The State Of The Bucs’ Running Game

September 20th, 2012

“I think we’re constantly trying to find the runs that are going to be the wear-the-opponent-down runs. And not necessarily glamorous or exciting for the fans, per se, they have the chance to go through and those serve a purpose and they might break, but it’s trying to wear down a defense, a cumulative effect which is going to set up some of those shots [downfield.] And there’s others that we can get out on the perimeter, and those could be some of our bigger plays. And I think it just comes down to having the patience to see it through because eventually the big runs are going to happen. You know, historically, a lot of those big runs occur when the offense is in a one-back, three-wide-receiver type of a set. You know you spread out the defense a little bit more. But we’re focused more on just making sure that we’re productive with the run. We don’t want to have the negative run. Getting four yards, five yards, that would be ideal. And the big runs will take care of themself. We just gotta focus on doing our job.” — Bucs offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan speaking today on the state of the Bucs’ running game.

Joe’s watched the Bucs-Giants game a few times at this point, and Joe continues to be sick to his stomach that the Bucs couldn’t — and didn’t — run the ball with an 11-point lead on first down with only 39 seconds left in the third quarter.

Joe bought in months ago that the Bucs were going to run the football as much as any team in football. Greg Schiano has said multiple times that his goal was to run the football “when we want to.” And for Joe, that was the textbook moment to impose the high-priced offensive line’s will on the Giants, much like they closed out the game on the ground against Carolina.

Joe typed up the full Mike Sullivan quote above in hopes of finding some peace of mind, but Joe remains unsettled.

It’s only two games into the New Schiano Order, but Joe sincerely hopes the Bucs find a commitment to the running game. To use Sullivan’s words, “the patience to see it through.”

25 Responses to “The State Of The Bucs’ Running Game”

  1. Architek Says:

    Be patient Joe, this offense is developing nicely and will continue to evolve into that pound and strike system. I absolutely respect the evolution of this team. By cutting Parker and benching Trueblood after seeing enough is outstanding evaluation, IMO. I say that because we have went with safe players in the past and missed out on weapons. Now, if Sullivan is confident you grasp the vision of the offense and can produce with your talent then you’re on. No more 5’9″ WRs that run 4.6 40s. Shipley, Underwood, and Been can scoot. That will open up more formation and concepts for the run. The only thing I am not sure about is Blount. Many questions surrounding him.

  2. gotbbucs Says:

    Wow, they are really outsmarting themselves if this is going to be their offensive philosophy. So what this is telling me is rather than having a RB in the game that can create for himself and possibly break tackles and break big runs once in a while they are content to hand it to Martin and let him trip forward for three yards and that’s good enough. Oh, and we need this to be an offensive game plan that keeps the chains moving just enough to tucker out opposing defenses.
    Dammit…if only we had a RB in the roster that has averaged 5 yards a carry in a season. Anybody know where we can find one of those?
    Honsestly, we might as well just run nothing but the old Wing-T offense and let Lorig run traps and blasts up the gut. Hell, it works in highschool football, why not the NFL? That’s essentially what Sullivan is saying he wants to do with our running game anyway.

    I am not saying that I don’t like the idea to be a run heavy offense, I love that style of play, but nobody in their right mind makes the effort to install that kind of game and mind frame and then leaves his 245 pound proven NFL RB on the bench for all but ONE play of a game that we should have been icing at the end. Lord this is frustrating.

  3. Vic Says:

    Very well said gotbbucs

  4. JoeG Says:

    I don’t understand the refusal to use Blount… Unless they’re trying to work out a trade, the 11 point lead going into the 4th qtr was the perfect opportunity to have #27 close out the game and probably secure a victory…..

    …but not even trying suggests something is going on that Schiano and/or Sullivan refuse to even discuss.

  5. Daffy Buck Says:

    Seems like Sullivan is still in the feeling out phase of the offense. They wanted Muscle Hamster to be near 100 yards every game and over 20 carries. Blount should get at least 10 carries a game. Hamster will get worn out by mid-season.

    Now we get tryouts for the third and fourth receiver sets. Should be more two tight end sets with Dallas Clark.

    “We are not a finished product. We are a work in progress.” Some future HOF said this recently.

