on third down and in hurry-up situations.

Graham intends to continue working with Blount so his fellow running back can stay on the field, but is comfortable in his role.

"We definitely will get him up to speed," Graham said. "With respect to the guys in the backfield, there are just certain things myself and Lumpkin bring to the table that the coaches try to lean on. LeGarrette has his certain strengths. We're no different than anybody else.

"We have a committee approach to getting the job done in that position."


arichardson@tampatrib.com (813) 259-8425

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