Renewed Focus In Run Game

November 19th, 2015
Opposing defenses have shut down RB Doug Martin in recent weeks.

Opposing defenses have shut down RB Doug Martin in recent weeks.

In case you haven’t noticed, the Bucs’ running game has been stuck in second gear the past few weeks.

While he was off to a tremendous start, Doug Martin has been, well, pedestrian the past three weeks. Not since the Capital Collapse in Washington has Martin run for over 100 yards (136 to be exact), and 49 of those yards came on one run.

The sudden downturn in the running game is not lost on Bucs coaches and both offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and head coach Lovie Smith discussed this yesterday.

In fact, Koetter said a main focus this week in practice is to get the running game back to humming in fifth gear.

“We have not ran it as well the last two weeks as we had,” Koetter said. “In fact, that is one of the things we are addressing starting [Wednesday]. We hadn’t seen the players since the [Dallas] game. We have some clips we are going to show them after practice [Wednesday] when we watch the film. Coach [George] Warhop, our [offensive] line coach, all of our coaches, we have some things that we think are mainly in the details.

“It’s not that our running backs are running any differently. Again, these teams just don’t sit there in one defense. They’re changing their looks, they’re changing their pressures. They get paid too, they get coached too. We have not been quite as sharp. [We’ve] been very physical. [It’s] not a question at all of effort or physicality, we just have to iron out a few details. Like most plays, if we are all on the same page then we have a lot better chance to be successful.”

Lovie also believed that it wasn’t so much lack of effort or skill from his players on offense, but that opposing defenses have made it a point to stop the run and force America’s Quarterback, Bucs signal-caller Jameis Winston, to put the ball in the air. Defenses would rather take their chances with a rookie quarterback than getting beat by a veteran running back like Martin.

“You have to give the defenses credit in the last couple of weeks,” Lovie said. “They have committed to doing that and they have done a good job, especially with Dallas last week. The defense is always trying to stop what we are doing so we have to stay committed to it. It’s just not about getting big gains every time. It wears you down a little bit too. They have down a good job against us, but we’ll keep fighting it out.”

Of course, the best way to help the running game is for Jameis to burn defenses. With Vincent Jackson, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Louis Murphy all out due to injuries, teams don’t respect the passing game of the Bucs right now, which is another reason they are keying on the running attack.

10 Responses to “Renewed Focus In Run Game”

  1. Buccfan37 Says:

    Exactly! A struggling passing game leaves a stuffed running game. Is ASJ ready? Go Martin!

  2. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Let’s do it! I have Martin in fantasy and remember how everyone was down on him vs the Jags cuz they had a top run D at the time; and he went off that game. Hoping for similar experience this week

  3. Waterboy Says:

    With VJax, ASJ and Murphy out I’d stack the box and keep safety help on Evans and force Winston to beat me by passing to one of the other WR options if I were an opposing DC.

  4. Another J Says:

    The running game hasn’t been the same since Marpet got injured!

  5. Buccfan37 Says:

    Did you hear about the blonde burglar? He broke into the Philadelphia Eagles trophy room.

  6. Danati74 Says:

    I like that Doug is still playing with a lot of heart. This guy is still churning for extra yards. Even if rushing yards are hard to get, he is making up for it with receptions. He had that nice screen play that went for 25 yards. Pushing defenders down with his stiff arms and breaking tackles. C. Simms too has stepped up. Guy had like 3.2 ypc in first half of season, but he got that 60 yard run and is avg. 4.3 ypc. Both have stepped up in receptions. I think we will get injured guys back and start doing what we need to. So far we have doubled our Wins from last year. If we get a few more than that, not much of us put too much expectations on this team. Without injuries to ASJ and VJAX we would be in a good position to be better the second half of the season. Ghostly ASJ.

  7. Danati74 Says:

    C. Sims

  8. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    C. Sims AMEN BROTHER. Again he could be our Lenny Moore the Baltimore Colt great who came out as a running back but was used at both RB and WR by the Colts and he played both positions very well.

    Certainly Sims could line up wide and leave Martin in the game…are we running it? Who is running it..Martin or Sims…and if you put a LB on Sims he should have the advantage…he’s very quick with shifty moves…he should be able to get open more easily than rookies Humphries or Dye.

  9. mike10 Says:

    They gotta stop replacing Martin w Sims for entire quarters!

  10. Ufour20 Says:

    I don’t get the Charles Sims love… the guy constantly trips over his own feet. Martin is by our best back, if we had any kind of passing game, he would be doing his normal thing.