The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been oddly focused on one position this offseason: running back. There were reports linking them to both DeMarco Murray and Adrian Peterson, though nothing materialized there. And on Friday, Pewter Report noted that the Bucs really want to get their running game going by adding more talent to the running back position. Which is why reports like this aren't surprising:
On the one hand, the Bucs certainly do need to find a running game. On the other hand, with Doug Martin, Bobby Rainey, Charles Sims and Mike James they at least have the bodies to construct a solid committee backfield -- and with a little luck, one of them can turn into a go-to running back. The biggest issue with the running game wasn't really the backs, though they weren't exactly great, but the offensive line.
The offensive line being the part of the offense that the Bucs neglected to improve last year, with their drafting Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the second round and Sims in the third round instead of one of many available offensive guards. And this year, they once again haven't addressed the offensive line. And if they're going to pass up a perfectly serviceable guard for a running back again, I'm going to pop a vein.
None of that is to say that good backs aren't important. They are. And a truly great running back can make your offensive line look much better, while carrying part of the offense. But the backs who can really do that are extremely rare, and they tend to break down. Once you get to that second tier of backs, the ones who need a solid supporting cast to work, you're better off upgrading that cast than continuing to chase the elusive franchise back.