Invisible Running Game

October 22nd, 2017

Both Bucs main ball carriers have the same number of carries, and yards per carry.

Doug Martin’s triumphant return three games ago hasn’t been the savior happening so, so many Bucs fans thought it would be.

Martin is part of a much bigger problem known as the Bucs’ rushing attack.

Six games into the season and the Bucs can’t run the football, despite teams having to respect Tampa Bay’s many weapons on the passing game. Inexcusable.

The Bucs’ running game looks a lot like it did last year, probably worse.

Joe and everyone paying attention knew running back was a major need entering the 2017 NFL Draft. There was enough film on Martin and Jacquizz Rodgers to know the Bucs could do a lot better.

Tampa Bay passed on running backs in free agency, drafted Snoop McPlaybook in Round 5 and gambled that Martin would find his 2015 form. Fail, fail and fail.

Martin had 20 carries for 49 yards today. Rodgers has just seven carries in the three game since Martin returned.

Right now, Rodgers and Martin each have 47 carries, and each is averaging the same 3.7 yards per carry. That’s as fair a comparison as you’ll get.

Formerly winning head coach Dirk Koetter effectively neutered Rodgers after he was given the game ball by Koetter following the win against the Giants. Peyton Barber? Who’s that?

The blame certainly isn’t all on Martin. And if you want to absolve Martin, then it’s on Koetter’s calls and/or the offensive line, which we were told was bigger, nastier and more powerful this season.

Man, how lethal would this Bucs offense be with even an average running game.

47 Responses to “Invisible Running Game”

  1. Season Is Over Says:

    Why didn’t the GM go get a RB? Everyone and their Grandmother knew the score.

  2. Joeypoppems Says:

    I mean…. I bet Barkley or Guice would look good in pewter and red.

  3. DB55 Says:

    You guys are slow.

  4. Blake_Bucsfan Says:

    Not drafting Kareem Hunt. Not signing Calais Campbell. Not signing AJ Bouye.

    If we had those 3 guys were probably 4-2 right now with wins against NE and Buffalo today.

  5. jimmyjack Says:

    i think if you were expecting Martin to have a good game today then you dont know much about football

  6. Rrsrq Says:

    I do think DM22may be missing some holes, but he is a starting running back in the NFL, but when you play from behind as they have the last 3 games, you are not gonna be able to run the ball, it’s like Sapp, when you know a team is passing, you hit the RB on the way to the QB, unless you are the Bucs

  7. Pryda...sec 147 Says:

    Maybe we make a trade somewhere somehow

  8. Blake_Bucsfan Says:


    As I was watching the game today, I thought to myself numerous times, Man Saquon Barkley prolly woulda got at least 25 yards through that crease.

    I guess the “good” news is, we are playing ourselves right into a top 10 pick and might be able to get him.

  9. Rod Munch Says:

    LOL! Who thinks Joe had this saved as a draft from weeks ago and couldn’t wait to publish it?
    Joe – Martin looked great when he wasn’t getting hit 4 yards behind the line on every other play. Heck even when he was getting hit 4 yards behind the LOS he was making 2 people miss just to a zero hard gain. I literally think your hatred of Martin has warped your brain at this point – there is no way a reason person could watch that game and think Martin was a problem.
    Seems you didn’t actually read what was written here. –Joe

  10. Rojas Says:

    D Smith is by far the weakest link on our Oline..

  11. tmaxcon Says:

    let the excuses begin for the unreliable gerbil…

  12. Blake_Bucsfan Says:

    Jameis played some damn good football today against a great Defense tho. And O.J. Howard had his breakout game.

    Only 2 real positives I can take away from this loss. Good thing I decided to not be emotionally invested in this team after last week. Or I would be really miffed right now.

  13. Lamarcus Says:

    I don’t judge a game by stats. Dsmith was awful. Dm wasnt his best but that defense of Bills respect it and opened up some passing.

  14. CharlieB Says:

    Martin gets positive yardage where there really isn’t any. Point in case: that terrible pitch play that loses 0-3 yards every time they run it. With some nifty cutbacks, Martin actually made that useful. Our line gets 0 push.

