TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht told ESPN's Dan Graziano that the Bucs are leaning toward a committee approach at running back during Doug Martin's suspension the first three games of the season.
Here's how the group of the running backs looks so far in training camp and how they can be utilized to fill the void left by Martin:
Rodgers is the Bucs' most versatile back. If you were to name a starter for when Martin is out, it would be him. He is powerful between the tackles and can serve as a first and second-down back. He has also shown he can be a very good third-down back. They love his toughness and his vision.
"Quizz is no-nonsense, downhill," said running backs coach Tim Spencer, who pointed out that Rodgers dropped six or seven pounds this offseason. "He's gotten his weight down a good bit. He's way quicker than he was last year, explosive."
Rodgers has been getting a fairly significant amount of reps with the first-team offense so far in training camp. However, don't expect to see him touch the ball 30 times like he did against the Carolina Panthers last season, even if he is very physically sturdy.
"Quizz is stout. He's a rock," Spencer said. "I can show you film where he blocks D-line guys. You're just not gonna run that guy over. He's a plug."
An undrafted free agent last season, Barber wound up seeing action in 15 games last season, including a start. He finished with 223 yards on 55 rushes with a touchdown, averaging 4.1 yards per carry. He has a similar frame to Martin and runs hard between the tackles.
"I like Peyton a lot," said Spencer. "You don't realize he's 233 pounds. He's a big young man. He's a short stature. He runs low to the ground [and] works his butt off. ... That guy's a load. He's a hard-nosed, tough player."
Barber is best suited for first and second down at this point in his career, but now that he's learned the offense, the Bucs feel they can trust him more on third down. He had a couple nice catches Sunday but is still working on protection.
Head coach Dirk Koetter has been careful about pigeonholing players into specific roles this time of year, believing they should be out to prove they can do as much as possible.
Koetter did say this about Sims: "At the very least, at the very least, Charles is a really good third-down back. He's great in protection, really good on the perimeter, an excellent receiver, and you saw that today. He got loose in the flat a couple times, and he can do something with it once he gets out there."
Sims is capable of running on first and second down, but he shines in a third-down, specialty role. If there's a back who can line up wide and be a factor in the intermediate and even deep passing game, it's Sims, who's got a career average of 10 yards per catch.
He's had some injuries in his three years in Tampa, but when he's healthy, he can be a real asset. In 2015, when Martin finished the season with the second-most rushing yards in the league, Sims had 1,090 all-purpose yards.
A fifth-round draft pick in 2017, McNichols spent the offseason recovering from shoulder surgery but has been a full participant in training camp. On Sunday, in 7-on-7s, he had a really nice diving catch in the flat with the first-team offense, flying by Kwon Alexander. For the most part, McNichols' reps have come with the third-team units. That could change as camp progresses.
Sunday was he first significant work he's gotten in team periods in camp. He has some ground to make up because he was out, and because he's a rookie still learning the offense. He can be a serious threat for the third-down back spot.
"I like the fact that he can catch the ball," Spencer said. "So he doesn't look out of place when you move him out wide or you move him into the slot. He's caught a lot of deep balls. He's able to do the things underneath that you'd like to do 'outside the box,' so-to-speak ..."