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SR’s Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, PewterReport.com publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place and around the NFL.

FAB 1. IT’S TIME FOR BUCS TO START OVER AT RUNNING BACK
Tampa Bay head coach Dirk Koetter is famous for saying that the best kind of ability is availability. Truer words haven’t been spoken.

Newsflash: running back Doug Martin will be unavailable for the Buccaneers the next four games, beginning on Sunday against Carolina as he serves a four-game suspension for PED (performance-enhancing drug) usage, which has reportedly been for Adderall use. It is unknown whether Martin has any other substance abuse issues.

With his absence on Sunday, Martin will have missed eight games this season, including six with a hamstring injury. He also missed Saturday’s game in New Orleans when the team learned he was going to be suspended for four games. In the eight games he’s played in, Martin has averaged a paltry 2.9 yards per carry.

Bucs RBs Charles Sims and Doug Martin – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Fellow running back Charles Sims won’t be available, either. He’s been placed on injured reserve with a pectoral injury he suffered at New Orleans on Christmas Eve. Sims has missed nine games this year and had his least productive season, rushing for only 149 yards and one touchdown on 51 carries (2.9 avg.) with 32 catches for 190 yards and one touchdown.

“Charles had two severe injuries this year, so health is a big part of this game,” Koetter said. “Charles and Doug played the whole season last year injury-free and I think they both played extremely well. This year, they didn’t have that opportunity to play the season injury-free.

“At any position, but running back especially, that’s tough. In Chuck’s case, his injuries were such that they were severe and that we had to put him on IR and then this is another one where we have to put him on IR. They’re both significant injuries. We’re not talking about just bumps and bruises.”

In three years with the Bucs, Sims has had just one healthy season, and that was last year when he rushed for 529 yards, averaging 4.9 yards per carry, and caught 51 passes for 561 yards and four touchdowns – all career highs.

The NFL is very much a results-oriented business. As Bucs legend Warren Sapp is famous for saying, ‘The eye in the sky don’t lie,’ which means you are only as good as your game film.

In a “what have you done for me lately?” league like the NFL, it’s time for the Bucs to blow up their backfield and start over.

It’s time to move on from Martin, and find someone this offseason to ultimately replace Sims, who enters a contract season in 2017.

That might seem harsh considering the fact that Martin is going into rehab and is seeking help for his addiction problem. But the fact is that his substance abuse problem didn’t likely start this month. The guess is he’s been battling this all season – after getting $8 million in guaranteed money this year with a five-year $35.75 million contract extension that in hindsight he didn’t deserve if he was going to turn in such a disappointing season.

I share Koetter’s sentiments in that I hope that Martin gets the help he needs this offseason.

“The only thing that I really want to say about the Doug Martin situation is that I think it’s a positive thing that he’s taking steps to put himself in position to have better health and have a better life, long-term,” Koetter said. “So that really has nothing to do with the football side of it, but I think that’s a real important step. … The important thing in my mind here is you’ve got a young man’s health and I think it’s important that he’s taking steps to fix that, long-term.”

Martin

Bucs RB Doug Martin – Photo by: Getty Images

When healthy and focused, Martin has proven to be quite the talent. He’s had two 1,400-yard Pro Bowl seasons. The problem is that he’s now had three seasons in which he’s rushed for less than 500 yards and couldn’t stay healthy.

Martin rushed for 456 yards with one touchdown in six games in 2013, and 494 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games in 2014, averaging 3.6 yards per carry and 3.7 yards per carry, respectively. Martin has never had a season in which he hasn’t had a 20-yard run until 2016. He had 144 carries this season and Martin’s longest run was a 17-yarder in Week 1 at Atlanta.

In his five years in the league, Martin has shown that he can be special just 40 percent of the time – and stay healthy over an entire year. Sixty percent of the time he’s shown he can be average at best – if not below average – and injured.

In three years in the league, Sims has shown that he can be special and stay healthy just one third of the time. Two thirds of the time he’s proven that he can’t stay healthy and be productive over the course of an entire season.

The Bucs need running backs that are reliable when it comes to productivity and durability, and the facts state that Martin and Sims aren’t either.

There’s a reason why Martin’s contract negotiations went down to the wire last spring. With two Pro Bowl seasons bookending two sub-500-yard seasons, Bucs general manager Jason Licht and director of football administration Mike Greenberg wondered which Martin they would be getting in 2017 after signing him to such a rich contract extension – the Pro Bowl version or the sub-500-yard version.

