Peyton Barber, Dirk Koetter And “Working At A Car Wash”

May 8th, 2018

It’s easy to count out Peyton Barber or think of him as a second-class running back since the Bucs drafted explosive Southern Cal rookie back Ronald Jones with the No. 38 overall pick two weeks ago.

Yes, 23-year-old Barber has done everything the Bucs have asked of him through his 163 carries over the past two seasons, and he’s developed his pass blocking. But most Bucs fans see Barber as backup material.

That could be the correct assessment — or it could be dead wrong.

Jeff Shearer of penned a gripping feature of Barber late last week and it dove into Barber’s challenging upbringing, learning disabilities and the fire that burns within him.

General manager Jason Licht has said he wants’ players who don’t have the “five-star virus.” Well, Barber likely epitomizes what Licht wants.

In the feature, Barber, who took a full course load at Auburn this spring, talked about the moment he learned he was promoted to the Bucs roster from the practice squad early in the 2016 season.

“‘You’re going to be playing this week,'” [Dirk Koetter] said, informing Barber that a veteran running back had been released. “‘We really felt like you were the better fit for the team. You’re a lot younger, you’re a lot faster, you’re a lot more physical. You just have to keep learning your plays.'”

There’s plenty more via the link above, including Barber detailing how odd it was to be a college star without fans knowing what your life as a struggling kid from a homeless family was really about.

At the Combine, Barber shared publicly for the first time the gravity of his family’s financial struggles.

Earlier, when he had announced on Instagram his plans to enter the draft, not all of his followers supported Peyton’s decision.

“People telling me that I wasn’t ready,” Barber said. “I remember seeing one post. ‘This kid is going to be working at a car wash before the year is out.’ ‘He’s afraid of competition with Jovon [Robinson].’ That’s something that fed me and fueled me.”

Joe wrote back on April 6 that Ronald Jones would be the ideal complement to Barber. Maybe that should be written the other way around, or maybe not.

Regardless, Joe expects quite an intense competition at running back from those two this spring and summer. It’ll make the Bucs better, and it’ll be quite a shift from the epic nonsense at the position last season.

51 Responses to “Peyton Barber, Dirk Koetter And “Working At A Car Wash””

  1. Lord Cornelius Says:

    I’m high on Barber still. Dude is a safe 4 yard bet almost every carry he had regardless of him getting hit at the LOS. Fought through contact and fell forward in ways Martin/Sims never have. Doesn’t dance or f*ck around much at all. Maximizes his gains and has really good hands.

    Peyton Barber = Earnest Graham/Thomas Jones
    Rojo = Jamaal Charles

    Charles was never a high volume RB but he was always super effective and a big play threat every touch. Would be cool to see some 2 back sets and get back to creative RB screens that Koetter used his first year as OC to break Rojo loose

  2. Patrick in VA Says:

    Great find, Joe! If Hard Knocks taught us anything it’s that these little glimpses in to the players’ backgrounds definitely helps to endear them to the fans and humanizes them quite a bit more. It’s always fun to read this sort of stuff, especially in this part of the season where everything that’s said is all just speculation and hot takes anyway, it’s really cool to actually get a chance to learn more about the players. Makes the team and the players more relatable.

  3. BringBucsBack Says:

    If the capitalist filth (redundant, I know) that calls itself the NCAA, or the universities, would pay these kids a fraction of the billions that they reap as a result of these players’ efforts, then we might not read so many hard luck stories. Minimally, their families could be assisted by even a small amount of financial support, while the young man volunteers his time and efforts to the all mighty U. It only seems fair right? Where else do individuals perform services (especially those that garner billions) and receive nothing in return?

    Please, save the “free education” retort. Most of these football players are not attending these football factories for the education and it is no skin off of the back of the universities that allow them to do so. The scholarship-receiving football player is almost negligible in a student body comprised of several thousand exorbitant-tuition-paying students.

    I am certainly pulling for the young man on and off of the field. I think he is a legitimate NFL RB and will prove it this year! He and Rojo should make a sweet tandem!

  4. SCBucsFan Says:

    Count me in the camp that believes if he’s playing significant snaps then we are in trouble. A great story, no doubt, but I worry about him coughing the ball up. I know, only 2 fumbles last year, but another of other plays the ball was almost lost. Winston will fumble – that will not change – we cannot afford a RB who fumbles like our QB. As always when I have negative thoughts about a Bucs player I hope I am incorrect.

