It’s a disappointing factor which in turn is a very important aspect to any offense. That factor is the running game and the Buccaneers do not have one.
There was high hopes for running back Doug Martin, who was returning this season after a shoulder injury last season sidelined him for most of 2013. Martin as yet to be able to replicate his 2012 rookie performance as he has struggled to find holes and create plays out of the backfield.
However, he is not alone. Bobby Rainey has also struggled running behind the same offensive line and Mike James been unsuccessful in his limited action as he has carried the ball 10 times for only 11 yards.
So will the Bucs be able to turn things around?
“It will be one guy this play and then one guy this play, 10 people will be doing the right thing, but it will always be one person in the running game – it works on everybody,” said left tackle Anthony Collins. “Once we get everybody on the same page, you’ll see a difference in us. We’re very close. When you look at film, we’re very close in the run game. The passing game we’re doing our thing. We’ve got to shape up the penalties and all of that, but if you give Doug [Martin] some room and Bobby [Rainey] some room, man, it’s going to be scary out there.”
Tampa Bay is 24th in the league in rushing averaging 90.4 yards per game.
A telling moment came in the fourth quarter when the Bucs were at their own one-yard line on third down and elected to pass the ball instead of just calling a run play resulting in a sack. That could show the confidence the staff has in the run game or lack thereof.
Whether the Buccaneers fix their running woes remains to be seen. The problem could have started back when rookie running back Charles Sims went down due to injury in the preseason. Any two-back sets and hopes the Bucs may have had was thrown out the window with that injury.
But that is all hypothetical. The fact remains that they still could be quite some time away from a successful run game.
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