What Should We Learn From Sims & Martin?

March 31st, 2018

A quick analysis of what running backs got the majority of snaps in Dirk Koetter’s offense last season has Joe in deep thought.

Is the glass half full or half empty?

No running back was on the field more for the Buccaneers last year than Charles Sims with 380 snaps. The 27-year-old is currently unemployed.

Think about that for a minute.

No, Joe doesn’t have all potential facts, but Sims finished 2017 healthy and was the only player Dirk Koetter publicly said had an “outstanding” training camp last summer. Sims, a third-down-specialist, also flashed a handful of times during the season and actually averaged more than four yards per carry in limited touches. He wasn’t in any public trouble during his four Bucs years.

Second on the team in snaps was Doug Martin with 287.

There was scant interest in Martin after the Bucs spared innocent Tampa Bay fans by cutting him in February following two dreadful seasons. Inspired by a deceased mentor, Chucky pulled Martin off the street and will try to resuscitate his career in Oakland.

Still on the roster, thankfully, are Jacquizz Rodgers (168 snaps) and Peyton Barber (254). …All snaps data is from Pro Football Reference.

So why did Koetter rely so heavily on two undesirable running backs? Was the evaluation process flawed? Was Koetter too loyal? Was Koetter overly focused on pass blocking to the point of detriment? Was the running backs coaching flawed? Those are serious questions when combined with the knowledge Barber and Rodgers were better running backs.

We know the Bucs were chasing a premier free agent running back a few weeks ago but bowed out. Ok. You can’t win every hunt and still spend monstrous money on two defensive linemen.

Now the Bucs are deeply in need of a running back in the draft and Joe is concerned because the Koetter-Jason Licht regime has made too many bad decisions at the position, and Koetter has little history with rookie backs in his 11 NFL seasons.

As Joe wrote 178 times before and during last season, Joe firmly believes the Bucs are significantly better at the position by the sheer elimination of Martin. Joe also prefers Rodgers over Sims. So the Bucs have upgraded already.

Still, they desperately need a rookie back who can contribute in a hurry — something that hasn’t happened in Tampa since Greg Schiano prowled the sidelines. It’s a massive X-factor for this season.

43 Responses to “What Should We Learn From Sims & Martin?”

  1. AKick'nTheBucNuts Says:

    I concur.

  2. destinjohnny Says:

    that we need better scouts and more of them

  3. martinni Says:

    I think you have to ask yourself a couple of questions that you really won’t get an answer to for about 8 months. Can our O-Line block for a second round rookie. The best case senerio is Nelson at 7 and then anyone of several backs can excel and Jameis should have more time to throw and stay upright more often. Saquon would be great but in the NFL You need horses up front or as a rookie by mid season your tank is going to be on empty if you are not on IR. We made some improvements on defense during FA, now focus on one of the few road graders available and one of the many mid round running backs to be had. Most important remember not to get enthused with the few shiny toys, but to WIN games.

  4. BetterBuccinBelieveIt Says:

    @ Joe says:

    “Still, they desperately need a rookie back who can contribute in a hurry — something that hasn’t happened in Tampa since Greg Schiano prowled the sidelines. It’s a massive X-factor for this season.”

    100% spot on, and well known all around. Indeed it is a MASSIVE X-factor this season, and there is ONE true, effortless way to fill the Glazers pockets for the business-side of the organization going forward, and FILL that X-factor….

    SA-QUON BARKLEY. Trade anyone and anything (within 5 picks of next 3 drafts), to give the entire Bucs squad what they so desperately need and deserve.

    Go Bucs! Go Barkley! Go Bold! Go Primetime!

  5. tmaxcon Says:

    what it proves is bucs like wasting draft picks. Martin was a bust for a 1st rd pick 2 meaningless good years out of 6 is a BUST anyway you slice regardless of the fanboy excuses sure to follow. Simms was and is irrelevant to any teams success.

  6. jerseybuc Says:

    Unless somehow Saquon falls into our laps at 7, the second round pick surely has to be a running back. Michel, Jones, Chubb, or Penny would fit nicely.

  7. SCBucsFan Says:

    There is always the possibility that they think Barber and Rodgers have, at best, a limited upside and they have moved to the top of the depth chart not by playing well but the guys in front of them being horrid.

  8. tmaxcon Says:

    penny is a perfect fit bucs especially after they move cancer93 for 3rd or 4th

  9. Mikadeemas Says:

    Maybe we should sign SnoopMcPlaybook off the Niner’s practice squad……..just kidding.

  10. Bucs4life Says:

    I believe we didn’t have the offensive line to make any back no matter what his skill level be succesul. The bucs have been focusing on pass protecting because their focus was to have a dynamic passing attack. Isn’t that why we cntinue to support Winston. He can’t even read defenses after his third year in the league. And yes he is a heisman trophy recipient but still lacks the skill to throw the deep ball. But yet we are dumping on our backs. Bucs offense last year was so predictable some high school teams could have defeated them. I love the bucs but feel that the oline needs to be balanced in its ability to pass and run block. We also need a QB with some football IQ. Who can use his check downs when Evans isn’t open and get them the ball without throwing a pick.

