Greg Schiano is trying to put his stamp on the Buccaneers and he’s starting by telling the team’s starting running back that he’s got to do a better job of holding onto the ball.
Speaking at the owners meetings on Wednesday, Schiano said that LeGarrette Blount will either stop fumbling or stop playing. Blount fumbled five times while running for 781 yards last season, a number that’s too high for a role in Schiano’s offense.
“I think LeGarrette has tons of ability,” Schiano said, via Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com. “No one who touches the football will get touches if they don’t protect the football. That is one of our core covenants — the ball. It’s so important they named the game after it. We make a big deal about it.”
The only problem with that threat is that the Buccaneers don’t have any other options at tailback outside of Mossis Madu at the moment. Kregg Lumpkin signed with Seattle and Earnest Graham is a free agent coming off a torn Achilles, which leaves the Bucs with Madu’s 15 carries of experience behind Blount.
A solution might come in free agency or it might come in the draft. The Bucs have been linked with Alabama running back Trent Richardson more than once and his arrival might make it hard for Blount to get carries even if he starts taking better care of the ball.