It might not be the exact "speed in space" Jeff Tedford preached a couple years ago, but Dirk Koetter knows the value of getting his playmakers in space.
As far as running backs go, Doug Martin is among the league’s best. After several injuries, including the labrum tear in 2014, Martin looked like the shifty running back we’re used to seeing. Last season, Martin racked up 1,402 yards on 288 attempts, averaging 4.9 yards per carry.
Let’s also not forget Charles Sims either. Sims also averaged 4.9 yards per run, with 529 yards on 107 carries. Maybe the more important stat for Sims was his ability to get yards on catching the ball out of the backfield. Sims caught 51 balls for 516 receptions, second only to Mike Evans. In fact, Sims had 4 TDs to Evans’ 3.
Martin also flourished out of the backfield with receptions hauling in 33 receptions for 231 yards.
Head coach Dirk Koetter was questioned about his skill players in space.
"Playmakers in space, that's one of our deals – get your playmakers in space,” Koetter said. “Now, sometimes those look good, there were a couple that looked good today, sometimes not so good. I mean, we caught them in the right look a couple teams; it doesn't always work out that way. That's the plan – you get elusive guys in space, and Charles and Doug certainly fit that."
Charles Sims has become more prevalent in the running game, as well as screens or check downs out of the backfield. While at West Virginia and the University of Houston, scouts and GM Jason Licht took notice of something special in this young man. Having a more confident Charles Sims can only benefit QB Jameis Winston with play-action and pump fakes to Sims, allowing deep routes to open up.
If the offensive line can win the battle in the trenches, and handle the second level, watch out for Martin and Sims to make many more splash plays this season.