Don’t Let Warhop & Friends Off The Hook

October 7th, 2016



First things first, Buc fans.

Tampa Bay’s offense is struggling heading into Monday night’s pivotal matchup at Carolina and Jameis Winston is taking the brunt of the criticism. That comes with the territory and Winston isn’t making any excuses for his poor decisions during a three-game tailspin.

But let’s not let George Warhop’s group off the hook.

Buc fans were ready to run Warhop out of town as Tampa Bay’s offensive line coach after the 2014 season. The running game was awful, a key factor in a 2-14 debacle that paved the way for the Bucs to draft Winston No. 1 overall.

But during a franchise record-setting attack last season under the guidance of Dirk Koetter, Warhop’s group made a startling comeback, protecting Winston well and opening big holes for Doug Martin and Charles Sims.

Offensive line coach George Warhop

Offensive line coach George Warhop

New season, different story.

Martin wasn’t particularly productive before he hurt his hamstring at Arizona in Week 2. In Martin’s absence, the ground game has been abysmal. That has led to far too many 3rd-and-long situations — with predictable results.

Against Denver last week, Sims carried eight times for 19 yards on first down. On five of those rushing attempts, he gained one yard each.


Facing one of the NFL’s elite defenses, the Bucs were forced into long third-down situations (6+ yards) 13 times. That’s a recipe for disaster against the Von Miller gang.

“Your third-down ability to convert is a byproduct of your first down,” says Bucs offensive coordinator Todd Monken. “We’ve obviously got to do a better job.”

Jacquizz Rodgers may replace an injured Sims as the primary run threat in Charlotte, but the real issue is whether an offensive line that has remained healthy can open some cracks against an imposing front seven.

“Maybe we have to go back and really look at fitting the roles into the players’ specific strengths in the run game,” Koetter says. “We’re going to get Doug back here at some point and he’s one of the best running backs in the league, but we definitely just can’t keep doing the same stuff because that’s not working.”

Lack of first-down efficiency is wrecking Koetter’s game plan that calls for some semblance of balance.

The Bucs rank 27th in the league on first down, averaging 4.53 yards. A year ago, they led the NFL in that category with an average gain of 6.24 yards.

That’s a huge difference.

Dallas rookie Ezekiel Elliott tops the league in rushing attempts and rushing yards and the Cowboys are converting an NFL-best 50 percent on third down behind a rookie quarterback.

Why? Because the Cowboys are facing 3rd-and-2 while the Bucs try to convert 3rd-and-7.

Manageable third downs would put a smile on Jameis Winston

Manageable third downs would put a smile on Jameis Winston

If the Bucs want to reach the next level and emerge as playoff contenders, they’ve got to find a way to get their runners to the next level. Sims averaged 4.9 yards per carry in 2015 and he is slogging along at a 2.8 rate through four weeks.

Same running back, far different production.

After Martin was injured, Monken appeared confident the Bucs would still feature a ground game that would make defenses honor Winston’s play-action passes.

Guess again.

Now it’s up to Donovan Smith, Kevin Pamphile, Joe Hawley, Ali Marpet and Demar Dotson to prove that last year’s success was no fluke.

If Winston ends up throwing 700 passes this season, we’ll know Warhop’s group didn’t get the job done.

First things first, gentlemen.

15 Responses to “Don’t Let Warhop & Friends Off The Hook”

  1. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    Well do we suppose the Panthers haven’t seen the same thing?

    Of course the Bucs need a better running game…duh.

    How are you going to get there. It won’t be long…maybe Monday night before we see a steady diet of 8 in the box.

    After all his turnovers #3 is practically guaranteeing that opposing defenses will stop the run first and make #3 beat them. Every D in the NFL is loaded with that info.

  2. Pickgrin Says:

    I agree Ira. The lack of a solid running game is killing our chances at success thus far. And a big part of the problem is the OLine not opening enough holes.
    Perhaps the loss of Mankins was more detrimental than we had hoped?

  3. unbelievable Says:

    “but we definitely just can’t keep doing the same stuff because that’s not working.”

    Uh, no sh1t!

    I like Koetter, but his stubbornness to keep sending Sims up the middle through 2 full games now is really mind boggling. It’s been plain as day to everyone else it wasn’t working, why wait so long to change it up?

    Wasn’t he the offensive guru that was credited with a great understanding of blocking schemes?

    Doug made chicken salad out of check sh!t many times last year, and with him gone we are seeing why. That said, they still did run block much better last year.

    @ St. Pete, you are correct. We’re gonna have to put in some of those jumbo packages again from last year and force the run down their throats.

