Who Goes?

May 15th, 2014
ESPN is now wondering about Doug Martin's job security.

ESPN is now wondering about Doug Martin’s job security.

Now Joe was dragged through the mud a few weeks ago when he wondered aloud just how secure Doug Martin is with Lovie Smith. Joe loves Martin but running backs are a dime a dozen and, Joe thought, maybe, Martin might be used to obtain draft picks in a trade last week or next year.

Of course, nothing happened last week.

But now a national reporter with close ties to the Bucs is also debating Martin’s job security.

This scribe’s name is Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com. He thinks the Bucs have too many running backs and one of the five will not be on the Bucs roster come September.

Newly drafted running back Charles Sims is pretty much a lock, however.

The Bucs already had Doug Martin, Mike James, Bobby Rainey and Jeff Demps on the roster, so this was hardly a position of need. It makes me wonder if the coaching staff isn’t high on Martin. After an outstanding rookie year, Martin struggled catching passes out of the backfield before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury last season.

In new coordinator Jeff Tedford’s offense, it’s very important for the running backs to catch passes, and that’s what Sims does best. I don’t know if Sims is ready to challenge Martin for the starting job. But I can easily see a scenario where Sims is used as a third-down and change-of-pace back.

Or a slot receiver, which both coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht confessed is a possibility for Sims over the weekend.

It stands to reason Demps could stick around only because of his blazing speed. Now at the combine back in February, Lovie told Joe he likes what Bobby Rainey brings to the table and that Martin will be his bellcow. Lovie doesn’t talk a whole lot about Mike James. Would James be the odd man out?

Of course, Lovie also talked about how Darrelle Revis can play on his defense and that mattress-in-the-yard Mike Williams would not be jettisoned for taking a blade to the thigh.

The team narrative of Mike Glennon is Joe Namath will take a bit longer to play out than the eventual sorting out of the crowded running backs house.

70 Responses to “Who Goes?”

  1. pablo Says:

    t think Doug Martin will make the team. Sims was brought in for a reason, plus Martin is coming off a serious injury and we all know that RBs are a dying species with a limited shelf life.

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    It would be between Rainey & James….both similar backs…both have proven themselves and have some value.
    James is coming off an injury so teams are going to want to see him in action before they trade….
    Demps will probably stay and hasn’t really proven himself yet so harder to trade.
    The question is….”Do we keep any FBs?….probably not.

  3. lightningbuc Says:

    The team narrative of Mike Glennon is Joe Namath


    I must have missed when the team “narrated” this. When did it happen?

  4. getaclue Says:

    James ran better than anyone last season

  5. Phillip Says:

    I hope it’s Rainey who goes no offense to the guy… But I think everyone is playing into the 80 yard run he had too much against whatever team last season… Mike James is a if you need 4 yards I’ll get you 5 kind of runner(that’s not a bad thing) and we used a draft pick on him last year and traded Blount for him essentially and Demps(yes I know previous regime but damn I’m tired of dropping players we draft)..

    Also I wonder why Tedford didn’t use the RB’s to catch passes out of the backfield more at Cal?? I mean he had 2 PREMIER pass catching RB’s(Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen) and they didn’t catch really anything(neither caught more than 29 in any year)… If he is modeling us after the Patriot offense I’m sure he noticed what an idiot he was for not using Vereen that way when he had him at Cal

  6. Buc Neckid Says:

    Demps being a NFL running back is like a mythical beast
    It is fascinating
    but unrealistic

  7. Kevin Says:

    You would get nothing for Rainey…nothing…he sucks. I too suggested trading Martin but I think it was the right decision to keep him in the end. Martin, James and the new guy…Rainey sucked he had 1 1/2 good games

  8. Robert Says:

    We’ve got to keep James on the roster if he 100% recovers from the ankle injury. You cant survive without at least 1 power back. I think Rainey is the odd man out here.

  9. Jim Walker Says:

    Martin’s job is secure. He is the only proven back on the roster. Demps is IR waiting to happen.

  10. Chef Paul Says:


    In 2008 and 2009 Tedford had both Vareen and Best. They combined for 47 and 54 catches per season.

    In 2012 and 2013 the Pats running backs combined for 59 and 54 catches per season.

    My theory is Tedford loves to spread the ball, so just one guy isn’t going to have huge stats.

