Was 24 Carries For Blount Enough?

September 26th, 2011

Finally, LeGarrette Blount got his touches yesterday, but for Joe it could have been a lot more, especially on first down.

Leading 16-3 entering the fourth quarter, immediately after Blount dragged tacklers for an eight-yard run on first down and moved the chains with a four-yard run to the Atlanta 44 yard line, Josh Freeman came out of the quarter break and thew an interception downfield. Why not keep pounding Blount, eating clock and driving to make it a three-score lead?

Then the Bucs get the ball back still leading 16-13 and hand it off on first down to Earnest Graham?

Atlanta then scores a touchdown on a two-play drive and the Bucs respond throwing on first down in a drive in which Blount never saw the ball.

Thankfully, Roddy White went on to drop balls, the Bucs defense held tough and Blount was given the rock in the final drive.

Joe’s not sure what Greg Olson was thinking, especially considering Josh Freeman wasn’t playing his best game.

38 Responses to “Was 24 Carries For Blount Enough?”

  1. Bucworld Says:

    Yeah, why do we run a bootleg play on 1st and goal, when Blount was running the way that he was. I believe that we are trying to trick the other team so much that we are tricking ourselves. Teams are on to us passing on first downs and our whole play action strategy. If we want to keep the defense off balance I say we run more on first down and second down plus pass more to Blount. Good win Bucs.

  2. Capt.Tim Says:

    It was a good win, against a great team. But one thing did look pretty clear. Graham isn’t the answer. At all .

  3. Mauha Deeb Says:

    I’m with you , Joe. It never felt like we ran enough still. We ran off center and to the left a bunch too. Our right side is far better for the run and the first two games showed Trueblood and Joseph doing an excellent job opening holes.

    Olsen clearly just likes to throw the ball.

  4. big007hed Says:

    Graham absolutely can not be in the game when it matters, he can not break any tackles anymore and when he is in the game it is so telegraphed on what is going on…. He is not even blocking well so what advantage does he give the Bucs?

  5. Pewtergoon Says:

    I can imagine now that we’ve learned to at least use the run the next adjustment that’ll come up in film sessions is running him more on 1st down.

  6. OB Says:

    Joe, I was at the game and this must have been his worst as a Buc. His passes were high or way off target. His first interception in the first quarter, he could have run in for the score. Later in the game when he was cited for throwing when past the line, he could have gained five more yards before steping out of bounds.

    Is he playing hurt or did he just have a bad game? I don’t remember one long pass attempt in the entire game, I could be wrong but I don’t think so.

    Defense was awsome.

  7. bucfanjeff Says:

    Safety and OL depth should be at the top of our draft list.
    Good game by our young Bucs. Freeman is pressing a little too much, but he’ll get better. He’s essentially a 2yr guy right now, game wise.

    We’ll be ok. We grew up with that win.

  8. Buc_The_World Says:

    Does anyone have the link to the game? Don’t we get to watch blackout games for free online?

  9. Buc_The_World Says:

    Before anyone says anything smart like “If you would have went to the game you would have seen it” I live in DC.

  10. mikeck Says:

    I agree. Nothing kills a drive like an incompletion on 1st down for a 2nd and 10. Not sure why they dont run more on first (and second for that matter). I am also concerned with freeman’s judgment this season. There (as mentioned above) have been several occasions when he could have run for a score or substantial yardage.

    Many of his thrown have been high or have been “floated” off of his back foot. Where are the darts he threw last year? Where is the “tuck it and run ” for 20 yards once he hits the edge?

    My bet, no off season work= takes a few games to get back in the grove??

  11. rickt Says:

    Not sure where there Graham hate is coming from, without him we don’t convert more than a couple 3rd downs.

  12. Shmuckaneer Says:

    Yes I think it was enough. It wasn’t Free’s best game, but it was also no where close to Blount’s best game either. He’s an awesome young back…but he needs some serious film and assignment study. All that dancing behind the line was unnecessary…and unproductive. His vision was off as much as Freeman’s. Blount needs to touch the ball 25 times a game. I hope that Olson never listens to the fans…especially those who want a one dimensional, “run Blount 30 times a game” type of offense.

