Looking at these Tampa Bay running backs, I don’t have a lot of confidence in any of them. I don’t know that we can count on any one guy getting a big workload.
For most of last year, after all, it was a one-two punch backfield, with Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones (pictured) sharing time. There were only four games all year in which a running back had 15 carries in a game. Jones had some success at times (he was the more explosive of the two) but they never wanted to try him in more of a full-time type role.
And if we factor in Dare Ogunbowale, who played in obvious passing situations, it was really a three-man backfield. There were only four games all year in which a running back was on the field for more than half of the team’s plays. (Jones did it twice, and Barber and Ogunbowale each did it once).
The Bucs just released Ogunbowale, but they’ve got other running backs who could potential contribute at some point. KeShawn Vaughn when he’s ready, and perhaps LeSean McCoy (if he makes the team). Last year, Ogunbowale got on the field for at least 20 percent of their plays in all but one game.
Last year, there was only one stretch all year in which the Bucs were led in overall rushing production by the same running back three games in a row. The team leader bounced around.
The stats for the 48 games by those three running backs are as follows. I’ve got them in descending order by PPR production, and I’ve got Ronald Jones in bold (since he’s the only one of the three who’s still around). The stats come from the Pro-Football-Reference website, which is great for this kind of thing.
|BUCS RUNNING BACKS: most productive games|
|Barber||12||at Jac.||W 28-11||17-44-2||0-0-0||16.4||38%|
|R.Jones||8||at Sea.||L 34-40||18-67-1||2-15-0||16.2||55%|
|Barber||2||at Car.||W 20-14||23-82-1||1-7-0||15.9||67%|
|R.Jones||11||at Atl.||W 35-22||12-51-1||3-16-0||15.7||50%|
|R.Jones||4||at LAR||W 55-40||19-70-1||1-12-0||15.2||49%|
|Dare O.||6||Car.||L 26-37||1-3-1||3-22-0||11.5||58%|
|Barber||5||at N.O.||L 24-31||8-32-1||1--1-0||10.1||35%|
|Dare O.||13||Ind.||W 38-35||0-0-0||5-48-0||9.8||29%|
|Dare O.||8||at Sea.||L 34-40||1-1-1||1-12-0||8.3||28%|
|Barber||4||at LAR||W 55-40||9-19-1||0-0-0||7.9||26%|
|R.Jones||5||at N.O.||L 24-31||9-35-0||2-21-0||7.6||33%|
|Dare O.||1||S.F.||L 17-31||0-0-0||4-33-0||7.3||38%|
|Dare O.||15||Hou.||L 20-23||0-0-0||3-34-0||6.4||37%|
|R.Jones||7||at Ten.||L 23-27||11-35-0||1-17-0||6.2||26%|
|Barber||14||at Det.||W 38-17||10-17-0||2-23-0||6.0||28%|
|R.Jones||14||at Det.||W 38-17||11-23-0||1-26-0||5.9||45%|
|Dare O.||9||Ariz.||W 30-27||0-0-0||3-24-0||5.4||27%|
|Dare O.||3||NYG||L 31-32||0-0-0||3-23-0||5.3||24%|
|Dare O.||4||at LAR||W 55-40||1-0-0||3-16-0||4.6||28%|
|Dare O.||5||at N.O.||L 24-31||1--4-0||2-27-0||4.3||32%|
|Dare O.||10||N.O.||L 17-34||2-0-0||3-10-0||4.0||43%|
|Barber||7||at Ten.||L 23-27||10-20-0||1-8-0||3.8||35%|
|Dare O.||12||at Jac.||W 28-11||1-0-0||2-12-0||3.2||30%|
|Barber||11||at Atl.||W 35-22||11-32-0||0-0-0||3.2||23%|
|Dare O.||14||at Det.||W 38-17||1-3-0||1-13-0||2.6||28%|
|Dare O.||2||at Car.||W 20-14||0-0-0||1-9-0||1.9||23%|
|Barber||8||at Sea.||L 34-40||4-15-0||0-0-0||1.5||12%|
|Dare O.||11||at Atl.||W 35-22||1-12-0||0-0-0||1.2||20%|
|Dare O.||7||at Ten.||L 23-27||1--2-0||1-3-0||1.1||33%|
|R.Jones||2||at Car.||W 20-14||4-9-0||0-0-0||.9||12%|
|R.Jones||12||at Jac.||W 28-11||6-8-0||0-0-0||.8||28%|
|Dare O.||16||Atl.||L 22-28||1-4-0||0-0-0||.4||23%|
For 2020, Bruce Arians says Jones will be the opening day starter, so I would expect him (Jones, not Arians) to be the team’s most productive back in September. If there’s going to be a back here who takes over and puts together a string of decent games in the second half of the season, that would probably more likely be Fournette. For drafting purposes, I don’t see a big difference between the two.