More Mike James LoveMay 24th, 2013
Now Let Joe be bluntly honest here: No Bucs running back is going to take snaps away from Doug Martin. That would be nuts.
Martin is among the best running backs in the league. If anything, you want to give him more carries (though to be careful, you don’t want to wear the guy down).
Joe finds it interesting that that a sixth-round pick like Mike James is getting so much love. Sure, James, a Polk County guy, seems to be a really good dude, a guy you want to root for. That written, he was a sixth-round pick.
Matt Williams, an NFL scout for ESPN, has written about the Bucs running backs and he too seems smitten with James.
Doug Martin was a phenom in his first season, accumulating nearly 2,000 combined yards even though the Buccaneers were missing their high-priced guards to help pave the way. Martin entered the league NFL-ready with an excellent all-around game. He is a very good, but not great, receiver. The same is true for his pass protection. He should only get better in both areas. But Martin is already a very good runner who can get to the corner with speed, break long runs and handle the physical pounding at the position. He is an excellent interior runner. Rookie sixth-round pick Mike James could be Martin’s direct backup, but Tampa Bay also used a seventh-round pick last year on Michael Smith. Brian Leonard is on the roster, as well. James isn’t flashy but has size and isn’t a dancer. Smith has more quickness to his game, but probably wouldn’t be suited for a large role if Martin were to miss time. Leonard plays hard and is a good blocker and receiver. He is also an accomplished special-teams player and knows how to help a team. Don’t be surprised if the Buccaneers consider adding a veteran running back before training camp opens.
Perhaps there is something to the bouquets being thrown to James. Running backs are a dime a dozen, Joe has often written. Shoot, Mike Shanahan is notorious for finding strong running backs in the middle- to late-rounds. It all depends on the front line.
And yes, the Bucs have strong offensive line, especially with Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks coming back healthy. Last year the offensive line, in the latter stages of the season, wore down. That was not just because Joseph and Nicks were out, but guys starting were worn out because they were not used to starting many weeks in a row.
This became a snowball effect. With Nicks on the sidelines, Donald Penn started to get overextended. Jamon Meredith was definitely exposed.
So with a healthy line, maybe there is reason to be excited about James?And Michael Smith is still captain of the inactive list.