Tampa Bay Buccaneers to get more players involved on offense

TAMPA — To take advantage of what they consider improved depth, the Bucs plan to implement more players into the offensive game plan this week.

The most notable change will be on the offensive line, where Jeremy Zuttah will rotate in with expected starter Keydrick Vincent at left guard, offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. Olson said it's a tactic used effectively by many teams. Zuttah lost his job to Vincent in the preseason, but coaches continue to evaluate the position.

Elsewhere, Olson is looking at getting others involved in the backfield. After RB Cadillac Williams finished Sunday's game with 24 total touches, Olson said he began to reconsider using him so heavily on a weekly basis.

"I don't know if we can give him that kind of workload every week and expect to get through the season," Olson said.

The plans also include using backup Kareem Huggins and recent acquisition Kregg Lumpkin, who might get some playing time at fullback and, possibly, tailback in "an Earnest Graham-type of role," Olson said.

Huggins' usage on Sunday has been a topic of discussion among coaches after he finished the game without a carry or reception. Coach Raheem Morris suggested his staff was a bit skittish about using Huggins on offense for the first time (he played on special teams in three games last season). One concern with Huggins: his ability to stay in and help in pass protection, a tall order for most young backs.

"You just have to go out there and let the young man play," Morris said. "That will be something we look forward to doing this week, getting better as a coaching staff and putting the young man in that situation where he's going to run the ball and not being worried about protection so much. … Just throw him out there and let him do it."

Finally, Olson said he planned to use TE John Gilmore to take advantage of his blocking ability. Gilmore is not the receiving threat that Kellen Winslow or Jerramy Stevens is, but he could be an asset in the running game.

This approach is one Morris said he believes in, having learned its benefits as a young defensive backs coach.

"I was fortunate enough when I was a young coach to realize the benefit of playing multiple people and not just playing Ronde Barber and John Lynch, and having those guys play every snap of a 65-play game," he said. "If you get 50 great snaps from Ronde … or 40 great snaps from Lynch or 50 great snaps from (former Buc) Phillip Buchanon, it's better than getting 80 but 50 of those snaps are bad.

"It's just using the depth and the people you have around you. … That's something we have to learn and something we have to do."

READY FOR ANYTHING: Though Carolina QB Matt Moore practiced on a limited basis Wednesday, the Bucs have to prepare for the possibility that rookie Jimmy Clausen could start Sunday.

That could prove difficult as the players are so different, but Morris said he is tailoring his defensive game plan to the Panthers, not their quarterback.

"In this business, you go with what you know," he said. "What are the knowns? The knowns are they're going to hand the ball off to Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo (Williams). The knowns are they're going to try to create some kind of a big play with (WR) Steve Smith.

"The quarterback's job is really to go out there and execute the game plan. That's what their game plan is going to be regardless of who's playing quarterback."

THUMBS UP: QB Josh Freeman's broken right (throwing) thumb isn't completely healed, but it's also not something he anticipates dealing with for the duration of the season.

"It's a little sore every now and then," he said. "But at the same time, it's definitely healing. In talking to the trainers, by the time we get done with the bye week, it should be completely fine."

The Bucs have a bye Oct. 3.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers to get more players involved on offense 09/15/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:22pm]

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