  15. BucTrooper Says:

    “Doug Martin’s triumphant return three games ago hasn’t been the savior happening so, so many Bucs fans thought it would be.”

    “Thought?” or “Hoped?” No no no. That wasn’t a strategy, Joe. This a huge elephant turd on Licht’s resume right now. He went into this season knowing Martin was a huge question mark. He passed on Cook, passed on AP, made no other overtures to anyone else in FA, and basically stuck with the stable of garbage that he had last year that produced NOTHING and said, “I’m rolling the dice with what I have.” And this is what he has.

    It was the same strategy he used in 2016 with his THIN WR corps which failed then too. I’m sorry…. the “misses” are starting to outweigh the “hits” on Licht’s resume. It’d be one thing if the team was winning, but they’re not.

  16. NJBucsFan Says:

    Donavan Smith sucks. You won’t see it written by Joe that the Kline is horrible but we all see it.

  17. Lamarcus Says:

    I was wrong and time for me to man up. Dm is on a decline. He looks NOT in shape. Again where did he gets his hesitation lessons from?

  18. Lamarcus Says:

    I praised and I was a supporter of dm. Boy I was wrong. After the Patriots game he looks different. On some sort of a stale decline.

  19. Matt B Says:

    How is any back supposed to put up good numbers when they are consistently getting hit in the backfield? Running back is NOT our problem. Run blocking is the problem. Doug turned a few would-be negative runs into no-gain runs and short gains today. Just stop it.

  20. Ryan G Says:

    Joe…. We scored 30 points!!!!! who gives AF about how many rushing yards we had. If we ran for 1 yard per GAME the rest of the season but could score 30 every game i would take it…. if you think the probelm this game was the running game then i have really have to question this sites football knowlege…
    Dude, don’t come here to insult Joe (remainder of your comment deleted). There are 30,000+ posts on this site since 2008, opinion, news, interviews and more, much more than all sites and major media combined in that time. And sorry your football knowledge is so limited that you don’t understand what a decent running game can mean to a team trying to play complementary football. –Joe/strong>

  21. Season Is Over Says:

    It is safe to safe Sweezy is another free agent bust for Licht. I don’t think we even got a practice out of him last year.

  22. Lamarcus Says:

    I played and was COACHED well. A couple of things sticked. When a ball is thrown your way no matter what u find a way to catch a ball. Difference in being a good or great receiver
    The other was as a running back a get your number called u better not rely on blocking. If u do rely on blocking u will not make the team and oline doesn’t like playing w you. So true to everyday football

  23. Lamarcus Says:

    To be honest this wasn’t a problem today. Dm just doesn’t look right physically tho

  24. JonBuc Says:

    I’ve never seen so much backlash as it relates to Joe & Doug Martin. Joe stood his ground and appears to be pretty much correct. Martin is mediocre at a very high price.

  25. Warrenfb12 Says:

    I think the O line has been dominant in pass protection, but gets pushed backwards on run plays. In fairness to Doug, he made some impressive runs when the entire bills d-line was in the backfield on the handoff.

  26. Rod Munch Says:

    LOL! There has only ever been one runningback ever that I’ve seen at the NFL where you can say blocking doesn’t matter, and that was Barry Sanders.

    Martin isn’t Barry Sanders… wow, shocking information – that’s for letting me know.

    Anywho outside of Sanders there isn’t anyone in the NFL that is doing anything when you’re getting hit behind the LOS 70% of the time. The Bills were blitzing their balls off today – and part of that means you’re going to be hitting people in the backfield. You counter this by running screen passes, something the Bucs didn’t do a lot – which is shocking since in Atlanta that’s all Dirk was known for, running bubble screens.

    Also Dirk, while you did have your best day calling plays since you became HC, here’s a hint for you… don’t run sweeps to the short side of the field when you’re at the extreme has mark. It took Dirk a season and a half to remember what a playaction pass was, so maybe by 2020 he’ll figure that out.

    In fact Dirk your sweep plays never ever ever work – just don’t run them anymore. They never worked for Gruden either. Just ban them from the playbook.

