After Charles Sims gained just 28 yards on 15 carries in the Bucs loss to Denver Sunday, coach Dirk Koetter said all options remain on the table going forward in regards to the running back position.
Sims, drafted in the third-round in 2014, had a lot of success last season as a change-of-pace, pass-catching back, but has been largely ineffective in the starting role over the past two weeks. Against the Rams he ran 13 times for just 55 yards, 23 of which came on one carry.
Sims’s issues hitting the hole has made the Bucs offense one-dimensional, and Koetter will look to adjust some things – including personnel – while waiting for Doug Martin to get back on the field.
“We’re definitely contemplating all of that,” Koetter said Monday. “Maybe we’ve got to go back and really fit the roles into the players’ specific strengths in the run game. We’re going to get Doug back here at some point and he’s one of the best running backs in the league. That will be a welcomed site when we get him back in there, but we definitely just can’t keep doing the same stuff, because that’s not working.”
Along with struggling to run in between the tackles, Koetter mentioned that the Bucs toss sweeps were being read and shutdown by Denver’s unforgiving defense, as well. Asked if Sims is simply more suited as a third-down back, Koetter answered plainly, “Well, Charles has definitely shown that he’s been successful in that role in the past.”
As for Martin’s return, Koetter said it’s still too early in the week to predict a target date. The Pro Bowl running back strained his hamstring in Week 2 in Arizona during the first quarter and multiple reports said then that he’d be out three weeks. Next game – Carolina on Monday night – would be Martin’s third miss before Tampa Bay heads into its bye, giving him at least another week of rest. The first injury report will come out Thursday.
In the meantime, the Bucs could look to former Falcon Jacquizz Rodgers, signed after Week 1, to handle more of the inside-running work. Rodgers rushed for 20 yards on five carries in the first half Sunday, but was curiously shutdown by the Bucs in the second half. Rodgers finished with 25 yards on six handoffs, averaging 4.1 yards per carry.
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
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