Bucs' Sims, Rodgers have limited work as primary backs
Wednesday's news that Doug Martin will reportedly miss about three weeks with his hamstring injury creates a major question for the Bucs' next three games: Can Tampa Bay win with Charles Sims and Jacquizz Rodgers at running back?
Both have some experience as a primary running back, all in previous instances when a starter went down with injury and they were pressed into duty as they are now. The Bucs, unfortunately, have experience getting by without Martin due to various injuries, and have won without him -- since the start of the 2013 season, Tampa Bay is 8-27 (.229) with Martin healthy and 5-10 (.333) when he's sidelined by injury.
Sims had 1,090 yards of total offense last year as a complementary back working with Martin, but only twice has he stepped in as the main back when Martin was injured. The Bucs split those two games at the beginning of his NFL career in 2014, with Sims totaling a modest 59 yards on 21 carries. But last season, in the three games where Sims had 10 or more carries, he averaged at least 4.0 yards per carry in each of those games.
Rodgers, signed by the Bucs last week, had five games filling in as a primary back in 2013, when Dirk Koetter was the Falcons' offensive coordinator. The Falcons went 2-3 in those games -- he had limited success running the ball (58 rushes for 194 yards, a 3.3-yard average) but was able to catch 24 passes for 152 yards in those five games. His best outing as a starter? Rodgers had 18 carries for 86 yards in a 27-23 loss to the Dolphins -- also in Week 3, in 2013 -- and he helped the Falcons beat the Bucs that same year, rushing for just 16 yards on eight attempts but catching eight passes for 46 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-23 win over Tampa.
The Bucs also have rookie Peyton Barber as a third back, but he's yet to take a snap on offense and would be unlikely to see significant time in the backfield.