Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber had a breakout game against the Green Bay Packers. What can we expect his work load to be moving forward?
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber had himself a day on Sunday. He finished as the Bucs’ leading rusher and receiver, finishing with 143 all purpose yards (there was a reason he was my spotlight player preview before the game). With Doug Martin out with a concussion, the offense leaned on the power, bruising style of Barber to keep the offense as efficient as they could while trying to keep the load off Jameis Winston‘s shoulder, having missed three weeks from injury.
The question moving forward is, will we see a continued increase in snaps for Barber for the remaining four games?
One would think that Martin would get the bulk of the carries once he clears the concussion protocol. However, with the current roster moves under consideration, Dirk Koetter appears to be going with an evaluation movement to see what this team has moving forward rather than continue with the status quo.
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Koetter spoke about Barber in his Monday press conference;
"“We did a pretty good job run blocking – not perfect but we did a pretty good job of run blocking. We left some out there. The best thing Peyton did is he made yards after contact and broke some tackles.When Peyton has gone in there on a limited basis, he has done okay. That, coupled with Doug being out, led to him getting more. We’ve seen it many times – a running back gets into a little bit of a groove and it’s one of those days where he is making yards [so] as long as he can do it efficiently you keep feeding him.We will see (who will be the starter) when we get to that point. Right now, we don’t have that option because Doug is in the protocol still. If he can go out there and duplicate 165 yards rushing every week, you’d do it. Unfortunately, that’s not guaranteed. It’s not quite that easy, but yeah you’d love to.”"
In his limited carries against the Falcons, Barber managed only seven yards on five carries. Now, two of those were one yard scoring plays, so the yards per carry become slightly skewed. However, when Jacquizz Rodgers got his opportunities, he ran three times for twenty-five yards.
One game isn’t enough to unseat Martin as the starter, especially when it appears that the Packers’ run defense wasn’t much for stopping anyone out of the backfield.
That said, Barber has earned himself more opportunities and more snaps for the remainder of the season. The Buccaneers are preparing to take on the Lions who have the nineteenth ranked run defense in the league, allowing 114.9 rush yards per game. Compare that to the Packers who came into Sunday as the eleventh ranked run defense and have now dropped to fourteenth, allowing 111.9.
The stats are similar, but the message remains the same – there will be opportunities on the ground this week.
I don’t believe Barber is the long term answer at running back. In fact, if I had to guess I would say the starting running back for the 2018 Buccaneers isn’t currently on the roster. In any case, it’s time to let Barber take on a larger role to at least see what you have in him moving forward.
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