Peyton Barber gave the Bucs their first 100-yard rushing performance this season, but what took him or them so long?The Times’ Bucs coverage team tackles Barber in ways the Packers couldn’t Sunday in this portion of our Bucs Quarterly Report. Question: Is Peyton Barber a late-season find or was his performance in Green Bay Sunday a fluke?
TOUGH TO TACKLE
Thomas Bassinger, @tometrics: One measure of a running back’s success is the yards he gains after he is hit. In that regard, Barber was exceptional Sunday, gaining two-thirds of his yards after contact. The performance meshes with NFL evaluators’ assessments that he is more physical than elusive. Does he stick and emerge as a long-term starter? I can’t say. One thing working against him: He’s not on the field much on third down.
LET'S FIND OUT
Ernest Hooper, @hoop4you: Barber has earned another start. The intrigue is that Barber broke out behind a line missing two starters and the second-string center. So either Barber is better than Doug Martin, the makeshift offensive line is better than the starting five at run blocking (no comment on its pass protection), or Green Bay can't defend the run? Give Barber the start against Detroit and let's gather more evidence on his value.
BIG MONTH AHEAD
Greg Auman, @gregauman: Too soon to know with any certainty. The Bucs have liked Barber all along. If anything, it’s surprising it took a Doug Martin concussion to give him the chance he got Sunday. His challenge in the next four games is to sell the Bucs that they don’t need to invest heavily in a running back in the draft. He’s an inexpensive option for the next two years, which would allow them to use high draft picks on positions of more glaring need.
THE BARBER IS IN
Tom Jones, @tomwjones: Here's what I know — Barber was impressive Sunday against the Packers. Behind a makeshift offensive line, Barber found a bunch of holes that Martin hasn't been finding this season. Is Barber the next Tiki Barber? Hard to say. But I'd like to see him carry the ball 80 more times the rest of this season to find out.