  5. ChanEpic Says:

    Effective 2 back sets would be so welcomed. One of my favorite Bucs eras was the Caddy/Pittman/Graham era. If we get 75% of the success of that era, with J Winston/Evans/Brate/DJax/OJ we can and should be playoff bound.

  6. rrsrq Says:

    Glad this guy is a Buc, great article

  7. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Lord C

    That’s pretty much as I see it as well. As Joe pointed out they are complementary backs and will not only be spotted according down and distance but also depending on what we’re doing with the football.

    I see ROJO early..we build some scores and then Barber takes over with that four yards you’re talking about and we pound the ball behind our nasty beasts up front. Imagine if our offense found a running game and could keep the other team’s offense off the field!!!! What a concept!

  8. Bucsfanman Says:

    He came in and really earned my respect. In retrospect, they waited too long to start handing him the ball over Martin.
    In my mind, he’s a no-nonsense runner with very little wear on the tires. He and Rojo ought to be complementary naturally. Coupled with what we hope to be an improved O-line, he should have pretty good success.

  9. Ga. Buc fan 42years Says:

    Great article! Give us more! Perhaps a Meet the newest Bucs column. with history,likes , dislikes, hobbies, backgrounds, etc. Would love to read such. Like Bellicheat says don’t tell me what he can’t do ,tell me what he can do!Keep up the good work Joe!
    Long time reader, part time poster,Full time Bucs fan.

  10. DB55 Says:

    Begs the question should college athletes get paid?

  11. Destinjohnny Says:

    Guy is a credit to the human race and he personifies the American spirt.
    Proud to have him on our team and in our community.
    Roll tide

  12. Casual Observer Says:

    I like the Jones pick and I really like Barber. Also like the Duke UDA coming in. Our RB situation looks pretty good for this year.

  13. Blake_Bucsfan Says:


    They absolutely should be, at the very least they should get like 15-20k salaries to help them survive while in school.

    NCAA football is a billion dollar industry. They should be obligated to help the athletes not go hungry. Without the athletes their’s no product.

  14. Mike Johnson Says:

    As a little boy Watching the news with dad, I asked him, why did the escape prisoners come out of the Everglades and turn themselves in. He said, Because they were hungry. Often times Guys who get there NFL Shot become great..because..they are Hungry. I wish Mr. Barber nothing but the best with the Bucs.

  15. Casey Morgan Says:

    People forget Barber played for Auburn in the highly competitive SEC and had over 1,000 yards rushing with 13 TDs in 2015. Can’t believe he went undrafted…

  16. delson Says:

    If this is true then the size of the contract that barber got (dont think he cracked a million) is pretty $#!++y

  17. Trench War Says:

    Barber will be RoJo’s back-up, mark it down. Avoiding some season ending injury Barber will start the season #2 on the depth chart. Barber and Rodgers will probably share short yard and goal line duty as RoJo works 1st and 2nd downs. Rodgers and Sims will share 3rd and long passing downs. Barber, and Sims will get special teams duty.

  18. unbelievable Says:

    I too would LOVE to see some 2 RB sets with RoJo and Barber on the field, a la 2015.

    Plus now you could have OJ and Brate out there too. Get real creative with multiple TE and RB combo sets.

    What ya got for us Monken? Will you be a real offensive coordinator this year?

  19. 813bucboi Says:

    dear dirk,

    feed barber!!!!!!….then fed him again!!!!!….thank you


  20. SCBucsFan Says:

    Problem with paying athletes is where do you draw the line; do bigger schools pay more? Do better athletes get more? Can schools outbid other schools?

  21. DB55 Says:

    Profit sharing could work. If the university gets $1 for tv revenues then the players split 50% or something like that. Doesn’t have to be complicated imo.

  22. Steven007 Says:

    This is slightly off topic but Mark Ingram from the Saints just got busted for Peds and will be suspended the first four games which obviously includes the season opener against us. I’ll take any break we can get.

  23. uckinator Says:

    DB55 – Texas & Notre Dame have the biggest TV revenue, so obviously they would have the best players. Year in and year out. Are you comfortable with that ?

  24. SCBucsFan Says:

    But it does DB. Should be just concede the National Championship to the team with the best TV deal? Just anoint Notre Dame with their NBC deal?

  25. Lord Cornelius Says:

    ” I’ll take any break we can get.”

    Me too brother!