  13. Tom Says:

    Watching on TV the one thing about Blount is that it “seems” he hits the hole slow. It seems that if he has any contact in front of him he is done. More so than other backs. He always looks like he is in slow mo until he is at the line. Then he seems to accelerate. Not being a football player or coach at any point I totally understand I am probably all f’d up on this observation. But watching other rb’s in the game they just seem to hit the hole with more authority. I don’t know if it is because the line is slow to open the gaps up or if Blount is trying to analyze his options more as he approaches the line. I LOVE watching the guy run. And I want to see more of him. But I think the coaches understand he has some limitations. I do wish we had Caddy for third down. One of the few mistakes this coaching/gm team has gotten really wrong.

  14. Shmuckaneer Says:

    So true rickt. Graham is the one who kept all of our scoring plays alive with conversions.

  15. Mauha Deeb Says:

    @Tom You are “f’d up”. What you saw has been the topic of many discussions in this comment section and water coolers all over the Tampa Bay area. I agree with your assessment as well.

  16. flmike Says:

    Yesterday was one of those games where you just turn around and hand it off to the “Big MFr” behind you as many times as it takes. Freeman was off, for whatever reason, he was off. The way Blount was pounding the D line was awesome, you could see them wearing down, play after play, even if he didn’t gain any yardage it was wearing down that small D line. Every time Fox showed the endzone shot of Freeman over center and you could see #27 right behind him, I would scream “Just give it to the Big MF behind you.”

  17. Derek 'OldSchool' Fournier Says:

    @Joe – Starting my game review this afternoon but overall, No.

    Bootleg: The bootleg with Josh is a tremendous weapon on X and short as teh defense has to account for too much. Yes, you cut the effective field in half but he is an animal to handle outside. Is it as “pure” as a trap or belly? No. But as much as I LOVE the way LGB runs, I still am not quite comfortable with him in short yardage (yet).

    Graham: Running out of juice but still productive. Biggest problem with Graham is that teams know we will almost never simply run him. When he comes in they can effectively read pass. A good move yesterday (not done enough) is LEAVING LGB ON THE DAMN FIELD! With him in on 3rd and X in Pass protection to start, the defense better account for the draw (and be afraid of it) and they better assign someone to him in the flat.

    On the INT in the fourth after two good hard runs by Blount, this is the example of bad OC play calling. Atlanta’s defense was no mystery. That throw is tough at that depth cause of the LB depth. If Josh does not overthrow it, it is a pick by the LB. Your team is starting to really impose their will on the other team and TOP is starting to hurt that opposing defense. Barring an injury or fatigue to LGB, you keep feeding that man the ball. (Of note, Mike Williams on the slant past Been was open, a play that is almost ALWAYS open against this shell coverage and that we have only recently starting implementing again after it being a staple last season.

    Sorry for the rambling reply.

  18. Nick2 Says:

    I blame the first interception on Olson. I mean first and goal with number 27 in the backfield and you try a tricky pass into the endzone WHY???? It totally killed momentum that we did not regain right away. Olson has a little Jon Gruden in him and there were times yesterday that it seemed we had the Falcons on their heals with the run. Freeman also needs to learn to tuck and run near the goal line. That first pic even though a terrible offensive call could have been avoided and it looked like he had blocking all the way to the endzone. If Olson can commit more to Blount we should be fine.

  19. mikeck Says:

    Nick2, its not a “tricky pass play”. Its a designed bootleg (probably an option for Freeman to Pass or run). It WOULD have worked had Freeman run the ball….just tucked it and run. I trust Freeman on a bottleg for short yardage more than I trust LGB…so far.

  20. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    One person I have not heard anyone speak of since the start of the season is Alex Van Pelt. Would love to hear his take on what is up with Freeman. Who has Freeman been conferring with on the sidelines when he makes an ill-advised decision?