  11. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    @ Phillip & Chef Paul

    He could also do things a bit differently depending on personnel…..may make some slight adjustments for the NFL.

    I like having Sims either in a 2 RB set or single….his pass-catching abilty is another worry for defenses.

  12. Chef Paul Says:

    Personally, I’ll be bummed no matter who is the odd man out. I like all these guys for different reasons. It’s a good thing to be bummed out about though.

  13. Macabee Says:

    I don’t think it will be Doug unless he drops passes and fumbles his way into a trade. What we saw in 2012 was not a fluke. It could be any body. Tedford has speed coming from everywhere now. We forget the Bucs also have Russell Shepard with Percy Harvin-like skills. And the Bucs signed Solomon Patton who they also brought in for a workout before the draft. Speed, speed, speed! Nice problem to have but can’t keep’em all. I will watch training camp like real games this year!


  14. Phillip Says:

    @Chef Paul

    Still doesn’t make sense in 2009 when Best went down(4 Games + whatever was left of the game he got injured in if it happened during a game) Vereen still only caught 25 balls all year… Just looking at the years from total stats they had sh!tty QB play but to me that would mean more dump off passes and screens would fix that… And in 2010(Best gone already) still there wasn’t a jump in production(only 22 catches) and there was no real number 2 RB there either… Like I said I think Tedford probably realized once he saw the Patriots practice like damn I should have used Vereen(and Best) more like that..


  15. flmike Says:

    Just based on his contract, as one of few elite backs left in the league you keep Martin, his deal was for just a little more than $6mil, $5mil+ guaranteed, his cap hits are just a little over $1.5mil a season, yeah, they’re paying the other guys with SouthWest Airlines bags of peanuts, but no matter what, they aren’t on the same level as Martin, his issues last season (other than the injury, which by the way is a minor one for a RB, if he were a pitcher for the Rays it would be major) were o-line issues, not his.

  16. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    All this may depend on Special Teams ability…Shepard can run, catch & throw…would like to see him in a wildcat once in a while….Sullivan & Schiano couldn’t bring themselves to do that but perhaps Tedford will.

  17. BucfaninMi Says:

    Demps will stay. He can return kicks and punts. Rainey will go.

  18. ToesOnTheLine Says:

    Damn is this what the media resorts to to generate interest post draft/pre camp? Unless another Indianapolis Colts trade out 1st Rnd pick is on the table for Martin the Muscle Hamster is a lock to remain on the Bucs. A lot of chatter over nothing is my guess.

  19. ToesOnTheLine Says:

    I could see Rainey getting cut/traded during camp more so than seeing Martin going. Remember part of Rainey’s success on Tampa was due to the similarities in running schemes between Sullivan’s O and what Rainey ran at a Western Kentucky. He was cut by the Ravens and Browns prior, so even though he deservedly earned a contract I say he is the odd man out during the final 53 cuts

  20. Bruno Says:

    Nothing would surprise me this season. However, if Martin in the “future” plans, it makes sense to get max value now.

  21. Kaptain Morgan Says:

    If Jeff Demps had an NFL future I doubt Bill Billicheat would have let him escape New England. He sealed his “Not For Long” fate in the league when he turned his back on football to concentrate on his Olympic Track career. Glad for him he got a silver medal out of it, but I don’t think he has shown that he can make the transition or the commitment to professional football.

    Let the remaining backs fight it out in training camp…best backs and whoever can remain healthy wins the roster spots. Simple as that.

  22. Thomas Says:

    This is what it means to have a good team. Talented guys get cut. People either need to get used to it or go back to following teams that constantly languish (IE the Browns, Raiders, Jags).

    When a team is very deep at all positions though- that is what we want here. We want it so that we are so deep in talent that it isn’t a shoe-in that rookies can make the team. At that point we will be really dangerous.

  23. bucrightoff Says:

    Funny that you used Joe Namath considering he has more career INTs than TDs. I think comparing Johnny to Joe Namath makes a lot more sense.

  24. Phillip Says:

    I don’t get it sometimes…. We can have half naked women on here(DEFINITELY NOT COMPLAINING ABOUT THAT) but the second a swear word is used the moderation police come out lol

    I wish there was a thread we could resort to as to what kind of words we should steer clear from(some aren’t even swear words either lol)

    That is my only gripe on here Joe…. Well that and the ignorance of some of the posters on here but can’t really do anything about that they’re everywhere 🙂

  25. Architek Says:

    Everyone has a price!

