Fournette happy so far as a member of Bucs

by Gary Shelton on September 9, 2020

in general

Arians' team open the season Sunday./STEVEN MUNCIE

Wednesday, 3 a.m.

Already, Leonard Fournette has something that most Tampa Bay running backs have not.

He has a quarterback.

That's enough to make him happy for now.

While in Jacksonville, Fournette played in Blake Bortles' last year and rookie Gardner Minshew's first year. Now, he gets to play behind the Bucs' Tom Brady.

Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on

Hey, it hasn't always been that way around here. Mike Alstott and Warrick Dunn had Trent Dilfer. LeGarrette Blount had Josh Freeman. Cadillac Williams had Chris Simms (and Brian Griese). Doug Martin had Josh McCown and Jameis Winston.

For a rare time, the Bucs hope they have the right guys in Brady and Fournette. Of course, Fournette is still playing behind Ronald Jones II, and Brady still has age questions.

On paper, however, it looks ... interesting.

"I don't really worry about expectations," Fournette said. "Football is football. I've been playing the same game for 25 years. I mean, for the first time in my life, I really have a quarterback. So that's eye-opening for me.

I think just me coming to Tampa made perfect sense. I feel like they had all the keys that I needed and vice versa. I can help the team out, and also, they can help me. I think it’s probably one of my first seasons running in a six-man box – which is a smart part on me. I made sure all that was in consideration with me coming here. The coaching staff [is full of] great guys I’ve been knowing. Some of my coaches know them too, so it was a perfect fit for me.”

No one quite knows how coach Bruce Arians will divide the carries between Jones and Fournette when the Bucs open the season on Sunday.

“He’ll have a solid role in this plan," Arians said. "He’s a very bright guy – (he) picked it up pretty quick today. Obviously, he can’t do everything, but he’ll have a solid role in the plan for the week.

“He’s a big, strong back that can really catch. He can do everything. He can protect, he’s a big third-down back and he’s been a solid guy in the league. It just gives us another weapon. Until his role really, really expands, I wouldn’t think you’d have to game plan for him that much, other than just our running game.”

Fournette doesn't seem bothered. He's looking forward to not being the focal point of the opposing defense.

“I think it’s great," Fournette said. "Especially when you have a lot of guys like Mike (Evans), Chris (Godwin), Gronk (Rob Gronkowski), Tom (Brady) and the O-Line. You can spread the ball to guys like that and it’s not just you. When the defense has to gameplan, [it’s] against eight guys, not just one. I think that opens up a variety of things for a lot of guys on our team on the offensive side of the ball.”

The Bucs play the Saints at 4:25 p.m. in New Orleans on Sunday.

Previous post:

Next post: