Today, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers re-signed running back Bobby Rainey to a one-year deal, ensuring there’s no drop-off in the run game next season while two key players recover from injuries.
Rainey joined the team in October last year after Doug Martin suffered what would be a season-ending shoulder injury. Mike James, Martin’s replacement, suffered a fractured ankle, effectively making Rainey the starter for the remaining six games, where he performed admirably.
The former undrafted free agent out of Western Kentucky, who began his season with the Cleveland Browns, rushed for 532 yards on 137 carries and five touchdowns, and caught 11 passes for 27 receiving yards and a touchdown.
He made his debut with the Buccaneers during the Monday Night Football game against the Dolphins, rushing for 45 yards on eight carries and a 1-yard touchdown, helping the Bucs win 22-19.
That next week, he put together a spectacular 163-yard rushing performance against the Falcons. He rushed for two touchdowns and caught a receiving touchdown, helping the Bucs win a second-straight game, 41-28. He was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts.
Rainey put together another 100-yard performance against Buffalo, rushing for 127 yards on the ground, including an 80-yard touchdown run.
He finished his season with a 3.9 yards-per-carry average.
While some have said that the Bucs’ backfield may be a bit too crowded with both Martin and James, Rainey’s presence assures neither will be rushed into action when camp rolls around.
The 5-foot-8, 212-pound back’s powerful frame has the ability to handle lots of carries, if needed.
Plus, the Bucs won’t necessarily employ a one-back system like they did under former head coach Greg Schiano.
While in Chicago, Lovie Smith utilized Michael Bush and Marion Barber in relief of primary ball-carrier Matt Forte, along with Cedric Benson, Adrian Peterson (not that one) and Anthony Thomas to complement Thomas Jones.
Also, new offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford had two 1,000-yard rushers during his final season at Oregon, with Maurice Morris and Onterrio Smith rushing for 1,049 and 1,058 yards respectively.