New Backs For Bucs?

December 5th, 2014

LeGarrette Blount 1031The steady NFL devaluation of running backs hasn’t slowed. And the success of undrafted guys NFL fans likely will see in the playoffs this year, from LeGarrette Blount to C.J. Anderson and others, won’t change that trend.

The league also is watching a guy like rookie Tre Mason (selected right after Charles Sims) explode for St. Louis.

Joe thought the Bucs were deep at running back this summer, but things don’t look so rosy now. Doug Martin hasn’t had a good game by NFL-starter standards. Bobby Rainey is buried with Mike James, and Sims isn’t scaring anyone.

Shaun King, one of three Tampa Bay quarterbacks to the lead the team to the NFC title game, suggested yesterday on WDAE-AM 620 that the Bucs could make significant changes at running back this offseason.

Barring a dramatic turnaround over the final four games, Joe wouldn’t be stunned if Mike Evans is the only returning starter on offense.

USA Today penned a neat piece today looking at the running backs market. Here’s a snippet:

The Broncos’ resurgent running game is a throwback of sorts to the days when Denver seemed to keep turning late-round picks or undrafted players, from sixth-rounder Terrell Davis to former-Marine Mike Anderson, into stars. Now it’s C.J. Anderson, undrafted out of the University of California last year, and undrafted rookie Juwan Thompson from Duke, who are powering Denver’s resurgent running game while Montee Ball, a second-round pick, and Ronnie Hillman, a third-rounder, are sidelined with injuries. Both Anderson and Thompson are on minimum salary contracts.

This model is working other places as well — like in Cleveland, where the Browns ditched veteran Ben Tate, their big-name offensive free agent addition last spring, in favor for a pair of rookies – third-rounder Terrance West and undrafted Isaiah Crowell. In Baltimore, the Ravens are riding journeyman Justin Forsett, signed to a one-year deal; and in San Diego, the Chargers kept afloat while starter Ryan Mathews was out thanks to undrafted rookie Branden Oliver.

Among the current rushing leaders, only five of the top 15 rushers – Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy, Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch, are also among the highest-paid running backs. League-leader DeMarco Murray of the Cowboys, who has 381 rushing yards more than any other player, ranks 19th in base salary.

Before the Bucs played the Bengals, Joe publicly pined for Mike James to get the rock. That plea still stands.

15 Responses to “New Backs For Bucs?”

  1. bucrightoff Says:

    Running backs are cheap and readily available. Spending a third rounder on Sims didn’t make much sense at the time and makes even less sense now that we’ve seen he looks like just another guy you can find on the street for next to nothing.

  2. DB55 Says:

    A good oline can makes almost anyone look like a star. It all starts up front.

    10 new starters? That would be something. We had 8 new starters this year didn’t we?

  3. Marlow Says:

    It all begins up front. Our backs are good. Two issues concernd me 1) poor line play 2) no one believes in a fullback… To many single back sets.

  4. tampamac Says:

    Doesn’t matter who plays RB if the opposing defense continues to manhandle our O-line.

  5. nate_tweetz Says:

    It is not a coincidence that what we once thought was a strength (RB depth) is now a weakness. All 4 RB’s haven’t all of a sudden forgotten to run the ball at the same time. As others have echoed. If you don’t have blocking up front, you’re screwed. Especially when you don’t have big bruising backs that can run over people for yardage. Mike James is really the only one who may be able to push a pile. the rest of the guys are small, scat-back type running that MUST have blocking up front to be successful. It is a shame that Lovie plays favorites to unproven or struggling players and doesn’t provide an opportunity for other players to play. Bobby Rainey has been IMO the best back we’ve had all year. But because L&L want to get their new toy (Sims) out there and try to establish some trade value for Martin, Rainey barely sees the field. Point is… This is an OL problem mostly. Not RB.

  6. Pickgrin Says:

    Our stable of running backs is fine. Better than most team’s top to bottom. If the Bucs put lazer beam focus on improving the OLine this offseason – and succeed – you will see 150+ yards rushing most games from the backs currently on our roster.

  7. Ray Rice Says:

    Bobby Rainey will be gone next year and then Lovie will sign a Derek Ward type. SMH Dam!

  8. ruggyup Says:

    Ok, pound the RB table. But before making final judgements, I repeat my tune on a loop, examine your coaches and staff and their process and don’t marginalize any player without all the analysis. We don’t need any new RBs ’cause we have already been ‘Winstoned”.

  9. DB55 Says:


    The sad part is that we’re currently playing with Smith’s “improved” oline. Do we really expect Lovie to be able to improve an oline? A lb corp absolutely, but he has a history of struggles with the oline.

