How The Running Game Has Improved

November 18th, 2013

Bobby Rainey is now No. 9 on the Buccaneers’ list for single-game rushing performances by running for 163 yards yesterday.

If Bucs fans haven’t noticed the Bucs’ running game has been reborn in recent weeks, then Joe can only assume it is because they are awash in beer and other liquid refreshments (not that Joe has anything against that).

How much have the Bucs improved? Well, two of the top 10 rushing performances in franchise history have occurred in the past three weeks. Yes, that’s true. And both came on the feet of backup running backs.

Two weeks ago in Seattle, Mike James tied Cadillac Williams for the 10th-best Bucs rushing performance by racking up 158 yards. Yesterday, Bobby Rainey, who was walking the streets not too long ago, tallied 163 yards, which is No. 9 on the Bucs’ single-game rushing mark.

(Muscle Hamster Doug Martin is the Bucs single-game rushing leader with 251 yards last year, as he ran over, around and through the wretched Raiders.)

To Joe, this is both good and bad for the Bucs. The good is plainly obvious. The bad? Is this Lazarus-like rising by the Bucs offensive line really the result of inserting Jamon Meredith into the starting lineup at left guard? And if so, why oh why did it take the Bucs coaching staff, on the verge of being jettisoned, this long to figure this out?

If Meredith is proven to be the difference in the running game doing a full 180 turnaround, shouldn’t someone on the coaching staff have had this figured out by, oh, the start of October?

19 Responses to “How The Running Game Has Improved”

  1. Says:

    I personally think Meredith came at the same time as Davin Joseph started to play at his normal level. It’s the guards that provide

  2. Cmurda Says:

    On the Top 10 Beast performances of the day, Bobby Rainey was 1st with over 34 Fantasy points. I could almost smack myself for not going with my gut and playing him as my flex. I still won so whatevers.

    Back to reality, not only was this our finest game of the year on both sides of the ball, but I was impressed with our coaches. I’m going to single Schiano out with respect. He clearly went with a smart hunch and declared Rainey the starter right before the game. He also showed an ability to adjust by doing so. His favorite was Leonard when James went down but he was smart enough to see Rainey’s potential and speed. Dom deserves major kudos on Rainey’s signing. If this kid continues to impress, how nice does a backfield of Muscle Hamster, MJ and Rainey sound? Yeah, pretty darn good. Glennon is Schiano’s hand-picked guy and for a 3rd rounder, the guy has really impressed. I know the Falons aren’t the toughest team in the world, but Glennon executed, showed excellent poise, and made wise decisions. He also happens to now have 11 TD’s against 4 int’s, a 62.1% compl percentage and 87.7 QB rating. All very solid stats. The rest of the season will dictate if all our eggs will be in the Glennon basket and we move away from drafting a QB of the future but all signs point north. The last piece of the puzzle and maybe the ost important was letting this D Line get after it. There was much more pressure on the QB and it allowed our secondary to show its skills. I like what I see there I think Clayborn will be fine for the long haul but coming back from these major surgeries clearly takes some football action time to get right.

  3. mvermulm Says:

    Meredith was tried at RG late last season, and he was terrible. So I have no problem with the coaching staff trying other options first.

  4. bigpoppabuc Says:

    If our O-line would have been playing this well all year we’d be in a playoff race right now. They weren’t opening ANY holes and racking up drive killing penalties. A complete turnaround the past three weeks, including Joseph who looks like Joseph again.

  5. Andrew 1 Says:

    yes I think part of it is because Meredith is blocking so well along with the rest of the o line. I also think part of it is because we are using creative plays in the running game. instead of just banging our head against the wall repeatedly with iso and runs up the gut, we’ve incorporated a lot of other running plays like counters, power runs, and I even remember seeing a direct snap to the RB. whatever we are doing its working and we need to keep doing it.

  6. Nick2 Says:

    I am thinking Meredith is in for a big payday or holdout next year one or the other!!

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Who misses Blount?

    We have a stable of running backs…..Martin, James, Rainey, Demps, Leonard……and Lorig at FB…..we have a tradeable back….probably Rainey if he continues to play well and stays healthy.
    At the very least, this will save Martin some carries because we know we won’t fall off much when we sub for him.

  8. Curmudgeon Says:

    It’s not just Meredith, clearly.

  9. Natenazty Says:

    This line has impressed the last few weeks for sure. With all of this production, I wonder if the Bucs try to move/release Nicks and his hefty contract during the draft. Frankly, I don’t know if anyone would want him as over-priced, damaged goods right now. It will be interesting to see what they do at that position because if this line continues to play this way the rest of the season, you would not want to break up the unit for no unwarranted reason.

  10. ander Says:

    the o line is playing great and by the way larsen is terrible thank god meredith wasnt injured on that play when he left limping. bucs are playing chiefs type of football and its working hopefully they could build on it an surprise the lions next week.

  11. LaughingStock II Says:

    I may have to use my real name again if the coaching staff is willing to adjust as they did yesterday.

    3 sacks by Mc Coy on stunt-less attacks.
    Going for the kill mentality is the only way to play in the NFL
    good use of your qb (let him go long)

    Now show us this again in the next two games against good teams. In Seattle the killing instinct was missing. Not to mention the halting of the ground attack in OT…

  12. Hawk Says:

    It’s possible that Meredith is not a ‘practice’ player. We’ve seen it before, when a player is mediocre on the practice field, but goes into a zone when the real bullets are flying. We’ve also, unfortunately, seen the reverse.

  13. DallasBuc Says:

    It’s interesting…there is this radio talk show host who insists that the line play was terrible and it was all just the magic of Rainey. I think this guy was also one of the judges for the st-Pierre / Hendricks fight!!

  14. McBuc Says:

    I think Glennon needs a little credit too. He has shown some ability to complete passes, so the defense has to play honest. When Freeman was in they just stacked the box and stopped the run. The first few games Glennon had to prove a threat, and now that he has defenses have to account for his arm…

  15. bucrightoff Says:

    The guy who never gets any love and always deserves ton is Erik Lorig, maybe the best FB in the NFL even if no one knows who he is.

  16. BirdDoggers Says:

    The offensive line has really turned it on in recent weeks. Much like last year, Bostad has this group getting it done, even with Nicks sidelined. It took several weeks to figure out, which is curious.

  17. oldfart44 Says:

    I think that the O line played well, but consider what the defense and special times provided towards the win. I think Glennon might be a capable backup, but I don’t think he is capable of getting us a win from behind. He mainly concentrates on Jackson. We shall see when we meet the tough teams with good defenses. I think that management must look at getting a QB who could be ranked with the top QBs in this division.

  18. Bucky23 Says:

    Is the rest of Carl Nicks contract guaranteed? If the line can continue playing at a high level maybe we won’t need to pay him that kind of money. I admit having merideth on the bench as depth is a good play also. If nicks could be released, i would be nice if we could somehow make a free agency play at Jimmy Graham and pick up a Sammy Watkins type WR in the draft.

  19. Harry Says:

    I still think a good portion of the improvement in the run game has to do with Lorig being healthy