Stacked Boxes And The Bucs

January 31st, 2018

The official NFL data is in on Peyton Barber and Doug Martin

Remember when the signing of speedster receiver DeSean Jackson last year was supposed to loosen up the Bucs’ running game because the offense would see fewer stacked boxes?

Well, the incredible NextGen NFL stats, powered by tracking technology on footballs and uniforms, records that data. And the NFL compiles how many times each running back faces an eight-men-in-the-box defensive front, aka a “stacked” box.

The 2017 numbers are in, and Doug Martin saw a stacked box 33.3 percent of the time in 2017, en route to averaging a league-worst 2.9 yards per carry.

Now guess the percentage of stacked boxes Martin saw in 2016, when he also averaged 2.9 yards per carry? It was the exact same 33.3 percent.


Peyton Barber also saw a stacked box on 33.3 percent of rushes this season, but he averaged a full yard more per carry than Martin.

Twenty running backs across the NFL saw more stacked boxes than Martin and Barber, and many of them had standout years.

So what does this all mean?

It tells Joe teams facing the Bucs offense need to see more explosive plays from the passing game before they alter their game plans significantly against Dirk Koetter’s offense — or the Bucs need a nasty running back who can scare defensive coordinators.

41 Responses to “Stacked Boxes And The Bucs”

  1. BringBucsBack Says:

    Jameis must learn to throw a deep ball and the O-line must block better.

    -Captain Obvious

  2. Dooshlarue Says:

    Sure Joe, I remember that.
    I think you were the one that told us all!

  3. SteveK Says:


    Two things:

    Jameis needs deep ball acumen and we need a RB.

  4. AlteredEgo Says:

    If the D does not fear the deep connection…..they’ll play as if it does not exist…

  5. The Buc Realist Says:


    You are right, but it was month’s ago!!!!!!! If I remember………OMG Its another “Realist Repost”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    “The Buc Realist Says:
    November 1st, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Nothing is helping the run game the last few games!!!! The pass game is not effective to remove the extra man out of the box and to back up the back 7!!!!!!! They are daring the Bucs to try and beat them with the deep ball!!!!!! and some plays the safties are within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage!!!!!! The O-line cannot carry the run game, as the RB was getting hit before the line of scrimmage!!!!!!! once again the RB had more yards “after contact” then yards gained!!!!!!!!! that means the 0-line was ” MANHANDLED”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Our RB are not great, but maybe the only RB that could have put in a 100 yard game last sunday is the Hall of Famer Barry Sanders and he would have to do it all by himself!!!!!!!!!! None of the RB are elite, And if you see that often they have more “yards after contact” than “rushing yards gained” that points you in a direction for blame!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. firethecannons Says:

    So Joe can you get this info over to Koetter. I seriously doubt he knows about this–that or he just don’t know how to fix it. Just like Altered said–defenses don’t fear what they don’t see. Since we have to keep djax because of salary you would think they could get him and jameis on the same page. Somebody ought to get into his face bout showing up for ota’s

  7. Bucsfanman Says:

    Stacked boxes+poor runblocking=No rushing attack!
    Stacked boxes+poor vertical threat=Guess what, No rushing attack!

    In the end though, it’s most likely Doug Martin’s fault! Am I right?!

  8. Wausa Says:

    Average Offensive line + worst running backs in the NFL =terrible run game.

    Got it.

  9. tmaxcon Says:


    there is no defending doug martin. take away the drug use which I could careless about other than only dumbarses get caught but i digress… Martin had a few good games his rookie game and a monster game in Oakland. Majority of his 2015 yards came when the team was blown out or early in the game. martin was never a great back or football player he was inconsistent at best even during his ONLY 2 respectable seasons. Martin also was never a scorer and never a finisher he was a lot like the leader of the losing culture cancer93 good in first half but an inconsistent disappearing act in second half. when a player has double far more horrible games and seasons than good ones that is not greatness. once again bucfan confuses popularity with greatness.

  10. D-Rome Says:

    Not only that Joe, but Martin’s efficiency is very high. This is the site’s definition of efficiency:

    Rushing efficiency is calculated by taking the total distance a player traveled on rushing plays as a ball carrier according to Next Gen Stats (measured in yards) per rushing yards gained. The lower the number, the more of a North/South runner.

    That’s not a good thing.

  11. AlteredEgo Says:

    WATCH….the deep ball connections on Sunday….watch the QB’s throwing to ball where the Wr’s have a chance for YAC’s…watch the QB’s throwing the ball in timing routes to the SPOT…..Jameis

  12. Not there yet Says:

    This team moved the ball between the twenties so they stacked the box in the redzone because they knew all dork would do is run the ball to center it for a field goal instead of trying to score a touchdown out Target brate.

