Third year running back Dare Ogunbowale has been impressing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to this point in the preseason, resulting in some first team reps.
After back-to-back weeks as a strong performer for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the preseason, the team has rewarded running back Dare Ogunbowale by giving him reps with the first team offense (via Trevor Sikkema). Ogunbowale would be looking at the third down back role as of now, providing relief for Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones.
Heading into training camp, the third down role looked like veteran and former Arians’ running back Andre Ellington. However, the 25 year old Ogunbowale is making his presence felt in Tampa Bay.
As a result, he is syphoning a good chunk of Ellington’s workload and could be the pass catching specialist out of the backfield when week one rolls around for the Buccaneers. As both Barber and Jones are not known for their ability to catch passes out of the backfield, there is a serious niche for Ogunbowale this season in the Buccaneers’ offense.
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Through two preseason games, Ogunbowale leads the Buccaneers in rushing, getting the bulk of carries to this point, with 88 yards rushing on 16 carries. Ellington is second behind Ogunbowale with 29 yards on 10 carries, then undrafted rookie Bruce Anderson has nine yards on four carries.
Friday night against the Miami Dolphins, Ogunbowale recorded three catches for 54 receiving yards out of the backfield. Responsible for the Buccaneers’ longest play of the game, Ogunbowale caught a ball out of the backfield and scampered 41 yards down the field after the catch.
Entering his third season out of Wisconsin, where he backed up Los Angeles Chargers’ running back Melvin Gordon, Ogunbowale has only appeared in four total games for both the Buccaneers and Washington. His contributions on the field as a professional have been mostly on special teams, so Ogunbowale is looking to find his way onto the active roster week one and see his production take a leap forward.
With two preseason games to go, it will be interesting to see if Ogunbowale can hold off Ellington for the Buccaneers’ third down back job or if his production sees a decrease moving forward. Ogunbowale has played himself into great position to not only make the Buccaneers’ 53-man roster, but has also potentially carved himself out a nice role on the offense.