  26. Dick2111 Says:

    Let’s see, we’ve had ONE mini-camp so far this year and folks are already throwing players to the curb.

    Just a thought: perhaps Lovie REALLY DOES want to take the best players he can get to training camp and let it all sort its’ way out on the field. Maybe that’s why potentially good players are working on one year contracts … let them prove themselves on the field and THEN Lovie and Jason will talk contract extensions.

    What a great concept: paying players for their performance, as opposed to their potential.

  27. Phillip Says:

    I responded back to you Chef Idk when it will show in the timeline(awaiting moderation) but it shows what my points are if Joe allows the links…

  28. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    & KaptainMorgan

    Demps recently lost his Silver Medal….because one of his relay teamates tested for drugs…

  29. Bruno Says:

    Regarding Demps: nobody really has seen him play at an NFL level. I believe the main concern w/him was his dedication to football vs. track. If he attends camp, earns a spot, he would be an excellent change of pace back…he can also catch the ball…or could in college. He can also do more than run in a straight line. If Demps works on his NFL game, he could be an excellent asset. But again, it depends on his “want to”.

  30. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Demps is worth putting on the field for decoy value at the very least…..you’ve got to know when they put him in, teams are thinking….”he’s getting the ball”….

  31. "Skyline" Says:

    If they get rid of Martin that would be the dumbest move by L&L and then I think you would have to put their credibility in to question.

  32. Chef Paul Says:


    You make a good point. You’re links were better than the website I looked at. Everything easy and fast to read.

    Anyways. One thing that stood out was the RB’s yards per catch. Almost 10 yards per reception. That gets me a little pumped

  33. Jim Says:

    Who was throwing passes to Martin last year? I rest my case.

  34. Phillip Says:

    @Chef Paul

    Oh I’m excited too! I think he is probably more excited he noticed his mistakes and eager to correct them!

  35. Jordan Says:

    @Jim – the same guy who threw passes to Tim Wright. Martin and Vjax were among the league-worst in drop-rate on catchable passes. Tim Wright was among the best.

  36. Nick2 Says:

    If we want our best combination running and catching passes its Martin and Sims. Martin is our best runner hands down. I like Rainey and James but Martin brings another dimension. If we trade him the most we get is a 3rd rounder and I just dont see that being fair trade value. Martins a team player and I just dont see why we would trade him now.

  37. GoNoles Says:

    Martin and Rainey are more the same than Rainey and James so I see it being Rainey as the odd man out. If we were even thinking of letting Martin go we would have traded him to get more picks to beef up this draft class. Rainey would also get some attention for a trade but it wouldnt warnt an early pick (more like a 5th or 6th) so there was no real reason to be in a hurry to make the trade in case we didn’t get the RB we wanted (Charles Sims). Now we can probably still get a late pick for Rainey and get back the 5th round pick we gave up next year in order to move up in the 5th round this year. As far as us letting Revis go, it was because he cost to much not because Lovie didn’t want him or because he wouldn’t fit the in Tama 2.

  38. Kaptain Morgan Says:

    @ Tampabaybucfan:

    “Demps recently lost his Silver Medal….because one of his relay teammates tested for drugs…”

    Classic. All that training for the Olympics, all that money he ‘could’ have earned playing football right out of college…wasted. Nothing against the guy, but he’s teased the Bucs with his “potential” for too long.

  39. buc4lyfe Says:

    Did fans get smarter or espn get dumber, how idiotic is it to wonder about Doug Martin’s job security who has a team friendly contract for the moment but not bobby rainey or james….just ignorant when they talk about small market teams they rarely pay attention to. Sims was drafted for his ability to catch out of the backfield more than his ability to run between the tackles….

    Maybe they forgot schiano isn’t here anymore we won’t let go of our homerun threat

  40. buc4lyfe Says:

    If anything jeff demps is on notice. I think were his third team and although he has Olympic speed he hasn’t proven anything coming into his fourth year in the league

  41. Celly Says:

    Architek Says:
    May 15th, 2014 at 8:45 am

    Everyone has a price!


    If a team came to Licht and gave up what the Colts gave up for Richardson, you’d be a fool to think he wouldn’t take it.

    Every player on every roster is always available. The question is: what are you willing to pay?

