What’s In “The Pudding?”

June 24th, 2015

bobby rainey 1106Former NFL offensive lineman Ross Tucker, the guy who is very sour on Bucs rookie left tackle Donovan Smith, was adamant about running back performance on SiriusXM NFL Radio this week.

Tucker agreed that fans, media and personnel men can argue all day whether a running back’s performance is more a function of his offensive line or his skill. But Tucker insisted that yards-per-carry over a significant amount of time is the best way to evaluate a running back.

“The proof is in the pudding,” Tucker bellowed.

That got Joe thinking about Doug Martin. In 2013, Martin averaged a sad 3.6 yards per carry before he was injured in Week 7. He didn’t look like superstar Martin of the previous year. Much of that was blamed on the Bucs offensive line, but Bobby Rainey walked off the street and made six starts behind that O-line and averaged 3.9 yards per carry. Mike James averaged 4.9 yards per carry in 60 attempts, with half of them against the eventual Super Bowl champion Seahawks. Heck, backup Brian Leonard had a better 2013 average than Martin through his 47 carries, and a lot of that was short-yardage work.

Last year, Rainey averaged 4.3 yards per carry. With similar work, Martin was at 3.7.

So what’s in the “pudding” of the Bucs’ backfield?

Joe suspects Tucker would consider Martin’s 2012 season to be ancient history and make Rainey his top back out of the gate in training camp. Rainey, 27, also has less mileage on his legs.

Yes, Joe knows Dirk Koetter is a big Martin fan and Martin is the No. 1 guy right now. That’s fine. But there’s still a healthy debate on who should shoulder the backfield load.

14 Responses to “What’s In “The Pudding?””

  1. Mort Says:

    It’s June, who cares.

  2. bucco brice Says:

    James is a forgotten man in all of this…solid back…the drafting of Sims still makes me boil. Someone has to go and I think Sims is 4th best 🙁

  3. Tom Edrington Says:

    @ Mort Says:

    You’re a mind reader!

  4. Buccfan37 Says:

    One would think this will be a make or break year for Sims also. Koetter will get better production from him and I expect to see him score some TD’s, more than the rest of the RB’s.

  5. Buccfan37 Says:

    I meant to say Sims will score more receiving TD’s than the other RB’s.

  6. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    When he runs through the line with his head down, and his tailed tucked between legs (+3.7) But when he runs through the line with his head upright, and on a swivel (+4.3). If another team loses a back, I expect he’ll be moved.

  7. Mo_Downs Says:

    When I think of Rainey I think about the 2015 Rose Bowl and the momentum-killing RB/WR fumbles that led to the demise of FSU vs OU. I supported Rainey as a starter last season because of his ability to find a hole quickly, make a cut and get good yardage. But, he fumbled at the worst times and cost us both momentum and games.

    ATC, I’m interested in seeing if Sims has what it takes after a full off season to recover from a horrendous ankle injury and surgery. He should get the majority of looks in camp and preseason for a better evaluation of his talent against pro competition.

  8. Bucsfanman Says:

    The “eye-test” says Rainey was clearly the better back last year. Why he wasn’t utilized more is a mystery. Like someone said already, “it’s June”, we’ll see come September.
    I’m on the fence about Sims. It can’t hurt to have some competition. Maybe he’s the guy. It’s hard to tell from the limited carries last year.

  9. The Buc Realist Says:

    It is a lot easier to teach a running back to “protech the football” then to teach yards per carry.
    More than likey the Bucs just have a big o bag of average at running back!!!

  10. Pick6 Says:

    We are trading away at least one back this offseason. Martin has the most name recognition and the least time on his contract, if they like what they see from the rest of the pack, he is gone. Basically I think Doug has one training camp to prove he’s worth a long term deal. That’s largely a function of how he does but also partly a function of how good the RB stable looks without including the Douggernaut. No matter how #22 is looking, bucs brass should be highly motivated to talk him up

  11. joeNUTS Says:

    So says Ross Tucker….the guy who played on 5 different teams in his 6 year NFL career with 20 NFL starts total bc he knows greatness so well. Hmmm….people who dont have credentials….check. He went to Princeton…..the NCAA to NFL powerhouse….oh so he knows everything. What a clown….

  12. #1OverallPick Says:

    Mike James should be the number one running back for the Bucs win its all said and done you need that big explosive back that defenders don’t want to hit come the 4th quater. Adrian Peterson,Eddie Lacy,Le’Veon Bell,Marshawn Lynch,Matt Forte,DeMarco Murray,Frank Gore etc….

  13. RachelWatson'sthong Says:

    “if you don’t eat your meat you can’t have any pudding!” Simple as that.

  14. BoJim Says:

    Mort Says:

    It’s June, who cares.

    Tom Edrington Says:

    @ Mort Says:

    You’re a mind reader!

    Then come back in August. Knobs.