There was some legitimate hesitancy by the Bucs to re-sign Martin, but in the end Licht and Greenberg had no choice. How could they not sign a player that aided Jameis Winston’s development during his rookie season and helped Tampa Bay’s offense eclipse 6,000 yards for the first time in franchise history? Martin was the NFL’s second-leading rusher after all.

Yet it turns out that Martin proved to be a bad investment.

Was the hamstring injury at Arizona his fault?

No.

Was the fact that the offensive line didn’t play up to its potential on a consistent basis this year?

No.

But was it Martin’s fault he used whatever drug he used to get suspended?

Yes, absolutely. And that’s a problem because he willingly jeopardized his season by using a banned substance.

Hey, whatever Martin used certainly wasn’t performance-enhancing. His 2.9 yards per carry average this season was the worst of his career.

Given his history, what type of season would you bet your mortgage Martin turns in next year – a 1,400-yard season or a sub-500-yard season?

Bucs RB Doug Martin – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

I think there is some genuine concern for Martin within the walls at One Buc Place. Martin’s a nice guy, and with the team’s family atmosphere the players, coaches and management are all rooting for him to get well and are supporting his efforts to get clean.

Yet there is the cold, hard business side of the NFL that suggests that had Martin broken more tackles, read more blocks, made more defenders miss and averaged closer to the 4.3 yards per carry that Jacquizz Rodgers has averaged that the Bucs would have made the playoffs this year.

If Tampa Bay beats Carolina on Sunday, the Bucs would have likely missed the postseason by just one game. Had Martin rushed for 100 yards against Los Angeles, Oakland or Dallas and done more to turn the tide in any of those close losses he could have made the difference.

Of course the same could be said of Winston, wide receiver Mike Evans or tight end Cameron Brate, right? A more accurate pass here, or a catch instead of a drop there could have changed the outcome in any of those narrow defeats. But Winston, Evans and Brate did a far better job living up to their expectations season than Martin did.

Winston is poised to top 4,000 yards passing again and his 27 touchdown passes is a career high and has tied the team’s single season record.

Brate tied Jimmie Giles’ franchise record for most touchdowns in a season by a tight end with eight to lead the NFL, in addition to catching 57 passes for 660 yards.

And of course Evans has earned a Pro Bowl berth with a career-high 91 catches for 1,256 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Martin has fallen well short of his expectations, and the Bucs need to revamp the running back position from the top down. That means attempting to trade Martin, who turns 28, this offseason. Martin can’t be trusted to be available or produce, and Licht needs to get something for him now while there’s a chance.

Moving Martin will be difficult due to his age, this year’s poor production, the fact that this is a running back-rich draft and his looming three-game suspension to start the 2017 season.

If Licht can’t trade him, then he should force Martin to take a drastic pay cut, as his $7 million salary is no longer guaranteed due to the suspension, and let him compete for a job – if he’s clean.

Regardless, it’s time for Licht to draft a running back – or two – to compete with Rodgers, who should be re-signed to a short-term, inexpensive, prove-it contract loaded with incentives.

Florida State RB Dalvin Cook – Photo by: Getty Images

LSU’s Leonard Fournette is projected as a top-10 running back and will be out of the Bucs’ reach on draft day. But there are two other first-round running backs that are really worth taking a look at.

The first is Florida State junior Dalvin Cook. I happen to believe he’s the best and most complete running back in the draft due to his speed, durability, vision and balance. The 5-foot-11, 213-pounder reminds me of Emmitt Smith and Thurman Thomas. Cook, who has rushed for 4,319 yards and 45 touchdowns over his Seminoles career, has been a model of consistency.

After rushing for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns and catching 22 passes for 203 yards as a true freshman taking handoffs from Winston in 2014, he had a breakout season last year with 1,691 yards and 19 touchdowns, averaging 7.4 yards per carry with 24 catches for 244 yards and one touchdown. With a bowl game remaining against Michigan, Cook has rushed for 1,620 yards and 18 touchdowns with a 6.0 average and 30 catches for 426 yards and a receiving touchdown.

Winston was asked about Cook last year in a press conference during his rookie season.

“I wouldn’t trade in Doug Martin for anything in the world,” Winston said. “He’s definitely the best back that I’ve seen in a long time – other than Devonta Freeman and Dalvin Cook (laughs) – but I love Doug. I won a championship with Devonta and Dalvin, he’s a great guy – I’m Florida State-biased. If [Doug] would have gone to FSU, he would have been the best. But Doug is an amazing guy. The way that he sticks one foot in the ground and gets vertical, and the amount of tackles that he has broken this year and the amount of weight that he’s taken off of my shoulders for my rookie season, I couldn’t be more thankful for Doug than anything in the world. I love Doug and I thank him. My family thanks him for what he’s done for me this season.”

