51 Days: Mike James in Short Yardage

As we countdown the days until the Bucs' 1st preseason game, we discuss a different Bucs player at length.

I'm actually not minding the countdown one bit. Each day we get a little closer to seeing our Buccaneers on the field against another team for the 1st time in the preseason. Sure, I get excited for training camp, but then I realize that we still have no idea about the true team until they face a team in a different jersey. So, 51 days now until that happens!

Today, I wanted to take a look at the Bucs mediocre running backs corps. All I've heard is that Doug Martin has "looked good" this off-season. You aren't buying this, right? I mean, the guy's biggest weakness is breaking tackles, and last I checked, no pads were being worn in the off-season. How in the hell does anyone know if Martin will be any better than he has been the last couple of seasons?

A positive in the Bucs offensive backfield is the role of 3rd down running back. Charles Sims should have that spot nailed down, but Bobby Rainey is a good candidate as well. Both of these backs are shifty and can catch the ball. I might not be fully confident in this role for the Bucs, but I feel a little better that the other roles for the running backs.

That leads me to short yardage.

Listen, I know Mike James has been given an opportunity to fill this role for the Bucs, but he's no Mike Alstott. Hell, he's no Errict Rhett. James might have been the Bucs' best option for this role last year, since he was one of the only backs capable of such a running style, but there might be a couple of names to look out for moving forward.

The Bucs might have a couple of rookie running backs ready to steal this role away from Mike James. The Bucs did invest a 7th round pick in a little-known running back out of Hawaii named Joey Iosefa. Sure, the Bucs did say he'd play full back, but Mike Alstott played full back and was the Bucs short yardage running back in the glory years. Iosefa was Hawaii's lead back, so carrying the ball is not foreign to him. At 240+ lbs, Iosefa also has the bulk necessary to get those tough yards.

One wildcard in short yardage situations could be undrafted rookie Dominique Brown out of Louisville. Brown is a huge running back at 6'2'' and 241 lbs. If the Bucs are looking to just have a big running back on the roster, Brown could be one of the surprise names to follow in the preseason.

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