Buccaneers: Could Giovani Bernard emerge as RB1 in Tampa?

Giovani Bernard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Giovani Bernard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

Giovani Bernard found a perfect fit with the Buccaneers. 

The Buccaneers needed a new third-down back badly. LeSean McCoy and Leonard Fournette didn’t cut it last season, and Tom Brady needed help in the passing game that was never provided. Sure, the Bucs won the Super Bowl, but the void at third-down back was painfully clear. Fortunately for everyone, Giovani Bernard fixes that considerable problem.

Bernard was an obvious candidate for the Bucs to pursue as soon as he was released from the Bengals. As a talented player on a less than stellar team, Bernard has earned the chance to play for a good team and chase a ring for the first time in his career.

Before this point, Bernard was buried on a bad team with a mediocre quarterback. No one wants to limit what Andy Dalton did during his career, but the Bengals have been right around where the Buccaneers were for the better part of a decade. The Bucs then won a Super Bowl, and the trajectory for their franchise has improved for the better.

Giovani Bernard gives the Buccaneers something new

With the underrated Bernard on the roster now, the coming offseason will be extremely interesting to watch. The Buccaneer backfield still has two former starters from 2020 and a third-round draft pick, so there is plenty to argue and speculate about.

While the unit should look a lot like last season with Jones and Fournette as the leading men, Bernard also makes a compelling case as a massive contributor in 2021.

As the clear best blocker and receiver, Bernard stands to earn the lion’s share of the snaps in a pass-first offense. Bruce Arians and Byron Leftwich loved to rely on the run early last season, but the end of the season and the playoffs showed a team that was ready to let the ball rip early and often.

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Bernard will not be the same runner between the tackles that Jones was during the regular season, or Fournette was during the playoffs, but he has averaged four yards per carry so far during his career. Perhaps the change of scenery could be the boost Bernard needs to end his career on a high note on a Super Bowl contender.

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