Make no mistake. Winston would love nothing more to hand the ball off to Cook if he were to replace Martin.

The Seminoles star has five games with three touchdowns or more, four games with 200 yards rushing and six runs of 70 yards or more. He’s the total package and a Day One starter as a rookie.

Florida State QB Jameis Winston and RB Dalvin Cook – Photo by: Getty Images

If Cook were to slip outside the top 10 picks – which I’ve actually seen in some mock drafts, but think is foolish because he’s so talented – Licht needs to make one of those bold draft day moves and go up and get him. He would be the perfect fit to replace Martin as Koetter’s feature back.

The other first-round runner that Tampa Bay needs to consider with its first-round pick, which will likely be around No. 20, is Stanford’s ultra-talented Christian McCaffrey. The son of former NFL wide receiver Ed McCaffrey is listed as 6-foot, 200 pounds, but may be closer to 5-foot-10, 195 pounds, and has rushed for 3,922 yards and 21 touchdowns in his Stanford career, including 1,603 yards and 13 touchdowns on 253 carries (6.3 avg.) this season. McCaffrey added 310 yards and three more TDs on 37 catches in 2016 despite missing one regular season game due to injury and Stanford’s bowl game as he prepares for the 2017 NFL Draft.

After rushing for just 300 yards and catching 17 passes for 251 yards and two touchdowns as a freshman, McCaffrey exploded onto the national scene with 2,019 yards and eight touchdowns on 337 carries last year, in addition to 45 catches for 645 yards and five more scores as a sophomore. With 632 career carries and seven games with at least 30 carries in his career, McCaffrey has demonstrated the ability to carry the load as a feature back.

He’s had five runs of 50 yards or more in his career with five catches of 50 yards or more, too. McCaffrey has also had five games with 200 yards rushing or more and five more with a combined 200 yards between rushing and receiving yards. He’s had four games with at least three touchdowns, too.

At the very least, McCaffrey can be used like Sims in Koetter’s offense, a runner and receiver – only faster and much more elusive. In fact, there may not be a better all-around weapon in the draft than the quick, shifty Cardinal. McCaffrey has caught 99 passes for 1,206 yards and 10 touchdowns in his three years at Stanford. He’s also completed 2-of-3 passes for two touchdowns and has a 63-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 98-yard kickoff return for a score.

McCaffrey could be Tampa Bay’s version of Kansas City’s Tyreek Hill – a weapon on both offense and special teams. Imagine the ways Koetter could use McCaffrey’s skill set in the backfield, in the slot, flanked out wide and in the screen game.

McCaffrey has been projected to be a late first-round pick, going between picks No. 20-32, so there’s a chance he would be available when Tampa Bay is on the clock.

Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey – Photo by: Getty Images

While you might balk at the notion of spending the Bucs’ first-round pick on a running back, understand that Cook and McCaffrey are three-down players with rare ability, and McCaffrey could provide a serious boost to Tampa Bay’s stagnant return game.

But running backs are a dime a dozen and can be found in later rounds, right?

I’ll remind you that Martin was a first-round pick and certainly looked like it in 2012 and 2015.

Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott, a rookie Pro Bowler and the league’s leading rusher, was a top-5 pick this year.

Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson, the league’s best runner when healthy, was drafted No. 7 overall by the Vikings in 2007.

I’ll also point out that seven out of the top 10 running backs of all-time – Emmitt Smith (first), Barry Sanders (third), LaDainian Tomlinson (fifth), Jerome Bettis (sixth), Eric Dickerson (seventh), Tony Dorsett (ninth), Jim Brown (10th) – were first-round picks. Not only were they first-rounders, they were top 10 picks.

Still not convinced that some running backs are worth first-round picks? Consider that 19 out of the top 25 rushers in NFL history were first-round picks. Here’s the rest: Marshall Faulk (11th), Edgerrin James (12th), Marcus Allen (13th), Franco Harris (14th), Adrian Peterson (16th), Fred Taylor (17th), Steven Jackson (18th), John Riggins (19th), O.J. Simpson (21st), Warrick Dunn (22nd), Jamal Lewis (24th) and Thomas Jones (25th).

