NFL NEWS: Charles Sims
Charles Sims‘ ankle injury from August 12th is forcing the Bucs to search from within the versatility they lost from the backfield.
With Sims’ injury likely to put him out roughly 12-14 weeks and most of the season, the point is clear–head coach Lovie Smith and offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford are looking for a back who can be just as much a threat on the ground as they are through the air.
While Doug Martin‘s status as a starter is not in question, his durability is. Martin rushed for nearly 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns in 319 carries his rookie season. He also caught 49 receptions for 472 yards and a TD. His season was cut short in 2013 after being placed in injured reserve following six games finishing the season with 456 rushing yards and one TD in 319 carries along with 12 receptions for 66 yards.
Drafting Sims in the third round was supposed to help relieve Martin’s workload. The former Houston and West Virginia standout rushed for 3,465 yards and 40 TDs while catching 203 balls for 2,108 yards and 11 TDs in his college career. He topped 1,000 rushing yards rushing for the first time his final year winning the Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the year and being named to the first team in the All-Big 12.
The last two preseason games will determine if any of the other running back can become a pass-catching threat Sims was supposed to be. The two most notable backups are Mike James and Bobby Rainey.
James played in eight games in 2013 rushing for 295 yards in 60 carries while catching 10 receptions for 43 yards before an injury ended his season after eight games. Rainey played in nine games rushing for 532 yards in 137 carries for five TDs while catching 11 receptions for 27 yards and a TD.
In the 16-10 loss against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Sims caught three receptions for 32 yards while James caught one for 20 yards. Jorvorskie Lane made one catch for 14 yards in Saturday’s 20-14 loss against the Miami Dolphins.
While the most likely spell Martin is either James or Rainey, Lane or Jeff Demps will likely make the team based their performance on special teams. If no one can step it up against the Buffalo Bills, then you may end up seeing Martin in a bigger than intended role this year.