All these years later, James Wilder is still the Man to beat

All these years later, James Wilder is still the Man to beat

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All these years later, James Wilder is still the Man to beat


blountYou may ask yourself, who is the Best Bucs running back ever; who holds the Bucs records in the running back category. 
Well if you say Mike Alstott, your not totally wrong, he does have the most  career touchdowns of any back. But he has the most career TDs of anyone, and doesn’t really have any running back records.

Note: Record number of highlight reel Touchdowns doesn’t count either unfortunately! did a nice piece on rookie runners and pass catchers and Errict Rhett sure looks like a serious contender, and who knows what would have happened had he not listened to his   agent and did a not-so-intelligent hold out when Warrick Dunn and Mike Alstott were going to be new Bucs!

Rhett rushed for 1011 in his rookie year, and 1207 in year two. 1207 is nice, but its not enough for second place. That’s because This season, Bucs tailback LeGarrette Blount will be hunting the Bucs single season rushing record that is held by James Wilder. Wilder has the record for his 1984 season in which he amassed 1544 yards, then came back in 1985 to add on another 1300. Those are the only 4 digit rushing seasons for Wilder, yet he is still almost 900 yards behind  Wilder in the all time Bucs rushing lead, which Wilder also owns with 5,957 yards.

Wilder was overused however, and by 1986 he was already starting to show signs of fatigue. In ’81 when he was drafted, he was used as a fullback by then coach John McKay. It wasn’t until the helpless and hapless ’83 season in which the Bucs were still winless after 7 weeks, so McKay decided to try Wilder out at   tailback against the Saints where he did OK. The next week he had 126 yards on 42 carries, and then he helped the Bucs to their first victory of the year over Minnesota in the HHH Metrodome, by running through, over, and on the Vikings for 219 yards on 31 carries.

Wilder suffered damaged ribs the next week at Cleveland, and was lost for the rest of the year, but the damage was done. In 1984 he would become the teams starting tailback, and he WAS the Bucs offense for most of the next two years. 

Now with LeGarrette Blount exploding on the scene much like Wilder, can he be the one to replace No. 32 in the Bucs record Book? He will need about 96.5 yards per game next year, which is not out of his range. When he finally got rolling, he averaged 112.0 yards per game in the last three games of the year.                                                                                                                           

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