One word could describe the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' running game in 2014.
Last year, the Bucs total rushing yardage totaled 1,375 yards. You heard me right. 1,375. Lots of inexperience, the problem of having almost an absentee Offensive Coordinator, and injuries factored into this. Doug Martin continued to suffer from injury woes, playing just 11 games last year and totaling just under 500 rushing yards. In May, the Buccaneers declined a fifth year option on the former Boise State star, which means its do or die time. Hopefully Martin can bounce back and have a productive season after two down years.
Bobby Rainey filled in well for Martin last year, so 2015 is definitely a chance to shine. He averaged 4.3 yards a carry, which isn't too shabby. He also contributed 315 yards receiving as well. Having just signed a one year deal with Tampa Bay, Rainey is expected to contribute more to the Buccaneers offensive attack in 2015.
Former Houston and West Virginia star Charles Sims saw limited play in 2014, playing 8 games, and grabbing 185 yards. and 2.9 yards a carry. Some say this guy could really break out in 2015. We will see if he will get more playing time, and if that star potential comes to fruition.
It would have helped if the Buccaneers acquired Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, but last week he just modified his contract to stay with Minnesota. He would have been a welcomed addition to the team, and along with Jameis Winston, would have brought more media sizzle to the Bucs.
Tampa Bay also has other options at the running back position. Dominique Brown, who played for Bobby Petrino at Louisville, adds depth and will look to move up the roster if Doug Martin goes down again this year. He had a really good year for the Cardinals in 2013, grabbing 825 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns.
A healthy Doug Martin, a improving Bobby Rainey, and the rest of the Buccaneers run game have a lot of prove this upcoming NFL season. Now that they have an experienced NFL Offensive Coordinator in Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay has a more stable environment, in terms of offense.
After all, there's only one way to go after a disastrous season in 2014.
And that's up.