There are some talented running backs in this year’s draft outside the first-round that have the ability to possibly become starters in the NFL. Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine, who is viewed as a second-round pick, is a battering ram that reminds me of Carolina’s Jonathan Stewart when he came out of Oregon. Arm tackles rarely bring him down and when Perine, who set the NCAA record for rushing yards in a game with 427 yards against Kansas in 2015, gets to the second and third levels he has the speed to go the distance.

Perine’s Sooners teammate, Joe Mixon is equally talented and has second-round talent, but faces serious character questions over punching a female student in 2014 and may go undrafted like LaGarrette Blount did unless he returns to Oklahoma next year. Wyoming’s Brian Hill and Toledo’s Kareem Hunt are middle-round picks that also intrigue me and would look good in red and pewter.

Bucs RBs Doug Martin and Charles Sims – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The Bucs should pair Rodgers with a rookie running back – or two – to challenge Sims, Peyton Barber, Russell Hansbrough – and possibly Martin – for roster spots next year. Koetter is a run-first coach who knows that a strong running game sets up play-action, which leads to the big, explosive passes downfield that the Bucs’ head coach and play-caller craves. Have a big-time, dependable, productive running back is crucial to Tampa Bay’s offensive success.

I wouldn’t rule out the Bucs drafting Cook or McCaffrey in the first round and the team moving on from Martin next year. In fact, I would welcome it.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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Naplesfan
4 years ago

Thanks for your efforts and that of your staff reporters and analysts here at PR – you have the best writing and analysis on the Bucs anywhere in the media. Kudos to you all. Regarding your Fab 5 points, I’m not at all convinced Jason Licht should draft a running back in the first round, let alone trade up to get any particular back including Dalvin Cook. It’s not that running backs are a dime a dozen, but most of them have short careers due to injury, and Bucs fans know that better than anyone. Instead, I’d rather see the… Read more »

RootsCrew
RootsCrew
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

100% agree on bringing back Gholston and Spence. They’ve both produced and add necessary pieces to our DL. Plus, they both WANT to come back. We need players who love Tampa and want to play for the Bucs. That matters when things get tough. I’ll take mercenaries, KeShawn for example, but I want more guys who play here because they love it.

bubbashep
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

As much as I’d like to have Cook at rb, there are still holes on the offense and defensive line that need to be addressed in the 1-3rd rounds.

RootsCrew
RootsCrew
4 years ago

A great Fab 5, Scott. I don’t mind being called an FSU homer (I am) by saying it would be wise to draft Dalvin Cook. The familiarity he and Jameis already have, coupled with his burst, vision, elusiveness, our the backfield hands and pass pro ability can’t be ignored, just because he went to FSU. I feel like mentioning the Bucs should draft a LEGITIMATE great player from FSU is frowned upon. Let me say this, I don’t care if the player went to UF or UM. I wan’t the best players on the Bucs, cause I want us to… Read more »

Naplesfan
Reply to  RootsCrew
4 years ago

Roots – it’s fine to be a homer for your favorite college, as long as, amongst us Bucs fans, it doesn’t take precedence over the interests of the Bucs. We’ve certainly had some excellent players come out of FSU over the years, including a certain Hall of Famer and our current starting QB. I like Dalvin Cook as a running back, and while he’s may not be the first off the board amongst running backs, he’s certainly among the top small handful in the nation. As I commented above, it’s more a matter of how high can any team value… Read more »

RootsCrew
RootsCrew
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

Naples – What’s best for the Bucs is ALWAYS what I think about first. If a player that is best for the Bucs just happens to be a Nole, all the more better. I really just want the best players on the roster. Regardless of school affiliation. You make great points about the running backs drafted in the last 6 years. But so did Scott when he broke down the all time greats/current greats and their draft positions. Cowboys could have rode with McFadden, cause RB wasn’t a clear need, but Zeke is a good back. He accentuates their already… Read more »

Naplesfan
Reply to  RootsCrew
4 years ago

I’d be happy to see Dalvin Cook on the Bucs too. The question is, what will us cost us to get him? If he slipped to the second round which is quite plausible given the running-back heavy draft in 2017, I’d be comfortable with him as our second pick of the draft. Not comfortable at all taking Cook (or any other running back) in the first round… and I’d vehemently object to trading UP in the first round in a clear reach to get him as Scott advocates in this Fab 5. The bottom line is that of all the… Read more »

