RB Jacquizz Rodgers – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter said Monday that the team would “contemplate” all options at running back moving forward, with Tampa Bay struggling to establish any ground game without Doug Martin. One of those options could be giving Jacquizz Rodgers more carries, starting on Monday Night Football against the Panthers.
With Charles Sims limited on Tuesday with a knee injury (no word yet on official status), Rodgers and Peyton Barber saw more reps at practice. The former Falcon spoke on the field afterwards and said he always prepares as if he’s going to start.
“I always try to take advantage of the opportunity that I’ve been given,” said Rodgers, who carried six times for 25 yards Sunday. “You have to practice like you’re No. 1 so when your number is called you’ll be ready to go.”
Rodgers said there’s a fine line between a good day running the ball and a bad outing in which the offense becomes one-dimensional. The offensive line is doing well, he said, and it’s just a matter of making one more block or breaking one more tackle to break one loose and hit the “century mark.”
Photo by: Mark Cook/PR
The Bucs’ backfield was 47 yards away from the century mark Sunday, and 30 yards short two weeks ago against the Rams. Sims has taken most of the blame, mainly for the perception that he’s overly patient and doesn’t hit the hole fast enough.
Rodgers, on the other hand, said he’s “not a patient” runner himself, but that’s not to say different styles don’t work for different running backs.
“It just depends on what type of running back you are. Everyone has a different way of running the ball and different styles,” Rodgers said. “Some guys are more patient and some guys are ‘hit it’ guys.
“I’m not a patient guy. As soon as I see a seam I try to hit it. But when you look around the league you see [Steelers running back Le’Veon] Bell, he’s a patient guy and it works for him. Guys just have different styles of running.”
As far as his own style, Rodgers, at 5-foot-6, has a low center of gravity and runs with power. He’s nearly 200 pounds – and can probably leg press double his weight – and aims to be one of the toughest players on the field.
If Rodgers gets the start against Carolina, it would be only the fifth start of his career. The last one, ironically, was in 2014 against the Panthers – a 34-3 season-finale loss in his and then offensive coordinator Koetter’s final game with the Falcons. Rodgers rushed for a season-high 44 yards on nine carries that day. In five games against Carolina, with Koetter as offensive coordinator, Rodgers averaged 21 yards rushing and 27 receiving. Overall, his career averages per game are 17 yards rushing and 16 receiving.
A possible start – or at least a considerable amount of carries – would also continue his fast rise in Tampa Bay after signing in mid-September. The sixth-year back, who had his best seasons in Atlanta under Koetter, said he picked up the Bucs offense quickly and the live-action reps have accelerated his transition.
“With these past three weeks, I’m right where I need to be,” he said. “If you come out here and compete and practice like that No. 1 guy … when you’re opportunity comes, you’ll be ready.”
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.
Contact him at: [email protected]
I’ll say again – put the ball in the hands of our best players….if we lose that way, so be it….but if we lose trying to run backup and practice squad RBs 30 times against the Panthers I’ll be upset….make a game plan for the players we have (plenty of other teams have done that throughout history)….throw screen passes to Sims and slant passes to Humphries as an alternative to running….but get the ball to the Dunkaneers (do we have any of them left?)…
Rodgers had good game agains Broncos and needs some more carries. With Sims it should be quick passes and screens. He stinks as a runner. Dancing clown. The should give Barber some too and see what the kid has. We know wha Sims has. Nothing. Or 1 or 2 yards per carry which is same thing. Lol.
Both starting running backs are hurt. There is no place to go. Back ups are all that is left. It looks like the situation at DE is just as bad.
I knew nothing about Rogers when he was brought in. I look forward to seeing what he can do.
I see we brought up a WR from PS; good, I hope we have more of them in the near future get on the active roster. Might it be time to go to a 4-2-5 as the standard and a 4-4-3 as a blitz? Go Bucs!
I’ve been calling for two weeks for Rogers to get more carries. Sims lacks the mental fortitude to run inside the tackles much like Reggie Bush does.
Two balls clanking off his hands against the Cards and the Rams and a fumble against the Broncos are making him a liability as a full time starter. Perhaps we should have kept Bobby Rainey instead, but then I’m sure that decision was also about money which all NFL teams are influenced by.
I don’t mind if Sims does his shake and bake and bump and grind movies out in the open field but it is a waste of time when you are behind the line of scrimmage and not moving forward with a violent intent.
If Martin isn’t available this week, which I don’t think he will be, it might even behoove the Bucs to look and see what Peyton Barber can bring to the table as well. He is also more of a one cut and go running back.
Dr d I thought same thing watch the monday night game with Rainey. Always liked him was likely money issue.
I’m also tried of watching passes Bounce off Sims hands to defenders.
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