  11. denjoe Says:

    Was Koetter overly focused on pass blocking to the point of detriment?

  12. Lord Corn Says:


    Martin – don’t reward and count on a historically inconsistent character with drug issues

    Sims – I duno man I think injuries really hampered his career. He was a pretty exciting back the one healthy year early in his career

    Neither of these were huge swings n misses as talent evaluations – other than Sims running between the tackles (even tho he had a great YPC average the year he had 1000 combined yards)

    The problem was extending Martin and then giving him another shot after 2016. Should have moved on

  13. Roy T. Buford Says:

    I’d fully expected Martin to have an “on” year vice one of his off years. Martin had proven that he “can” do it. Sims never showed more than the occasional flash. And no exaggeration: when my 88 year old mom who occasionally watches asks “Why does that man just stand there shuffling his feet up and down?” we know something is wrong. In high school I learned that pumping your feet and legs does absolutely nothing but waste energy and increase time to react. Not saying that’s Sims biggest problem, but it shows he’s not well-coached or well-learned.

  14. Tony from Los Angeles Says:

    What have we learned?


    Bad teams do that.

    Let’s look at the past ten super bowl winners. Now… let’s find the beastly top RB for each team. See a pattern?

    L. Bell, David Johnson, Gurley, Zeke, AP. McCoy… still trying to find a ring amongst that bunch.

    Draft Nelson in the first
    Grab a young DE in the 2nd

    Find those later round RB gems to fill out depth.
    Don’t chase fantasy stats.


  15. Lamarcus Says:

    DM is garbage. I can’t believe I fell for that. DM is responsible for about 6 out of 10 losses.

  16. Lamarcus Says:

    And then Charles simms has rare and mysterious combo of finesse juke moves and slow? Wtf?

  17. Bird Says:

    Yah. He was to worried about Jameis health with blocking out of backfiekd. and it was detriment to winning games

    Barber should have been in the much sooner.

  18. Bobby M. Says:

    We scout RBs about as good as CBs….and DL….and kickers

  19. NFLNut Says:

    Re-sign Simms on the cheap AND draft one of: Saquon, Michel, Jones II, Guice or Chubb …

  20. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    If we get Nelson, imagine what a guy like Adrian Peterson could do for us…plus we could draft a RB.

  21. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I don’t think even the best RB in the NFL would have done well last year.

  22. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    For the Bucs I mean.

  23. SCBucsFan Says:

    BB from what I read AP has become an absolute horrid blocker

  24. Bobby M. Says:

    I’m 50/50 on signing Peterson….he seems to be so competitive that if he’s not getting his carries, he becomes a distraction…..At the same time, if there’s a role for him late in games after the defense is worn down, he might have some value and help us finish games. He really seems like a fit for what Gruden likes in players. Somewhat surprised Oakland didn’t snag him over Martin.

  25. unbelievable Says:

    Fix the trenches and any running back will be successful.

    It’s pretty simple folks.

  26. adam from ny Says:

    fact is koetter is essentially one crazy bastid…using the lesser set of backs…and if it comes to loyalty, isn’t quizz his guy from all the way back to hotlanta?…koetter is a wild dood, that’s all

  27. Lamarcus Says:

    U guys the oline all you want. When I mean when is the running backs going held accountable? I mean when they had some room to run it was a nightmare. Especially the 4th highest paid running back DM can’t break a tackle. He had daylight a few times and just fell like a ghost tripped him

  28. BucEmUp Says:

    Easy answer, Koetter is too loyal. There us no other reason as to why Mike Smith is still employed by this organization.

  29. BucEmUp Says:

    I think taking Nelson and going for Davenport would be my picks. If Barber ran well behind last year’s line and Jameis struggling he should be better this season. Scout someone out in the later rounds. BARBER deserves the first crack at.it though he earned in. Now.its time to see how he spent the offseason

  30. BucEmUp Says:

    Just watched his replays again, he’s like a poor man’s Frank Gore. Catches well doesn’t stop digging until the play is over. I think they will target a Kamara like rb with Barber able.to.gain the tough yards and catch the ball.

  31. Not there yet Says:

    Exaggerating…..Yes they need a back which they can get in one of the first two rounds and the guy could easily start. Like defensive end they haven’t addressed back which is much different than being a bad evaluator.

    Stop whining about a running back when you know it’ll be addressed in the draft. We know who wrote this article, after this pretty good off-season you find a way to ruin the mood by bringing up two guys who we moved on from, two guys nobody cares about but you.

    Years per carry mean nothing if Sims had 4 years a carry because he was the weakest back on the roster.

