Giovani Bernard joined the Buccaneers as one of the best pass-catching backs in the league. Will we finally see this player in 2022?
The running back rotation for the Buccaneers in 2021 was a little wonky.
Ronald Jones complicated matters somewhat, Ke’Shawn Vaughn got sporadic play as the team scrambled to get their Day Two pick some touches for what felt like the first time in his career, and Leonard Fournette picked up from where he left off after his playoff run in 2020.
There wasn’t much room for a newcomer like Giovani Bernard in the rotation, and injuries didn’t help this out at all.
Bernard was decent in his very limited role, but no one on the planet would say that 23 receptions for 123 yards was where they expected him to be by the end of the year.
Bernard is one of the best receiving backs of the modern era. Despite being buried on bad Bengals teams for most of his career, Bernard was able to carve out a role as a very productive back in an aspect of the game that is becoming more important by the day, and the Bucs need to see this player in 2022.
Again, the lack of stats from Bernard was not really of his own doing, but it is obvious to anyone that they could be much better.
Could Bernard up his production in 2022? It as least looks like it.
Fournette is the workhorse, but we have already seen that the wear adds up towards the end of the season. Outside of him, the Bucs will use Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Rachaad White on the ground, and Bernard should be the number two guy based on touches.
The Bucs are a pass-first team, and while White is an exciting prospect for what he could do in that aspect of the game, Bernard should at least start the season in a more prominent role than he did last year.
Bernard was the number three last year. It looks like he could easily be the number two if he plays well and stays healthy this year.
It might be too much to expect some major jump from Bernard for 700 or 800 yards through the air, although he is capable of that if the offense is churning, but a jump up to close to 500 or 600 total yards with a couple of touchdowns mixed in is certainly a distinct possibility.
Let’s hope we see it.
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