With Doug Martin's return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in question, can complementary back Charles Sims evolve into a feature back? Sims' production in 2015 was amazing as a runner and as a pass catcher. But there are two caveats: 1) that is a one year sample and 2) the running attempt sample is comparatively small to the attempts Martin had.
|Tampa Bay Bucs|
|2015 Run Production of Martin and Sims|
A feature back would have increased attempts. Sims' rushing attempts represent only 27% of the total rushing attempts between the dynamic duo. That would imply that Martin had rushed 73% of the overall total.
If Martin is the standard we are using as a feature back, then let us look at Martin's career, including his college career.
|NCAA and NFL Career|
At Martin's apex in college, he had 263 attempts and 1299 yards on those rushing attempts. His total production in his final year was 291 total touches for 1,554 total yards. Martin has surpassed those totals twice at the NFL level, both Pro Bowl years.
Now, let us look at Sims' career, including his NCAA productions.
|NCAA and NFL Career|
Similar to Martin, Sims' best year was his senior year. Sims' running attempts and yards pales to Martin's senior year, but if we look at the total touches, then things are not so different. The total touches in 2013 for Sims is 253 touches for 1,496 total yards.
|Martin and Sims|
|Year||League||Martin touches||Total Yards||Year||League||Sims Touches||Total Yards|
In college, Sims has surpassed the 200 touches mark twice like Martin has. That total yards gained in college reveals how productive Sims has been, despite not having similar rushing attempts to Martin.
At the NFL level, Sims was injured in his rookie year, but was also an abysmal runner as he ranked last in yards after contact. The following offseason, Sims added extra bulk to his frame. His frame of mind at the beginning of the season was still tentative as runner because he was not running like he had bulked up. Sims would run towards the sidelines and out of bounds to avoid getting hit. During the season, he finally accepted he bulked up and would stay running in bounds.
Can Sims be a feature back?
Yes. In college, Sims has revealed how high productive he was a featured back, but a feature back not in the same mold as Martin, a bell cow. With the new mentality and bulkier body, Sims can be a very productive feature back in Dirk Koetter's offense, receiving more touches in the air than a traditional bell cow.
There is only one aspect that Sims has not been in a position to do as a running back. That is to be a short down back. Thus, a complimentary back to Sims would be a bowling ball of a back or half back - reminiscant of the days of one WD-40 tandem.