  27. Gencoimports Says:

    If the Bucs had drafted Cook, it’s just as likely he would have torn his ACL or some other seriously injury here as he did in Minnesota. No RB would have fared any better than Martin considering every thing else as a given. The Bucs are losing at the point of attack on both sides of the ball.

  28. tmaxcon Says:

    martin is irrelevant to bucs success or future. it’s not of if it’s a matter of when he either gets hurt or relapses and screws his teammates again. gain it’s NOT IF it is WHEN…. the bucs belong in the basement with the long tradition of bad drafts and over paying unreliable unproductive players consistently.

  29. 813bucboi Says:

    I thought Doug ran ok….the defense and that fumble killed us!!!! simple as that!!!!!…GO BUCS!!!

  30. 813bucboi Says:

    Don’t Hide!!!!


    GO BUCS!!!!

  31. Swanee Says:

    Martin is a very good back. We always play from behind we do not control a game. We will be playing from behind next week against the Panthers. We just do not have the NFL talent in the secondary, defensive line to stop NFL teams from scoring. Once again poor assessment of DL and secondary players. Tony Dungy had the best ability in NFL in assessing talent. Change can only be made with this team to giving a blank check and bringing him back. Unless that happens we will continue to lose football games . We can not win against panthers if we walk this same personnel onto the field on Sunday. These are just the facts. The owners have no reason to hesitate and not make change now.

  32. James buc Says:

    Martin is the problem here I don’t know how nobody else notices this ever since Martin is back we haven’t won one game and plus Rogers is a hella good running back that’s better for our oline

  33. Lamarcus Says:

    Yup. Our coaches wanted us to be like Barry. That’s what I call coaching but u missed the mark completely.

  34. tmaxcon Says:


    if martin was a good back he would not havE SUCKED 3 OUT OF 5 YEARS!!!!!!

  35. LakeLand Says:

    Invisible running attack….Invisible run defense. That’s a horrible combination.

  36. Silent_Partner Says:

    The guy who says the Buc line has been dominant in pass protection is exactly the cleulessness that pervades this fan base. The Buc offensive line is average if you’re being kind, and it’s probably below average this year. Winston doesn’t get sacked much because that’s what better QBs do is get the ball out of their hand and overcome their pass protection. Smith is clearly not a LT, Marpette was better at G, and the rest of the line are a collection of backups. In the off-season, they should be drafting a real LT, moving Smith to RT, and finding some road grater guards in the draft or FA, which is one of the few places FA pickups usually work out if you identify really good ones.

    As far as Martin, he’s not great. He’s had 2 good seasons since he’s been in the league, so why Licht chose to pay him that outrageously was kind of absurd. Then, compounding the problem with not finding one RB in this top tier draft for them when even for the Martin fans, you have to imagine he has 2 or 3 years tops left in his career of being effective if that with his stature was mind boggling. I mean this RB draft was the equivalent of the 83 draft for QBs from what we’ve seen so far, but your GM couldn’t identify any effective guy to take from it but the bust from Boise who got cut. That’s kind of rough.

  37. Swanee Says:

    Taxmaxcin, Martin runs hard behind an avg offensive line. Offense played well enough to win. Martin average is 3.7 yards yards per carry. Good enough.

  38. Ed Says:

    Martin is alright but his acceleration has slipped from his rookie season. The toss sweep like others have said is a bad play, he doesn’t have the juice to turn the corner. Get it out of the offense. Same with the Humphries bubble screen.

    It’s a high risk play, too many Bills swarmed him, he’s not going to break the game open or get first down. The fumble killed the Bucs season. Even though the defense killed it the series before, offense was playing well enough with its timeouts to drive and win on a fg.

    The screen game was working well and so was the short stuff to Jackson. Let’s just say there isn’t enough balls to throw to use Humphries. You get the ball to Evans, Jackson, Howard and Brate. Humphries is back up depth now.

