When Mike Alstott went on IR with an injured neck last week most thought that free agent signee BJ Askew would take over at full back, but it was Michael Pittman who started at FB in the first preseason game. Pittman is a little smaller than the average NFL fullback, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in ability and technique. Pittman has always been a good pass blocking back and has been in the backfield at the same time with Cadillac Williams before. Pittman has been around the NFL for a while and knows how to play the fullback position. Pittman also is very strong and has a solid compact build that could be very effective as a blocker.
Pittman and the coaching staff have been looking for a way to get onto the field more often ever since they drafted Cadillac to replace him at running back. Pittman has been the third down back for the Bucs since Cadillac was drafted because he has much better hands than Caddy and also is the better blocker of the two. Pittman wants to be on the field helping the team anyway he can and has been a great mentor for Cadillac. The Bucs have tried Pittman out as a kick returner to get him more involved in the game, but playing full back maybe the best thing yet for Pittman.
Pittman has been a running back for his career, but he is better suited for the fullback position. He is powerful and has the explosiveness needed at the line to hit the hole and be effective on short yardage situations. He is also a great pass catcher out of the backfield, which is something that Alstott had done very effectively for the Bucs throughout his career at fullback and running back. Pittman's running style is better suited for a getting the ball a few times a game rather than the full load that he would have to shoulder as the starting running back. He has all the tools to be a good fullback and this maybe the opportunity the Bucs were looking for to get him on the field.
The Bucs have other options at full back, like BJ Askew and newly signed Zach Tuiasosopo, but Pittman is more explosive than both of them and he is a better pass catcher. Askew is taller than Pittman, but weighs the same and Tuiasosopo has not been in the Gruden offense before and it takes a while to get the terminology down. Pittman is the best option for the Bucs right now at the full back position and they should give him the chance to be the every down fullback.