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:
— Steven Cheah (@CHEAH_SAY) December 7, 2017
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.
Dirk Koetter said he took play calling duties so the Bucs could run the ball & control the clock more to make it easier on the defense. With runs like this by @Pb25Peyton, I don't think the idea of running the football more is a bad idea. He goes Beastmode here #Bucsfilm2018wk10 pic.twitter.com/bmp8zYUOEz
— Steven Cheah (@CHEAH_SAY) November 14, 2018
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.
As promised I wanna dive into an early edition of #Bucsfilm2018wk15. A few individual things that popped on tape. The game started out great. Peyton Barber ripped off a 15 yard run and the blocking was terrific all the way down the line. Strong finish by @Pb25Peyton too! pic.twitter.com/CAdMud5I6H
— Steven Cheah (@CHEAH_SAY) December 19, 2018
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.
Lots of Bucs fans were thrilled with all the shots the Bucs took and pointed out that the QB had time to deliver. The o-line was great (no sacks allowed), but the RBs did a great job in pass pro as well. Here is @Pb25Peyton with a big time block that allowed TD #Bucsfilm2018wk1 pic.twitter.com/LRhS1Yp84w
— Steven Cheah (@CHEAH_SAY) September 12, 2018
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.
My favorite thing to see on tape is RBs picking up the blitz. @Pb25Peyton has gotten very good at it. Great job recognizing blitz immediately and cutting him thigh high to take him out of the play #Bucsfilm2018wk2 pic.twitter.com/9WuAKHOe3B
— Steven Cheah (@CHEAH_SAY) September 19, 2018
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.
Contrary to popular belief, Peyton Barber is not a bad player. Todd Gurley would have gotten a TFL with this type of blocking. Benenoch again instantly defeated, this time by a swim move. #Bucsfilm2018wk4 pic.twitter.com/IpvW7RgJd5
— Steven Cheah (@CHEAH_SAY) October 3, 2018
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