If there’s one thing we love about NFL training camp, it’s a good old fashioned position battle and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have one of those brewing right now at running back.
The Buccaneers traded back up into the first round of this past April’s draft to select Boise State running back Doug Martin to, what many think, be the running back of the future for the Bucs.
But they already had an incumbent in LeGarrette Blount, who rushed for over 1,000 yards in his first season with the Bucs and almost hit that mark again in an abysmal 2011 season. When there were talks of the Bucs selecting Alabama running back Trent Richardson fifth overall, Blount too to the media to let the world know he wasn’t cool with that.
So when the Bucs traded down and selected Alabama safety Mark Barron, all looked good for Blount in the backfield. When Martin came around, and the effort was made to actually trade up to get him, the message was sent to Blount.
But instead of whine about it and throw a fit, Blount put in the work and is looking to straight up win the starting position for himself, even if the Bucs are going to roll with a 1-2 punch out of the backfield.
Both Martin and Blount played in Friday’s preseason opener with Blount getting the start. Greg Schiano knows he’s got a battle brewing and he’s not playing favorites — whether it be the guy who’s been here and is proven or the guy he drafted. Each back got the same amount of carries and each ran behind the same offensive line.
The margin is too close to call at the moment, as it should be. Both scored touchdowns, but Blount finished with the higher yardage total.
It’s going to be a fight to the finish and really the only thing that can make this battle a lopsided victory one way or the other is a major injury to one of the parties. That’s not likely to happen, instead what is likely to happen is the Buccaneers offense is going much better out of the backfield thanks to the best battle we’ve seen in quite some time in Tampa.