The Buccaneers acquired running back Michael Bennett today from the Kansas City Chiefs for an undisclosed second day draft pick. We will attempt to breakdown the ramifications of this deal.
On Ernest Graham – I still believe that Graham will garner the majority of the carries for the Bucs, barring injury. He has been in this system for 4 years now, and I would have to think that Gruden will continue to keep his trust, albeit marginal at best, in Ernest Graham.
On the Offensive Line – I do believe that Bennett will be brought into the game to try and stretch the field on some pitches, counters, and sweeps, something that has been eliminated in the two weeks since Caddy was injured. The young guards both have a very high skill level at pulling on running plays, and this could open that part of the offense back up.
On Jeff Garcia – I do not believe things will change much in Garcia’s book. He might have to get his timing right on some of those aforementioned sweeps and outside runs, as Bennett has blazing speed that Garcia has truly never played with at the Canadian League or NFL level at the tailback position.
On the Staff – Just as I said when Caddy got hurt, and in the Oline spot above, the playbook should open up a wee bit more with Bennett in the mix. I also think that Gruden won’t be so aprehensive to use Graham in situations where he otherwise might have pulled him out of the game to avoid injury (namely special teams where is a standout, and on the goal line).
Overall Impact – I think the impact of Bennett on the team will be marginal at best. He has had success in the NFL, mainly his Pro Bowl season of 2002, interestingly enough, his only season of 200+ carries. The only other thing to worry abou, gulp, is he is an injury prone player, who has shown over the past 5 years that he does not have the ability to stay healthy enough to be the primary ball carrier.