By Kyra Hallett
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are facing off against the Washington Redskins Sunday at home. This will be the Bucs’ first home game since Week One. After last week’s anemic offensive performance against the Dallas Cowboys, the Bucs have to re-examine their run game.
Head Coach Greg Schiano does not necessarily want to be a running team, but does want to be able to run the ball when he has to. His original idea going into the season was to have a strong one-two punch with LeGarrette Blount and Doug Martin, but some have started to second guess Schiano’s eventual decision to make Martin the number one running back and to stick with him.
Now that Blount is feeling better after a Week One injury and had a few carries against the Cowboys, Schiano feels that they will be better suited to run the ball Sunday. He wants Blount to be involved more, even though Martin has been running hard. And the pressure doesn’t all fall on just the running backs — the offensive line needs to block more if they want to win this game.
Schiano’s mission is to have Martin as the main back with Blount filling in to do what he does best: run people over. That way, Martin can come back into the game fresh. Schiano is not sure what the percentage split will be, but it could be 50/50 one week and 70/30 the following week. The duo will be more effective when they can run productively on a consistent basis.
Many have asked about having quarterback Josh Freeman run more often, like he has in the past. Coach does not want to turn him into a running back, but he is allowed to run and needs to slide when approaching defenders.
Schiano says that a good punt returner is rare to find in the NFL, and it is a true skill. The Bucs have had a hard time finding the right punt returner for them so far. They picked up veteran receiver Roscoe Parrish Tuesday and he practiced with the team for the first time Wednesday. Schiano said Parrish will be the punt returner this week. Parrish could also be another target for Freeman, who seems to aim for veteran wide receiver Vincent Jackson and to the familiar hands of Mike Williams the most.
With defensive end Adrian Clayborn our of the season, look for Daniel Te’o-Nesheim to fill in. Schiano has not come out to say he is the main guy, but he will get time at right defensive end along with George Johnson. Schiano has confidence in Te’o-Nesheim’s abiltity.
The Bucs did pick-up former New Orleans Saints’ defensive end Jeff Charleston. Charleston played four years with the Saints and has six years in the league. He is 6′ 4″, 260 pounds and entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the Houston Texans in 2006. Charleston has eight career sacks and 60 total tackles.
Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and the Washington running game are the biggest threat to the Bucs. The defense will have to be on top of their game to stop both. RG3 is fast, hard to catch, can throw on the run and has a cannon for an arm. The Bucs defensive coordinator calls him a smart player with the whole package.
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Kyra Hallett is a freelance writer and a Multimedia Sports Journalist. She has experience covering Tampa Bay sports in many outlets including Examiner.com. Her dream job would be to work with the athletes and their fans. You can view some of her work at KyraHallett.com or here at Examiner.com.