Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Earnest Graham to start for Tampa Bay Buccaneers at fullback on Sunday against Carolina Panthers

TAMPA — RB Earnest Graham will get another chance to show his versatility Sunday when he starts at fullback for B.J. Askew, who will not play because of neck and back injuries sustained in a car accident this week.

"Earnest has done that role before. He's thrived in that role before,'' coach Raheem Morris said. ''We're going to go out this weekend and give him some more touches, more carries and more blocking opportunities."

The sixth-year player out of Florida filled in at fullback last season while Askew and Byron Storer were hurt.

BRYANT IMPRESSIVE: WR Antonio Bryant (knee) said his inability to practice has impacted his performance on Sundays. But after limited participation the past three days, Morris said Bryant "has looked the best he's looked since OTAs (organized team activities)."

DEBUT TIME? Could DE Kyle Moore make his NFL debut? The fourth-round pick from USC dealt with a groin injury at the start of the season, then needed knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus.

But Moore has fully participated in practice the past three days.

"Everyone else is probable and, realistically, they all could go," Morris said. "They all have played, they all practiced. They've all done things this week."

C Jeff Faine (triceps) and TE Jerramy Stevens (quads) participated fully in Friday's practice.

BIG-PLAY BACKS? The Bucs were counting on big plays out of their running game, and though they have four rushes of 20-plus yards, they're hoping for more. Faine's return could certainly help. "We have to get some big pops and we talked about it this week," Morris said. "We talked about getting back into the (secondary). I told our offensive line, if we are only getting 4 yards a pop, we probably don't need you guys. We can go out there, line up against a defender and have Josh Johnson hand the ball to Cadillac (Williams). He will probably get that, by himself.

"If you can get to the second level, you know what (Cadillac) can do when he gets to the second level. He can be dangerous. He can be tough on safeties, corners and backers. He can finish off some runs."

TURF'S UP: For those wondering how the turf looked at Raymond James Stadium during Thursday night's USF-Cincinnati game (the Tampa Sports Authority replaced the entire field after the U2 concert Saturday), TSA public information officer Barb Casey said they received no complaints from players or coaches. Though there were some ''grass clippings'' shown during the ESPN broadcast, Casey said the strips of turf are 48 inches wide, 1¾ inches thick and 40 feet long. "To have people suggest it's moving cracks me up," Casey said.

Earnest Graham to start for Tampa Bay Buccaneers at fullback on Sunday against Carolina Panthers 10/16/09 [Last modified: Saturday, October 17, 2009 6:29am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jones: Koetter-Winston exchange highlights latest 'Hard Knocks'


    There are certain things that make HBO's Hard Knocks must-see television.

    Jameis Winston, left, has an exchange with Dirk Koetter that highlights Hard Knocks.
  2. Trevor Plouffe is DFA'd by Rays, Kittredge recalled for now


    INF Trevor Plouffe didn't do much with the opportunity the Rays gave him, and time ran out Tuesday when he was designated for assignment after the game.

    Plouffe hit just .178, with one homer and two RBIs, in 31 games for the Rays, his primary playing time from starting at first or third against lefties.

  3. Rays journal: Offense shows signs of waking up in win over Blue Jays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The drought was so severe that it's still probably too soon to say the Rays are out of it, but scoring a half-dozen runs in Tuesday's 6-5 win over the Blue Jays was another promising sign.

    Corey Dickerson high-fives Wilson Ramos after hitting a solo home run in the third inning, putting the Rays up 2-1.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    C Wilson Ramos, coming off right knee surgery, often takes it easy on the bases, though it's not always a good look. But he hustled when he needed to Tuesday and got the Rays a run by beating out a two-out infield single, finishing with three more hits.

  5. Rays are full of ideas they'd like to share when commissioner visits

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Commissioner Rob Manfred is coming to the Trop today. Hmm. Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg will be there to greet him. Hmmmm. And they have a scheduled joint media session. Hmmmmmmmmm.

    Commissioner Rob Manfred isn’t expected to say anything definitive about the Rays’ stadium situation when he visits the team today.