This Group Could Torpedo Bucs

July 22nd, 2017

Should be worried, says national scribe.

In the eyes of one of the better national NFL columnists, if the Bucs don’t make the playoffs this year, then you can point a finger at one specific position group.

In the mind of good guy Mike Tanier of Bleacher Report, the fact the Bucs didn’t upgrade at running back very likely could doom Tampa Bay from playing meaningful games in January.

Tanier looked at how the supporting casts for America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, and Marcus Mariota can or will help them progress. Tanier’s stomach turned sour looking at Bucs running backs and he simply isn’t buying what the Bucs pumped out this spring about boom-or-bust veteran Doug Martin.

Doug Martin is suspended until Week 4 for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. And that comes after he missed half the 2016 season with a hamstring injury before returning to average 2.9 yards per carry in the second half of the year.

The Buccaneers organization couldn’t stop gushing about Martin during OTAs, laying it on suspiciously thick at times. While Martin may be healthier and more dialed in than he was last year, no amount of sunshine-blowing will make him available in September. Backup Charles Sims is returning from knee and back injuries that shelved him last year, while 2017 fifth-round pick Jeremy McNichols is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. The Bucs were reduced to plucking players from other teams’ practice squads and giving them carries late last year. They run the risk of having to do the same this season.

Tanier is absolutely right. Look, Jacquizz Rodgers was the best Bucs running back last season, a castoff from the Bears – the Bears! – one of the worst teams in the NFL. Guy couldn’t even make that lousy roster and he was the best the Bucs had to offer. Not good!

For Sims, it is a sink-or-swim season. When he was healthy two years ago, he was a valuable pass-catcher but he’s simply not a good runner and, when he’s in the game, it’s a major tell to the defense the Bucs are passing.

McNichols could be the answer to Sims but it is unsettling he is coming off shoulder surgery and, thus, he spent all of underwear football season on floppy hat patrol. For a rookie, he will have a whole lot of catching up to do and Joe doesn’t expect much of anything from him in the early going as a result. If McNichols can perform early, hey, he could be looking at a stud season.

If the fifth-round pick makes the team.

The offense should be high-flying and Tanier predicts big stats for Jameis. However, Tanier believes Jameis’ passing numbers will be a result of having to play catch-up because the running game will drag down the offense early in games.

30 Responses to “This Group Could Torpedo Bucs”

  1. gotbbucs Says:

    Don’t sleep on Peyton Barber.

  2. James Walker Says:

    Special teams might also have a question mark….

  3. Bucco the bruce Says:

    I’m hibernating on Barber, point is completely valid if the Druggernaut (feel free to use that Joe) does not perform up to the 7mil salary’s standard, and we’ll be 1 and done in the tourney..have to run the ball in January period. If we’re relying on Quizz or Barber beyond week 3 I’m considering this just a bad gamble on the Godfather and the world’s greatest GM but you have to commend them for their loyalty to the Druggernaut through the adversity. #SpeakSoftly #FollowTheLicht

  4. Fire The Cannons Says:

    Not sure they could justify another RB, financially speaking, in the draft. I have high hopes for young Martin, and I wish him luck on this years roster. That being said, sh!t or get off the pot. Quizz was solid and I’d like to see him more. Peyton barber has some promising attributes, but hasn’t impressed. Hell, throw Gerald in there and let him pound the rock lol.

  5. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    You don’t need that good of a running back with the vertical weapons our offense has.


    Next subject.

  6. Dave Says:

    I think you are wrong joe.
    With the passing game they have and the O Line, the RBs are a damn good bunch.
    Who cares if Rogers did not make the Bears, he came here and kicked butt.
    Peyton Barber shows a ton of promise.
    Martin will be great again or given a pink slip.
    Simms is a wr, but a damn good one.
    The rookie is going to shine

    I know it’s all speculation, but the reality is, with JW in the receiving corps, any of the RBs should have a field day.

  7. tnew Says:

    There’s been so much hand wringing about this group, especially on this site, but the fact remains that we would still have an unknown rookie if we would’ve drafted Cook or Mixon instead of Howard. Running will not be as tough this year as last. I beg opposing teams to stack the box like they did last season.

