Buc's Running To The Playoffs?

Joe ScottContributor IDecember 4, 2008

If you are asking about the Tampa Bay Bucs chances in the playoffs and how their run game is doing simply contact the "smoke and mirrors" store in Tampa. You will find that they are sold out and the guy who made the last purchase is none other than John Gruden. The only reason this offense functions at all is because of Jeff Garcia. He makes plays and is perhaps Tampa's best weapon.
In analyzing the Bucs running backs, Warrick Dunn has become a great change of pace back but cannot carry the load full time and Cadillac Williams has been in the shop so much that we are just waiting for the next injury to occur. When the Bucs lost Ernest Graham they lost their workhorse. He was capable of carrying the team and got better in the fourth quarter when you need those important short yards for a first down. The only bright side to the bleak Tampa Bay Rush offense is young Mr. Clifton Smith. He has quickly become the best return man in the history of the franchise, which isn't saying much if you know the Buc's return history, yet he shows promise. Who knows, he may be this years Ernest Graham.
The problem in Tampa is not a lack of talent in the backfield, but the effective use of that talent by the Coach. Jon Gruden was brought to Tampa because he was supposed to be an offensive guru yet he has failed to use his running backs for maximum success. When he came to Tampa Gruden had Mike Alstott at his disposal and simply sat him on the bench. He sat Ernest Graham for years before using him last year.
The bottom line is this: Tampa will make the playoffs and lose in the first round because they do not have a physical run game that will pound the other team. Especially in the fourth quarter when they need it most.