Huggy Bear mania is here. Or at least it's catching on a little bit at One Buc Place this week.
Apparently Kareem Huggins could get some looks with the first team offense Saturday night against the Kansas City Chiefs. After scampering for 55 yards on 8 carries and catching 2 passes for 16 yards last weekend while his teammate Derrick Ward was stuck in the mud, this is the furthest thing from a shock that Huggins will likely get a longer look from the coaching staff. Up until now, Huggins has seen work in the preseason against backup-level competition. However, he's clearly performed well in those situations, both last year and this year, so it only makes sense to see what he can do against better competition.
So, for argument's sakes, let's say Huggins continues to impress on Saturday. What does that mean for the rest of the RB corps?
With Cadillac as a lock and Huggins insulating himself from getting cut, I think Ward would most likely hang on as the 3rd running back over Clifton Smith. Although it's pretty safe to say that he's not performed up to the expectations placed upon him after signing for starter's money with the Buccaneers, Ward has been a thousand-yard back and still boasts the size and makeup you want in an every-down back. Despite losing the football last weekend, Ward also doesn't have the same track record for putting the ball on the ground that Smith does.
However, even though Huggins' improvement could hurt Smith's chances of making the roster, there's still a pretty decent chance Smith could crack the roster as a returner and fourth RB. It seems unlikely to me the Bucs will keep both Spurlock and Smith, and the Buccaneers' WR logjam is even greater than the RB position, with Williams, Benn, Stroughter, Brown, Stovall, Clayton, and possibly Preston Parker still in the mix at WR. That alone could favor Smith.
So are you looking forward to seeing what Kareem can do against live NFL starting-calibur competition? How do you think he'll fare on Saturday? Do you think Ward, Smith, or both of them will ultimately make the roster?