This is not news, but the Buccaneers have a young team. Very young. For some time now the focus of this team has been on youth and potential over age and experience. The organization has moved in a new direction; Gone are the Derek Brooks' and Brad Johnsons' of the world and in has come a young dynamic core of players that are full of vigor and energy. The Bucs have become a team built on potential rather than experience. Following this weeks bye that will become even more evident as reports are coming down that a handful of the Buccaneers rookies will see an expanded role and increased playing time going forward.
It's fair to say that so far the running game has been poor. In fact, The Bucs rank 29th out of 32 in rushing offense and that rank is bolstered significantly by Josh Freeman's own footwork. Cadillac Williams only has one rush all season of 10 yards or longer and is averaging a measly 2.5 yards per carry. But according to offensive coordinator Greg Olson, help is on the way. Cadillac Williams will see his carries diminish starting this week in Cincinnati, as he will share time with rookies Kareem Huggins and LeGarrette Blount. Huggins used the bye week to get healthy while Blount familiarized himself with the playbook.
Raheem Morris emphasized that they don't want to throw too much at the rookies too quickly. "Cadillac has been out there and running, and he's our guy to go out there and get us in the right direction," coach Raheem Morris said. "We'll be fired up to see these guys play. We don't want to … dictate what those guys are going to do; kind of let the game come to those guys."
The Bucs hope that Huggins and Blount can not only give Williams' some rest but also add some speed and power to the Bucs punchless (pun intended) running attack.
The running game is not the only facet of the offense expected to see changes. Rookie receiver Arrelious Benn took snaps with the first-team offense in practice during the bye week and we should expect to see him worked into the offense more. Morris has stated that Benn won't start Sunday but he will be getting gradually more involved in the offense.
The Defense will be receiving the same treatment as well as Raheem Morris hopes to work rookie defensive tackle Brian Price and second year defensive end Michael Bennett into the rotation on the defensive line. Morris said that Price is "one of those young ascending dynamic players that really got his feet wet at the beginning of the season" and that he hopes to get him in on passing situations spelling starting nose tackle Roy Miller.
It is unclear how much of an impact these rookies will have immediately but it is clear that the youth movement will continue in Tampa Bay. If the players can live up to the potential and hype that surrounds them then Fans will surely have something to look forward too on Sundays.