  10. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Not for nothing but this is lovies fault when he fired the 2013 OL and sent them packing…lovie sucks as a player evaluator

  11. Mumbles Says:

    We need a big bruising RB. No more Smurfs!

  12. Pickgrin Says:

    For all of you that claim what a huge mistake L&L made by getting rid of last year’s starters on the OLine – I would say you have forgotten how bad last year’s Oline was. It was as bad or worse than this year’s line – and at a cost of close to $30M in salaries. Nobody was playing up to their pay grade or anywhere close.

    The decision (which seemed reasonable at the time – to me at least) was made to wipe the slate clean and jettison all the overpaid, underperforming Olinemen (except Nicks whose contract made it unfriendly to just cut him and there was hope that even at 80% – Nicks would be better than anyone they could bring in at LG).

    So they replaced Penn with Collins for less $ and replaced Zuttah with EDS for less $ hoping to get better play and better value from both. Joseph (who had a terrible 2013 season coming back from injury the previous year) and his big salary was also released and the the thought or hope was that one of their young guard prospects would improve enough to be OK at the RG spot.

    Well obviously none of those moves worked out very well and there is certainly justification in saying the evaluation of the OLine Free Agents (Collins and EDS) abilities that they would be solid starters for this team was an error in judgement by the scouting staff.

    When it became obvious during pre-season how bad the lack of talent at both guards spots was after Carl Nicks “retired”- they made a trade for aging all-pro guard Logan Mankins (which was somewhat of a desperation move) but I understand why they did it and can’t fault that attempt at shoring up a major weakness even though he is overpaid and has underperformed this year as well.

    So this is where we sit. The moves they tried to make for the OLine in free agency didn’t pan out (which is the case more often than not for all teams).

    Everything they did to try and improve the OLine while simultaneously trying to get away from all the huge salaries for underperforming linemen from last year seemed reasonable at the time (to me at least). The biggest mistake that was made IMO was cutting Zuttah. yes his $4.5M salary due was overpaying for his abilities – but his versatility in being decent at all 3 interior line spots would have definitely improved our play up front this year. D. Joseph looked completely done and his play last year was horrible so I don’t begrudge that judgement call – although once it became obvious how bad our guard situation was in training camp and pre-season – they could have brought him back in at the league minimum before he signed with St Louis and probably should have in retrospect.

    Time to re-boot the OLine and try again as most of the moves they made there this last year did not work out. Collins is the only OLine player whose contract is not structured in a way that they can easily get away from without creating dead $ towards the salary cap.

    As always – the best way to build talent and stability at any position is through the draft and I hope at least 2 of the 1st 4 picks in 2015 will be for the OLine. I suspect a better OLine coach is needed as well – but am not privy to enough inside information to know that for sure.

  13. pick6 Says:

    notice how some teams have a stable of overhyped RBs who are relatively useless (bucs, raiders, panthers) and some teams can take any warm body and turn them into a 100 yard threat? it’s the blocking more than the talent of the RB, and the teams that overpay (in dollars or draft picks) for RB talent in hopes of rescuing their line or their QB tend to keep sucking.

  14. ddneast Says:

    Great post Pickgrin. You echoed what I have have stated for the past 5 or 6 weeks and with salary numbers to back it up.
    A lot of these,people think last years line was so great but we had very few 100 yard rushing game and protection was like an open door at a flea market. Anyone could get it.
    The great Donald Penn was credited with allowing 14 sacks last year. The reason he hasn’t allowed that many this year is because Oakland’s offense is designed for shorter and medium routes.
    Watching Davin Joseph last year was painful. He could neither run or pass block.
    Let’s also talk about Carl Nicks. Nicks went on IR after seven games with a turf toe. Players don’t normally get turf toe playing on a natural surface,they get it from playing on artificial turf. Nicks used to play in the New Orleans dome.
    I firmly believe Schiano and the team doctors knew he had this problem or he outright hid it at the time.
    Most of the backs we have, excluding Martin, our mid to lower round picks. It seems doubtful we would get rid of all of them just to pick up FA’s. They aren’t costing us that much to begin with.
    As usual two frauds and posers DB55 and Ray Rice say post something incredibly stupid because it is based on neither fact or history.
    Those two clowns are such losers.

  15. Nick2 Says:

    Joe I have to agree with you. Of all of our backs Mike James is probably one that needs the least amount of blocking. That guy is just a beast at gaining yardage. I remember the awesome game he had against Seattle and they are no slouch of a defense!!