Koetter: Buccaneers “contemplating” changes to their running game

Photo by Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire


No one could blame the Buccaneers for giving third-year running back Charles Sims the first opportunity to replace the still-injured Doug Martin as their lead ball carrier.

As offensive coordinator Todd Monken said at the time of the appointment, Sims had earned the opportunity by virtue of the 1,090 all-purpose yards he gained as a runner and pass catcher last year.

Sims has all but squandered the opportunity, though, gaining only 159 total yards on 36 touches over two games, including just 28 yards on 15 carries as a runner Sunday against the Broncos.

As a result, the Bucs are contemplating making some changes, though it’s still too soon to know if those changes will be personnel changes or schematic changes.

“We’re definitely contemplating all of that,Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said Monday. “We definitely just can’t keep doing the same stuff, because that’s not working.’’

The approach the Bucs have taken hasn’t worked because they’ve tried using Sims in much the same way they used Martin, by running him mostly between the tackles. That, though, is not playing to Sims’ strengths.

A change of pace-back, Sims is at his best running off or outside of the tackles on sweeps or tosses and by catching the ball on screens or short dump offs into the flat or over the middle of the field.

If the Bucs are willing to change their scheme, then sticking with Sims as their lead back could still work for them. If not, then a switch to Rodgers would seem to make a lot of sense.

Rodgers is a power back much like Martin and his knowledge of coach Dirk Koetter’s scheme from his Falcons days is strong enough that he should be able to step in and give the Bucs attack a boost and quarterback Jameis Winston some help.

And Winston could really use some help right now. A big part of Winston’s problem, aside from the fact he’s become sloppy with his decision making, is that he’s trying to do too much.

That’s a good sign that, like many others, Winston has lost confidence in Sims’ ability to provide the Bucs with the consistent running threat they need to keep defenses honest and off balance.

There’s no guarantee Rodgers can do that either. Like Sims he’s never been a featured back before. Based on what we’ve seen of Sims, though, it’s worth giving Rodgers a try.

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