  21. Mauha Deeb Says:

    @Tom Woops! lol I just reread my earlier comment…..I meant “You aren’t f’d up.” Sorry, bro. lol

  22. Dave Says:


    There are some sites but they are broadcasting illegally.

    I watched one and can not for the life of me remember the site name. I have it linked at home. I can email it to you for future reference.

  23. Dave Says:

    I have no problem with the passing towards the end. They ran Blount enough all day. The game plan was obvious:
    Pound Blount, even if they aren’t getting big chunks… exactly what they need to do in EVERY game.

    As far as defense: stop turner and Gonzalez and leave the CBs to fend for themselves most the day. That is why the WRs for ATL had big numbers, a tough pair to play man on all day

  24. BamBamBuc Says:

    OK, so I’ve looked over the gamebook for the stats. Of the 24 carries Blount had, 11 were on first down. We had 27 first down plays (not including kneel downs and penalties). Of Blount’s 11 first down attempts, he gained 28 yards (not spectacular). Even then, one in the 3rd qtr was for an 8 yard gain, and a 4th qtr carry for 6 yards mean that the other 9 carries were for a total of 14 yards. Blount was NOT prolific on 1st down, he did get better as the game went on, but mixing it up WAS the best option. Also, the play-action pass to Stocker on first down was a good example of the attention the Falcons were paying to Blount on first down and a good example of why mixing it up should work well. Play-action boot legs with the option to pass or run for Freeman is also effective, especially when the defense has been so keyed on Blount. Blount was also probably as effective (if not more so) on 2nd down and long situations, when the Falcons backed up and didn’t think he was getting the ball. In situations where it was 2nd down and 7 or more yards to go, Blount ran 9 times for 35 yards. This was an effective tactic, running play-action on first down, if it gained nothing, run Blount on 2nd and long. Sure, it could put us in 3rd and long situations, but we were more effective keeping the D off-balance and not knowing what to expect on any given down and distance situation. It’s not “trying to be too tricky” as some have said about Olsen’s play calling, but it is designed to keep the entire playbook open at all times, forcing the opponent into a more vanilla defense that has to be prepared for anything at anytime.

  25. Meh Says:

    Olsen’s playcalling was terrible in the 4th. So many passing first downs when we needed to chew some time after Blount had already been running all over them. Ridiculously bad play calling.

  26. SkookumSmitty Says:

    You know what’s cool, though?

    Perhaps Freeman did not have a great day. Perhaps Graham is NOT the answer, and perhaps the play calling was off. But the DEFENSE made up for it. There were mistakes and hitches galore. But as a team, they stepped UP.

    My recollections of the great years was that they had exactly that same thing…SOMEONE was going to make the play. Force the fumble. Get the interception. Sack the QB. I think Ronde, on that series just after halftime, showed them the way.

    I can almost hear him on the sideline, saying “THAT is how we do this…Find your play, make your play.” Whether it is this year, next year, or three years from now, this team has a shot at another Superbowl, and having continuity to the GET IT DONE defense is going to be a difference maker.

    Now, add all THAT to the best quarterback the Bucs have ever had, and I am very optimistic.

  27. Nano107 Says:

    Olson needs to stop getting cute. The interception on the 4th should have been a run play. We had them backing up.

  28. BamBamBuc Says:

    Ok, I understand the INT on the first play (a first down) in the 4th quarter is not ideal. But where is everyone getting the idea that we were passing on first down throughout the 4th? We had a short pass to Graham (almost like a run really) on one first down and it gained 5 yards. Those were the only 2 pass plays on 1st down in the 4th quarter. We ran a bootleg that gave Free the option, he ran it for a first down. Otherwise, it was all runs to Blount and Graham on first down in the fourth quarter.