  13. 813bucboi Says:

    I think it has more to do with creative plays not explosive plays…..teams stack the box because dirk is predictable with play calling and play design….

    i thought we finished #6 in the league in passing yards….at 1 point we were #2…..

    remember luke calling out the plays as soon as the offense got set…..too predictable….that’s the problem….

    NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!!…..GO BUCS!!!!

  14. Guzzie Says:

    Frank Reich for head coach 2019, or Jim Schwartz

  15. Amar Says:

    Last time I checked Doug Martin or Peyton Barber don’t play defensive end or line up next to center.

  16. LakeLand Says:

    In 2015 Doug Martin was one of the best RB Tandems in the NFL.

    2,763 Yards from scrimmage

    894 Yards from scrimmage

    834 yards from scrimmage

    RBs just don’t decline like this overnight
    Someone need to look at the guy calling the plays
    Dirk Koetter is not the same playcaller he was in 2015
    He’s over his head as Playcaller/Head Coach

  17. Lord Cornelius Says:

    The 20 other backs that faced more stacked boxes – how many teams does that make up? Is that 20 other teams – meaning we were top 12 in not facing stacked boxes both years? Or is it like 10 other teams or less?

    Hard to interpret this without the right context.

    Either way I think as 813 said the predictability on offense is a big part of this. We typically dictate runs too obviously with our personnel. If we go 3 WR it’s typically a pass. If we go 2 TE +FB it’s typically a run. Hell we even put certain WRs out there it seems more often on runs. We should be running more balance out of all packages. Hell the reason those OJ Howard plays went so well was because it was a wrinkle in what was otherwise a stale run based formation/consistent running plays. We need more wrinkles and especially more quick passing options regardless of the boxes faced.

    The year Atlanta had their best offensive success; was a year in which they ran most every play from the same base formation and just moved their skill players around. They also had 100% continuity on their O-line.

  18. LakeLand Says:

    Doug Martin and Charles Sims was one of the best RB Tandem in the NFL in 2015.

  19. Doctor Stroud Says:

    Yes, I remember a lot of people writing/saying that DJax would “take the top off of defenses”.

    ESPN report: “Jackson was specifically brought in for his ability to stretch the field and take the top off a defense.”

    CBS Sports: In an article titled, “Jackson paired with Mike Evans would be an unstoppable combination”, the reporter wrote: “Tight end Cameron Brate really came along in the second half of the season, but he’s not Jackson — a receiver who takes the top off defenses with his speed.” reporter lamenting the fact that DJax was leaving for the Bucs: “Jackson’s greatest ability and most coveted skillset is his speed, a trait he uses to take the top off opposing defenses with ease.”

    Coach Koetter: “It gets to a point where, if the defense doesn’t have to honor that guy going over the top, they sit down more on your lower-level guys. Now, we’re not always going to have DeSean doing that.”

    Mike Evans on NFL Network: “DeSean Jackson is going to take the top off any defense…”

    It has become almost as cliche as “thoughts and prayers”. #PaidFloridaVacation

  20. 813bucboi Says:


    2015 is more evidence that dirk needed his hand held while calling plays….we all know lovie loved to run the ball….we all know dirk is finesse….soft…he likes to air it out not pound the rock…..

    NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!!….GO BUCS!!!!

  21. LakeLand Says:


    That’s how he destroyed the Falcons offense. Devonta Freeman had 65 carries during his one season with Dirk Koetter. He averaged 4 carries a game, it’s pathetic.

  22. Bucsfanman Says:

    tmax- My point really isn’t specific to Martin necessarily, although he’s often the scapegoat. No back would’ve been successful with the poor run-blocking and the HIGHLY predictable play-calling. Barber’s late success IMO had more to do with back-up o-linemen run-blocking better and slightly less predictable play-calling.

  23. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Let’s resign Bradley McDougald. Has nothing to do with this article, but he should never have left.

  24. Cgmaster Says:

    ACTUALLY all this says to me is that every defense we play knows when we’re going to run the ball.

  25. 813bucboi Says:

    LC SAYS: Either way I think as 813 said the predictability on offense is a big part of this. We typically dictate runs too obviously with our personnel.



    when you play your first division opponent in week 8 and their MLB calls out every single play before it happens and is correct in his reading, the HC has to notice this and the OC has to adjust and get creative….

    like you mention, we all know as fans if hump is in the game and they come out trips right, its a screen pass to hump…..if sims is in the game, its a pass play…..siple as that….if we know our tendencies and personnel you can bet the DC knows it as well….

    a good OC/HC should be able to recognize this and make the proper adjustments….creative play calling and play design would help with production…..but WTFDIK……

    #NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!!….GO BUCS!!!!!

  26. Erik w/ Clean Athletics Says:

    Don’t blame DJax.

    Defenses weren’t afraid of Jameis’ ability (or lack thereof) to beat them over the top.

    If Jameis will start connecting on more throws consistently, it will loosen up for the run game.

  27. Erik w/ Clean Athletics Says:

    I also agree with the predictability aspect.

