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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

With Lorig working in backfield, is Earnest Graham a tailback option?



The Bucs have been working rookie Erik Lorig not only at tight end but also as a fullback since moving from defense. In fact, this week, he's spending each practice with running backs coach Steve Logan rather than tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts, as he did last week.

That begs a question we hadn't thought about before: With the Bucs preparing to add backs to the running back rotation, isn't it possible fullback Earnest Graham could get some carries?

Graham has just 11 carries in three games but did notch the Bucs' longest play from scrimmage this season when he turned a check-down pass from Josh Freeman into a 46-yard gain against the Steelers. Graham has been a reliable tailback for the Bucs in the past, rushing for a career-high 898 yards in 2007.

But since moving permanently to fullback, Graham hasn't been able to contribute regularly as a runner. And there are indications the Bucs are worried about the dropoff from Graham to backup fullback Chris Pressley, making it more difficult to use Graham in capacities other than fullback. Pressley is certainly more of a one-dimensional fullback rather than a player who also is adept at catching passes out of the backfield, like Graham.

If Lorig enters the picture at fullback, perhaps it frees up Graham to run the football. We know that Cadillac Williams will almost certainly see fewer carries. Now, it's just a matter of who gets the extra rushing attempts.

And there's no reason to think Graham couldn't be among those who are given more opportunities.

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 6, 2010 1:02pm]


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