I feel like there’s a bit of confusion about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ running backs. Charles Sims barely got the ball against the Chicago Bears (and fumbled when he did), and when Peyton Barber got the ball instead I saw a lot of sighs of relief—finally someone who can produce, obviously Sims has failed.
I don’t quite get that response, though. Mostly because, while Barber certainly had a better game than Sims, Barber also has a completely different role. Just because both are nominally playing the running back position doesn’t mean they have the same responsibilities.
Offensive coordinator Todd Monken explained as much today.
"Chuck [Charles Sims] is a guy that we've used on third downs to get the ball in space, that's obvious, and we've used him in other situations running the ball. Quizz [Jacquizz Rodgers] is multi-purpose and Peyton [Barber] is still a young player. They're all good players.”
"Peyton's a good guy in the second half. He's much more of a load. I think as we got going a little bit and [there were] body blows and body blows at the end of the game, both teams were getting tired but who is it that was going to finish? So I think that he's always a good guy to have in short yardage and when you want to finish a game."
So, to make it clear, the Bucs currently have three running backs, each with a distinctive role. Jacquizz Rodgers is the main back, who will carry the ball and can do a decent job as a receiver. Charles Sims is the guy you bring in if you want a change of pace, and on passing downs. And Peyton Barber’s the grinder and short-yardage back, the guy you turn to when you need consistent yards and don’t care about explosive plays.
And, really, all three of those guys are pretty good at those specific tasks. They’re not all-around players, they’re not outstanding at anything, but they fit their roles and do their jobs well. And that’s good enough for a productive offense—especially when Doug Martin returns.