Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Why Bucs Need to Give LeGarrette Blount More Carries

Cian FaheyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2011

TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 11:  Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hands off to LeGarrette Blount #27 during the season opener against the Detroit Lions at Raymond James Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' loss to the Detroit Lions evidenced a lack of patience from the Buccaneers' coaching staff, as Raheem Morris later admitted from getting away from the run too early.

Morris said after the game:

“Maybe as a coach, I went too fast, I went too early to the two-minute offense. But I wanted to get something going, get something generated, get [Freeman] some confidence and get all those guys going. And it worked to the standpoint that we were able to get back into the game...You can blame me for that, you guys can write 'coach stuck to the two-minute offense too early.' But I was giving our offense a chance to get going, and we got it going.”

The youthful coach was referring to the fact that LeGarrette Blount only got five carries in the team's 27-20 loss to the Detroit Lions. Blount had only 15 yards on the day and had no real impact on the game.

Blount wasn't shy about his frustration with that also:

“I’m a playmaker on this team also, so I feel like I should be on the football field more. We got away from our game plan. We got away from getting me the football.”

In a sense, that may just be Blount being frustrated about not getting his statistics and touches, but he has a very valid point.

Going up against the Detroit Lions, the Buccaneers should have made use of Blount to wear down the defense and slow down the pass rush from the defensive line. Of course, running on the Lions isn't always an easy task these days; however, it is worth having a balanced offense simply to slow down the rush of Ndamukong Suh and Cliff Avril.

Josh Freeman is an outstanding quarterback, but he does not have the weapons to best serve the offense with 43 attempts every game. Balance is a fundamental of any offense, and while Blount doesn't offer the same receiving threat as an Earnest Graham coming out of the backfield, he gives them a fearsome running game.

Blount is built to carry the ball 30 times a game should you need him to, and wearing down defenses in that Tampa heat could be even more beneficial for the passing game rather than throwing the ball eight times to Graham.

Trusting your young quarterback to win you football games is by no means a bad thing, especially when that quarterback is as talented as Josh Freeman is, but deviating from a balanced offense is the wrong option for the Buccaneers.

Even the New England Patriots understand that balance is crucial to their offense, with Tom Brady throwing the ball, while the New Orleans Saints made a conscious effort to return to the running game more this year by drafting Mark Ingram and adding Olin Kreutz.

The Saints and Patriots have way more weapons on the outside than the Buccaneers and better quarterbacks at this point in their careers. Yet the offensive genius that is Sean Payton and the football genius in general that is Bill Belichick understand that keeping a defense on their toes in both facets of the game is crucial to being a successful offense.

Some teams such as the Packers and Colts look to pass way more than they run the ball. Even Peyton Manning checks to running plays often, and Aaron Rodgers understands the value of having Ryan Grant returning to the offense this year.

If you don't establish a strong running game, you put your passing game in peril as you become one dimensional. Some teams are forced into being one dimensional offenses because they do not have the required talent to attack defenses in multiple ways.

The Buccaneers are definitely not one of those teams, as the undrafted rookie from last season in the backfield showed last season that he could punish defenses while also exploding for big plays to put points on the board.

LeGarrette Blount may not be at the point where he punches someone just yet, but if the Buccaneers continue to ignore him offensively, then they may as well be slapping him in the face.

Raheem Morris is a young head coach, and while he has been outstanding to this point, even the most veteran men patrolling the sideline sometimes get away from the gameplan. Morris undoubtedly did yesterday, but he will prove his value to the Buccaneers by making sure it doesn't happen again.