Buccaneers GM Jason Licht Seemingly Tips Hand on Running Back Situation
Buccaneers GM Jason Licht may have accidentally given his preference for the 2017 running back position.
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Workouts at the NFL Combine begin on Friday from Indianapolis. Before that, however, all head coaches and general managers speak to the media. For the Buccaneers, that time was yesterday. Wednesday morning, both Jason Licht and Dirk Koetter spoke to the media about the team and their outlook moving ahead.
For the most part it was the typical information given to the media this time of year. They appreciated Winston taking ownership of his poor choice of words, love him but want him to cut down the turnovers. They mentioned that Roberto Aguayo will have competition for his job. Kwon Alexander, as we all already knew, has a bright future.
See? Just the type of stuff we hear in February before the Combine. But, Jason Licht made a couple of comments that may have given away what he is thinking regarding the running back situation.
Take a look at these two tweets from Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times:
Now, these could be meaningless innocuous statements. But, they are potentially a hint at what Licht is thinking.
Does “We’ve checked in” and letting “the process play out” sound like a ringing endorsement of Doug Martin? It doesn’t, and it isn’t one. It isn’t as if Licht doesn’t have reason to be frustrated with Martin. We all know about the suspension. This is not to say that Martin needs to be out of the league over this. Many players have had drug suspensions and it has not ruined them, far from it. That doesn’t mean he has to be back with the Bucs, however.
We’ve talked about this before but it deserves repeating. Doug Martin’s play has been inconsistent at best. He posted two off years sandwiched in the middle of his two strong years. He wasn’t turning heads last year before injuries slowed him down. Tack on the suspension and it wouldn’t be unreasonable for the Bucs to be ready to move on.
Koetter is right, they don’t have to make a decision right now (per Jenna Laine of ESPN). However, let’s say Jacquizz Rodgers returns, as Licht has indicated is a preference, and he is running for a 4.5 yards per carry clip over the first three games of 2017. He has posted good numbers, maybe even a 100 yard performance. Should he automatically give up his position back to Martin? That doesn’t seem fair.
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Judging by the above, it’s possible that Licht prefers Rodgers at this point anyway. Sometimes words tell us a lot, even in February.