When looking at the Bucs running success on Sunday against Green Bay, the age old question is asked – Which came first? The chicken or the egg?

Was it better blocking from the struggling offensive line, or was it second-year back Peyton Barber making things click?

“It was both. We did a pretty good job run blocking – not perfect but we did a pretty good job of run blocking,” Koetter said from the podium on Monday. “We left some out there. The best thing Peyton did is he made yards after contact and broke some tackles.”

Incumbent starter Doug Martin missed Sunday’s game with a concussion and Koetter was asked had Martin been healthy, did the team still want to see what the former Auburn Tiger could do as the season winds down?

“Both. It was a combination of both of those,” Koetter said. “When Peyton has gone in there on a limited basis, he has done okay. That, coupled with Doug [Martin] being out, led to him getting more. We’ve seen it many times – a running back gets into a little bit of a groove and it’s one of those days where he is making yards [so] as long as he can do it efficiently you keep feeding him.”

Barber was pleased to be able to finally contribute after being a spot player over the last season and a half.

Bucs RB Peyton Barber - Photo by: Getty Images
Bucs RB Peyton Barber – Photo by: Getty Images

“It meant a lot, I have been saying that it wouldn’t have been possible with the offensive line and the fullbacks and the coaches calling the game plan,” Barber said.

Safety Justin Evans said having an offense that controls the clock makes life easier for the other side of the ball.

You want your offense on the field as long as you possibly can,” Evans said, “Whenever you have somebody – the o-line working, the running backs running, receivers blocking – it is so much better for us on defense to get the rest in. It helps a ton.”

Despite the 102 yards on 23 carries performance by Barber, Koetter wasn’t quite ready to hand the starter’s job over to Barber yet once Martin is cleared.

“We will see when we get to that point,” Koetter said. “Right now, we don’t have that option because Doug [Martin] is in the protocol still. If he can go out there and duplicate 165 yards rushing every week, you’d do it. Unfortunately, that’s not guaranteed. It’s not quite that easy, but yeah you’d love to.”


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Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]


  1. Never ending debate on whether offensive lines or individual runners matter more. The answer is always “both” but not necessarily in equal proportions.

    The advantage of building a very effective run-blocking unit it that it doesn’t completely fall apart with the loss one one player. If it is all on the individual player, and he goes down, or away, you’re screwed.

    The best approach is to invest heavily in a quality offensive line (both run-blocking and pass protection), and it will deliver dividends that go far beyond a single player.

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  2. With a make shift O line Barber got 100 yards, I don’t remember last time Martin did that. Makes you wonder why Barber hasn’t played more. I’ll tell you why. Licht has to justify the money he’s paying Doug to ownership. They could’ve cut him, brought him back cheaper, but no, Koetter, and Licht kept crowing about how good Doug looked, and how he was second in the league in rushing two years ago. After injury, and drug rehab, they were all in on Doug even with a draft rich R.B. class. Koetter, Barber did O.K.? If Koetter gives to much props to Barber, makes it look more foolish riding Martin all this time. Anybody still want to give Koetter, and Licht another year to turn this around? I don’t.

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  3. I refuse to see how Koetter can’t be joking when being non-committal. That is just plain stubbornness. Now we had different lineman this week, so that was obviously a difference there, but Barber ran very hard a shifty. He made plenty of guys miss behind the line and just looked better overall. But he’s looked better overall every time he’s touched the ball, so this doesn’t just make any sense to me.

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    • What does Barber have to do.
      This season is lost so start Barber and see if he can produce every week.

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  4. I don’t think it matter with regards to Martin can’t see him being with team next year anyway. To justify a 7 million feature back they must average a 1000 yard season consistently. If Barber puts up decent numbers with a much lower cost it’s not a hard decision.

    It’s way too early to tell if Barber is really better than Martin but he’s certainly more versatile as Martin doesn’t have great hands. My gut says Martin is still a more powerful back though Barber looked good in last weeks game. In general though running in the NFL is 60% O-line blocking. So spending a lot on a feature back doesn’t make much sense today. This is even more true for us as our O-line is bad.

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  5. Koetter should be a poker player; tough to read his cards.

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  6. sureferdudes, if you don’t have season tickets or go to the games, why should anyone listen to you. You have no skin in the game.
    I, as a season ticket holder, do.
    As for myself, I do and I’m not ready to get rid of the whole litter just because one of the pups has fleas.
    Dirk Koetter should stay but one person who does need to get the ax is Mike Smith.
    Six of the Bucs 8 losses this year can be directly atrributed to the defense.
    Weak coverage and no defensive line presure have been the principal culprits of the debachles but we have also seen ineffective schemes used consistently. A break down in disciipline has also been present.
    I would also like to know who aseembled this group for Smith. Did he call the shots or did Licht just dump the players on him
    The Bucs are still way under the salary cap, but Dwigh Feeney was availablee twice during this season and we didn’t pursuit him either time and Mike Smith wanted him.
    He could have been had at a bargan basement price athe beginning of the season but we never pulled the trigger.
    Why, we had the money.
    One thing I do no about Licht is a FA signing of his just outrushed a former No. 1 pick this year for one game and Licht hasn;t gotten any credit yet that I have heard for that signing.

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  7. It’s pretty certain that if Martin stays, they’re going to ask him to renegotiate his contract. Frankly, considering the extenuating circumstances around this year for Martin, I don’t think that’s unreasonable at all. 7 million is too step, but I could see somewhere in the 3-4 million range easy to keep him.

    It’s not like Martin is just an awful back. I believe a revamped Oline will revitalize Doug Martin or anyone else that is behind it just like a revamped Dline will make the defense look much more palatable.

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