  6. FreemanBomb5 Says:

    Makes no sense at all why Blount isn’t getting any reps at all. I like Martin, but realistically it appears that Schiano and Dom are just trying to justify their draft pick.

  7. Have A Nice Day Says:

    Everyone focused on “we are gonna run the ball” but I focused on “take shots down the field”. That is what we saw last week.

    He also said we were gonna see an aggressive defense. We certainly saw that. It just didn’t work against Eli once Eli caught wind of it.

  8. Architek Says:

    Actually Sullivan said he is ok with efficient runs as longs as they are positive gains because if we are doing what we are suppose to do the long runs will happen. We are 2 games deep gents, breathe easy and lets enjoy the ride. This is what we have been dying for 4 years now. A tooled offense and competent defense. Let the offense prove themselves before we cry wolf because you dont see the tip toe olympian gold medalist in the game.

  9. Have A Nice Day Says:

    Bucs are winning the giveaway/takeaway battle so far(4th in the league). #1 in both pass deflections and ints(I understand the Bucs pass defense is #3 in most passes attempted against). We are also #2 with the fewest penalties.

    These are the areas in which we are dominating so far: penalties and turnovers. How many times have we heard that teams need to win the turnover battle to win games? How many times have we heard that teams have to minimize penalties to win games? We are doing both so far.

    The sky is not falling. If anything, the sky over the Bucs is expanding…. and it is expanding exponentially in comparison to last year.

  10. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I still don’t think our problem is that we can’t run the ball, it’s that we have little to no creativity running the ball. It’s as if we have only 2 or three running plays, and we just run them over and over and over again. We rarely run any stretch plays or sweeps, everything is right down the middle. Everything can’t just be power run after power run in the NFL.Martin has the speed to run outside, which should set up the inside runs. I also agree that Blount needs to get some touches too. I have a strong feeling he will this week. If he doesn’t, then his days in Tampa may be numbered, because something is going on that we don’t know about.

  11. Fear The Glow Says:

    I was fully expecting about 60/40 with Doug Martin and Blount and im really surprised that they have pretty much benched Blount completely.

    Im hoping to see at least 1 game where they just absolutely thrash somebody’s defense with those two.

    Remember that MNF game in 08 when the Panthers rushed for almost 300 yards on us? I want these two to do that to somebody. I think they can.

  12. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Agree HAND. We damn near beat the World Champs in their backyard in a must win game for them, and it’s amazing how many are complaining as if we are 4-12. We look so much more organized and prepared for each game. We look more As an added bonus, we aren’t down 3 TD’s at the end of the first quarter! It’s a new offensive system, a first time offensive coordinator, and many new players – it’s going to take time to gel. We aren’t going to be the Packers overnight. We are not going to win many shootouts, especially not early on in the season. I expect us to improve on both sides of the ball each week. Hopefully that will translate to wins. Regardless, I am enjoying watching this team a million times more than those group of guys wearing Bucs uniforms last year.

  13. Have A Nice Day Says:

    @Hawaiian Buc – Right now we are .500 and tied second in the league and alone at #2 in our division. We have ended both of our first halves with the lead. Heck, we have been in the lead by the end of all but one of our first three quarters(first quarter against the Giants). We have more time in the lead than not.

    We intercepted 3 of the first 18 throws by the reigning Super Bowl champion’s QB. Remarkable.

    The last thing I am gonna do is bitch about the effort and play of the Bucs after the extremely entertaining performance they displayed last week.

    We wanted exciting football. We got it!

  14. Jbrooks8604 Says:

    @Have A nice day- Winning the turn over battle is great. But to win it by the margin we have and barely squeak by carolina and lose to the giants is telling itself.

    Im not sure if you’re joking about an exciting performance last week or not but if you’re serious you and I have very different views on what it is we want to see out of Tampa. There is nothing exciting to me about seeing a complete 2nd half meltdown that includes no offense until the end of the game after the giants have come back. Absolutely no defense evidence by the huge number Cruz, Nicks, and manning put up. No run game, no pass game, horrible calls and horrible secondary play.

    Maybe you were in front of the screen giddy with joy but my experience was a lot more depressing. I found nothing fun about it, nothing enjoyable, in fact it was a shame to allow a team to win in an unwinable situation. Anyone who watched that game and thinks it was good is delusional.

