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Monday, September 12, 2011
What happened to LeGarrette Blount?

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

There’s a reason why LeGarrette Blount, who rushed for 1,000 yards last season, got only five carries for 15 yards in Tampa Bay’s loss to Detroit.

Blount
Blount
To be blunt, the reason is Blount, according to coach Raheem Morris.

“When we get to our two-minute offense -- our faster-pace offense -- that kind of took him out of the game a little bit,’’ Morris said. “It’s an area he has got to improve in, obviously, with the pass protection and all those aspects of it. He kind of got himself out of the game that started fast, and that hurt him and his ability to touch the ball, his ability to be effective on Detroit.”

The Bucs used their two-minute offense at the end of the first half and stayed in it during the second half. They used Earnest Graham at running back for most of that time. The Bucs talked during the offseason about how they wanted Blount to be a more complete back than he was as a rookie. The Bucs talked about working to help Blount improve in pass protection and as a receiver. But, apparently, Morris hasn’t seen enough to convince him Blount is ready to take on those roles.

“LeGarrette was never featured in the two-minute offense,’’ Morris said. “Earnest Graham has always been the third-down offense, the two-minute offense. Right now (Graham) and (Kregg) Lumpkin are the ones that have been doing it. Obviously, LeGarrette has been working at it and obviously we are going to try to get him in there a little bit more. Hopefully we won’t have to play that type of game all the time. That’s not our type of game, that’s not the kind of game we want to win.”

Quarterback Josh Freeman said he believes Blount is ready to take on increased responsibility.

“I think he could have gone out and done what Earnest did,’’ Freeman said. “This week he didn’t see a lot of pressure, but at the same time, you never know when they’re going change it up and start throwing some stuff at you. With Earnest being a veteran guy, we have more confidence in the third-down game with Earnest for now. You never know. I know LeGarrette is a hard-working guy, and I know that he is going to find a way to become a weapon in those sorts of situations.”