NFL NEWS: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs rank near dead last in rushing for the season, but despite the struggles there could be some salvageable names.
Make no mistake about it, there are a number of contributing factors as to why the running game can be anemic as the Bucs have been. Penalties often create more passing downs especially ones like holding that cost the team 10 yards. Sacks, incompletions, turnovers and defensive failures to stall drives are also mitigating factors.
The Bucs, during their first seven games of the season, combined for only 27 points during the first half of those games. Their remaining six? The Bucs were able to score 10 points in the first half of each game with the exception of the Washington game where they produced 13. In other words, the Bucs at no point so far during the regular season were they ever able to produce two first half touchdowns.
Saddest thing about the running attack this year is that if you take away quarterbacks Josh McCown and Mike Glennons combined 149 yards of rushing, you wouldnt even have a combined 1,000 yards from the other backs who ran for the team this season.
The leading rusher of the team, Bobby Rainey has 406 yards for the season on 94 carries and one touchdown followed by Doug Martin who only has two less carries at 273 yards and two TDs. With three games left, it would be challenging enough for Rainey to break 500.
The longest run of the season is by their fullback Jorvorskie Lane, who ran for 54 yards and was only allowed the carry the ball two more times through nine games before being placed on injured reserve.
The only sure name to be returning to the team in 2015 is Charles Sims given head coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Lichts selection in the third round. Rainey and Lane have a shot given their production. Chances are slim for Martin, the often-injured former 1,500 yard rookie rusher, and Mike James, another Greg Schiano holdover.
So who can the Bucs get in the offseason? Well pending Jim Harbaughs status with the San Francisco 49ers and their playoff hopes, Frank Gore could be an option if the Bucs want to spend top dollar and make the immediate impact for the team while helping the developing Sims. Gore, 31, is on the last year of his three year, $19.21 million contract.
DeMarco Murray is another unrestricted free agent for another team on the outside looking in with the Dallas Cowboys, but given his age and his stock, hell likely stay.
The Bucs will need a lot of help in the draft and trading down from a top three pick for more picks could benefit them with extra picks and still come away with first round talent, among them at running back. Two names that could help the Bucs would be Wisconsins Melvin Gordon, whos been compared to Jamaal Charles; or Georgias Todd Gurley, whos been compared to Marshawn Lynch.
Of course, a better offensive line helps too.