  42. Bucnjim Says:

    If you watch the highlights and games of Sim’s he catches the ball like a good receiver not like a RB. Very fluid and never let’s the ball get in on his body. Martin can catch, but is not comfortable or fluid in his receptions. Usually has to stop and secure the ball. Almost always lets the ball get to his body instead a catching it with is hands. Love Doug Martin, but no way can he catch the ball and run after the catch like Sim’s.

  43. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    Been saying for weeks that it’s most likely James that loses out, with Rainey staying. Caught flak from a couple ignorant James-homers but whatever.

  44. Back, from Davie Jones Locker Says:

    Not sure who the Coaching staff loves.
    But Sims can line up in the backfield- where he requires attention from the front 7 of the defense, then audible out to the Slot position- where he is a legit Slot Reciever- and would require adjustments by the secondary.

    That is a versatility that really stresses a Defense.

    I think everyone is targeting Martin as trade bait, is the fact that he has shown he isn’t a recieving threat.
    They may be right. Lovie has glowed Lovingly about Mike James- who can catch
    We’ll know soon

  45. nate Says:

    You know what its a good problem to have…. thats how we should look at it… im probably with joe on this we should probably tradeany runniing back who gives us high value.. maybe trade martin for a starting offensive lineman or pass rusher or maybe a 2nd round pick for next yers draft for ammunition for marcus mariota or wineston next year…

  46. Celly Says:

    Back, from Davie Jones Locker Says:
    May 15th, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Not sure who the Coaching staff loves.
    But Sims can line up in the backfield- where he requires attention from the front 7 of the defense, then audible out to the Slot position- where he is a legit Slot Reciever- and would require adjustments by the secondary.

    I’m not sure how good he is as a blocker, but as soon as I heard the Sims pick, all I could think of were 2RB sets with him and Martin, Evans, VJax and ASJ.

    I believe THAT is going to be our base offense.

  47. c-spann Says:

    where did this nonsense about martin not being able to catch come from. That was one of his best attributes when he was drafted. martin is the best rb on the roster period.

  48. Patrick Says:

    James and Rainey have proven NOTHING! Trade Martin and I’m no longer a Bucs fan. That would be one too many stupid ass decisions.

  49. Buc1987 Says:

    During Licht’s interview on NFL Network last night. The guy interviewing him said I guess you found you’re slot receiver in the draft by drafting Herron huh?

    I don’t remember what Licht said though. I think he just chuckled.

  50. Buc1987 Says:

    Sorry I guess that has nothing to do with the article.

  51. Buc1987 Says:

    I posted it was Herron, but I think the dude said Sims, I’m trying to find it.


    A dime a dozen for a back that can break off 70 yard TD’s ? GO BUCS !!!!!!!

  53. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    If they get rid of Martin, I’m going to have a hard time following this team. Martin is a very, very good player. A LOT of players have a bad second year. It’s when film exists on them and they have to learn to adjust their play. They usually rebound on their third year.

  54. unbelievable Says:

    Yasinkas is a national reporter with close ties to the Bucs? really?

    More like a below average blogger who just repeats what other people think, say, and write. I don’t think he’s ever broken a piece of news or provided original insight on anything.

    Um, Yasinskas covers the Bucs full-time, practices, games, etc. He produces plenty of original work. –Joe

  55. Buc1987 Says:

    They’re not going to get rid of Martin Bonzai. No worries there. I think they will use Sims just like he was used in college as a jack of all trades type of player.

  56. Theodore Says:

    The depth chart should be this: Martin, Sims, James, Rainey, Demps

  57. Bucamania Says:

    James did run better than anyone last season. I like him more than Rainey. It was a broken ankle, not an ACL. James will be fine.

  58. Tackleblockwin Says:

    Lets rewind a bit here. If Demps was dedicated to football he would not be in this conversation. His skillset is amazing, his heart and dedication is ???Meanwhile, Rainy scratches and claws his way to a roster and proves he is a capable RB. Mike James last year shows us he is better than a late rd draft choice. From what I know about Lovie, I’d have to say Demps is a longshot. Martin? Please, he is the clearcut starter. And Sims was just drafted in third rd. I know many of you are very excited about Sims, I am too, but he still had to prove himself…I hope he does. Here is how I see it.

    (1) Martin
    (2) James
    (3) Sims fighting Rainy for a little playtime
    (4) Demps has a long way to catch up…but it is possible.

    I’m really hoping these guys can stay healthy so we as fans can watch a great competition at RB.

