We won’t know for sure until Sunday but to hear offensive coordinator Todd Monken tell it, Charles Sims will get the first chance to replace Doug Martin as the Buccaneers lead running back.
Given Sims success a year ago (158 touches, 1,090 yards, four touchdowns), it’s the logical choice. You have to wonder, though, if the change to Sims will spark a change in offensive philosophy.
The Bucs have been more or less a run-first oriented team with Martin in the lineup and wisely so. Martin is a tackle breaker who makes a good chunk of his yards (650 last year) after contact.
Sims is a completely different kind of runner. He carries the ball in more of an upright style, which makes him an easier target for would be tacklers, particularly when he runs between the tackles.
As a result, the Bucs run Sims outside a lot, and their primary objective with him is to get him the ball in space, particularly as a pass catcher. That’s where the change in scheme may come.
The Bucs ran the ball 455 times last year while throwing it 312 times. That ratio was not expected to change this year but if Sims becomes the primary back it may have to.
Sims proved a year ago he can be an effective runner, at least when he’s averaging six carries per game. What makes him truly special, though, is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield.
That’s the strength the Bucs may start to lean on more so don’t be surprised if the Bucs game plan, at least when Sims is in the lineup, becomes a little more pass heavy.