By Eric Schmidt

Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie head coach wants to employ a run heavy offense this season. On Friday night, the Buccaneers took the field for the first time under Schiano’s leadership with their new rushing attack on full display. Third-year running back, LeGarrette Blount along with rookie Doug Martin were impressive in their limited action, energizing the fan base for the upcoming season.

The Buccaneers fans aren’t alone in their excitement for the team’s rushing attack in 2012. LeGarrette Blount told reporters that he believes that Tampa Bay could have the best rushing duo in the NFL. The slimmed down Blount said, “We can definitely be the best duo in the NFL, with the schemes that we have, with the offensive line that we have, with the blocking and the confidence (Martin) has in me and the confidence I have in him.”

Blount might be inflating his expectations for the duo just a bit. Schiano stresses ball control for his running backs and Blount has struggled with turnovers in his young career. The rookie head coach has changed his ball handling, stressing a high and tight approach which Blount has embraced.

Rookie Doug Martin illustrated his ability to be a three down back on Friday night, playing well in pass protection.

Blount got the starting nod in the Buccaneers first game, but head coach Schiano told reporters that the starting position is fluid currently. “I think no matter what the decision is, I think they’ve both shown already they’re going to help us and they’re both going to run the ball. So I think it’s going to be a fluis situation until somebody kind of distinguishes themselves as deserving more touches and that will go into that lead and trail back deal.”

There is little doubt that the Buccaneers rushing attack is going to improve over the 30th ranked unit they put on the field in 2011. Blount’s assessment of the Buccaneers offensive line is correct. With the addition of free agent OG Carl Nicks, the Buccaneers now have two Pro Bowl quality interior lineman in Nick and fellow guard Davin Joseph. LT Donald Penn is a vastly underrated lineman as well.

Anything can happen in the NFL and injuries have a way of derailing the best laid plans which are set into motion at this time of the year.

As I see it heading into the 2012 season, Houston Texans RB Arian Foster and Ben Tate have to be considered the best duo in the NFL. Foster rushed for over 1,200 yards and Tate nearly broke the 1,000 yard threshold last season and I expect more of the same this season. The duo of divisional rival, the Carolina Panthers’ DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart could be lethal this season.

The addition of Michael Bush to the Chicago Bears, paired with Matt Forte could make a play as the best duo in the league by season’s end. Buffalo Bills RB Fred Jackson was on a career high pace last year before suffering injury and C.J. Spiller excelled in his absence.If Mark Ingram lands the starting job with the New Orleans Saints, he and Darren Sproles could rack up some serious yardage this season.

I think Doug Martin is capable of 1,300 total yards this season and I am thinking that Blount should rush for somewhere between 600 to 700 yards. This will be a vastly improved unit this season, but not the best running back tandem in the league. This season that is. With an entire year under the system in 2012, all bets are off for 2013.

 

 

 

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