Fullbacks matter for the Buccaneers' offense

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

I wrote an article focusing on Pro Bowl Guard Carl Nicks’ presence and the run game long ago.  In my research, here is what I discovered:

Rushing Yards, Martin only


With Nicks and Without Nicks


Games


Total Yards


Average Yards


#1 – 7


543

77.57

#8 – 16


911

101.22

Difference


+ 368


+ 23.65


Nicks went down in game 7.  That is why the chart is separated as you see it.  Without Nicks as well as fellow Pro Bowl Guard Davin Joseph, the team was playing with a patch up offensive line.

Even though Pro Bowl RB Doug Martin was held out in pre-season due to a concussion, physically he said he was even more prepared this year.  Then add in Davin Joseph back into the mix and one would believe we should have had an improved line, though, not necessarily a great one with Nicks missing.  Offensive line Coach Bob Bostad did great things with very little on the offensive line last season and that gave promise for an even better outlook for this coming season.

After the first game of the year, Martin was only able to rush for 65 yards on 24 attempts for a 2.7 yards per rush average.  That is a tremendous drop from a 4.6 yards per rush average from last season.  So what factor changed to make such a dramatic drop outside from Martin not being his ownself?  Our blocking fullback could be that difference.

FB Erik Lorig played all 16 games last season.  He has no rushing attempts in all 16 games, but does have one touchdown on 12 receptions for 83 yards.  On Sunday, he was inactive due to an injury.  And as of September 10, 2013, the Buccaneers’ have re-signed FB Spencer Larsen because Lorig has been out with an injury, although he has had full participation in practice this week.

With at least G Joseph returning to the offensive line, one would hope there would be an improvement in offensive play, including the rushing.  Instead, we had one that was inept until later into the game as Doug Martin kept chugging valiantly.  His 65 yards rushing was better than all the NY Jets running backs have rushed combined at a total of 43 yards.  Doug’s longest run was 17 yards.  Longer than any Jet rusher, including QB Geno Smith.

Could a player with no rushing attempt be that important to the run game over a slightly improved line?  Granted Carimi was bad, but we had no-namers last season on both sides of the center for games #8  through #16.  Maybe we should pay attention whenever re-acquired FB Larsen is on the field and see if Martin can average more than 2.7 yards per rush.  We Buc fans should remember a fullback who helped two running backs tremendously.  Those running backs’ names are Mike Alstott and Warrick Dunn.  That fullback who paved holes is Lorenzo Neal.

There are no small roles.

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