cgmaster27
Reply to  RootsCrew
4 years ago

AS a fellow Noles fan I feel your pain roots. Just mentioning someone who plays at FSU , gets you run out the chat boards. The problem is these guys aren’t just chatted up for playing for FSU, they’re some of the best in their perspective classes. Demarcus is fantastic and his stats back it up. If he’s there in the second maybe, but I don’t think DE is big on our wish list this year with all of our holes. He’s a legitimate non stop motor guy that has 26 sacks over the last two years, and that’s playing… Read more »

e
e
Reply to  cgmaster27
4 years ago

Notes fans run out of this chat room? It seems like that’s all there is here… I think I’m the only Canes fan in here… But, I still love Jameis and yes, Dalvin Cook is the real deal. I personally think he’s going to be gone before the late teens on the draft board, but it’s early. I think at this point, the Bucs need to really look over the OL potentials with the first pick, but we’ll see how things start to fall over the next couple of months.

chefboho
Reply to  e
4 years ago

Fear not e, I too am a canes fan. You realize how hard it is every year when cgmaster27, my twin, and myself go through the pain of that game. To lose on an extra point being blocked this year killed me. Richt has that team on the up for sure. They hammered wvu. To answer, yes, I would love to have Calvin cook on our team as well, but we will just have to see how the needs of other teams play out. It’ll be an interesting draft.

cgmaster27
Reply to  RootsCrew
4 years ago

Well ole dalvin and walker proved to validate your “homerism” last night . Both played outstanding.

Iowabucfan
4 years ago

When Mr. Licht signed Martin to this contract extension, he said “We don’t mind paying for production”. I applaud that because it tells all the players in the locker room, if you produce, you’ll get paid, which is very motivating. On the other hand, I am all for letting Martin walk, or come back on a very reduced salary. Because, if you don’t produce, you won’t get paid, which can also be very motivating.
I am excited about this team and its future!
Happy new year everybody!

Derrick
Reply to  Iowabucfan
4 years ago

Well then why sign him? Players have to honor thier contracts whether its a cheap deal or a high dollar deal but teams on the other hand if they pay a guy and the next yr the production falls then they can get out of it. Just like a player i think teams should be forced to honor contracts. NFL the only sport i think where the contracts are not fully gurenteed. maybe that needs to change

macabee
4 years ago

The RB that you didn’t mention is Texas junior D’Onta Foreman who finished as the nation’s leading rusher and the only FBS player to rush for 2,000-plus yards in the regular college football season. Foreman is projected to be a Day 2 draft pick (second or third round) by NFLDraftScout.com. He finished with 2,028 rushing yards on 323 carries and 15 touchdowns, averaging 6.3 yards per carry. Foreman was the only FBS player to rush for at least 100 yards in every game he played in 2016, setting a new school record. If the Bucs are dead set on drafting… Read more »

macabee
Reply to  macabee
4 years ago

Sorry! Forgot to credit NFLDraftScout for excerpts. Truth in reporting!

cgmaster27
Reply to  macabee
4 years ago

I like the kids size and stats for sure Mac, that’s one big dude. My only concern for him is that he’s kind of a 1 year wonder. Now that might be a good thing as he has a little less wear on the tires but he got used a lot this year with 323 carries. Not sure of his straight line speed. My other concern is his lack of catching talent. I know there aren’t too many three down backs per se in the NFL, but it helps. He’s only got 12 total catches in 3 years. If we… Read more »

chetthevette
Reply to  macabee
4 years ago

Mac When you mention RB’s and compare them to Earl Campbell I start salivating like a dog. Maybe it’s not fair to compare him to the Tyler Rose just yet.
Just so you know I would take Earl the Pearl over any RB ever.
So, yes I would try to snatch him up.
GO BUCS

Derrick
4 years ago

Maybe we will be a better team if we just drafted all FSU players lol…

russmillerwy
4 years ago

So, the Bucs had thenbest running back duo inmthe NFL last season and now they’re junk? I think if there are two things that Pewter Report doesn’t get, it’s that injuries happen and that players are human. Too oftrn PR hops on the bandwagon to turn yesterday’s heroes into today’s garbage (ahem! V-Jax). I wouldn’t drop Martin or Sims for anyone else. They are superb at what they do. The line and the tight ends need upgrading and the Bucs need another dangerous outside receiver who pulls the safety out of that 8-man box. Football is not fantasy football. A… Read more »

cgmaster27
Reply to  russmillerwy
4 years ago

Superb at what they do? The only thing Doug Martin is superb at is missing games. This guy has almost missed half of the games hes been under contract. That is terrible. He’s had 2 good years in 5, his rookie year, and his contract year, wow what a surprise. He knowingly took an illegal substance and screwed himself and the team as well. As for SImms, he’s right there with Doug, he’s always injured. Yes he’s a pass catching back, but he’s useless outside of that. He doesn’t play on special teams, and he does nothing else besides third… Read more »

