The Buccaneers have hired former Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski as their new offensive coordinator. The move should be a positive one for the fantasy value of Earnest Graham in 2009.
Jagodzinski was the offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers in 2006, when the team had a 1,000-yard running back in Ahman Green and a 1,000-yard wide receiver in Donald Driver. He was also the Falcons’ offensive line coach working under consultant Alex Gibbs in 2005.
Atlanta led the NFL in rushing that season and ironically, current Buccaneer Warrick Dunn rushed for a career-high 1,416 yards.
Jagodzinski was able to learn the intricacies of the zone blocking schemes from Gibbs, who has helped build successful offensive lines around the NFL. In fact, he was an integral part of the Denver Broncos team that won Super Bowl XXXIII.
Gibbs, now with the Texans, also helped Steve Slaton develop into a fantasy superstar in 2009.
While there are questions about the quarterback and wide receiver positions in Tampa Bay (Jeff Garcia, Antonio Bryant and Michael Clayton are all free agents), its does seem like Jagodzinski’s presence will improve the value of Graham and to a lesser degree, Dunn.
Graham, a disappointment for fantasy leaguers last season, seems like a perfect fit for a scheme suited for a one-cut back. That could make him the front runner to receive the lion’s share of carries ahead of Dunn and Cadillac Williams.
Barring setbacks in his return from an injured ankle, I’d look for Graham to be a solid flex starter with the potential to be a low-end No. 2 fantasy back in 2009.
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