Bucsblitz.com Insider: Earnest Graham

Whether its as a running back or a fullback, Earnest Graham sucks it up for the Buccaneers. But what is Graham's true worth to Tampa Bay? In this insider article, see Graham's true worth to the Buccaneers through insider notes that are only available to the media.

After suffering injuries to starting running backs Carnell "Cadillac" Williams and Michael Pittman (now with Denver) last season, RB Earnest Graham quickly made the most of his opportunity and had one of the most productive seasons for any running back in franchise history.

This season, Graham seems to have picked up right where he left off. Through seven games, he has 95 carries for a team-leading 456 yards (4.8 avg.) and team-high four rushing touchdowns. On only 10 carries at New Orleans (9/7), Graham rushed for 91 yards (9.1 avg) while also making three receptions for 27 yards. In the third quarter, he recorded a new then career long 46-yard rush to set up K Matt Bryant's second field goal of the game. The rush was also the longest by a Buccaneer since 2005 at the time.

In Week 2 against Atlanta (9/14), Graham's inspired play continued as he ran the ball 15 times for 116 yards (7.7 avg.) and a touchdown. Along the way Graham raised his own bar by again recording a new career long with a 68-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to seal the game. The rush was the longest run by a Buccaneer since September 11, 2005 at Minnesota when RB Carnell Williams had a 71-yard run and also marked the seventh longest run in team history and the fifth longest touchdown run in team history. With the touchdown, Graham moved into sole possession of ninth place on the Buccaneers all-time rushing touchdowns list. In Week 4 vs. Green Bay (9/28), Graham recorded his fifth career 100- yard rushing day, carrying the ball 20 times for 111 yards (5.6 avg.) and a touchdown. He again showed his big play potential with a 47-yard run late in the fourth quarter setting up his game clinching oneyard touchdown run. After seven games, Graham is only the third back in team history with three runs of 40 or more yards in the same season. He is also the only player in the NFL with three rushes of 45-plus yards this season. In Week 6 vs. Carolina, Graham played a little bit of a different role as he replaced the injured Byron Storer at fullback in the first quarter helping to pave the way for RB Warrick Dunn's 115- yard rushing game. Despite playing fullback for most of the game, Graham recorded the longest reception of his career in the second quarter when he caught a 24-yard pass from QB Jeff Garcia. Graham also caught a 23-yard pass in the third quarter that set up his third rushing touchdown of the season. It marked the 13th rushing touchdown of his career, tying Doug Williams (13 rushing touchdowns from 1978-82) for eighth all-time in Tampa Bay's history. This past week vs. Seattle, Graham passed Williams' mark when he scored his fourth rushing touchdown of the season and the 14th of his career.

Most rushes of 40+ Yards In a single season

(Team history)

Rank Player (Year) No. (Runs)

1. Warrick Dunn (1997) 4 (76, 52t, 49, 44)

2. Earnest Graham (2008) 3 (68t, 47, 46)

2. Jerry Eckwood (1979) 3 (61t, 46, 40t)

2008 NFL yards per carry

(Min. 70 carries)

Rank Name (Team) Att. Yards Avg.

1. Brandon Jacobs (NYG) 96 516 5.4

2. Chris Johnson (TEN) 103 549 5.3

3. Clinton Portis (WAS) 163 818 5.0

4. Warrick Dunn (TB) 88 423 4.8

4. Earnest Graham (TB) 95 456 4.8

Most Rushing Touchdowns

Team history

Rank Player Touchdowns

1. Mike Alstott, 1996-07 58

2. James Wilder, 1981-89 37

3. Errict Rhett, 1994-97 24

4. Reggie Cobb, 1990-93 21

5. Warrick Dunn, 1997-01,08 18

6. Ricky Bell, 1977-81 16

7. Lars Tate, 1988-89 15

8. Earnest Graham, 2004-08 14

9. Doug Williams, 1978-82 13

10. Michael Pittman, 2002-07 10

10. carnell Williams, 2005-08 10

With only 17 starts in his career, 10 of which came last season, Graham led the team in 2007 with 898 rushing yards, while scoring 10 rushing touchdowns on only 222 attempts and also ranked third on the team with 49 receptions for 324 yards. Graham now has 1,569 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns on only 437 carries in his career.

Since becoming a starter in Week 6 against Tennessee during the 2007 season, Graham ranks 13th in rushing yards and is tied for sixth in rushing touchdowns the NFL while he is tied for the fourth-most rushing touchdowns in the NFL since November 4, 2007.

Most Rushing Touchdowns

(since 11/4/07)

Rank Player Team TDs

1. Clinton Portis Washington 13

1. LaDainian Tomlinson San Diego 13

3. Adrian Peterson Minnesota 12

4. Earnest Graham Tampa Bay 11

4. LenDale White Tennessee 11

Most Rushing Touchdowns

(since 10/14/07)

Rank Player Team TDs

1. LaDainian Tomlinson San Diego 17

2. Adrian Peterson Minnesota 16

2. Clinton Portis Washington 15

4. Maurice Jones-Drew Jacksonville 13

4. LenDale White Tennessee 13

6. Earnest Graham Tampa Bay 11

6. Joseph Addai Indianapolis 11

6. Marion Barber Dallas 11

Most Rushing Yards

(since 10/14/07)

Rank Player Team Yards

1. Clinton Portis Washington 1,781

2. Adrian Peterson Minnesota 1,642

3. LaDainian Tomlinson San Diego 1,591

4. Brandon Jacobs N.Y. Giants 1,399

5. Ryan Grant Green Bay 1,393

6. Frank Gore San Francisco 1,331

7. Jamal Lewis Cleveland 1,325

8. Thomas Jones N.Y. Jets 1,307

9. Steven Jackson St. Louis 1,277

10. Fred Taylor Jacksonville 1,237

11. Brian Westbrook Philadelphia 1,236

12. LenDale White Tennessee 1,212

13. Earnest Graham Tampa Bay 1,207


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