TAMPA, Fla. -- As a new head coach, Tampa Bay’s Lovie Smith still is getting to know his players. But it’s obvious he already has developed a comfort level with his running backs.
“I went in there the other day and I asked them if there was a requirement to being under 5-[foot-]10 to be in this room,’’ Smith said with a laugh.
“We have three running backs that have a 100-yard game on record,’’ Smith said. “That’s hard to say for most teams.’’
But Smith is inheriting a situation where running back might be the deepest position on the roster. Martin entered last season as the starter. When he went down with a shoulder injury, James took over. After James went out with an injury, Rainey took over as the featured back an prospered.
“I like everything about all of them,’’ Smith said. “They can catch the ball, even though they haven’t been used that way. They can run inside of the tackles. They have good quickness and can make you miss. They come to work with a smile on their face every day.’’
And it might not be hard to keep a smile on the faces of all three running backs. Smith has said he plans to use a rotation at that position.
“As far as how many play, Doug Martin’s our starter, but they’ll all play,’’ Smith said. “We’ll let them have their reps.’’