Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Just How Good Can Blount, Martin and Smith Be?

Clint EilandAnalyst IAugust 14, 2012

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - AUGUST 10: Running back LeGarrette Blount #27 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs the ball against the Miami Dolphins during the NFL Preseason Game at Sun Life Stadium on August 10, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

By now, you have probably heard the quote from LeGarrette Blount about his and Doug Martin's abilities. After all, saying that you and a teammate "can definitely be the best duo in the league" is something that will be focused on and analyzed by many different people.

While some may immediately dismiss this as another case of Blount being himself, his words do pose a question that has had many Tampa Bay fans pondering this entire offseason.

How good can the running game be?

Since Tampa Bay can only improve from last season, it shouldn't be too hard to top or even shatter last season's 30th ranked running offense. 

When you think of the top running duos in the league, you think Foster/Tate, Williams/Stewart, Forte/Bush, etc. Where could Blount, Doug Martin and Michael Smith rank after all this?

I think it is fair and safe to say that once they all get adjusted to the rotation and offense, we could see this trio as a top five backfield. Stay with me for a second.

We already know that the Bucs are going to try to alleviate some of the pressure off of Josh Freeman's shoulders. This will lead to more running plays and therefore, more chances for the backfield. 

In addition, the offensive line has gotten even better from last season. Adding Carl Nicks really helped this team out and it showed in the preseason game. The offensive line proved to be solid and opened up a lot of lanes to run through, also providing some good protection for Josh Freeman.

Ultimately however, a lot of the success will be dependent on the skill of the players. But I must ask, Is there any doubt about the abilities of these guys? If Blount can get over 700 yards while being pretty heavy and on a pass heavy team, who knows how good he can be this season.

In fact, take it from him, as he told JoeBucsFan:

"I feel faster. I feel a lot quicker. I feel a lot lighter on my feet. … It definitely lets teams know you’re not one-dimensional. It makes you be able to do certain things in other areas. We’re going to be good. I’m definitely going to be the same type of back I’ve been in the league, though. It’s just the drills that Coach [Earnest] Byner has us doing. You know, the lifting and the running throughout practice as our conditioning. That’s what does it all. This is as strong as I’ve felt in my career."

This isn't even accounting for Martin and Smith. Both showed their value, as Martin picked up 21 yards and a touchdown while Smith surprised everyone with 34 and 72 yard kick returns.

If we follow this line of talent, we could have something like the Saints do right now. Blount being Ingram, Martin being Thomas and quite possibly Smith doing a Sproles-like job of coming off the bench to pick up yards and return kicks.

It does look like this could become a reality. Maybe not at this exact moment, but it could certainly happen. While they may not be the best in the league, they should command respect from other teams.

Plus, it's always good to have some confidence. A lot will be needed to keep this ship of a team on course for this season.