This week the Tampa Bay Buccaneers added veteran pass-catching RB Andre Ellington. His experience in Arians’ offense will be a huge advantage and help in a running back unit that has failed to impress in recent seasons under the Koetter regime.
Last season the Bucs featured back was former UDFA RB Peyton Barber, who collected 871 yards and 5 TD’s on 234 carriers. He was knocking on the door of the 1,000-yard mark with 963 all-purpose yards.
Even though those number don’t quite jump off the stat sheet, he definitely earned every yard he gained, as Tampa Bay’s run blocking left much to be desired. PFF ranks Barber as “Above Average” for a ranking of 67.2, and they ranked the total offensive line at no. 20 overall.
Even with the addition of Ellington to a running back corp that includes Barber and the troubled second year pro Ronald Jones, it won’t be enough. Simply put, there has to be better and more consistent play from the offensive line before you can expect to see consistent production out of the backfield.
Even though the Bucs O-line isn’t scaring anyone, it does have a stud in Ali Marpet at Guard. Even though he isn’t a fan favorite, it looks like Donovan Smith will be a Buc for 2019 as well.
There are questions, though, on the line, mainly in Demar Dotson, Caleb Benenoch, and if second year pro Alex Cappa can prove himself as a capable starter.
Is the talent level between those three running backs enough for the 2019 season if the O-line production increases? Maybe, but the addition of a bonafide starter wouldn’t hurt.