Bucs' Issues at Running Back

The Bucs seem to have two options at running back, but is either the right choice?

There was no way the Bucs would be able to fix all the needs on their roster in one off-season. One position that continues to be a big concern is running back. The Bucs seem to have numbers at the position, but lack the one true back to lead a run game.

The two primary names battling for carries in the upcoming season are 2014 3rd round pick Charles Sims and incumbent Doug Martin. The Bucs' actions don't seem to match the words they have for both of these players.

On Thursday, Lovie Smith's words seemed to lean towards Doug Martin remaining the Bucs' feature back.

"He is a complement to some of our other running backs," Lovie Smith said of Charles Sims. "He can make you miss in the open field. He can catch the ball out of the backfield. Right now, we are working a lot of different combinations."

When the word "complement" is used by the head coach for a running back, it typically does not mean that running back is truly in the hunt to be that team's feature back. An NFL.com piece called Sims a "slow motion C.J. Spiller" and that he offered "nothing between the tackles."

With that said, the Bucs' actions with Doug Martin and his contract might lead some to believe their favorite is actually Sims.

Recently, the Buccaneers decided to decline Martin's 5th year option, making him an unrestricted free agent after the 2015 season. If a team is high on a player and believes in that player, they normally don't allow that player to even hit free agency.

"The business part, I can’t get into that, but we like Doug," Lovie Smith said. "He’s on the first team like he has always been. He’s one of our guys, he’s our running back. He’s showing up and he is getting good work. I think it is just as simple as that.”

No matter who the Bucs might ultimately be leaning towards as their feature running back, the fact is that the position is a weakness on the roster. Charles Sims has the characteristics of a 3rd down back at best, and Doug Martin offers zero yards after contact. The position needs to be improved, but that improvement might not come until 2016.

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