    Go Bucs!

  26. Steven007 Says:

    Lord, I think that’s a good omen and it will definitely help us in being able to key on Kamara. We just need a few breaks here and there and I think we can turn a corner.

  27. Easy Says:

    Mark Ingram suspended 4 games for PEDs

  28. Diesel Says:

    I’ll be one of the first to say I’m a Peyton Barber fan. That said, if he’s a full time starter then we wasted a 2nd Rd pick on what would essentially be a complimentary rb. We can’t continuously complain about the lack of explosion in the backfield and then have who is presumed to be our most explosive back coming in to spell Peyton or any other rb. RoJo is too good a talent to be a complimentary piece to this offense. I will say though, the thought of Peyton in a 4min offense POUNDING THAT ROCK gives me quite a rush. Keep an eye out for Shaun Wilson, Jordan Huff and Jamal Morrow….any, if not all of these 3 could make a major impact on our offense and special teams. I’d take any of those 3 over any back in the room outside of Rojo and Peyton.

  29. JabooBuc Says:

    I like this kid. He runs hard and is built like a 3 down back. Hope he keeps developing and helps this team win. Would love to see the story of this kid signing a big contract down the road.

  30. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    This one’s for you 87…….miss you on JBF

    You might not ever get rich, ha
    Let me tell you it’s better than digging a ditch
    There ain’t no telling who you might meet
    A movie star or maybe a common thief
    Working at the car wash (oh oh, yeah yeah)
    At the car wash, yeah (ooh, yeah yeah)
    At the car wash (sing it with me now)
    Working at the car wash, yeah
    Come summer…

  31. Kobe Faker Says:

    Whats the difference from Kareem Hunt/Alvin Kamara vs Christian Mcccafferty?

    Macc cant break tackles like Hunt/Kamara

    Macc is a easy tackle to the ground. defenders got a hold of him and he went down easily

    unlike the 90’s where corners didnt/couldnt tackle, now every defender tackles and the windows/holes close quickly …slow running back sweep to outside? lol…so 90s…forget it

    can our 200lb rojo handle the punishment?…kobe knows that Peyton Barber can handle it. Barber can break arm tackles and punish tacklers

    “Im not sure if its a good thing when poster Kobe Faker is complimenting me”

    Peyton Barber

  32. BucEmUp Says:

    Barber is solid. I see him and Jones both getting a good amount of touches and both doing well. Dirk needs to let Jameis loose and get out of the pocket more, get the rbs more involved in the passing game like a couple of years ago.

  33. buccanstopit Says:


    Barber doesn’t have fast, big play ability. Barber ran a healthy 4.64 at his combine. Rojp ran 4.48 at his pro day, and some say his hammy still wasn’t 100%. was projected before slower times at combine as a day 1 guy. I think New Urineans did well last year with a similar 1-2

  34. Rod Munch Says:

    I didn’t think the Bucs needed to worry about RB until much later in the draft, or just sign someone like CJ Anderson and let him compete with Barber for the job. Barber is fine for what he is, he’s a basic runningback who can get a few yards here and there, but in this Bucs offense with a franchise QB and stacked at WR, trying to find carries for RBs shouldn’t be a priority. Go back and look at Dan Marino, they had another scrub RB nearly every year who would put up decent numbers. To me taking the best corner still on the board at the top of the 2nd seemed like the thing to do, getting an injury prone diva RB doesn’t seem like it’s all that great of a fit. We shall see how it plays out, Jones seems like he could be a great mix on offensive, but when guys are injured prone, seen as delicate, and hurt themselves running the 40 at the combine (which Vita did as well, but Vita doesn’t have the delicate label) it seems like a high risk move at a time when the team needs a day 1 corner and safety.

    Anywho, again, I hope Ronnie can get it done and looks like a stud – but Barber should still be there to get you 3.5ypc and a cloud of dust.

  35. SOEbuc Says:

    It’s a great looking two headed monster people. Both these guys are gonna get their shares of carries. Barber is the ram and Jones is the impala. I didn’t know much about Jones and didn’t even want a RB in the second, but now that I’ve seen both these guys running styles, this could be a sick one-two punch.

  36. Kobe Faker Says:

    At 225 lbs, Barber can blast thru the def line. He has the vision, physicality,speed and quickness ….

    This was clearly proven because Martin/sims/or any other rb did it AND….

