Bobby Rainey Over Brian Leonard?February 12th, 2014
Joe gets the concept of Bucs fans and observers rejecting all things Rutgers, but not every Scarlet Knight is worthy of dismissal.
So Joe was surprised to learn one analyst is so eager to dump free agent running back Brian Leonard in favor of Bobby Rainey.
Pat Yaskinskas of ESPN.com is studying Bucs free agents and he’s very down on Leonard.
A Rutgers product, Leonard was a favorite of former coach Greg Schiano. Leonard wasn’t very productive in a backup role. He’s expendable because the Bucs will have a healthy Doug Martin, with Mike James and Bobby Rainey as the top backups.
Actually, Leonard was quite productive. Both he and Rainey averaged 3.9 yards per carry. It wasn’t Leonard’s fault Mike Sullivan preferred a bellcow running back system versus mixing up carries and playing more to the strengths of his running backs stable.
Leonard also played strong on all phases of special teams, caught 29 balls out of the backfield last season and has significant experience on playoff football teams as a third-down back. Rainey does not have diverse skills and is almost useless if he can’t beat out Mike James as the backup to Doug Martin.
Now Joe’s not down on Rainey; he did wonders coming off his couch to run the ball for the Bucs. But you can’t have a third-string running back who’s unable to contribute in other phases of the game.
Yes, Joe realizes he’s arguing bottom-of-the-roster running backs from the NFL’s worst-ranked offense. But that holds some charm in February.