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Tampa 2s’day: Should Jacquizz Rodgers have an increased workload?

Dirk Koetter went to Jacquizz Rodgers down the stretch instead of Doug Martin. Should Rodgers see an increased workload, even with Martin back in the lineup?

Yes

 

By: Ed Greene

 

Let’s be honest with ourselves here, the running game for the Buccaneers hasn’t been stellar in quite a while. Granted, it wasn’t really much of a necessity in some of the recent victories like this past Sunday at San Diego. Doug Martin is the unquestioned starter of the running back crew, but his hamstring injury earlier in the year kept him sidelined for six games. Thus is the reason why Tampa Bay rolled the dice and picked up Jacquizz Rodgers. While his numbers so far are relatively pedestrian, he has shown a glimpse or two of brilliance, namely back-to-back 100+ yard performances against Carolina and San Francisco.
Which is why with the playoffs looming ever so close, you want to make sure that you have as many fresh bodies good to go in the middle of the crucial push. Martin isn’t quite at 100%, and having Rodgers and Peyton Barber backing him takes pressure not only off of Martin, but Jameis Winston as well. There’s nothing wrong with having running backs by committee, especially on third down plays. And there’s a strong chance that the Bucs could ease into the playoffs, and these final four games are important if this young team will get over the hump. I’d go so far as to say to rest Martin for the two games against New Orleans, be the feature back against Dallas, and have equal time between Martin and Rodgers when Carolina comes to town to close the season.
There’s no discounting how valuable Doug Martin has been the last few years. Remember, it was just last year that he was the second leading rusher in the league. But, in the end, this season has proven that the NFL is a pass-first league, and it takes just one play or a wrong move for any player, especially a running back to get put on the shelf. That being said, Tampa Bay should rest Martin when they can, let Jacquizz Rodgers and Peyton Barber do the heavy lifting for a few weeks. If Pewter Nation can secure themselves a spot in the Wild Card, or find themselves in a position to play for one, then go ahead and give opposing defenses a heavy dose of the “Dougernaut”.

No

By: Andy Villamarzo

 

So Martin isn’t quite going off since he’s returned to the lineup back against the Chicago Bears, but you know what? Teams have absolutely respected the Buccaneers’ run game a lot just with him being in the backfield behind Jameis Winston. I mean we’ve got to think about it. What worked last season to give Tampa Bay a top 10 offense? Martin in the backfield and Jameis Winston being able to take advantage on play-action passes and connecting in the passing game just because defenses had to respect the possibility of the run. Yes, I know Martin’s output per game have not been too impressive at all. 33 yards against the Bears bumped up to 63 versus Kansas City and that went up to 87 yards rushing against a very good Seattle front 7 last week.

 

The Buccaneers have a dynamic tandem in Martin and Rodgers, but the coaching staff isn’t going to overreact because the latter of the backs had 29 yards off seven carries for a 4.1 average. I think Koetter should keep Rodgers to the amount of carries he’s getting now because he’s a very good complement and 3rd down option for the offense. Let’s face it, at the beginning of the season, that was the role Charles Sims was playing and Rodgers wasn’t even employed. Because of Sims being out due to injury, Rodgers has now become the switch up back to Martin and its created a steady balance in the run game. The workload should remain the same, however, as Martin needs the 20-plus carries to really get going. He’s the bell cow for the Buccaneers and reducing his touches to get Rodgers more just doesn’t make sense to me.

 

Let’s also not forget, Martin signed a big 5-year, $35.75 million dollar contract extension over the off-season and I’m sure the Glazers wouldn’t be so thrilled to see an investment being used as often as someone they picked up off of free agency during the season. There’s no way anyone in the front office or the coaching staff that could see the upside in regulating Martin’s touches, especially with the kind of money he’s making annually. We are talking about a guy that was second in the NFL in rushing from a year ago and got a big payday. Now since he’s healthy, the Buccaneers must make sure they get every carry they can out of Martin. No reason whatsoever to cut his touches for Rodgers to see more time.

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