    Barber ran great even with 3 of our starters/best lineman out with injury

    Barber blasting thru between Jensen and Marpet is going to be a bit** to stop

  37. SOEbuc Says:


    You said it. Jameis makes better throws and sees better when he’s scrambling outside the pocket.Stays in and throws picks, fumbles, and gets broken shoulders.

  38. DB55 Says:

    Sorry I got nothing

  39. Pickgrin Says:

    More of this please….

    DB’s most accurate and intelligent post of the week.

  40. Pickgrin Says:

    Oops. I think actually that qualifies as feeding a troll – as it not only names the billly goat molester but likely also encourages a response.

    I know better but sometimes its hard not to…

  41. Pickgrin Says:

    Barber’s story is an inspiration.

    The lessons of believing in yourself and hard work pays off and taking the leap into the very uncertain unknown with faith that all will work out well when you have good intentions, etc are all in there.

    Peyton’s professional story thus far really is somewhat similar to Earnest Graham’s other than Barber getting a legit shot at playing sooner than Graham did.

    If Barber can have the type of impact/career for this team that Graham did – I would be more than happy to see him continue to wear Buccaneer colors for the next few seasons.

  42. Jason Mclaurin Says:

    I would love to see Barber be the starter and red zone back once again

  43. Rod Munch Says:

    Pickgrin – I think the story is going to be more like Mike James, but I always thought Mike James would have been a quality NFL runningback but he couldn’t stay healthy. Barber doesn’t have the injury issues but he doesn’t have the same level of talent either, at least not in my opinion. However, if Barber can stay healthy and will stop fumbling the ball then he has a chance to get some yards for a few years and play special teams until his cap hit gets him cut so the team can get an entry level rookie to take his spot.

  44. gotbbucs Says:

    They would be smart to left Barber do the fair share of the heavy lifting and pick their spots with Jones.

  45. Defense Rules Says:

    Kudos Joe, that is THE BEST STORY you’ve ever run on JBF, bar none. I echo Pickgrin’s “Barber’s story is an inspiration” comment but it’s even more than that. I didn’t see any of the commenters note Jeff Shearer’s fantastic article about Peyton in the link you provided, but it about made me cry. This young man had just about everything going against him, and yet he believed (in more ways than one) and he refused to let go of his dream. His dedication to his family, as well as his going back to school at Auburn to get a degree, tells me a lot about his character. I wouldn’t bet against him becoming one of the top RBs in the NFL before all is said and done.

  46. DB55 Says:


    You’re a funny guy

  47. Issic Haggins Says:

    Kid has great feet and slight shift in direction at the line , like I said in Oct of 2015 lol

  48. Issic Haggins Says:

    Lil bit/ poor mans Jamal Lewis and I like the Thomas Jones comparison

  49. DBAG56 Says:

    Always liked this dood. I think his time has past tho unfortunately. With this new hitting rule and can’t lead with the helmet is going to affect is running style. That Jones cat is going to be a better fit moving forward. Here’s the hoping Barber can adjust!!!!

  50. Brandon Says:

    Lord Cornelius Says:

    Peyton Barber = Earnest Graham/Thomas Jones


    You’re serious? Graham I can see… Thomas Jones? Nowhere close!

  51. Brandon Says:

    Issic Haggins Says:
    May 8th, 2018 at 9:13 pm
    Lil bit/ poor mans Jamal Lewis and I like the Thomas Jones comparison


    You like the Thomas Jones comparison? worst comparison I’ve seen in a while. There is very little similar about the two. Jones was a terrific receiver out of the backfield… a good blocker coming out of college. A top 10 pick at RB. Ran well under 4.5 in the 40 and weighed under 220 when he came into the league. Despite being 5’10 215 lbs he was never a between the tackles pounding type player but a slasher that found holes and exploded through them. Barber is far slower, quite a bit bigger, a little more powerful, a different style runner (behind his pads with little lateral agility), and he struggles in the passing game. Jones was fantastic in the passing game. THink back to when Kyle Orton was his QB and Jones made up something like 50% of all yards from scrimmage in Chicago.

    So yeah, ZERO comparison to Thomas Jones. That dude was fantastic once he escaped from Arizona. That was Gruden’s big mistake… Bruce Allen signed washed up Charlie Garner and gave him one million more a year with one more year guaranteed than Jones got from Chicago… and then quipped, we’ll see how much he likes playing in Chicago in the winter…. He liked it just fine, moron!