  4. unbelievable Says:

    [Caution: Trying to help others circumvent various features on this site can and will get you banned so give it up, please. Joe runs a business. He’s not a charity. — Joe.]

  5. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Glad you pointed that out Ira.extend the playing field.avoid throwing in the
    8 man box area.I like Evans chances against Carolina. He averaged 24 + yards in game 17 on 4 receptions with Norman on the team..The Winston-Evans chemistry needs more action. Brate on the seam.
    Young Jameis needs to step up with a stellar effort.Show why licht had such
    faith in him.Hearing how unhappy Joel Glazer was has me concerned
    that Glazers will pull the trigger on this coaching staff before they get a chance to turn things around.

  6. Stpetebucsfan Says:


    I agree completely about the auto play spots with audio from nowhere.

    It’s very frustrating. Half the time you can’t even find them to turn them off.

    And so my solution is ….I simply turn off my audio everytime I sign into JBF.

    A lot easier to slide the little audio bar at the bottom of my screen than listen to commercials from nowhere.

  7. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    BTW Joes. I do not mind the copious banners of ads…as you say it is a business and you can either charge us all for participation or run ads.

    I support your running ads. I’m on board with your many promotional ties.
    It’s just the unwanted mysterious audio that is aggravating.

  8. Clodhopper Says:

    I would argue the oline was a little over rated last year. How many times did we see Doug break tackles before he got to line of scrimmage? I seem to remember him doing that nearly every run. That makes the play action more efficient. Two years ago I would have and did say running backs are a dime a dozen, but Doug was the straw that stirs the drink. With out him, we are toast and without his super human effort from last year we are also toast.

  9. BigStinky Says:

    How are you supposed to run for 4-6 yards on first down with 8 men in the box? You either need more blockers OR you need to throw it instead. Pass on first down more often to set up the run on 2nd and 3rd downs. Keep the defense off-balance instead of being SO predictable. If teams continue to put 8 in the box, you keep throwing to get them to STOP. Of course you are going to end up in 3rd and long if you ALWAYS run on 1st and 2nd down when the defense is expecting it. You can put in more blockers and run more sweeps, but running up the gut is much harder with 8 on the LOS. I still say pass on first downs to open up the running game. Go BUCS!

  10. pete Says:

    Last year Doug Martin (and Sims) often ran behind Oline AND Stocker & Pamphile.
    That is not available so far this season.

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    @Ira … “Now it’s up to Donovan Smith, Kevin Pamphile, Joe Hawley, Ali Marpet and Demar Dotson to prove that last year’s success was no fluke.” Maybe there-in lies the problem? Majority of last year’s wins had a starting lineup of Donovan Smith, Logan Mankins, Joe Hawley, Ali Marpet and Gosder Cherilus. So Bucs have replaced Mankins with Pamphile, and Cherilus with Dotson this year and aren’t getting the same results. Hmmm. Any possibility it has something to do with the chemistry of this year’s group? Pamphile’s adequate, but personally think our OLine misses Logan Mankins leadership at Guard much more than folks recognize. And although I like Dotson, he’s getting too many penalties again, and it might be time to see if inserting Cherilus might make a difference in how the OLine performs.

  12. Mike Johnson Says:

    No 2 ways about it. We are going to have to run the ball against Carolina. And we probably will not be able to. That means Carolina is sayin to us, Ok jameis beat us. HE has to be spot on. So far the so called real Jameis has only showed up for one game. Monday night football. national Audience without..McCoy or martin? Rough slate for us guys. We are not like strong NFl teams where 2nd teamers step in and get her done. We gotta have all our 1st teamers and they gotta play well.

  13. BucinJAX Says:

    The title was to not let Warhop and friends off the hook. But, they don’t matter. Big Hog been teachin’ us that only the players matter. smh

  14. JonBuc Says:

    Boy do the Bucs miss Mankins and his leadership. I bet he’s happy he’s not part of this shatshow. At least Sweezey has filled the void…I mean his bank account. This will be the week that the Panther D rights their ship…and sinks the Bucs. It has the pitential to get real fugly on Monday night.

  15. LargoBuc Says:

    When the box is stacked, unless you got a line of all pro road graders, you’re not going to be able to run. You have to pass to get that eighth defender to back off. Not just pass, but your qb has to be accurate, make good decisions and protect the ball. So this all goes back to Jameis. He has to be better. He is hurting the team in every facet, three weeks in a row now. He deserves all of the criticsm he gets. I do hope he regains his firm tho. That would be nice.