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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Barber makes strong case for role as Buccaneers lead back

Roy Cummings

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Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber says he can do a little bit of everything, but that’s not really true. As he proved on Sunday, Barber can do a lot of everything.

Barber stepped in for a concussed Doug Martin as the Bucs lead back during the Bucs overtime loss to the Packers on Sunday and had the kind of breakout game that could force the Bucs to re-think his role in the offense.

A week after he ran for his first two NFL touchdowns, Barber ran 23 times behind a makeshift offensive line for 102 yards and tacked on another 41 yards by catching all four of the passes thrown his way.

The 100-yard rushing effort was the first for the Bucs since late last season and it came as a result of some good work from the offensive line and Barber, coach Dirk Koetter said.

“It all starts with the offensive line,’’ Koetter said. “We run blocked really well today and got some movement up front and (Barber) was able to get a head of steam going off of that.

 “And then, Peyton is a downhill runner, and what he did today was he did an excellent job of running downhill and he made some nice yards after contact today.’’

 An undrafted second-year pro out of Auburn, Barber is a player the Bucs have considered as a potential every-down back since they signed him off the street two summers ago.

The presence of Doug Martin, Charles Sims and Jacquizz Rodgers has kept him from the getting an extended look but with this season all but lost the Bucs no longer have an excuse not to look deeper into his abilities.

What that might mean for Martin is hard to know. Martin is still the most talented back the Bucs have but if Barber can string a few games together like the one he had Sunday that line of thinking could change.

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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