RB Peyton Barber
Philadelphia shut down Peyton Barber last week. On 16 carries, Barber gained only 22 yards. His longest run of the day was a seven-yard scamper which felt more like a 20-yard gain with how the rest of his day went.
The rest of the running backs haven’t received much of a look yet. Shaun Wilson gets a handful of touches a game and Jacquizz Rodgers has 11 total touches this season. Rodgers was the only Bucs running back to rush for a first down against Philadelphia.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ronald Jones has been a healthy scratch for the past two weeks which puts all of the pressure on Barber. Head coach Dirk Koetter gave him the keys, and he hasn’t been able to start the ignition yet. If he can flick the switch and prove to be a number one back, the Buccaneers offense immediately becomes a well-rounded, unstoppable machine.
The Buccaneers have proven that they can win a shootout, but it would be nice to control the time of possession battle. Ryan Fitzpatrick has managed to connect on deep passes down the field, but he won’t be able to keep up this historic pace for much longer.
Last season, Tampa’s inability to run the football was a massive problem. It has been masked thus far due to Fitzpatrick’s stellar play. Against the Steelers, the lack of a running game could come back to bite the Bucs.
The Steelers defense is vulnerable against the run through two weeks. Pittsburgh ranks 30th in the league in rushing yards allowed (308). There’s an opportunity for Barber to have a bounce-back performance.