  29. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I was watching the game with my friend (not a Bucs fan), and I amazed him that I could predict nearly every single play we would run by the pre-snap formation. I see that as not good, because if I know what is coming, I think it’s a pretty safe bet to say that the other team knows it as well. Statistically we ran the ball enough, but in watching the game, it wasn’t enough. There were so many times it seemed like we had them on the ropes with the running game, but then we backed off and started getting cute. A blind man could see their run defense was wearing down, as LGB was driving people backwards as the game wore on. Freeman played as bad as I’ve seen him play since his rookie year, which is all the more reason to pound the Dixie Chicks. I’m not saying Olson should be fired or anything crazy like that, but clearly his playcalling needs to get better.

  30. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I will say, I thought it was great we were able to run out the clock late in the game. The playcalling there was excellent. I can’t remember any Bucs team being able to pick up those critical first downs to close out a game. I was having nightmares about us going 3 and out and Atlanta marching the ball down the field.

  31. Diary of a Wimpy Ruud Says:

    Get a clue people . The best offenses in the league take what the defense gives them. If the defense is bringing 8 into the box, and you run right into the teeth of it all day , you are going to lose the majority of those battles .

    If Freeman is the franchise QB we all think he is, then we have to trust him to make those plays when the defense is taking away the run . That 2nd INT would have been a 30 yard gain and easy field goal range if Freeman makes the accurate throw he usually does. The Monday morning quarterbacking is ridiculous. I want to see this offense take the next step , and that’s never going to happen if we’re a one dimensional conservative team that that does nothing but run Blount 50 times a game. Get over it , people.

  32. BamBamBuc Says:

    Well said, Diary, well said.

  33. big007hed Says:

    Graham still sucks and is ineffective regardless of the play calling

  34. Buc_The_World Says:

    @ Dave
    Thanks. But I wasn’t talking about the illegal sites, I remember the NFL.com last year used to let you watch the game for up to 3 days. NFL rewind or something like that, but you didn’t have to pay for blacked out games.

  35. Bobby Says:

    You hit the nail on the head Diary. The game plan is for the team at hand….no just a generic “run Blount 30 times” etc. I thought the clock management offense to keep the ball out of Atlanta’s hands was perfect. Freeman could have executed better but I think Tom Brady got picked 4 times yesterday. I’ll take a W and be happy with Olson.

  36. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    The only problem is that they were not normally putting 8 in the box. I watched the game twice and I would love for you to show me more than a couple plays (aside from the last drive) where they had 8 in the box. You can’t just say it because it sounds correct, you actually have to count. There were only 7 on 90% of the snaps.

  37. BamBamBuc Says:

    I don’t see the problem, Hawaiian. Whether they put 8 in the box or not. What matters is what the defense is keying on. Is it a pulling guard, QB turning his back (hand off/play action), whatever it is. Play action works if the Safeties or LBs take a step towards the line of scrimmage after the snap. If you’re saying they’re stopping our run game with only 7 in the box, again, that’s how many they start with, but if the opponent is keyed in on the run game, but “disguising” their defense… you may see 7 in the box, but I’d bet the first step of a Safety is towards the line. Gotta mix up the play calling somehow. Run Blount on first down didn’t work on the majority of plays yesterday. Too many plays for no gain or negative yardage on first down, most due to the run game.

  38. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I see where you are coming from BamBam, and in reality, the truth is probably somewhere in between. The way Blount runs, there is always going to be short gains or negative gains, because he is not very good when he has to change direction (which happens with our OL quite a bit). He’s not the type of runner that can change direction very well. However, he will eventually wear down the defense, and I think it was pretty clear that was the case from late in the third quarter. The one thing I would just love to see (just once) would be for us to run the ball to Blount on 3 straight plays. I don’t even care if it’s a 3 and out. I just want to pound the defense and not be so predictable. We won the game, so I am in no way furious with the playcalling. I just think we had them beaten on the ground, and I wish we would have just stuck with it. Now if Freeman was having a good game, I would probably feel differently. But he played pretty bad in my opinion, and he missed a ton of easy throws. As I said earlier, I was able to predict just about every play we ran by the pre-snap formation, and obviously I am no coordinator. I just know that if I know what is coming, there’s a good chance the defense knows it. Ironically, the plays I was wrong about were the ones that were most successful. I don’t think that’s a coincidence.