Fantasy Football: Chalk Talk with Bucs’ Bobby Rainey

Bobby Rainey
bobby rainey

“Tampa Bay Buccaneers Best vs. St. Louis Rams”
skywayshoutout.com

Tampa Bay Buccanneers’ RB Bobby Rainey lit up the St. Louis Rams’ defense Sunday and captured the hearts of fantasy football owners everywhere, but there’s more to know about the diminutive running back out of Western Kentucky.

The Beginning

Bobby Rainey went undrafted during the 2013 NFL Draft only to be signed by the Baltimore Ravens shortly thereafter. Rainey made the Ravens’ final 53-man roster, but the team released him in the beginning stages of the 2013 season. He then landed on his feet when the Cleveland Browns claimed him off waivers, and he looked to have a clear path to playing time in Cleveland.  He was released shortly after arriving. Rainey’s next stop was in Tampa Bay with the Buccaneers. In Tampa, he’s finally earned a chance to show his skills.

Those skills didn’t disappoint this past weekend.

Rainey filled in as the starting back when Doug Martin was a late scratch with a knee injury. He proved his worth with 144 rushing yards on 22 carries and added three receptions for 30 yards as the Buccaneers went on to beat the Rams. Lets take a closer look at Rainey’s success.

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Buccaneers are lined up in a 21 package with Josh McCown under center and Rainey in an I formation. Rams have eight defenders in the box while the Buccaneers have seven blockers, ideally McCown should have checked out of this play call because of the stacked box.

 

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As Rainey gets the hand-off you can see the left side of the line gets pushed off the ball, letting the Rams defensive line get penetration into the backfield. Rainey displays good footwork and vision to avoid the congestion and hit the cut back lane.

 

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The Rams defenders do a good job of shedding their blockers and prevent Rainey from having a big gain, holding him to only a four-yard gain.

 

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The Buccaneers are in a 12 personnel set with Rainey in an I formation, once again the Rams have stacked the box.

 

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Rainey receives the hand off over the left tackle and tight end; there is a small crease that opens up because the right tackle moves his defender out.

 

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The offensive line does a great job of clearing out space on this play. The highlight here is Rainey taking what the defense gives him and not trying to hit a home run by bouncing the run outside instead he is following his blocks and hitting the crease that presents itself.

 

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As the defender sheds the would be blocker, Rainey has the vision to see a cut back lane while the defender is still off balance, also showing good balance and footwork to hurdle his own teammate.

 

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As Rainey hurdles the defender, Rodney McLeod (No. 23) is there for the tackle. Another highlight of what Rainey does well is you see that contact is made 4 1/2 yards past the line of scrimmage or 2 1/2 yards short of the first down.

 

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As this same play progresses, Rainey pushes the defender an additional two yards coming up about a half yard short of the first down. This shows Rainey’s strength for such a small running back.

 

Closing thought

Rainey is a small running back that plays big with impressive footwork and a slightly above-average burst. His combination of speed and vision presents a game-breaking threat at any given time. Rainey’s downfall may ultimately be his strength and toughness — as seen above, he has enough strength to fall forward after runs, but you wont see him break too many tackles. Mike James subbed in on majority of passing downs so that leaves me questioning his pass blocking skills.

Martin is still the starter, according to head coach Lovie Smith, and Martin is expected to play Thursday night against the Falcons. With the performance Rainey had this past Sunday, he may have earned himself a share of this backfield, whether that is a 60/40 split in Martin’s favor, or a 50/50 split, that remains to be seen. Keep in mind, Martin was not handpicked by the current head coach and they also drafted Charles Sims this year. This is a fluid situation for dynasty owners and something to monitor as the season progresses.

–Eric/@FFPrimeTime

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