TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back, Jacquizz Rodgers, was used to being the front man, during his collegiate days at Oregon State. Rodgers was so effective, the memory remains in the mind of one-time opposing coach, Dirk Koetter. Today, Koetter enjoys the luxury of sending in plays for Rodgers, as the back up running back fills in for the injured Doug Martin. Playing in his second game as the Bucs feature back, Rodgers ran for a career-high 154 yards against the San Francisco 49’ers, 45 of them coming on one carry that helped set up a Bucs field goal.
In Monday’s exclusive News Channel 8 “Kotter’s Korner” chat, Dan Lucas asked Koetter about the prospect of using both Rodgers and a healthy Martin. Koetter responded that this “good” problem will be dealt with at the right time but the true solution is to find the right amount of carries for both players. Martin, as Koetter put it, remains one of the premier backs in the NFL. But that back-up is not too shabby, either.
Rodgers was not the only reason the Bucs dominated the 49’ers 34-17 on Sunday. Defensive end, Will Gholston was busy as well, recording 5 solo tackles, 1 for a loss, another was a sack of Niners quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. In a turbulent few weeks of injuries on the Bucs defensive line, Koetter praised Gholston’s “steadiness” and his unique style of play, using his long reach to deflect passes, even if he is out of position.
The Bucs offense, missing Martin as well as wide receiver Vincent Jackson (on injured reserve), racked up 513 total yards vs. San Francisco. 96 of those yards on 8 receptions by wide receiver, Mike Evans. Koetter says that Evans and quarterback Jameis Winston are continuing to develop chemistry. But that relationship is further along than people think. Evans caught a pair of touchdown passes from Winston, both on plays that were extended by Winston avoiding the 49’ers defenders in the Bucs backfield. The second touchdown grab was a ball thrown high in the air, at the request of Evans, who pointed upwards for a “jump ball” from Winston. Koetter is keeping perspective when it comes to the Winston/Evans combination. But it is clear that Koetter and the Bucs know that when those two players connect often, good things happen. “Like we say, coaches coach and players make plays,” Koetter said.
Next on the schedule is a date with the Oakland Raiders, this Sunday, at Raymond James Stadium. The Raiders are the best team in the NFL in away games, so far, posting a 4-0 record, in those contests. The next best team? The Bucs with 3 wins on the road. As for the home field, Tampa Bay is 0-2 in its first two games at Raymond James, this season.