Naplesfan
Reply to  cgmaster27
4 years ago

It may be less about Doug Martin the individual than it is about the position of running back being very injury prone, for the very obvious reason that they make their living trying to squeeze between rapidly converging big bodies in the trenches. The very best running backs can’t seem to stay healthy for more than a couple of seasons in a row without suffering severe injury and spending time on the sidelines or on IR. The better the offensive line the less likely the injury time off. And given that quality offensive linemen tend to have careers about twice… Read more »

chetthevette
Reply to  russmillerwy
4 years ago

Some good points Russ. But you went off the rails with the comment about black and white guys getting run out on a rail.
Cmon man.

Horse
4 years ago

I’m for going for a DL or OL in the first round; problem this year is we don’t have that many selections at our spot so I propose we actually trade down and out of the 1st round for multiple draft picks. We do have young players on IR that are ready to challenge some of our weaker positions; RB,Center,Safety,CB. Does anybody know why we don’t place injured players like Gholston & Goshler on IR? I still don’t get it why we didn’t bring Westbrok up from the PS to play in this last game; maybe it will happen today… Read more »

Morgan R
4 years ago

This is just more of the same thinking that has doomed the Bucs to mediocrity or worse for the last 14 years. Talib and Blount are just two examples of good players we cut, others are Clayborne, Bennett, Foster, Barron. Players can be nurtured and trained, and they’ll grow as both people and athletes, or they can be dropped at the first sign of trouble. A team like the Patriots can take those players and educate them, turn them into professional players. What exactly is it that has prevented the Bucs from doing the same? I’d say much of it… Read more »

Naplesfan
Reply to  Morgan R
4 years ago

I don’t think Jason Licht has been particularly disloyal to the players, while at the same time he’s also willing to admit errors and cut his losses with either free agents or draft picks who didn’t get with the program. The initial public reaction by Licht this week was very supportive of Doug Martin, so there’s no sign of any intent to treat him unfairly. On the other hand, Doug Martin clearly let down his team and fans by his illegal use of PEDs. Unlike the case of Kwon Alexander last year, which appeared to be a dumb mistake of… Read more »

scubog
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

Whatever that PED was, it sure didn’t work. I have to agree with your hoped for scenario that Doug Martin returns at a more reasonable salary and is given an opportunity to earn a spot on the team next season.

Pick6
Reply to  Morgan R
4 years ago

If they give Martin a chance to redeem himself, they also give him a chance to torpedo next season like he did this one. Many teams would stand behind 4.5+ ypc doug martin. As Scott lays out pretty well, that’s not who doug martin has proven to be. He’s been designated the bell cow back going into every season of his career. 3 times out of 5 he’s put up under 500 yards. It’s a disservice to fans and players to bet your “run-first” offense on a guy like that to have one of his good years. Blount, Talib, Bennett,… Read more »

Pick6
4 years ago

as well-liked as he is, and as productive as he was early on, Vincent Jackson has been a part of zero winning teams since arriving….the team went on a 6-2 run this year starting with the game he went down. is it coincidence, or despite the tremendous work he puts into his own game, is he one of those players that doesn’t “hate to lose” enough, to quote VJax’s fellow team captain?

cgmaster27
4 years ago

Great Fab 5 as always. I’ve said it since the middle of the season, the Bucs will be taking a back in the draft this year. I’d like to see if they can bring Doug back, but at a MUCH cheaper price. Scott watch out even mentioning Cook as that will get you labeled a homer around here, even though you’re not a FSU fan like Mark. Cook is the best back in this class and it’s not even close. Mcaffery is a good three down back, but to me, he’s just another Charles sims. Not a guy you can… Read more »

Hank Scorpio
4 years ago

Cook is really good, but if we dont improve this OL, it doesn’t matter who is back there. Not to mention, Jameis was pressured and hit way too much this season.

Plus there’s already too many warchants and FSU jerseys at Bucs games 😋

Alldaway 2.0
4 years ago

Bucs should draft a RB in 2017 as it is a deep class. The last time they missed out on a deep RB draft they deeply regretted and made knee jerk reactions by over drafting RB’s.

