After gaining a respectable 69 yards on 19 carries in the opener versus the Saints, Barber could barely muster a yard per carry versus a tough Eagles defensive front. However, the passing attack took center stage for the second consecutive contest with Ryan Fitzpatrick once again eclipsing the 400-yard mark, so Barber's lack of production wasn't overly noticeable. Nevertheless, with 2018 second-round pick Ronald Jones II in the wings, Barber may need to step up his production Week 3 against the Steelers in order to keep a firm grasp on the No. 1 job.
Barber took five carries for 34 yards and a touchdown in Friday's preseason game against the Lions.
Barber once again proved far more effective than Ronald Jones in the running game, though the rookie made up for his lack of rushing production -- six carries for seven yards -- with a 37-yard gain through the air. Barber got the start and did all his damage on the opening drive, with Jones and Jacquizz Rodgers filling in thereafter. Barber seems to have locked down the Week 1 starting job, but any struggles early in the season could reopen the door for Jones to mount a challenge. The Bucs will travel to New Orleans in Week 1.
Barber is performing like a starting running back so far this preseason, according to coach Dirk Koetter, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Barber has totaled 53 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries through the Buccaneers' first two exhibition outings. He's done so while rookie second-rounder Ronald Jones has managed just 11 yards on his 12 totes. Along with that superior production, Barber's ability in the passing game right now trumps that of Jones, who caught merely 32 passes in three seasons at USC. With Jones still figuring out how to showcase his dynamic ability in the NFL, Barber is seemingly poised to enter the regular season as the team's starting tailback -- a notion Koetter seems comfortable with. In his final five appearances last season, Barber rushed 78 times for 335 yards, showing what he's capable of in an expanded role.
As expected, Barber drew the start before giving way to second-round pick Ronald Jones II after the first two drives, the first which he capped off with a four-yard touchdown. The third-year back was solid in his limited opportunities, tallying a long run of nine yards while showcasing some of the quickness the slimmer physique he showed up to camp with affords him. It was an ideal start to preseason for Barber, who will try to prevent Jones from eating into too many of his touches to start the season. He'll look to continue making his case when he sees the Titans in an Aug. 18 exhibition matchup.
Barber, who played as high as 238 pounds last season, checked into camp at 225 pounds and has been noticeably quicker, Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times reports. "I felt that was one thing I needed to mature on was really taking my weight serious," he said. "It wasn't a lot harder than the past couple of years, but I worked out differently."
The third-year back walked into camp as the No. 1 running back, although the presence of second-round pick Ronald Jones II looms large behind him on the depth chart. Barber relays that he was particularly careful about his diet this past offseason and also made it a point to get his running in at the hottest times of the day, leading to the weight loss. The former Auburn Tiger, who's worked his way up the depth chart after making the Bucs as an undrafted rookie in 2016, looks likely to see a fairly even timeshare in the backfield with Jones to open the season.
|4||9/30/18||@ CHI||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 5|
|6||10/14/18||@ ATL||1:00 pm|
|8||10/28/18||@ CIN||1:00 pm|
|9||11/4/18||@ CAR||1:00 pm|
|11||11/18/18||@ NYG||1:00 pm|
|15||12/16/18||@ BAL||1:00 pm|
|16||12/23/18||@ DAL||1:00 pm|
|2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||15||1||55||223||4.1||44||1||1||10|
|2017||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||4||108||423||3.9||34||3||1||23|
|2018||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||2||2||35||91||2.6||23||0||1||2|
|2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||15||1||5||28||5.6||11||0||0||0||1|
|2017||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||4||16||114||7.1||34||0||1||0||4|
|2018||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||2||2||1||7||7.0||7||0||0||0||1|
|2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||15||3||2.0||1||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2017||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||6||6.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2018||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||2||1||1.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2016||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||15||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2017||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||16||2||1||0||1||0||0||1||0|
|2018||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|