The Bucs’ Running Backs

July 6th, 2014
Led by RB Doug Martin, the Bucs could have a top-five running back unit. But Scott Smith of isn't sold. Yet.

Scott Smith of isn’t yet convinced the Bucs have an elite running backs unit.

On paper, Joe is damn impressed with the Bucs’ stable of running backs. If there is a deeper position on the team than running backs, then, please, tip Joe off.

From the Muscle Hamster himself, Doug Martin, to Bobby Rainey to Mike James to highly touted rookie Charles Sims to an Olympic track star in Jeff Demps, that’s a pretty damned talented and versatile backfield.

So it surprised Joe when he read the words typed by multimedia maven Scott Smith, who seems lukewarm on the potential of the Bucs backfield. Smith was asked if the Bucs running backs are a top-five group in the NFL.

In terms of depth, I think you have to give it to San Francisco, which still has Frank Gore in the lead, a very capable backup in Kendall Hunter (4.6 career per-carry average) and the talented Marcus Lattimore returning from his pre-draft injury. To that group, you add Carlos Hyde, a highly-regarded draft pick, and you probably don’t even have room for LaMichael James.

I know we’re talking groups here, but I kind of feel like any group that features Adrian Peterson and other people with legs is going to be top-five. The pairing of C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson is pretty potent in Buffalo, and there’s some reasonable depth behind them with Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon. Seattle’s group will be among the league’s best if Robert Turbin and/or (especially if it’s “and”) Christine Michael prove to be a dynamic complement to Marshawn Lynch. The Eagles added Darren Sproles to the amazing LeSean McCoy. Even with the unfortunate retirement of Johnathan Franklin, the Packers have some depth behind Eddie Lacy with James Starks and DuJuan Harris. If rookie Lache Seastrunk can make his speed work in the NFL despite his lack of size, the Redskins would have a different sort of weapon to combine with Alfred Morris and Roy Helu. That would be pretty strong. And I guess we still have to consider Carolina as long as they have Johnathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams together.

Joe isn’t blown away by the Packers’ depth at running back and the 49ers may be a bit overrated. Lattimore, from the whispers Joe has heard, is having setbacks recovering from his horrible knee injuries in college. James hasn’t done much more than Joe has on an NFL field in his short time with the Niners.

So the Bucs have a top-5 running back group? On paper, it sure seems very possible.

22 Responses to “The Bucs’ Running Backs”

  1. Harry Says:

    Seldom included in this discussion is how good is the Oline. We have the potential for a top 5 running game, IF the Oline can run block. THAT is one of the biggest questions about our Bucs. Do we have that?

  2. OB Says:


    This like the leaving off of LVD from the various lists, almost none of the pundits are looking at the Bucs as a whole or the sum of their parts they have. A 4-12 season will do this but I can’t wait until the first preseason or the first season game, the Task Force (defense) is going to sink a lot of plays and teams. While the Forest (receivers of all kinds) and when the Cannons (backs of all kinds) are fired, we will enjoy the show.

    19 Days

  3. ToesOnTheLine Says:

    Not sold either on the Packers or Redskins having much RB depth. Smith and Rainey did a solid job when their numbers got called. I have no idea what Tedford has planned for his offense, but based on personnel I can envision something similar to the Bengals with Martin > Green-Ellis and Sims = Bernard. The Bucs do look like the paper champs of the NFL at RB

  4. Bawlmerbucfan Says:

    Back on the Mother Land for a quick vacation. Trying to find a new McCoy red jersey….all I can find are Martin and Evans. Have looked everywhere in Tampa and Clearwater. Any suggestions? Yes, I could just order on-line, but I’m old school and want to find it in a store.

  5. biff barker Says:

    Our RB’s will only be as good as the rest of the offense is. A RB can’t carry the unit. Mix up the plays, keep the D off balance and we can get great production from the RB’s both running and passing to them.

  6. Bear the Bucs Says:

    The offensive line will be okay. They’ll have the pick of all guards that will be put on the practice squads throughout the 31 teams after the final cut down. There will be at least 2 good lineman in that group.

  7. Tom Edrington Says:

    One might think that the Tight End depth is at least as good as the running backs chart.


    “I kind of feel like any group that features Adrian Peterson and other people with legs is going to be top-five.”


  9. SAMCRO Says:

    It all boils down to name recognition, and what teams get continual press coverage, including college. I.E. Everyone has heard of Gore, if you followed college football then you heard regularly of Kendall Hunter, Marcus Lattimore, Carlos Hyde, LaMichael James. They played for division 1A schools that got enormous amounts of national coverage.

