Eye In The Sky comes to you from PewterReport.com contributor Steven Cheah, who has been breaking down the Buccaneers All-22 on Twitter since 2015. Cheah will be joining PewterReport.com with video analysis throughout the offseason, as well as weekly video feature analysis features during the regular season to closely examine an element of the previous week’s game. Here are a few things that stood out when watching the tape.

The Buccaneers re-signed running back Peyton Barber Wednesday to a one-year, $2.125 million deal. Most fans believe the Bucs could upgrade at the position and rarely count on Barber for any real production. To that point, Barber has never run for more than 875 yards in a season and his 3.8 career yards per carry (YPC) isn’t overly impressive. He’s also averaged fewer YPC in each of his three seasons in the NFL.

That’s why when new Bucs head coach Bruce Arians named Barber as a player who surprised him in a positive way when self-scouting the team – in addition to wide receiver Mike Evans and linebacker Lavonte David – some had to do a double take.

In doing my own scouting of the Bucs, I have really enjoyed watching Barber play and completely agree with Arians’ assessment of the former Auburn Tiger.

“I love him,” Arians told PewterReport.com at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. “For a man that size, you know, when you watched the tape, you don’t see him as 230 [pounds]. You think he’s a 205-pound running back because he’s got great feet. Not ever back’s going to be a home-run hitter. He gets those 10, 15-yard runs breaking tackles, power runner, punishing runner. When we’re building something, that’s the kind [of player] I want to build around.”

Let’s take a deeper look at what Arians’ is referring to here:

Barber is deceptively big. The clip above shows it, he really has some great feet and some wiggle in his game. He’s not a change-of-pace back that comes in on third downs and can’t carry a full workload. He’s got moves like this and he’s a 230-pound workhorse.

Barber is not a change-of-pace back that comes in on third downs and isn’t capable of carrying a full workload. He’s 230 pounds and is a load to bring down. Arm tackles won’t work on Barber because he’ll pick up extra yards.

Arians mentioned Barber as a punishing runner that thrives in chunk gains. Here Barber shows exactly that as he sees one of the best safeties in the game in Eric Weddle and just trucks him for a gain of 15. Gotta love an back that finishes his runs like this.

What really stands out to me as an area he’s really improved upon in 2018 was his pass blocking. This play was all over the highlights after the big season opener in the Superdome, but it doesn’t happen without Barber’s block on Sheldon Rankins to give Ryan Fitzpatrick enough time to load up that deep ball to DeSean Jackson.

It’s not only that pass blocking the interior of the line, but Barber can buy his quarterback more time by cutting blitzers off the edge. He’s a really well-rounded back.

Barber’s stats don’t wow anyone. He averaged 54.4 yards per game last season and just 3.7 YPC. But a lot of what running backs get is a product of the blocking in front of them. Far too often last season Barber had to deal with blocking like in the clip above which certainly hindered his stats.

What do you think about Barber’s new contract? Are you happy he’s staying in Tampa Bay another year? Do you agree with Arians and myself that he’s and underrated back? Let me know in the comments section below or feel free to reach out to me on Twitter at @CHEAH_SAY

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I hail from, and currently live in New Jersey, but have been a Buccaneers fan since 1997. I have been a PewterReport subscriber/consumer almost as long. In 2015 I wanted to get closer to the game, so I started breaking down the All-22 tape and haven't missed a week since. I put all clips out via twitter @CHEAH_SAY and will also be putting together some features on PewterReport with the Eye in the Sky column.

35 COMMENTS

  1. Give Barber a competent offensive line and watch the man flourish.

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    • 100%

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  2. I completely agree with Arians’ assessment of PBarber. When I first learned he was 230 lbs I had to look up his stats ’cause I didn’t believe it. I’m glad they signed him and I hope it works out long term. New O-line coaches, new OC… I feel pretty good about him finally getting his K.

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    • yeah, it’s surprising he’s that big but he does have the power to back it up.

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  3. Barber is def underrated and can be a 1000 yard back. Doesnt have a whole lot of splash, but with a good complement to him and some upgrades on the Oline, Bucs can have a good running game

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    • agreed

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  4. Every time you see footage of this offense, I want to vomit watching Benenoch “block”. Jesus how bad must Cappa be if he couldn’t beat out this turnstile we have in Benenoch.

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  5. Moving the ball has never been the issue with Bucs or Winston. The problems start when we reach the red zone. It didnt seem like we could run the ball in the redzone. I mean it could be 1st and goal at the 5 yard line and we still couldn’t get a TD by just running the ball and then Winston would chuck the ball in the middle of the end zone hoping someone will grab it and more often than not its always the other team grabbing it.

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  6. Not sure if this is down to the running back getting those extra 2-3 yards on every run in the red zone or the offensive line just flat out sucking .

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  7. Just give him some decent run blocking and Barber turns into a 1000 yd rusher. Great analysis Steven.

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    • agreed and thank you!

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  8. Barber will be serviceable. The jury is out on the line improvements. The jury is also out on the new scheme plus playcalling. Proven workhorse David Johnson only saw 258 carries last year with Leftwich calling the plays.

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  9. Barber had 234 carries last year, which is 24 less carries than David Johnson had in Arizona in 2018. I understand it was Mike Mccoy’s offense, but calling runs or passes is situational and based on talent. I didn’t watch a single Arizona game last year but any time you have a stud like David Johnson and a rookie at QB, the focus should be on rushing the ball.

    Hopefully the Bucs draft an ass-kicker at RG in the draft. A true road grader that’s big, mean and effective.

