Tampa Bay Buccaneers

3-Headed Monster Emerging in Bucs' Backfield

Doug Martin, Charles Sims and Bobby Rainey have proven to be a challenge for opposing defenses.

Through the first five games of the 2015 season, the Buccaneers have enjoyed a high level of production from all three of their running backs - Doug Martin, Charles Sims and Bobby Rainey.

Martin has 405 rushing yards so far, the ninth-most in the league despite sitting out a week on a bye. He has picked up 100 yards or more in each of his past two games and was named the NFL's Ground Player of the Week for his performance against the Jaguars in Week 5. Sims, who's carried the ball 37 times compared to Martin's 90, is second on the team in receptions and receiving yards.

In the Bucs' victory over Jacksonville, Martin and Sims combined for nearly 300 yards of total offense.

Rainey's impact has been mostly on special teams, but it has been significant. He was named the NFC's Special Teams Player of the Week in Week 5 for his success returning punts, averaging over 28 yards per return. He has also handled the Bucs' kick returns, averaging 29.9 yards per attempt.

All three backs bring different things to the table, Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter said, but all three are capable of handling the team's routine plays, too.  

"In the Jacksonville game, Bobby and 'Chuck' [Charles Sims] complemented each other very well," Koetter said. "Doug is a hit the hole fast [runner]. He has moves, he has speed, but he's going to hit it and be a physical runner. Chuck is going to dance around a little bit more, has a nice burst, maybe a little bit more outside.  Other than the plays we tag specific, they both have to do everything and so does Bobby. When they play in practice they rotate through everything."

Rainey has carried the ball just three times this season. But should the Bucs' No. 3 running back have number be called, he presents a challenge for opposing defenses. 

"The teams that I've been around, you need at least two [running backs]. We feel real confident that if Bobby [Rainey] has to go in as our third – you've all seen Bobby before. When I was in Atlanta last year, our defensive coaches feared Bobby Rainey. They weren't sure they could tackle Bobby. They thought Doug would just try to run them over, but they were scared Bobby would make them miss."

The Bucs' running backs brought home two weekly awards against a Jaguars run defense that was rated as one of the league's best heading into Week 5. The Redskins have struggled against the run, allowing an average of 118.2 yards per game. But the Bucs' runners have done enough to warrant extra attention from Washington, and Koetter knows that the Redskins will be focused on whoever's lined up behind Jameis Winston. 

"Every defense in the United States at every level says they try to stop the run," Koetter said. "There isn't a defensive coach out there that doesn't say that. Washington is very capable. That front seven is plenty stout."

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