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.
“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.”