    The biggest group to be concerned with is the O-line. Not the starting 5, I think they are solid. The positional depth is scary The biggest problem will be if we lose any two, especially if one is a tackle. My hope is Benenoch continues his progression and Wester proves that he can be plus depth. That seems like bigger ifs than the running back in a league that is deemphasizing the run season by season. How many 1000 yard rushers in the play-offs last season?

  8. RayJameisStadium Says:

    I’ll give you another perspective Bucs fans. Imagine last year’s offense with DJax and OJ Howard. Folks welcome to reality!

    That is where we stand at worst. At best Sweezy turnouts to be healthy and our running game is better than last year.

    Playoffs and two tight ends set are coming to Tampa!

    Boom!!! Shoot them cannons!

    Expect Different Folks!

    Koetter will be holding the Lombardi next to the Glazer Brothers in the Super Bowl next February!

    The Original Stick Carrier Malcolm Glazer will be proud!

    Go Bucs!!!

  9. Bird Says:

    Teams doubled mike Evans and stacked the box against the run in years past. Can’t do that now. Running game will be fine. I think lanes will be so open that my dogs could rush for 100 yards per game cause the pass will set up the run so nicely

  10. DefenseRules Says:

    But feel that Bucs will use the pass to set up the as opposed to other way around. Keep defenses guessing and run game will do just fine if OLine does its job.

  11. Casual Observer Says:

    Barber may surprise a lot of folks. Talented RB.

  12. James Walker Says:

    The question marks at RB are all the fault of one person, Doug Martin.

  13. Bob in Valrico Says:

    One thing to consider,I expect run blocking to much better with the addition of Sweezy,if healthy.As scrappy as Joe Hawley is,the hawley-Marpet gap only produced about 3.5 Yards per carry whereas the Pamphile -Hawley gap produced
    a 5 yard average.You have to wonder if Hawley’s knee prevented him from pushing off effectively on the Marpet side.
    All the running backs could benefit from this,especiallially Doug Martin who is most effective if he gets a hole and gets past the line of scrimmage.

  14. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    RB is NOT a concern.

    Our draft pick will be PUPed at the start of the season. Martin will perform. Quiz will perform.

    The Olline is supposedly much better, and they were the reason the running game sucked last year.

    Safety may well be our heel of choice this year. Or injuries.

  15. martinii Says:

    I had to laugh the other day as I read the report on Do’nate Forman. For five months I lobbied for the Buc’s to pick him in the draft if at all possible. Shows you how much I know. I do agree with those who say our O-line and additions to the receiving corps should enhance our running game no matter which back rises to the top, One area of concern I have is Jameis. If he can continue to mature and limit the forced plays and interceptions while improving his long passing game I think the rest will fall into place. I agree this could be a 4700 yard, 40 touch down season injuries allowing.

  16. Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    Dave Says:
    “I think you are wrong joe.
    With the passing game they have and the O Line, the RBs are a damn good bunch.
    Who cares if Rogers did not make the Bears, he came here and kicked butt…”

    That is exactly how I feel about it. Rogers got us 4.3 ypg with last year’s Oline and no-name WRs. With all the new weapons we have this year and the upgraded Oline (we are much bigger and more physical in the middle now), the Bucs could put the Joes back there and get decent yardage.

  17. SB Says:

    What Blake said

  18. BigHogHaynes Says:


  19. ChanEpic Says:

    Add me to the list of people who aren’t THAT concerned with the current state of our RB corps. This offense sets up to be very similar to the Patriots offense. Pin point, possession style passing attack, sprinkle in explosive downfield plays. Our current RB corps while unproven, seems to be more than enough for a serious playoff run. Secondarily, even though it’s VERY early, who else are we going to get that will be THAT big of s diff?

  20. MartyB Says:

    Joe – any intel on why the Bucs did not sign Adrian Peterson ? Given how much he signed for and the available cap space, it seemed like a reasonable gamble. Was he not interested in the role envisioned or was it never even a consideration from either perspective ?

  21. BucEmUo Says:

    Doubting Rodgers capability is way off base in my opinion . The guy looks to be in tremendous shape after this off season and did a damn good job with the stacked fronts he was.going against often. Doug Martin is a two time pro bowler with something to.prove and mcnicholes looks really solid. Simms or Barber will get the Axe my guess but this team needs better blocking and more weapons for the defense to respect……the roster is not the issue

  22. RustyRhinos Says:

    I love it and agree with this Ray
    “The Original Stick Carrier Malcolm Glazer” YAR!!

