James, Barber leading in hunt for Bucs' No. 3 RB job
The Bucs' battle for the No. 3 running back job continued Saturday, with veteran Mike James and rookie Peyton Barber getting extended looks in the first half as a result of starter Doug Martin being held out and Charles Sims only playing 12 snaps against the Jaguars.
James caught a 5-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, and the two had similar first-half numbers -- James had six carries for 17 yards and Barber six for 15, with Barber getting more work in the second half to finish with a team-best 40 yards on 11 carries.
Storm Johnson had one drive to himself, with 29 rushing yards (including a 1-yard TD) and 28 receiving yards, and rookie Russell Hansbrough rushed seven times for 17 yards, but also made two tackles on special teams in punt coverage.
"I think Mike James really showed last night what he is: He's just real consistent in all phases," coach Dirk Koetter said Sunday. "He runs the ball pretty good, and there he is catching checkdowns, he's right where he needs to be, Mike Glennon finds him a couple times in the red zone, including the touchdown, and he's solid on special teams.
"We wanted to get Peyton Barber a few runs with the first offensive line. We did that. Just like we thought from practice, Peyton is a good inside runner. He's a big back. He's powerful. He made a couple of nice plays on special teams. If you're going to be a backup running back, you've got to play on special teams. Peyton, he's learning. On the one drive when he caught the pass in the flat, he ran the wrong route, but after he caught it, he did a great job of getting yards after the catch. So that's the kind of stuff that rookies like that have to improve on."