Tampa Bay Buccaneers Running Backs: Is There Really Enough Depth?

Tom EdringtonSenior Writer IMay 31, 2012

What if a LeGarrette Blount "hurdle" turned out badly?
What if a LeGarrette Blount "hurdle" turned out badly?Grant Halverson/Getty Images

In the new Buccaneer order of Greg Schiano, it's sounding more and more each day that this 2012 version of the Buccaneers is bound and determined to run the football early and often.

One glance at the new offensive line gives you that impression with the addition of man-beast Carl Nicks, Jeremy Zuttah moving over to center to replace the oft-injured, overpaid, under-performing, now released Jeff Faine and the rest of the hogs—Donald Penn, Davin Joseph and Jeremy Trueblood.

Surely that group can move some earth and perhaps in the process, open a running hole or two.

The question you have to ask yourself: Am I satisfied with the depth at running back?

First, you have the two would-be candidates for the "bell cow" runner, LeGarrette Blount and rookie Doug Martin. Then you have second-year guy Mossis Madu and rookie Michael Smith.

It gets even more testy after that with rookie free agent De'Anthony Curtis from Arkansas and Robert Hughes from Notre Dame, who is technically not a rookie, but really, he is.

That's it, ladies and gentlemen.

Is that really enough quality depth? The New Orleans Saints thought they did themselves a massive favor last year when they drafted Heisman trophy winner Mark Ingram Jr. in the first round.

That plan was great for five games.

Then Mr. Murphy of Murphy's Law of Injuries showed up, and Ingram was done. Five games, 122 carries, 474 yards.

It was nice while it lasted.

Fortunately for the Saints, Drew Brees is a "pass-first, ask questions later" kind of quarterback. No problem.

If Schiano is going for some hefty ball-control scheme, well, you have to wonder—What if something happened to Blount? What if something happened to Martin?

Perish the thought, but this Buccaneers football team hasn't been the luckiest around when it comes to key injuries. Most of those came on the defensive side of the football last year, and that's understandable as it seemed that the defense was out there about 70 percent of the time.

It's hard to get hurt on the sideline, and that's where the offense found itself most of the time, especially during that putrid 10-game losing streak.

The plus side of the equation is that Blount was an undrafted free agent. There's also a guy named Arian Foster who plays for the Texans, he was an undrafted free agent. He's pretty good. But it's a long shot that Curtis or Hughes end up as the next Foster.

Which brings up the next question: Are the Bucs through adding running backs to the roster? The easy answer is "probably not."

There's going to be someone emerging somewhere that catches Greg Schiano's eye.

The Bucs need more depth at the position, and you don't have to be an NFL GM to figure that out.