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Bucs rookies Benn, Blount preparing for larger roles

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Dan Parr
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Posted Oct. 01, 2010 @ 11:56 a.m. ET
By Dan Parr

The Buccaneers' coaching staff used a Week Four bye to tinker with the roles of some of its personnel, including WR Arrelious Benn and RB LeGarrette Blount, and word is the rookies will be featured more prominently in Week Five.

Benn, a second-round pick, could become the starting 'Z' receiver. Sammie Stroughter, who had been starting at that spot, would move inside to his more natural position in the slot if Benn gets promoted.

The Bucs didn't want to start Benn before they thought he was ready, fearing the effects early-season struggles could have on his confidence. We hear the feeling is Benn has a better grasp of the offense than he did at the outset of the regular season.

While he entered the league with high expectations as a second-round pick, Benn lagged behind fourth-round pick WR Mike Williams in training camp and it quickly became clear that Williams, who has made 12 catches in three starts, was more ready to contribute. Benn went without a catch in the first two games before making three for 33 yards in Week Three.

Blount, who was picked up off waivers from the Titans on Sept. 6, made his NFL debut in Week Three and showed head coach Raheem Morris enough to carve out a role for himself as a short-yardage back, we're told.

Starting RB Cadillac Williams had 49 carries in the first two games of the season, but only had six vs. the Steelers. We hear he should see about 15-20 carries per game for the rest of the season. Blount likely will get 5-10 carries per game, spelling Williams for a series or two, and he also could be used in goal-line situations. Blount powered into the endzone vs. the Steelers in Week Three on a one-yard run.

We hear it is not the coaching staff's intent to make RB Kareem Huggins, the preseason standout who hasn't played since being active (but failing to get a carry) in Week One, a ghost for the rest of the season. The Bucs would still like to get Huggins involved in the rotation with Williams and Blount when he is completely recovered from the groin injury that has sidelined him for the past two games. Huggins gained 5.4 yards per carry in the preseason.

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