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Tampa Bay Buccaneers' LeGarrette Blount getting chance to prove he can be third-down running back

Running back LeGarrette Blount, demonstrating his familiar talent at camp, is working on blocking and catching, too.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Running back LeGarrette Blount, demonstrating his familiar talent at camp, is working on blocking and catching, too.

TAMPA — LeGarrette Blount isn't shy about wanting to be an every-down running back.

"Man, I really don't want to come off the field," Blount said this week.

To make that happen, the Bucs' second-year starter has to convince coaches he's capable of doing the many things required of third-down backs. Chief among them are blocking and catching, things Blount was not asked to do in college at Oregon.

In training camp, he's getting the chance to prove he can do them.

"I've been getting a lot of third-down reps," Blount said. "In the offseason I was working on catching the ball and things like that, so I've been getting a lot more involved."

Because Blount has the benefit of a Bucs camp this season — last year he was in camp with the Titans — he has a chance to concentrate on things that were never addressed last season after he was claimed off waivers in early September.

At 247 pounds and with a physical demeanor, Blount is more than willing. It's now a matter of coaches growing confident in his ability as well as his know-how.

"I've made a lot of progress since last season. A whole bunch of progress," he said.

PENN PUMPED: Though LT Donald Penn appreciated his opportunity to be in the Pro Bowl last season, he said partly what will motivate him this year is to get there on the first vote. He was an alternate in 2010 and was put on the NFC squad to replace the Packers' Chad Clifton.

"To be real with you guys, it was kind of still disappointing that I had to get in the way I had to get in, because I feel like I'm a lot better than I get credit for," Penn said. "But I use that as a chip on my shoulder, and maybe this year I get on the first ballot instead of having to sneak my way in.

"I'm looking for bigger stuff, need to be in the top 100, need to be an All-Pro. If that happens, we're winning. As long as I keep doing that, it's going to make our team successful."

MOTHER NATURE: With heavy thunderstorms in the Tampa Bay area, the start of Tuesday's afternoon padded practice was delayed a couple of hours and condensed. Coach Raheem Morris said the practice was "a little sloppy," but conditions were slippery and he was happy they got some work in, especially with the limited amount of padded practices available in camp.

TEST RUN: Today's afternoon practice is at Raymond James Stadium, and it serves as a game-like test-run for the preseason opener Friday in Kansas City. Coaches in the box upstairs will communicate via headsets to coaches on the field.

DEPTH CHART: Morris explained why rookie third-round draft pick Mason Foster is ahead of the likes of Tyrone McKenzie on the depth chart at middle linebacker:

"(Foster) is having a better camp up until this point. We've got to go see these guys hit different colors, we've got to see these guys moving around on the field, under the lights. … But I wouldn't count anybody out. (Derrell Smith) is coming on fast, and (McKenzie) is not going to just lay down."

MEDICAL MATTERS: WR Raymond Webber (hamstring) is week to week, and DT Gerald McCoy (rotator cuff strain) is day to day.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' LeGarrette Blount getting chance to prove he can be third-down running back 08/10/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 10, 2011 12:58am]
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