Name the Tampa Bay Buccaneers running backs right now. When did you say Bobby Rainey’s name? Was it after Doug Martin and Charles Sims? Be honest. If it was, you’re not alone. Whenever Bucs fans and analysts talk about the team’s backfield, the first two questions are centered around whether or not Martin will have a bounce-back season and how Sims will fare in his second year in the league. But where’s the love for Rainey?
Look at last year’s numbers for Buccaneers running backs. Rainey was second on the team in rushing yards (406), behind Martin (494) who needed a breakout performance in the last game of the season to overtake him. Mind you, Rainey reached his yardage mark with 40 less carries than the Muscle Hamster. In 2013, Rainey led the team in rushing yards (532) and touchdowns (5).
Based on statistics alone, Rainey has been the best running back on the Bucs for the last two seasons and it’s not really that close. So, why is he the odd man out going into the 2015 season? It’s the question that I have asked myself time and time again. Is it because he’s considered fumble-prone? Is it because he’s seen as undersized and unable to handle the bulk of the work?
"Based on statistics alone, Rainey has been the best running back on the Bucs for the last two seasons and it’s not really that close."
In 2013, Rainey had nine more touches (148) than Martin and only fumbled once. The Muscle Hamster had two. The fumble concerns are overblown. Listed at 5-foot-8 and 205 pounds, Rainey isn’t a pushover. His build is by no means similar to that of Adrian Peterson or teammate Sims, but he can take on a majority of the carries. Just look at what
did with the Baltimore Ravens last season. Rainey may not replicate Forsett’s output, but we’ll probably never give him an opportunity to try.
The Buccaneers are giving Martin every opportunity to succeed as they figure out whether or not they will try re-signing him after this season. They have also invested a lot to see Sims turn into their running back of the future. As a result, Rainey becomes an afterthought in the backfield.
Maybe the tide turns at some point in 2015 and Rainey gets another opportunity to prove his worth. But, in the end, it doesn’t matter and that’s truly unfortunate.
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