A lot of chatter this training camp in regards to the running back group have been between Peyton Barber and rookie Ronald Jones II. While Peyton Barber has been taking a lot of first team snaps, Jones has been mixed in there as well as both vie for the starting spot. Head Coach Dirk Koetter did say that the team is unlikely to have that three-down back that gets a majority of the workload, mostly because it's just hard to do that in the NFL. He cited the beating players take as the reason for the position's rarity. Running backs have some of the toughest jobs on offense. They're not only asked to run full steam into a mesh of linemen, they are also asked to block in pass protection – often times against players that have a significant size advantage on them.
So odds are Barber and Jones will become somewhat of a tandem – or at least that seems to be the goal. But what about the rest of the group? Jacquizz Rodgers is going into his third year with the Buccaneers and has had a steady camp. Then there is the rookie Shaun Wilson, who has been sidelined the past few practices but returned on Monday. And now, there is Dare Ogunbowale, who the team signed in the middle of camp after running back Dalton Crossan was waived. Ogunbowale spent a week on the Bucs' practice squad last year and he has spent time with the Texans and Redskins. He played collegiately at Wisconsin. He joins linebacker Jack Cichy and defensive tackle Beau Allen as another player out of Madison on Tampa Bay's roster.
On Monday, Coach Koetter highlighted Ogunbowale as the running back that he's seen take the biggest step forward so far during camp, which is impressive considering he's only been here not even two weeks.
"He wasn't with us in OTAs and he's only been with us for a couple of weeks," Koetter said. "From an improvement standpoint, I'm really impressed with how he's picked it up, how he does at running back, and how he plays on special teams. All of those guys are doing fine."
Special teams will be crucial for Ogunbowale to make Tampa Bay's roster. But he's done everything the Bucs have asked him to do and is making a case to be kept around. He's got good hands and his 205-pound frame allows him to solidly run through tackles when he needs to.