The PewterReport.com Roundtable features the opinions of the PR staff as it tackles a Tampa Bay Buccaneers-related topic each week on Wednesday mornings.
This week’s topic: Which Bucs veteran has to step it up in camp?
Scott Reynolds: RB Charles SimsThe Buccaneers re-signed Sims to a one-year deal for the league minimum on the eve of the 2018 NFL Draft, which shows how little sense of urgency there was to bring him back into the fold. Sims has had opportunities to start at running back over the past two years only to disappoint and not live up to the season he had in 2015 with a career-high 529 yards on 107 carries (4.9 avg.), along with 51 catches for 561 yards (11 avg.) and four touchdowns. Sims rushed for 149 yards and one TD on 51 carries (2.9 avg.) in 2016 before having a career-low 95 yards on 21 carries (4.5 avg.) last year, while Jacquizz Rodgers and Peyton Barber each surpassed him on the depth chart and led the Bucs in rushing in 2016 and 2017, respectively.
Sims’ receiving production has even dipped over the last two years with just 24 receptions for 190 yards (7.9 avg.) in 2016 and 35 catches for 249 yards (7.1 avg.) last season. Sims has essentially proven to be a one-trick pony in Tampa Bay over the last couple of seasons as strictly a third-down back. As a reserve running back that leaves him vulnerable as the more versatile a player is the more valuable he becomes. The fact that Rodgers is a better runner and also contributes on special teams as a kick returner and a personal protector on punts could give him the edge over Sims when it comes to making the team. Sims will have to find a role on special teams and shine, in addition to showing improvement as a runner in the preseason.
The Bucs drafted running back Ronald Jones II in the second round, and he and Barber will be the lead backs on first and second downs. The fact that Barber has improved as a receiver also threatens Sims’ roster spot and importance to the team because that means he could also play on third downs. Tampa Bay also added undrafted free agent rookie Shaun Wilson in April and he impressed as a pass-catching back in the OTAs and mini-camp. Wilson is also in the mix to return punts, and possibly kicks. That’s just one more versatile performer Sims will have to beat out in training camp, and he needs to pick it up and start standing out in practice sooner rather than later.