TAMPA, Fla. -- We continue our series of position-by-position overviews with the running backs.
Looking back: Starter Doug Martin suffered a season-ending injury in the sixth game of the season. Mike James did a nice job stepping in, but he also suffered a season-ending injury. That left the Bucs turning to Bobby Rainey. He had two big games, but was held in check the rest of the time. Overall, Tampa Bay’s running game didn’t have the consistency it did in 2012, when Martin rushed for more than 1,000 yards as a rookie. There were several reasons for the drop off. First, the run blocking wasn’t consistently good. Second, opposing defenses loaded the box against the run and challenged rookie quarterback Mike Glennon to beat them with the pass.
Looking ahead: New coach Lovie Smith already has made it clear he expects his offense to be able to run the ball. Getting a healthy Martin back is a good first step. And the Bucs suddenly have a lot of depth at running back with James and Rainey. But the real key will be the offensive line, which needs to do a much better job of opening holes than it did last season.