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  10. yes I agree Barber is a very underrated running back…and I am very happy he didnt leave us. build a solid O line in front of him and he will be reeling off big chunks of yards and the passing game will flourish because of the rushing attack.

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    • agreed!

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  11. Was a huge Barber fan at Auburn. You rush for over 1000 yards in the SEC unless you’re a player.

    So here’s a question – for all the love I hear from the coaches and the GM for this guy, why only a one year deal? And not a particularly big deal at that. His o-line is garbage and he basically makes the yardage on his own. So if we improve the o-line – which still remains to be seen – and this guy has a career year, we’ll end up losing him because we have no money or the front office thinks they’ll be able to draft a RB that can really make things happen.

    Management of this team is bunch of idiots.

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    • Here’s a thought…..

      Do you think it was Barber that is betting on himself because he knows how shitty the OL was and knows that this coaching staff is going to make things better for him? With that being said, why would he lock in a long term deal at lesser money when he knows and believes that he can get more money after this one season? Players make decisions too mate, not just the GMs and Owners.

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  12. Huge fan of Peyton Barber, the way he looks to initiate contact and finishes his runs is very fun to watch. I think it’s cause he comes from Auburn, those SEC running backs are usually punishing runners. WOOO! Love Peyton!

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    • yeah that’s a good measuring stick

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  13. Peyton Barber is a second string quarterback on most teams however he’s the best the Bucs have and two million dollars is about right for his skill level. He’s a good utility back even with the great Bruce Arians totalegde He’s going to run for about 700 750 yards

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    • He ran for 871 yards under a crappy OL and playing from behind all season. 870 is his floor, and barring injury I venture to think he’ll rush for at least 1,100 yards.

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  14. Hey Steven another nice article keep them coming. Eric Dickinson ran 4.55 but yet nobody could catch him, Barber runs a 4.64 one step slower but has to fight for five or fewer. Even when I see Barber finally break into the open field he’s still fighting for yards with no break away speed. To me if Barber just used his size for leverage he’d be more productive instead of juking to make people miss. I for one am glad we signed him because he is very durable and capable runner, but Barber is not a feature back and the Bucs are going to have to find a RB1 if they want to compete in this division. What say you?

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    • thank you and will do!

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  15. Barber truly made the most of some poor blocking and run game execution last season. Competent coaching and a decent RG will make all the difference.

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  16. thanks for all the comments. a few replies:

    @cgmaster27 – Cappa got limited snaps during the season, but looking at his reps in the pre-season, he was very bad. He was D3, so I imagine a pretty big learning curve.

    @BigSombrero – yeah, I think a lot of it is situational football. hard to run the ball when you’re consistently trailing in games.

    @Dman – yeah, I was hoping for a longer deal on the cheap too. It’ll be interesting to see how RoJo fits into all of this because he is that different element, he’s a homerun hitter. Barber’s biggest limitation is his long speed, so I guess they’re taking a wait and see approach.

    @BUC-ASS-BOB – I think you’re going to see a lot more than that!

    @Captain Sly – I think he’s more of a finesse back who uses his wiggle but can run people over. So I think his ‘make you miss’ ability is his go to. Would it be better served the other way? Maybe, but tough for him to totally change at this stage.

    @thegeebo – yes, 100% agree

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  17. @dman. There was a report that Barber was offered a 3yr deal and chose to bet on himself with a one year prove it deal instead. In hopes of making more money next off-season.

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    • interesting…

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  18. Hey Steven, thanks for the response!

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    • no problem – thanks for reading!

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  19. I will go to bat for Barber and Wilson.

    Wilson is flying under the radar. Barber has consistently ascended his play year to year. Put a decent OL in front of them and I think they will be more than just serviceable backs.

    ROJO is a BIG, BIG wild card.

    Ellington is a nice straight line runner in spurts aka solid backup.

    Ogunbowale has soft mits in space.

    See the theme? Guys that can catch the ball (Barber, Wilson, Ogunbowale, Ellington).

    ROJO you better bring your A+++ game.

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  20. If the Bucs can resurrect our once proud Defense, make a few FG’s and actually play the 4th quarter with a lead instead of feverishly trying to overcome a scoreboard deficit, a pounding back like Barber is just what is needed to close out a game.

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    • exactly

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  21. @scubog I agree with you 100%. If not for such a porous defense, we could’ve had an 11-5 record instead of 5-11. That’s 6 additional wins if the defense would have played at a mediocre level. The other 5 loses would have been on the offense or both offense and defense.

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  22. Hard to believe they also could not find a better FA. Really, OG is not a hard position to fill. If we don’t draft a OG this year that can block I am gonna go ballistic.

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  23. Barber reminds me so much of Ernest Graham another unheralded underused back that the offensive genius known as
    Jon Gruden didn’t use enough or properly.

    I remember on their last playoff game against the Giants the Bucs went primarily to Graham who pounded the Giants into the ground until he went in for a score to give the Bucs a 7-0 lead.

    Then, mysteriously, Gruden went to the passing game with our best WR playing with a busted wing and the Giants went on to take the lead, win the game and go on to win the Super Bowl.
    The big knock on Graham was that he wasn’t a breakaway back but he was a punishing instinctual runner. You can’t teach or coach that.
    Keep in mind I am also taking about an ex’Gator and I have never been fond of Gators on the Bucs. But every game that used him at RB instead of FB, he would usually pick up a 100 yards.

    I don’t know if any of you noticed, but the alcohol laden BucAssBob moved Barber to the QB position in his last post andd then tried to coach up his running style.

    It really is close to the End of Days.

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