Von Miller has high praise for Bucs RB Leonard Fournette: ‘He’s a beast’

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In last week’s win over the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round of the playoffs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn’t have either Leonard Fournette or Ronald Jones available at running back. While Jones’ status for Sunday’s matchup with the Los Angeles Rams appears to be in doubt, all signs point toward Fournette making his return to the gridiron.

With Fournette back on the field for the Buccaneers, Von Miller understands that slowing down the former first-round pick is easier said than done.

“He’s a beast. I’m have been a fan of Leonard Fournette for a long time – on and off the football field. He’s a beast. He runs downhill. He’s strong. Pretty much everything that you want out of running back, he’s able to do it. They have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL,” Miller said. “So, it’s a lot of challenges no matter which way you look at it. When you look at it, it’s daunting, but if we continue to attack this week the same way we have, just one day at a time. Really, it’s not even one day at a time. You got to attack it like four hours at a time, especially in the playoffs. We come in, we do our work, we rest, we come back, we do it again and go home, watch film. If we can just compartmentalize the week like that, then we’ll be all right.”

Since joining the Buccaneers last season following his release from the Jacksonville Jaguars, Fournette has revived his career. The LSU product finished this season with 812 yards and eight touchdowns on 180 attempts for a career-best 4.5 yards per attempt.

Fournette also concluded the regular season with the third-most receptions among running backs with 69 and he recorded 454 receiving yards and another two scores through the air. There’s a good chance that Fournette would have had 1,000-plus rushing yards and led all running backs in receptions had he not suffered a hamstring injury in Week 15 that forced him to be placed on injured reserve.

Dating back to his college days at LSU, Fournette has always been a physical downhill runner. Per Pro Football Reference, Fournette produced 2.3 yards after contact per attempt, which was tied for the eighth-most in the NFL.

It’s already going to be a challenge for the Rams to prepare for Tom Brady in a postseason setting, but it’s also going to be vital for Los Angeles to be ready to match Fournette’s physicality on Sunday.

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