  39. Bucfan55 Says:

    Hey Joe, I’ve been a real Jason Licht supporter and his drafts have been demonstrably better than those of Dominik and Allen. No doubt about it. That said, at what point do the Glazers hold him accountable for his dereliction of duty in refusing to address our perennially glaring needs at RB and the D-line, specifically our dearth of pass rushing DE’s? It seems that he and his staff grossly overestimated their in-house talent at those positions this past offseason. With a running game and a pass rush this team is at least 4-2 instead of 2-4. Come on Jason, this is the NFL. If you’re not getting better you’re getting worse. You of all people should know that.

  40. westernbuc Says:

    Martin isn’t the reason Shady McCoy ran untouched into the end zone.

    Bucs have been playing from behind all season, in case you’re wondering why our run game is mediocre.

    Dalvin Cook got hurt, did you see Adrian Peterson today? Yikes. I doubt any running back changes the results today.

    You can whine about the run game all year and into next season, but that won’t change Jameis’s turnovers, it won’t make our defense any better. It won’t change the fact our GM throws away valuable picks on kickers and neglects the pass rush. It won’t change the fact that Donovan Smith is regressing.

  41. Sauerpickle Says:

    Funny seeing all the Martin excuses while he can’t get more then 2.5 yds a run. Blame everything but Martin. It’s never Martins fault. Oh no, he never does anything that would warrant a word of critique. It always everybody else. Yet when he came out against the pats with his whooping HUGE game of 74 yds it was all Martin, especially with those holes you could drive a car through. But we all know Joe is out to lunch cause Martin is basically the best back in the league. Whatever, if Martin was so good don’t you think he’d make up for all the problems on this team, but apparently we’ll just make excuses. That’ll make us feel better. Yeah, that’ll make us feel better.

  42. Captain Big Stick Says:

    This was good bills defense and I think the run game was far more effective then the stat line showed. I was surprised at the end of the game that Doug only had 49 yards, the eyeball test says he played bigger than that. That being said I think Doug is still getting in his groove, he has shown burst but has not fully broken out. He is definitely the best rb on the team though in terms of running between the tackles, implying Jaquizz performs the same is laughable to me.

    With the respect to our defense, hopefully Kwon and LVD can get back to full speed. I felt they both looked a little slower than normal today and that was understandable. LVD is dealing wit the ankle and Kwon has been out today. I though he looked particularly rusty at times. If they can get back to their respective pro bowl worthy play, then our defense can come together.

    IDK what to say about VHII other than.. bust..

  43. The Anomaly Says:

    Dud Martin

  44. Owlykat Says:

    This is what we get when we don’t have a GM that understands strong defensive and offensive lines are what win. It all starts in the trenches! The only help on defense line was the joke who came in out of shape and tried to avoid preseason and every game goes out for awhile with an injury. On Offensive line Licht failed to bring in a real LT to replace Smith who is a terrible liability, and I have said for three years needed to be replaced. So how is our genius GM’s plan to get us to the playoffs working out?

  45. Trubucfan22 Says:

    Our o line is mediocre at run blocking. The run blocking scheme isnt very good. Bills defense is stellar at run stuffing. Doug Martin looked tired on a bunch of his carries. Doug has to consistently make a guy miss in the back field. That is wearing him down. Bring in any RB and they will struggle behind this o line. They open a hole every once in a while but that nice 10 yard run gets drowned out by three 1 yard runs that follow. Maybe a better back make that 10 yard into something bigger, i wont deny that. Martin isnt an elite back. But if the o line would give him holes on a consistent basis, like a good o line should then you dont need an elite RB (it’s not like they are easy to find) adrian peyerson got stuffed for next to nothing today. He wasnt the answer either. Bucs run defense just sucks. Bucs defense sucks, period. Yes the bucs should have tried to draft a rb sooner. But the rb is far from the only player lacking in the rjn game. The o line needs to step up.

  46. unbelievable Says:

    Funny how Joe thinks our most productive running back is the problem.

    Not the o-line that allows him to get smacked in the backfield the moment the ball gets in his hands.

  47. Welcome Back Koetter Says:

    Martin ran hard and def. had the attention of the Bill’s defense. Just look at those play action TD’s to OJ.