THE PESSIMIST: Running Game Is WorthlessDecember 15th, 2008
Twelve stinkin’ yards. That’s the longest run by a Bucs running back in the past three key division games against New Orleans, Carolina and Atlanta.
The Bucs backfield couldn’t scare Dexter Jackson.
But forget the stats for a minute and focus on what’s going on with the Bucs rushing attack (if you can even use the word attack for something so weak).
- Tampa Bay rarely earns positive yardage in the red zone.
- The Bucs have no short yardage threat (except on 1st down).
- Their breakaway threat is a nearly 39-year-old quarterback with a bad calf.
- Defenses have gone from daring the Bucs to throw to challenging them to run.
Warrick Dunn is a great back whose time has passsed. He can show some flashes and protect the ball, but his role should be that of change-of-pace back used sparingly to keep him fresh. It’s obvious the season grind and 15 touches a game is more than he can physically handle.
Cadillac Williams said his whole body is sore and he’s not nearly 100 percent recovered from his knee injury 15 months ago, according to FOX Sports announcers’ comments during Sunday’s game at Atlanta.
So somebody please explain how the Bucs are better with healthy, explosive Michael Bennett in San Diego? Chucky and Bruce Allen shortchanged Bucs fans by cutting Bennett, rather than baggage handlers Josh Johnson and Dexter Jackson.
Sure, Earnest Graham was lost with a knee injury in November. But what about the Bucs overrated offensive line? Nobody can accuse them of consistenly blowing open holes in these last three games, all critical division contests.
Speaking on the Bucs Radio Network pregame show Sunday, offensive lineman Donald Penn said the Bucs O-line is “a top-5 line in the NFL.” Yeah, nice try, Donald.
Whether the Bucs’ O-line is top-5, top-10 or simply topless, the Bucs won’t win a playoff game with their worthless running game.