  32. Joe Says:

    Stop whining about a running back when you know it’ll be addressed in the draft.

    Unless you are working in the Bucs front office, how do you know this?

  33. BetterBuccinBelieveIt Says:

    @Tony in LA…

    Sure, everyone is entitled to their opinion, as an opinion.

    However, centrally focusing on Superbowl or bust for any RB is ridiculous. In your argument, NO ONE is the Patriots, won’t be, won’t ever be, as it was simply the unparalleled crossroads of Belichick and Brady for an eternity, so no point in them winning 3 of those 10 you refer to.

    Second, Lev Bell has been with Pittsburgh for only 5 years! 5 years fool! And they’ve been on the cusp of the AFC championship 3 times. Ask yourself, where would Pittsburgh be WITHOUT Bell?! Versus a regular-a$$ running back.
    And last time I checked, a LOT of front office executives hold Colbert in PIT in pretty high esteem.

    Third, Gurley has been with the Rams three EFFING years?? Where would the Rams be WITHOUT Gurley?! Versus a regular-a$$ running back. Rams with Eagles/Vikings are already right on the cusp of NFC championship contention in 2018.

    In this current day/age of Free Agency, extreme front office turnover widespread throughout the NFL, no GM’s get the librarian-ish malaise of job security to pick one here, build, pick one there, build, sit on one’s laurels. Maybe in the 80’s and 90’s!

    So….in the big boy world of today, and RIGHT NOW…if any GM is about to get canned (mostly), and a LeVeon Bell, or a Todd Gurley-esque type is sitting right there staring you in the face to completely transform your enterprise (AND A 3RD/4TH/5TH round Guard can be chosen which they can in a deep draft for O-Linemen, plus 2nd FA cuts)….you do it. Any idea what the NFC South would be thinking if Barkley were now in the division on the Bucs?

    You don’t get the infantile luxury of waiting (as a GM)…after stockpiling for years…for a supposed Superbowl run.

    Bell and Gurley are the ONLY comparisons…for Saquon. McCoy doesn’t have his frame.

    It’s about the here and now. Not where we’ll be in 2020, or 2022…as a justification for stockpiling. Every franchise is different, and re-acclimates annually to what’s facing them, and they alone.

    Go Bucs!

  34. BetterBuccinBelieveIt Says:

    Wrote it at 4:22 pm. Post it.

  35. Alan Says:

    La Marcus what would it take for you not to sound so negative ALL the time? Winning? Playoffs? What is it that has you always bashing this team or players on it? Is that how people are in your home country of France? Just miserable all the time

  36. Alan Says:

    Buccini I agree if they have an opportunity to get him they should. Just not sure what the compensation would be providing he gets by the giants at 2 and the jets at 3 we would have to trade to 4 from 7 and after seeing what the Colts got from the jets in a similar situation that wouldt be a steep price. Not sure could mortgage this year and next year’s draft picks to move up 3 slots. Keep in mind the rams have a better defense and the steelers have a better quarterback. Our team has a lot of holes to fill not sure one running back can fix everything. Our secondary is the worst in the league in it’s embarrassing it’s like quarterbacks play backyard football against us

  37. Jim Says:

    Does Joe or anyone else know the stat for how often Winston was sacked compared to the rest of the league?

  38. Chris Schiefen Says:

    I was absolutely on record when we drafted Martin that there was no point, since we had Blount. I didn’t want him released, and even though he’s a bit one-dimensional, what a dimension. And he’s not beat up, and teams seem to have no problem winning with him. Meanwhile, he was out there.

  39. BigHogHaynes Says:

    TRUMPMAXCON: STAY ON THE BLACK…CONTINUE TO BUILD A WALL ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BAY!! Our O/Line has been subpar for the last 3 years… Hawley too small, Ali..out of position..Sweezy…Brangs nothing to the table…Dotson needs to be replaced at least 2 years ago…the big tackle Smith …should be our left guard ….but all they talk about is how bad Doug was after his come back…I’ll bet he’s happy now!!

  40. Clw JB Says:

    Never liked Sims, was a bad pick at the time – a reach and we had far more pressing needs – couple hits on screen plays – but way more dancing than Danny Terrio

    DM – we will see how it goes with Gruden, but he hasn’t been in form for 3 years now…

    Just draft the BPA in each round and surely we can find one of the ten decent backs in this draft – I’d be perfectly happy with Barber/Quizz and a rookie – probably more a speed/slasher type back to complement Barbers power running style

    Far more concerned about the CB, SS and G openings than finding a plug n play part time running back

  41. EP Says:

    Haha. 178! I bet it was a tad more than that 😉

  42. BlogTalkFootball Says:

    What is the chance that Guice is available in round 2? I think he would provide a nice spark to the offense. Of course, if Barkley is there at 7, that would be a no brainer!

  43. boxster Says:

    Simms runs on the field, defenses prepare for screen pass.