Yardbarker Horiz

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Running Game In High Gear

During the brutal 3-13 season of 2009, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers still managed to rush for 100+ yards per game (101.7 ypg to be exact).  That resuted in a 1,627 yards on the ground.  Twenty-Two teams in the NFL generated more production by running the ball than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The story is very different this season.  So different, the Buccaneers eclipsed last year's rushing total last weekend, with two more games still remaining.  

As of today, Tampa Bay has run for 1,709 yards this season.  Well over 90% of those yards have been created by the four players with more than 10 carries this season:

PlayerCarriesYardsYards/Carry
LeGarrette Blount1647774.7
Cadillac Williams1204093.4
Josh Freeman603305.5
Earnest Graham20995.0

As a squad, the Buccaneers offense is showing some comparative muscle around the NFL as well:  Tampa Bay has moved into the Top 10 in the NFL in total rushing yards.  They are in a tight group of five teams who are averaging between 121 and 123 rushing yards per game, which includes (besides Tampa Bay):  Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans, and Minnesota Vikings.  Very good company considering the Buccaneers are the youngest team in the group by far!

Early in the season the Buccaneers running game was questioned.  Through all the injuries on the offensive line and with young, unproven receivers the Tampa Bay offense has developed a solid ground game.  This is a component of the vision expressed by General Manager Mark Dominik and Head Coach Raheem Morris when they took over at One Buccaneers Place -- a physical running attack.

It's hard to believe a 3-13 team last season can end up with a Top 10 rushing attack the next season, but the Buccaneers are on pace to make it happen in 2010.

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