Buccaneers: Comparing the current team to the 2002 champions

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 10: Jameis Winston
CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 10: Jameis Winston /
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ARLINGTON, TX – DECEMBER 18: Doug Martin /


2002: Michael Pittman, Mike Alstott, and Aaron Stecker

Michael Pittman came to the Bucs in free agency prior to the 2002 season and played in all sixteen games, starting fifteen, and posted 204 carries, 718 yards (3.5 yards/carry), and one touchdown. He added 59 receptions for 477 yards.

Being the lead back in mainly a running back by committee role with Mike Alstott he did not have a single 100 yard game until the Super Bowl.

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Mike Alstott played in all sixteen games starting nine of them and amassed 148 carries for 548 yards (3.8 yards/carry) with five touchdown, and 35 receptions for 242 yards and two touchdowns.

Earning his sixth in a row and final Pro Bowl selection, he achieved one 100 yard game during the season.

Third string running back Aaron Stecker played in all sixteen games but only started in one, rushing 28 times for 178 yards (6.2 yards/carry) with no touchdowns, and thirteen receptions for 69 yards, and was mainly only a factor in the return game.

The 2002 running game accounted for 378 carries (4.5 yards/carry) for 1440 yards and six touchdowns with 107 receptions for 788 yards and two touchdowns, for a total of 42% of the offensive yardage production and 21% of the offensive touchdown production.

2017 – Doug Martin, Jacquizz Rodgers, Charles Sims, and Jeremy McNichols

During the 2016 season the Bucs used a total of six different running backs and couldn’t ever really get the running game going.

Doug Martin being suspended the first three games of the 2017 season means that Jacquizz Rodgers, Charles Sims, and rookie fifth round draft pick Jeremy McNichols will most likely start out as the first through third string running backs.

Last season, the running backs for the Bucs managed 393 carries (Martin – 144) (3.95 yards/carry) for 1,419 yards (Rodgers – 560) and seven (Martin – 3) touchdowns with 66 receptions (Sims – 24) for 548 yards (Sims – 190) and one touchdown (Sims), for a total of 34% of the offensive yardage and 22% of the offensive touchdown production.

With the drafting of McNichols and seeing the numbers he put up in college the hope is that they can have an all-purpose running back who can stay healthy enough to be a factor in the run game.

Since Martin and Sims have missed several games in their careers with injuries, and Rodgers has never been that full work load back during his career.