    Why Scott would skip the Bucs is beyond me, because everyone has heard of Doug Martin, Michael James, Jeff Demps, and Charles Simms coming from some prolific nationally recognized programs. The only one that is a relatively new face is little unknown till he bust out on the seen last season, Bobby Rainey.

    I feel I our backfield is as strong or even stronger than the 49ers. In fact I think the 49ers lack the pass catching threat the Bucs have at RB. There lineup consist mostly of ground pounders, where I feel our backfield is versatile, and more well rounded. The difference will be who has the better offensive line. That’s it!

  10. Hawk Says:

    Is this guy ‘on’ something? Does any one, of the teams he mentioned, have THREE RBs that had 100yd games last year…
    on an offense that was ranked 32nd?
    A ‘top five group’ would indicate the ‘whole’ unit being compared on their talent (NOT rookie potential).
    I don’t know that I’d say the Bucs have the ‘best’ group in the league, but I’m willing to bet that there are, at least, twenty-five teams who would trade ‘groups’ in a heart-beat.

  11. b.Bruce Says:

    Doug Martin will only be second to Peterson this year.Sims will be amazing catching the ball kinda like Faulk.demps will be a better version of Darren Sproles he will shock the who has the best stable of runningbacks you idiot.

  12. Legarrettes Blunt Says:

    Deeper position, tight end…. We have 3 guys capable of starting on other teams

  13. Andrew 1 Says:

    lol in no way is the Niners backfield overrated. They do have the best stable of RBs in the league, but there is only one football to go around, so its going to be hard to keep those guys happy with the limited touches they each can get.

    You know, just now thinking about the other talented RBs in this draft, Sims better be good because we had a chance at drafting either Carlos Hyde, Tre Mason, or Lache Seastrunk, three guys who I think are going to be absolute studs. I think Tre Mason will have the best season out of all rookie RBs, not saying Sims wont be good this season, but Mason will be the best out of all rookie RBs.

  14. Andrew 1 Says:

    As far as our TEAM goes, yes RB is the deepest position.

  15. Bill Says:

    God almighty can we stop hyping Jeff Demps.

  16. Buccfan37 Says:

    The Bucs have some good running backs, that’s for sure. The doubters will figure it out real quickly when the games that count begin.

  17. Hawk Says:

    @ Andrew 1

    Having “… the best season out of all rookie RBs,…” and being “…the best out of all rookie RBs.” can be two entirely different things. If a rookie gets the chance (likely through injury) to be the ‘workhorse’, then there’s a good chance he’ll put up better numbers than a rookie playing the role of ‘breather’ for the veteran. I’m not saying that your prediction is wrong, but that it’s just too early. In three to five years, we’ll have a better idea of who the best ‘rookie’ was in this draft. I’m hoping it’s Sims, but strange things happen in life.

  18. Andrew 1 Says:

    @ Hawk

    oops, you’re right, what I meant was that he will have the best season out of all rookie RBs, not that he will be the best RB to come out of this draft. The reason why I feel that way is not only because he’s very talented, but he also has a better opportunity to get more touches with only Stacey in front of him. I like Sims and I’m sure his role will eventually increase, but with a Doug Martin in front of him, he is going to have to wait his turn a little bit. So for rookie RBs this season I just think Mason’s numbers will be the highest. As far as who will be the best RB to come out of this class, it’s anybodies guess, it could very well be Sims.

  19. Cody Says:

    The running game should be fine…our offensive line is built for the zone blocking scheme (with the exception of Nicks) and we’ve added enough weapons in the passing game that teams shouldn’t be able to put 8 or 9 men in the box to stop our backs…it’ll be nice to be able to run the football in the 4th quarter with a lead; with Martin, Sims, James, etc we should have a fresh back on the field at all times…

  20. owlykat Says:

    If you saw Tedford’s backfield in the OTAs he had two backs in there at the same time. Look for Martin and Sims to start together, with Mike and Rainey as their backups, and Demps in a Sproles and Special Teams role!

  21. Louis Friend Says:


    Totally agree Demps is extremely overhyped – by many fans and a few writers/bloggers. For a guy who has a few more yards rushing and receiving than my dead grandmother, you’d think he was the second coming of Jesse Owens in a football uniform. Mr Demps with his trackstar body will exit the football scene rapidly. He’s not built for the game at this level.

  22. Louis Friend Says:

    And speaking of Carolina – can we stop acting like WIlliams and Stewart are something special? In the last 3 years the two of them average less than 90 yards a game – COMBINED. And that’s just counting the games they’re healthy in. For the amount of salary cap they carry, it’s a pleasure watching the ‘remarkable’ backfield of the Panthers bleed their team from being able to meet more pressing needs. The GM who handed those contracts out deserved to be fired.