The Mystery of Bobby Rainey’s Lack of Respect


With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Bobby Rainey gets no respect. Rodney Dangerfield’s famous quote could not better summarize the 27-year-old’s current situation with the coaching staff. After Martin and Mike James went down with season-ending injuries, Rainey finally got an opportunity to prove his worth and even though there were some dud games, he actually gave the running game some considerable life.

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Under the new Lovie Smith regime this season, it’s understandable that they would look to see what they had in Martin. However, week after week, the Muscle Hamster didn’t prove anything, failing to eclipse the 50-yard mark once and making a minimal impact in the passing game. All the signs pointed to a running back change, but the coaching staff stubbornly stuck with Martin. It was frustrating to watch, but could you imagine how Rainey must have felt?

In Week 8, Martin suffered an ankle injury which paved the way once again for Rainey’s return to the starting lineup. And, surprise, surprise, the Western Kentucky product proved that he should be given the job as the primary back, rushing for 87 yards on 19 carries. After the impressive game, it seemed as though Rainey was finally being given his long-awaited respect, right? Wrong.

In the Bucs’ very next game against the Atlanta Falcons, Rainey received six carries compared to the eight given to rookie Charles Sims. Look, I have made my admiration for Sims very clear before. But here’s the deal: Sims is the future (hopefully), Martin is the past and Rainey is the present.

Rainey has gone through some bad moments. I know. I remember the two fumbles in that embarrassing loss to the Falcons earlier in the season. I have heard the rumors about the coaching staff believing that Rainey isn’t starting running back material. But, until Sims becomes acclimated with the speed of the game, Rainey needs to be the guy receiving the lion’s share of the carries. Who knows, it may… now, hear me out… pay off.

Look at the Baltimore Ravens. After the team was left wondering who they were going to turn to at the running back position following the Ray Rice situation, Justin Forsett came through with one solid performance after another. Forsett, who, mind you, has a similar build to Rainey, was actually given an opportunity to prove why he should be the bellcow back and he literally ran with it. At first, the Ravens made it a game-by-game experiment, but eventually, the organization came to their senses and saw what they had in the 29-year-old back.

The Bucs organization has plenty of problems to address this season and beyond. However, when there is a solution, albeit a temporary one, staring you right in the face, what more needs to be done?