With Graham on IR, Bucs considering promotion for Madu
The Bucs have officially placed running back Earnest Graham on injured reserve this afternoon, ending his season after he ruptured an Achilles tendon in Sunday's game.
The next step is obvious: The Bucs will look to add a running back to the roster. Right now, based on what I'm told, that running back is likely to be Mossis Madu, the former Oklahoma standout currently on the practice squad.
Madu was released at final roster cuts after showing some promise in the preseason. He rushed for 53 yards on 15 carries in exhibition games, showing some explosion and some intriguing athleticism. At 6-0 and 197 pounds, he's smaller and, thus, shiftier than the stable of big-bodied backs the Bucs' backfield has consisted of for most of the season (LeGarrette Blount, Graham and Kregg Lumpkin).
But the Bucs didn't immediately promote Madu today when placing Graham on injured reserve. That means this isn't a final decision. They could opt for some other possibilities that include practice squad member Chad Spann or sixth-round pick Allen Bradford, who was released by the Seahawks last week one week after they claimed him off waivers from the Bucs.
The Bucs don't appear to have any interest in Tiki Barber -- perhaps the biggest name among free agent running backs on the market.
And here's something else to keep in mind here: The fullback position is now an issue because of the loss of Graham. He was not only the third-down back, but also the backup fullback. When starter Erik Lorig had to temporarily leave the game on Sunday, the Bucs were unable to use any two-back sets -- a formation they use more than most teams.
That left portions of their playbook off limits for a while, creating a pretty big mess in the midst of an already difficult situation. So, in making any decisions that affect the backfield, the Bucs might have to take their fullback needs into consideration, too.