Garv
4 years ago

Great Fab Five again Scott, thanks and a hat tip for making both the season AND the off-season more interesting. I too would like to see Gholston and Spence brought back. Both are contributors and help in the need on the DL for run stoppers. As for drafting Cook or any RB in the first round I’m not so sure. Doesn’t it depend a lot on what happens in FA? Don’t we still need a RT, another CB and certainly a bonafide number two WO, a speedster who can stretch the field and catch the ball? My thinking is that… Read more »

scubog
Reply to  Garv
4 years ago

Those fans who prefer the Bucs lose to the Panthers to end up with a higher Draft position are likely not sitting in the stands with us Garv.

Naplesfan
Reply to  scubog
4 years ago

I thought it was extremely dumb to root for Bucs losses even two years ago, when the race to the bottom was over which highly regarded college quarterback would fall to the Bucs. Looking at the performance of both players over their first two seasons, we would have done well with either player. It’s never considered a win to end up with the number one pick in the draft. Consolation prizes suck. Championships are the objective.

Garv
Reply to  scubog
4 years ago

Hell no they’re not. I’m looking forward to ending this season an a high note. Should be a fun game. Great weather and New Year’s Day!

skipper
skipper
4 years ago

The Bucs have invested draft picks in the offensive line, there is talent there. Ali Marpet and Donavan Smith are high draft picks and will be fixtures on the line for years to come. They just extended Dotson this year, we have the versatile Pamphile and perhaps Sweezy gets healthy for next season, we are grooming Calib Benoch (sp), Hawley while scrappy is a bit undersized and probably should be replaced. I am not in panic mode about the offensive line as many on here are, it is almost the same as last season with the exception of Mankins. Perhaps… Read more »

Naplesfan
Reply to  skipper
4 years ago

Well, Marpet and Smith were second rounders … the best left tackles are usually drafted in the first round. We haven’t drafted an offensive lineman in the first round since 2006 (Davin Joseph). In 2001 we took Kenyatta Walker in the first, and the last one in the first round before that was all the way back in 1991 (Charles McRae). Given that offensive linemen account for 5 of 22 starters on a team – 23% of the roster – we’ve only drafted OL in the first round in 3 of the last 26 drafts – or 11% of our… Read more »

scubog
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

The names you cited should be proof that drafting an offensive lineman high in the draft, like running back, is no guarantee for success. One of our best LT’s (Donald Penn) wasn’t drafted at all. Cleveland just cut a recent top 10 pick who failed.

Naplesfan
Reply to  scubog
4 years ago

There’s no guarantees in anything, but Kenyatta Walker was a starter RT on our sole Super Bowl winning team, and Davin Joseph was better than most everyone else who’s been on the line since he left a few years ago.

And like it always is, the quality of the pickers is what most determines the quality of the picks. A Browns first round pick doe NOT equal a Patriots first round pick.

The pickers for the Bucs have mostly sucked. The only two good draft pickers we’ve ever had were Rich McKay and now Jason Licht.

scubog
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

We have certainly had our share of Draft blunders over my 40 years of watching this team; including Richie NcKay and Jason Licht, each of whom had a few picks that didn’t work out as planned. Ron Wolf and Jerry Angelo didn’t do too bad.. Ken Herrock was pretty bad. Worst might have been Phil Krueger.

We’ve also had some Draft trades of our choices that were so laughable. I hate to even think about them.

Perhaps Scott and the Pewter Report folks could do some research and we could debate the best and the worst pickers.

cgmaster27
Reply to  skipper
4 years ago

Agreed skipper and the fact that the line class appears as weak as it is, is what I don’t like about this draft class.

e
e
4 years ago

I’m looking for guys like Gholston and Spence to be resigned and creating that veteran depth that the Bucs desperately need. Right now, marveling at the Dallas O-line, I wonder what kind of success Jameis and the boys would have with that kind of protection? On the other hand, we had two offense-heavy drafts and then a defense heavy draft last year… I don’t anticipate a heavy lean one way or the other this year. My main hope for this offseason is that Smitty is back as our DC. You can feel the optimism on the boards these days; and… Read more »

deeznuts
4 years ago

It’s easy to hate Martin right now but I’ll vouch for him and I bet GMC, LVD, and Vjax would too. Remember when Vjax sat out nearly a season in SD over contract negotiations and got arrested for multiple DUI’s? He turned out all right. watching all the way back to Boise state (where he put up gross #’s), you’ll see Doug was born to be a running back. He gives 100% effort on every carry whether it’s 50-0 or 0-50. He’s worth rolling the dice on next year..but I would agree we need to draft a RB. He’s not… Read more »

