Ward Is The Secret To Bucs’ Running Game

April 11th, 2010

The Bucs were disappointing in the running game last year. Even Joe could see that.

Oh, sure, they had positive spurts with Cadillac Williams. But when the Bucs ran effectively last year, it was when Derrick Ward got the rock, too.

Woody Cummings of the Tampa Tribune breaks down the running game for the Bucs and details that when Ward got touches, the Bucs pounded the ball.

The Bucs ran for more than 120 yards in one of the five games in which Ward ran the ball 10 times or more and ran for more than 130 yards in two of the others. Not only that, but they won one of those games – on the road at Seattle – and nearly won another – on the road at Miami.

That point hasn’t been lost on Bucs coach Raheem Morris, who along with general manager Mark Dominik expects to see a lot more of Ward this year.

“We’ve got to find ways to make Derek a more productive player this year,” Morris said recently. “We have to do a better job all around of getting him more opportunities.”

Listen, you want Ward to get more opportunities? It’s quite simple: give him the ball!

Interestingly, last week when talking to the Fabulous Sports Babe on WHBO-AM 1040, eye-RAH! Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune said he believes the Bucs will look for a scatback in the latter rounds of next week’s draft because — in Kaufman’s words — Ward, Williams and Graham are all the same, in other words, not that fleet of foot.

8 Responses to “Ward Is The Secret To Bucs’ Running Game”

  1. Kirk Says:

    Enjoying my coffee and trying to clear the fog of a night of Caybrew and good company. The Buccaneers are in dire need of a strong, tough running game. Our young (bust in waiting?) QB is going to need some serious help staying alive. Seeing as there are no real chance of finding one through free agency, one must found through the draft. I think Derrick Ward was a good acquisition, a good full back and some kick ass pulling guards would be nice. Here’s hoping for a miracle.

  2. Jerrjenn2 Says:

    And a blocking TE….

  3. Mike G. Smith Says:

    This post is crazy. Anybody who was at most of the games, watching the bucs try and play football, would see that the problem was the 3 running back system. What I mean is, the bucs would give each running back a series of turns (I.e.- ward would get the first offense 4down, caddy would get the next offensive series, and Graham getting the third series). So if one running back got going (mainly Caddy), it didn’t matter as much as it should. The next running back would be put in and do nothing (mainu Ward). Caddy is a top starting running back and the team needs to use him as one. Even though he didn’t get the ball as much as he should have, he was still in top contention for being the come-back player of the year. ( unfortuantly he has no chance in winning because of Tom Brady comming back off of injury). So in clossing, use caddy as your #1 running-back, with ward being more of a pass catching Back in the backfield, and Graham being more of a blocking/short yardage/backup to caddy. Graham is a great #2 runningback option. Our running game is not the problem for the 2010-11 season, protect the quarterback, draft for defense/blocking TE/and a decent WR/and help for the OL and give the team a fee more years and the Bucs will be contenders. And Caddy will be a force to be reckoned with—- just get him the damn ball and start opening up the run game through better blocking and a decent passing GM.

    Mike G. Smith

  4. Tom Says:

    I swear that guy in the Bucs FO that keeps spouting off to the local writers about how Ward needs the ball, which creates these worthless stories must be in some hot water over that signing. Every time I hear this I cringe.

    Did no one see the guy play last year? He was horrible. He was not good. He didn’t merit half of the 100+ attempts he got last year, certainly not more. But hey, here’s a genius idea, lets give him the ball MORE. That should solve things. Last year he had a sterling 3.4 ypc, maybe he can average 3.2 next year if we double his workload. Then we can throw to Clayton on half of our plays and be the worst offense in the modern history of the NFL.

    “We’ve got to find ways to make Derek a more productive player this year,” Morris said recently.

    I’m pretty sure Tom Cable is saying the same thing about Jamarcus Russell right now…good to know Ward is in good company.

  5. Tom Says:

    Correction: 3.6 ypc last year for Ward – 3.4 is what he will average next year, before being released in 2011.

  6. drdneast Says:

    Wow, Morris is gtetting smarter. It only took him to the offseason to figure out if thge Bucs run the ball more (especially with Ward) they would win more games. Gee (TOM) you figure a little over 100 carries over the course of a season (7 carries a game) is a good gauge to judge a runningback. The Bucs have a very good FB in Askew if he would stay healthy for a season. Same with Graham. As much as everyone loves him (count me in) he has missed chunks of games in the last two seasons due to injury. Neither Winslow or Stevens want to block. I can’t tell you how many times the both of them took off last year when one or the other should have stayed in and blocked a blitzing linebacker. There was a sound tightend on the practice squad last year from Boston College who has good hands and probably isn’t to much of a prima donna to block. Hopefully we will see more of him this year. If Sears returns to form this year (which I am betting he does) the run blocking should be much improved.

  7. Mr. lucky Says:


    I think I wrote that identicaal pos of yours in 2008 before the season – Then Olsen the irregular took over…

  8. Mr. lucky Says:

    @Tom – I agree that the 3-back rotation was CRAP; pure and simple BS.

    But the dunderhead of a coach let his OC start games with pass, pass, pass – I forgot which game it was but on the first series Freeman throws a pick and the Bucs were down 7-0 in 2 minutes. And that game was after the previous week’s 4 INT game!

    That’s one of the main reasons’ I get so annoyed at everyone clamouring for a WR – get the running game going first – THEN pass the ball. Look at the NJ Jets last year!