Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Carl Nicks Wants More Reps for LeGarrette Blount

Knox BardeenNFC South Lead WriterSeptember 26, 2012

photo courtesy of U.S. Presswire
photo courtesy of U.S. Presswire

Prior to this year’s NFL draft, LeGarrette Blount told Will Brinson of CBS Sports he wouldn’t like it if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Trent Richardson with the team’s first pick in the draft.

Blount didn’t want the competition. Blount didn’t want to share carries with a rookie—with anyone.

The Buccaneers passed on Richardson and went with safety Mark Barron with their first-round pick. However, general manager Mark Dominik traded back into the first round and grabbed running back Doug Martin late in the first round.

Martin quickly took over as the team’s featured running back in training camp.

Now, as Tampa Bay’s backup, Blount would welcome an equal share of the carries, and according to a JoeBucsFan.com report, some team members feel the same way.

Left guard Carl Nicks was answering questions on WDAE-AM 620 Tuesday and was asked whether he thought the Buccaneers would benefit from two-headed running back monster.

Through three games, the rookie Martin has carried the ball most frequently in Tampa Bay's rushing attack, 63 times compared to Blount's seven carries. But Blount is averaging a half yard more per carry than Martin.

Chris in Bradenton: It seemed like very similar plays are being called over and over. I have a question: Would you like to see a two-back system like what Carolina runs, utilizing Blount more often, a more even split in the carries? Do you think that would have helped in the [Dallas] game?

Carl Nicks: I find myself in kind of a predicament answering that question, but, being how I am a little older, I am just going to keep it real with you: I would love to see that, have Blount and Doug share carries, kind of mix it up, thunder and lightning as I like to call it. I would absolutely love to see it. Love to see it.

When you get that kind of ringing endorsement from an offensive lineman, it may be time to listen. When it's an All-Pro like Nicks, the statement carries even more weight.

JoeBucsFan.com mentioned that Martin is taking a beating running in between the tackles. You can see him get swarmed by the Dallas front seven here, even though he has a lead blocker.

Fullback Erik Lorig doesn't get a solid hit on Dallas linebacker Bruce Carter, who engulfs Martin and holds him until the defensive line can swallow him to the ground.

Through three games, Martin has taken his fair share of brutal beatings in between the tackles. But when given the opportunity to bounce outside, he's a much more explosive runner.

Here Tampa Bay is in "11 personnel" with Martin by himself in the backfield and three wide receivers in the game. 

Martin's too quick for Dallas defensive end Marcus Spears, who was attacking from the opposite side, and breezed through a gaping hole between the guard and tackle.

Martin burst through the first two levels of the defense and gained 17 yards on the play. He excelled here because he was given an enormous amount of time and space to gain a head of steam.

Since there's only been seven carries from Blount so far this year, knowing exactly how he'll deal with more carries in Schiano's system, or whether he'll be able to handle the beating taken from running between the tackles is hard to tell.

But Blount had a carry late in the second half of Sunday's game that showed some definite explosiveness.

The Buccaneers are in "21 personnel" with Blount and Lorig in the backfield and a receiver on each side. 

Loris leads to the left and helps contain the inside while Dallas outside linebacker Anthony Spencer is pushed outside, opening a huge hole for Blount, who gained 11 yards.

Since both Blount and Martin have shown they can explode on the outside, maybe it's time to listen to Nicks and bring Blount in to shoulder some of the load on the inside. By sharing carries between the tackles, Martin will be fresher throughout the game, and maybe Blount will continue to show he's capable of breaking a few without coughing up the football.

Blount doesn't have any fumbles this season (with only seven carries, that's to be expected), but last year he fumbled five times on 181 carries and lost possession on three of those. But until he enters Schiano's doghouse in 2012 for mishandling the football, what if he were given the opportunity of more carries?

It seems like it would help Martin, Nicks loves the idea, and Blount likely wouldn't argue with the extra work.