3rd String Kicker
4 years ago

Tremendous FAB 5 Article Scott! The information on Martin and Jackson was very informative. – Curt (3sk)

cgmaster27
4 years ago

For anyone that questions how special dalvin cook realy is, I present to you , the orange bowl. Dude is just incredible.

chetthevette
Reply to  cgmaster27
4 years ago

It was awesome for sure.

bucballer
4 years ago

in regards to the Muscle Hamster… its all about the $$$! Strictly business, not personal! Not worth 7mil/yr. If he is willing to take a 50% paycut and resign, then yes we resign him! The Bucs caught a break in regards to being able to get out of his contract with his recent suspension! Run Forest run! He has 1-2 years top, left in those legs. It’s a young man’s game. Thanks Doug for all your efforts for the Bucs. You were a good Buc. Time to move on. Say bye to Sims as well. Nothing special there as well.… Read more »

bucballer
4 years ago

“without talent at QB” Typo.

chetthevette
4 years ago

I’m not ready to throw Doug on the ash heap just yet. If he did exert maximum effort on every run I’d say yes. Let him get healthy and draft a center for the love of god. We really need a left guard too. Maybe Sweezy will be ready. I hope so. The BUCS are just snake bit with free agent OL men. Collins Nicks Sweezy Those guys maybe played 10 games total added up. Unreal. Draft DL and OL please, pretty please. Great RB’s always have great OL. Besides that we might want to keep Jamie’s upright for a… Read more »

surferdudes
4 years ago

With the new CBA drafting a top shelf back makes more sense now then ever. Think about it, a backs best years are his first few. Getting a great offensive weapon, on a five year rookie deal is a great investment. The mistake teams make is resigning that back to big money after his first five years. Unlike receivers, and some other skill positions, rookie backs often have great first years instantly adding life to your offense. So yeah, I think if you have a shot at special talent in the first round you take it.

CDNBUCSFAN
4 years ago

Scott, thanks for a great season of Fab 5’s, and to everyone here’s to a Happy New Year! I want a win tomorrow and a lot of effort. Square your home record at 4-4, get rid of the 2 game losing streak and go into the offseason with pride. As frustrating as the past few weeks have been, if we look back to the beginning of the season, we all had hope but realistically knew we’d be around this record and we would HAPPILY accept that after last season. As fans, we’ve been entertained much more this season than we… Read more »

plopes808
4 years ago

I totally agree with restructuring Martin’s deal to take a smaller cap hit. Keep Rodgers on and have them compete for the starting spot. Barber proved to be a worthy rotational back and Sims is a great receiving threat out of the backfield. I doubt it will matter as all these backs will most likely be gone by the time we’re on the clock, but even if they are, I agree with many posters that we need to shore up the lines first. On that note though, I don’t see any first round worthy OL available so we should go… Read more »

fredster
4 years ago

The Patriots will sign Martin and he will have 1400 yards next year……lol

This year for Bucs fans showed improvement and promise but ultimately ended on a very sour note and showed we are still a ways away from being a playoff team. Hoping we have a great draft next year.

Happy New Years to all! I’ll be at game as always tomorrow. Hope we stomp the Panthers and end with a winning record! Go Bucs!

EastEndBoy
4 years ago

I’ll add my 2 cents to the debate this way: 1) I concur with Hank above…it doesn’t matter if you have Foreman/Cook/Fournette/etc. or the actual Earl Campbell, none of them is doing much behind our Oline….unless we can play SanFran 16 times. 2) yes we did produce the #2 rusher in the league in 2015 behind our then Oline…except that the one subtraction in 2016 was our best Olineman, and only pro-bowler from that team. It wasn’t all Mankins, but I think his influence has been understated, and revealed in 2016’s performance. 3) yes drafting Olinemen in the 1st round… Read more »

niko521
4 years ago

So glad JoeBucsFan.com has surpassed this garbage site as best Bucs content. I used to love reading Pewter Report, and used to love reading your SR weekly scott, but you Scott Reynolds have turned into a joke. Every week on WDAE morning after a Bucs win, you have to get in your “as you know I called for Lovie Smith to be fired last year”. Dude, get over yourself. The firing of Lovie wasn’t even the biggest factor of the turn around, it was the maturation of Jameis Winston and the Bucs players following him as their leader. Yes Koetter… Read more »

Clearwater Buc
Clearwater Buc
4 years ago

If this truly is the end of Vincent Jackson’s playing career, I would be thrilled if the team brings him on as a coach or an offensive assistant.

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