  59. Buc1987 Says:

    “I don’t want to sell the rest of Tampa Bay’s draft class short. The other four rookies all could end up as starters eventually. But I think running back Charles Sims, guard Kadeem Edwards, tackle Kevin Pamphile and receiver Robert Herron will be backups as rookies.”- Pat Yasinskas ESPN

  60. pick6 Says:

    let’s not overrate the likes of bobby rainey and jeff demps. jeff demps has had exactly zero impact on the NFL and isn’t a full-time football player. dexter jackson (WR) was just as fast and equally useless. bobby rainey surprised people in his debut and had maybe one more decent game before looking completely average. even mike james wasn’t tested over the long term thanks to his injury. we have doug martin followed by a bunch of guys who have had a good game or two apiece at best.

  61. BamBamBuc Says:

    Most trade value: Doug Martin
    Least football ability: Demps
    Coming off injury: James
    Least value as trade/starter: Rainey

    If they’re looking for a draft pick next year, it’s Martin that’s gone, but I find that unlikely. He had a shoulder injury that shouldn’t affect his ability to run. I can easily see Demps gone, as we have two possible replacements, Herron as slot WR, and Sims as 3rd down RB with speed & hands. Depending on the status of James recovery, I’d rather keep him and let Rainey go. If James is struggling with recovery, let him go and keep Rainey. Rainey is a 26 year old undrafted RB that has never hit a 4.0 ypc average.

    I see our RBs as Martin, James (if recovered, if not Rainey), Sims. Demps could be kept as a return specialist/gadget player/slot WR/RB if we have 4 RBs on the roster or we may keep Rainey and put James on a PUP list if he’s not healed in order to keep our “4” RBs.

  62. Tackleblockwin Says:

    BTW, Mike James can catch the football.

  63. Pierce Says:

    Joe, you continue to talk about Mike Williams and the reasoning for his dismissal possibly being about the knife incident. It could’ve been for other things that are more football related (possibly missing rehab appointments, not showing urgency to contact the coach after the incident once his situation was stable, or just Lovie’s past experience with certain types of players). Just something to consider bro. Anyways, have a good one.

  64. Patrick Says:

    Bucs fans push way too hard for their home boys, like Demps.

  65. Joe Says:

    or just Lovie’s past experience with certain types of players

    Same coach who went out and got Brandon Marshall. Have you seen his rap sheet?

  66. Macabee Says:

    Just read PR’s take on possible 53 man roster and they believe the key is whether the Bucs keep 3 QBs. They believe the Bucs may keep all 5 RBs if they only keep 2 QBs. If they keep 3 QBs, they believe that they will keep only 4 RBs and James will be odd man out. Don’t slam PR, it’s just another opinion!

    This is not a message board, Macabee, but it is on topic, so Joe will give you that. Thank you. –Joe

  67. Couch Fan Says:

    Somebody most likely is gone for sure. I tend to think it would be Demps or Rainey. We would cripple ourselves this year if we got rid of Martin for draft pics. They said they are trying to win now… Can’t see how getting rid of Martin helps us win this year.

  68. Nick H Says:

    I think it’s pretty cut and dry, Mike James or Bobby Rainey are most likely one of the goners. It’d take a real sweet deal to let Dougie go.

  69. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Buc1987 Says
    “They’re not going to get rid of Martin Bonzai. No worries there.”

    I hope you are right. I really like Muscle Hamster.

    I can see Demps not even making the team. They have page to return kicks, not to mention several other options aside from Demps.

    I also think there is a chance Rainey does not make the team. If I were the Buccaneers, I would put him on the table for a 7th rounder…just to see if they get it.

    I think James would make a great FB/HB hybrid player. Sims I can see earning the #2 spot…if he pans out.

    I expect Martin to have another breakout year this year…assuming he gets the carries.

  70. Back, from Davie Jones Locker Says:

    C-spann says
    “where did this nonsense about martin not being able to catch come from. That was one of his best attributes when he was drafted. martin is the best rb on the roster period.”

    Said with such confidence and authority.

    Yet, both L&L said they targeted a RB as a need.
    Sounds as if C-Spann might have missed those meetings

    Martin was ineffective last year- and dropped everything they threw at him.
    Lovie has praised James. And mentioned his recieving prowess.
    Dunno C-Spann, you might not have your hand on the Teams Pulse, as much as you think.