  28. AlteredEgo Says:

    #NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!!….GO BUCS!!!!!

    does that include Jameis’s inaccuracy ?

  29. Defense Rules Says:

    @Cgmaster … “ACTUALLY all this says to me is that every defense we play knows when we’re going to run the ball.” Take it one step further … every FAN knows when the Bucs are gonna run the ball. Bucs used a LOT more play-action passes to the RBs back in 2015 (89 catches on 119 targets) than they did in 2016 (66 catches on 83 targets) or in 2017 (69 catches on 95 targets). That helped a lot to disguise what was coming IMO. Much better run-pass balance also in 2015, Dirk’s first year here as OC. I’m convinced that having a true fullback (Javorskie Lane) plus having a true OLine leader (Mankins) AND Koetter being ONLY an OC made all the difference in 2015.

  30. NFLNut Says:

    33.3% is low … as you said, 20 backs faced more stacked boxes. Defenses are more scared of our passing game than running game and the numbers bear that out.

    HOWEVER, I think the number could be even lower if Dirk wasn’t such a predictable play caller as well!

  31. Rod Munch Says:

    Yeah but you have to combine stacked boxes with down and distance – teams stacked the box on 1st down AND basically run blitzed up the middle for the first 12 weeks or so of the season because the Bucs NEVER did play action passes until the season was almost ever. When the Bucs started to do play action passes out on first down suddenly running lanes opened up.

    Also look at the NEXTGEN stat about how long it took to get to the LOS, both Martin and Barber were near the bottom in that stat. Why? Because the offensive line stinks and defensive players were in the backfield and they had to make extra cuts/moves to even get to the LOS.

  32. Rod Munch Says:

    NFLNut – If you look at the stat it’s not 20 starters, it’s 20 runners, including 2nd and even some 3rd string guys. Also you have to look at time to the line of scrimmage, as posted above both Barber and Martin had high times in that regard, which is a bad thing – it means the Bucs either ran tons of sweeps OR the blocking was terrible. Well, by my memory, the Bucs didn’t run a lot of sweeps – not unless the Bucs were at the goal line, then Dirk would run it for a 5 yard loss.

  33. 813bucboi Says:

    AlteredEgo Says:
    January 31st, 2018 at 1:40 pm
    #NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!!….GO BUCS!!!!!
    does that include Jameis’s inaccuracy ?

    DAMN RIGHT!!!!!….he’s entering year 4 with offensive guru dirk… much as I love Winston, he aint excluded……

    #NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!!….GO BUCS!!!!

  34. AlteredEgo Says:

    813…cool…I want Jameis to succeed…some folks mistake my criticism….

  35. 813bucboi Says:


    I want this team to succeed regardless of who’s coaching…some folks mistake my criticism….

    #NOEXCUSESIN2018!!!!!…..GO BUCS!!!!

  36. LakeLand Says:


    The Tennessee Titans has hired Matt LaFleur as their new OC. He was the Rams OC this season, he did a good job with Jared Golf. And they hired Pat O’Hara as their new QB coach.

    Mike Vrabel hired former Bucs/USF ILB, Tyrone McKenzie as ILB coach.

  37. Bird Says:

    Teams are gonna stack box and make Jameis beat them. Until he does consistently. Pretty simple.

    They know he can tend to lock in on one guy. And TUrn ball over. Many defensive backs over the years have commented on Jameis talent. But also say on the flip side that they are waiting on his picks.

  38. Rod Munch Says:

    Bird – Actually if you watched the games you’d know the only time they stacked the box was on first down since they knew Dirk was going to run it up the middle nearly every single time. When Dirk finally remember what a play action pass was late in the season Winston was consistently getting big yards. Go watch the Falcons game which was the first time all year it really stood out that Dirk wasn’t being ultra predictable. Do that so you know what you’re talking about and then in the future you won’t say such dull and uninteresting things.

  39. USFBUC Says:

    I’ll give you the stat that really matters from these NextGen stats and that is among RBs with at least 85 carries DM has the lowest yards per carry and is .4 yards per carry worse than the second worst RB. DM is also not very efficient as a runner averaging 5.11 yards per rushing yard gained, if I am reading that right.

  40. Bird Says:

    Rod butt munch …butt munch

    Jameis ball gargaler.

    Season ticket holder from Orlando. Having missed a game ever.

    Keep attacking people. No one gives a damn about the long paragraphs you write where you try to show how smart you are. And think people care. No one likes a butt munch.

    Go into the buc archives on this website. Dbs love facing Jameis. Talib was one of those guys. They comment on his talent. And then talk about his turnovers. They are not afraid of his deep ball yet. But hey you are probably right. You are the butt munch. Aka

  41. unbelievable Says:

    So what does this all mean?

    It means our offensive line has been atrocious at run blocking.

    Just like many of us have been yelling about for the last 2 years…