With Martin out, Bucs will turn to Charles Sims as lead back
Charles Sims has averaged less than seven carries per game during his NFL career, but that workload will increase with starting running back Doug Martin expected to miss the next three games with a hamstring injury.
“Chuck’s been here long enough and has earned the opportunity to be the lead back,’’ said Bucs offensive coordinator/receivers coach Todd Monken. “And we expect him to play well, as we do (Jacquizz Rodgers).
“We’re hopeful that we’ll get Doug back sooner than that. We’re hopeful that we can. But we feel good about the other two guys that carried the ball on Sunday (against the Rams). We’ll move forward. If Doug is not available, we’ll move forward with those two guys.’’
Sims had a career-high 18 rushing attempts for 69 yards and a touchdown in the Bucs’ loss to the Saints in the season finale of 2014.
He’s been used mostly as a change of pace back and on third down, where he excels as a receiver. Last season, Sims had 1,090 total yards from scrimmage (529 rushing, 561 receiving), but his running style is much different than that of Martin.
At 6-foot, Sims runs much more upright and lacks the power to move the pile on inside runs after contact.
“There’s certainly things that Chuck does differently than Doug,’’ Monken said. “Every back does. There’s a few things we may have to do a little differently, but really, we have to do what we continue to believe in. He knows he needs to continue to work on getting his pad level down. So he’s got to play well and we’ve got to play well around him.’’
Meanwhile, the Bucs feel fortunate to have Rodgers, who played for Koetter in Atlanta. While some of the terminology has changed in the offense, the concepts have not, Rodgers said.
“I got thrown into the fire last week, but I was ready,’’ said Rodgers, who rushed two times for 29 yards Sunday at Arizona. “For me, my goal is to get more familiar with the playbook. The offense is pretty much the same when we were in Atlanta. That’s what the NFL is, next man up and you’ve got to always stay ready.
“All I know, when Chuck gets tired, that’s when I go in.’’