  15. Jessup Says:

    Having Martin run up the gut for 3 or 4 yards is great and all, nice to see he can do that, but grinding out every game like that is stupid. Get that kid out in space where he is truly dangerous. Run outside, screens, and short dump off passes need to be a much bigger part of the game plan. We have Ray Rice and we are using him like Mike Alstott.

  16. flmike Says:

    “It’s only two games into the New Schiano Order” Joe
    out of 8 qtrs of football we have played so far we have dominated 7 of them, this is a new system for our players on both sides of the ball, it’s going to take a little “Game” time to iron out the wrinkles, my advice be patient, it will come.

  17. Macabee Says:

    I don’t want to jump the gun and make something that’s not there. But the Bucs did workout 4 RBs Tuesday. Now Tuesday is tryout day around the league and this may be just SOP. But given what is going on, one is justified in wondering what’s up!

  18. Architek Says:

    Thats why I only ask and state there many questions surrounding Blount. I agree with everyone view because I just knew having a lead like that meant Smash Mouth time but we allowed Freeman to make some decisions that gave the Giants extra touches. I would like to see more Mike Smith because that kind of speed on the field always is a threat and he can stretch the field running all directions. Not mention screens and decoy plays.
    Again, i love the state of the Bucs and after watching Carolina get beat like a High School team tells me a lot about our team. The offense will continue to evolve and the big plays will come be patient guys. As for Blount time will tell. We can use that skill set this week. I hate the Cows too and they are talking a bunch of garbage too. We can essentially end their season Sunday.

  19. teacherman777 Says:

    I think Blount showed some flashes of his bad attitude and Schiano has had enough of him.

    I think Blount WANTS out of town.

    We will regret it forever if we lose him. Because I guarantee if he goes to another team, he will be destroying defensives in no time!

  20. bucfanjeff Says:

    Let’s all b!tch some more, sheesh. Would you rather it be like last year?

    It will take about a 1/2 season or more to get comfortable with the offense and defense where plays are second nature.

    We’re playing pretty damn good and yet still finding our way.

  21. J 2.0 Says:

    Well said bucfanjeff.

  22. Miguel Grande Says:

    The Little General is a notoriously slow starter.

    On December 1, 2000, Schiano accepted the head coaching position at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. In 2001, his first season as head coach, the Scarlet Knights posted a 2–9 record (0–7 in the Big East), followed by a 1–11 mark (0–7 Big East) in 2002. This was followed by a 5–7 record (2–5 Big East) in 2003. In 2004, Schiano took on defensive coordinator responsibilities as well, and the team finished 4–7 (1–5 Big East). Although Schiano was producing solid recruiting classes, especially by Rutgers standards, his 3-24 record in conference games and 4–17 record in road games in those first four years were a cause for concern for some fans.

    Let’s just be patient, folks. He’s got a 5 year contract and he will surely break the .500 mark by his 5th year.

  23. 76buc76 Says:

    That loss look’s at lot better now that a banged up Giants team hammered the Panther’s.Dang maybe the Saints stink that would be nice.As far as the run game is there any reason to think our line can runblock any better than the last couple years.Sure we have Nicks but no Davin.Time to evolve anyway this team need’s to air it out.I thought the o-line pass blocked great against maybe the best D-line in the league.Let’s face it defences don’t even have of cover past 30 yard’s downfield.They better start because were going downtown.With a couple WR that could get double diget TD’s. Decent 3rd and 4th WR a dangerous rb and sure handed TE as safety valve’s.Our defence will be suspect so we better get use to being more aggresive on offence.

  24. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Once again Miguel, you have no idea what it takes to build a college program. It takes much more time than building a NFL team. Rutgers played in one bowl game before Schiano, and Rutgers actually played in the first college football game ever played. They had crappy facilities, and crappy support. What he did there is amazing considering where they started. Again, you don’t understand the landscape of college athletics. It’s not a level playing field at all.

  25. Have A Nice Day Says:

    @Jbrooks – We lost the last game in the final 8 minutes when the giants scored 21 points. Everything before that was awesome and we were in the lead.

    And to match your sweeping generalizations: Anyone who watched that game and thinks it was bad is delusional