    It starts with O and ends with D has a L in the middle. Great RB in his youth-middle age. Been getting hurt more often as he plays more seasons. If you where the GM and had already made some FA blunders on your record it would be very difficult to take that flyer on a RB with injuries/age concerns. It would me anyhow. GM’s get paid too. Mr. Peterson I think he gets 10-12 plays a game or less. Just a small potent package. Could we not have used this YES! But we have a full deck at RB and I am excited to see what they can do with the space the WR/TE upgrades will provide.
    Go Bucs!

  23. Pickgrin Says:

    Our RB talent is fine as a group. It sucks that DM will not be available the 1st 3 games – but it is what it is.

    That said – I’m surprised we didn’t sign AP when it turned out he was willing to play for cheap. If Peterson looks mostly done in a Saints uni – then the Bucs made the right decision. But if he runs for 1200 yards this year…

    I would have signed AP for $3M if I was GM – what harm could it do to have more competition even if he is 32. Were talking about one of the best RBs in NFL history. If AP says he aint done – I would have been inclined to believe him. Especially after Jameis came back w/ a good report after working out w/ him.

  24. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Let’s be honest…we do not have an elite RB in our group unless McNichols blows up like his BSU predecessors DM and Ajayi with the Dolphins. That is admittedly a gamble…rookie coming off shoulder surgery…but it’s not that big of a stretch to see him playing well.

    Bottom line though is we do not need an “elite” RB. This offense is not going to be centered around ANY RB…it’s clearly a passing offense!

    There are plenty of teams in the league doing fine with average RB’s…that’s all we need…find a couple of average backs….Any back…average or otherwise should have golden opportunities.

    First it’s a passing offense…DC’s will totally take our running game for granted seeing it as just a supplement to a high powered passing offense.

    Second…IMHO Marpet will be a yyyuuuge upgrade over Hawley…a great warrior who just doesn’t have the wheels and talent as Marpet. If Sweezy is truly back…that gives us the “Mean Three” right up he gut. Sweezy, Marpet and Pamphile are nasty players who will love run blocking…that frees them up to really bust some behind…after all the pass blocking for #3 they’re are going to enjoy just mashing people when it’s time to run. Our OL could be very strong up the middle with the “mean three”!

  25. Bucsfan1000 Says:

    Lets be honest,our rb doug martin is not 2015 doug anymore unless he comes back which is unlikely but we do have Jacques rodgers,sims,and Nichols.barber is good for short yard situations but we need to draft a rb next year or we are dead.

  26. DB55 Says:

    Good thing we didn’t sign AP for 3m/yr. who needs an aging HOF RB anyways? #Genius

  27. Wausa Says:

    The Bucs roster is substantially better than last year.
    I think you could arguably say the Bucs have a top 10 roster. However, the Bucs running backs are not good.
    The Bucs running back group was one of the worst 5 in the NFL last year. I am really hoping our 5th round pick was a home run selection.

  28. JimmyJack Says:

    Think fans got too wrapped up in our poor stats from last year. Of course everybody wants 150 yard performances week in and out .

    Our stats were terrible but I think our run attack did provide some effective production regardless. What I’m talking about is that we bruised a lot of defenders last year. Of, course points and yard are what matters most but, as a silver lining, physical running does impact a game in a positive way even if the output is low.

    I want to see us remain as a physical running team with better stat production, of course. If that happens Winston will be calling his shots in 2017!!

  29. JimmyJack Says:

    St Pete. I gotta disagree. Our Oline has been built with players who Excell in run blocking. I also believe the main reason they drafted OJ was due to his run blocking, his receiving skills 2nd.

    We obviously have more explosive playmakers for our passing game but I still look to see Dirk run the same basic offense he has been. I could be wrong, just don’t see Dirk rewriting everything. If that was his plan I would have to question why we didn’t make any moves on the Oline during off-season.

  30. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    Peyton Barber didn’t show much of anything. He is going to be a bubble player for the next 2-3 years and then out of the league most likely. You guys acting like him and Rodgers are viable RB threats are just wrong.