It’s The Blocking Stupid

November 27th, 2010

During winter, Joe was not subtle when he hinted that Cadillac Williams may have lost the tread on his tires and that the Bucs’ lack of rushing was not due to the lack of an offensive line.

While LeGarrette Blount has been a major find for the Bucs rushing attack, Stephen Holder of the St. Petersburg Times suggests it has been the play of the offensive line, not so much Blount, that has resulted in a reborn Bucs rushing attack.

“It wasn’t all Cadillac early on,” Olson said. “Schematically, we’ve simplified some things a little bit. He had some looks early on where, some of it was unfortunate luck and (defenders) were in the hole.”

That certainly sounds familiar. There was not much room to run on many occasions. Of course, Blount has also encountered some similar issues and “made his own hole,” as Olson admits. But Williams was the victim of some offensive line miscues. Those miscues appear to have been eliminated now that coaches have made the necessary changes.

“If you (turn) on the film and watch us, you’ll see it’s night and day,” he said. “I think the offensive line is playing as one now. There’s lanes and alleys there. You have to give those guys up front a lot of credit because those guys are doing a heck of a job.”

Joe has long stated there were holes to run through for Bucs running backs. It appears those holes are there more consistently now.

Whatever is working, don’t stop. Joe is a firm believer in not fixing something that is not broken.

12 Responses to “It’s The Blocking Stupid”

  1. Mr. Lucky Says:


    Trueblood and Faine weren’t doing a good job up front. We’re running the same plays but we’ve got better plays on the line now…so.



    I think you mean Vincent and Trueblood.

  3. BamBamBuc Says:

    What Joe hasn’t long stated was that there “wasn’t much room to run on many occasions”, that there were “defenders in the hole”, that “Williams was the victim of offensive line miscues”. It seems the whole point of the article is that the O-line wasn’t doing it’s job as well as Joe made it seem, and that Caddy was not entirely to blame for the poor rushing performance early on, running on two “man made knees” or not. I’m glad they’ve got some of the O-line issues ironed out, and the running game is working. I like the way Blount runs and think he should be the starter with Caddy in on 3rd downs and passing situations, with the occasional run.

  4. Pete 422 Says:

    You can’t have a good running game without good line play. Duh…..

    Simplifying things probably has gone a long way.

    Caddy didn’t look like he lost a step on that 45 yard run against the kittens.

  5. Lucas Jackson Says:

    The difference is Blount. He is beating the first tackler (where Caddy did not). He is also gaining way more yards after contact. The line play is not the reason and the statistics back that up.

  6. Capt.Tim Says:

    Lucas- I respectfully beg to differ. The line play has improved greatly in the last 3-4 games. And our running game has improved also! Pete scaled back on the Zone blocking during the running game, and line is opening more holes. We seemed to be a step slow when we zone blocked on running plays. Blount doest need an avenue- just an opening! Working much faster together now, and creating gaps!

  7. BamBamBuc Says:

    Agreed, Tim. The “coincidence” of the O-line changes and Blount getting more time have really disguised the fact that the O-line wasn’t doing much of anything the first four games. It was all on Freeman’s shoulders, even on pass plays. His scrambling saved the O-line from giving up many more sacks than they did. Caddy had no lanes, not even many “openings”. I’ll agree that Blount can make the first guy miss more often than Caddy, but neither do well when they’re hit 2 yards deep in their own backfield. Now, Blount is making the first guy miss AT the line of scrimmage or beyond and that is a HUGE difference.

  8. Lucas Jackson Says:

    Sorry guys, the stats don’t support you. The Bucs running stats have improved and are decent while their blocking stats suck. According to the PFF website, the Bucs have the worst run-blocking grade in the NFL, but their rushing grade is top-5 in the NFL. Part that disparity is due to Freeman’s running success, the rest is the introduction of Blount.

  9. BamBamBuc Says:


    I understand that the stats don’t “show” the change in the O-line over the last few weeks. It’s similar to the defense stopping the run. They’re still averaging about 140 yards per game allowed, but over the last 4 weeks have done fairly well and given up much less than that 140. A few 200+ yard games early made that average very hard to bring down and therefore our rushing D stats still look bad. It’s the same with the O-line. When they were only getting 2 yards per carry early in the season, it takes a while to get those stats up, even when they’re getting 4 to 5 yards per carry now. I still think (and I don’t have access to PFF premium stats) that Davin Joseph has been the absolute worst in run blocking this year and he’s still out there, so that will also make the “blocking” stats (which are subjective by the way) stay low.

  10. Lucas Jackson Says:

    BamBam, agree that the stats are subjective and not suggesting that there has been no improvement, just that Blount is the catalyst, as opposed to the Bucs O-line suddenly becoming talented. As you probably know, the line rating is based on a subjective but STATISTICAL grading, so the grading (however subjective it may be) is applied equally across all teams. That is why I say the stats don’t back it up because the grading of the Bucs O-line relative to all other NFL teams is still very low (perhaps the lowest?) and yet the running stats have improved? That should be an objective sign of improved play at RB rather than improve line play.

    In the end, who cares as long as the Bucs win? Holder was a “it’s not all Caddy” guy, so of course this would be his view. Olson is obviously not going to trash Caddy (nor should he because Caddy contributes in other ways including leadership and great blocking), but gthe impact Blount has had is undeniable.

    Go Bucs!

  11. gitarlvr Says:

    Apparently the stats at whatever PFF is don’t mean anything at all. The Bucs can’t have the worst run blocking line in the NFL. Give me a break. Stop looking at whatever PFF is and look at reality.

  12. BamBamBuc Says:

    Agreed, Blount’s contribution cannot be denied. Thing is about the line, the grades in rush offense are based on yards per carry to the point of the lineman. The yards per carry are increasing now that we’re getting 4 to 5 yards per carry, but they were so bad early in the season, that it’s extremely difficult to get those numbers up. As a group, they’re still the worst, because the stats can’t grow enough quicly enough to make that change. Individually, I’m sure the numbers would reflect a change for the positive at specific positions. For example, Vincent’s numbers early in the year may be so negative that even if Zuttah/Larsen have good numbers, they can’t compensate for Vincent’s negative ones. Also, if Penn’s numbers improved after Vincent was gone and Larsen stepped in, then that also has to show that there is O-line improvement, but it may not compensate for Penn’s lower numbers with Vincent in.