Kregg Lumpkin carving out a role in Bucs offense
It was just a cameo role, a few snaps on third downs and a couple of checkdown receptions, but don't be surprised if you see more from Bucs running back Kregg Lumpkin.
He was passed over by coaches when they decided who would be the usual third-down running back, with Earnest Graham claiming the job. But Lumpkin, who caught three passes out of the backfield against the Colts for 25 yards, is seeing more time on the field and could continue to have an expanded role.
While Lumpkin doesn't appear likely to overtake Graham on the majority of third downs, offensive coordinator Greg Olson has been looking for situations where Lumpkin's skill set can be utilized. Lumpkin's comfort level in the offense is making that possible, Olson said.
"He’s had a very good couple of weeks of practice," Olson said. "He’s another guy who’s had a great attitude and he looks more comfortable. He’s looked more comfortable in practice. He’s playing faster. There’s a better understanding with him and understanding what we want out of that position, the third-down running back.
"So he’s had a couple of good weeks of practice and he’s had a chance to go out in the game and he was a big part of a couple of those big plays on third down. We’ll continue to try and utilize Kregg."
There's room for more of Lumpkin given how many passes have been thrown to running backs. Of the team's 97 pass completions, 30 (31 percent) have been thrown to running backs.
Graham leads the team with 23 receptions.