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Buccaneer OTA Odds and Ends: Earnest Graham Named Starting FB


As the second round of OTAs rolls on at One Buc Place, at least a few things are becoming clear as positional battles continue to shake out.

Earnest Graham has garnered the starting position at FB, and it sounds like he's alright with it:

"I'm shooting to be a Pro Bowl fullback," Graham said. "I really believe every time I catch the ball in the flat it can be a first down. I think I can break a few [tackles]. I'm focusing on being a fullback and catching 60 passes. I think I can really do that. Once Josh [Freeman] gets really comfortable and I'm running routes outside the backfield. I think we can do some damage out there."

 That's exactly what Graham can give the Buccaneers out of the backfield...an additional weapon in the running game, perhaps a misdirectional threat or quick-hit FB dive the Buccaneer running game has been missing, and an underneath mismatch on a linebacker in the vertical-based passing game.  Love Ernie in this role.

More after the jump...

Josh Johnson is "entrenched" as the #2 QB, as per Greg Olson.  Based on the choices, this is no real surprise.  That said, there are alot of good quotes in the article for the eternal optimist, including the following from Jay Jay:

"I'm a different quarterback because of that experience,'' Johnson said. "I have those games I can look back on and understand exactly what happens out there. It's totally different now because I'm the one getting the reps.''

If he's putting in the kind of time his starting compadre is putting in, he might be able to become a better QB from it.  I think alot of JJ's problems were mental...i.e., defensive recognition, going through his progressions, etc.  We'll see in the preseason how well he's improved in those areas.

Caddy speaks on having two good "wheels" this offseason:

"It's been fantastic because basically, your whole mindset is different,'' Williams said. "I'm not going in with all kinds of questions: when will I be back at practice? Are the knees going to hold up?' It was more of me not specifically working on my skills but just trying to get back on the field.

"This year, it's a matter of me fine tuning my skills, doing a lot of film work. So the whole mentality is different. The whole offseason has been totally different and I feel good.''

There's no doubt that having a perceived healthy body when you've been walking on egg shells for the past couple of years can do wonders for a player's confidence and give him the ability to push it 110%.  Love that he's in a good place.

Pewter Report has a good piece up on the trials and tribulations the rookies are facing.

 

Discuss.