Worst Running Game Killed Bucs

January 8th, 2018

Strong playoff game Sunday.

Those who read Joe regularly, and especially those who tune into the “Ira Kaufman Podcast.” have heard Joe reference the following:

Joe has always maintained if you have the fourth-best quarterback in the division, you won’t the division. This is no knock on America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston.

Despite setting NFL records after only his third season, Jameis is the No. 4 quarterback in the NFC South. Drew Brees, a sure Hall of Famer, is ahead of him, as are two former NFL MVPs, Matty Ice and pouty Cam Newton.

Jameis isn’t there yet.

But you know another area that is the worst in the division and surely didn’t help win many games? The running attack. The past two seasons, as we all know by now, top runner Doug Martin finished dead-last in the NFL in yards per attempt. That’s just shameful.

The other teams in the NFC South? They do well on the ground. We all know about Alvin Kamara. Such a stud of a rookie running back. He helped the Saints have the fifth-best rushing attack in the NFL this season, just behind the Stinking Panthers. The Dixie Chicks, led by Devonta Freeman, ranked No. 13.

And, yeah, all three of those teams were in the playoffs this weekend.

The Bucs? Uh, No. 27.

So, yeah, having the fourth-best quarterback in the NFC South isn’t good, usually. But given the quarterbacks ahead of him and the fact Jameis just finished his third season, no shame.

The division-worst running attack? Lot of shame there.

57 Responses to “Worst Running Game Killed Bucs”

  1. DB55 Says:

    I was sitting there watching all of Jameis’s FSU teammates winning and couldn’t shake the thought that most in TB wanted nothing to do with any of them. Ramsey, Freeman, O’Leary, Cook, KB, how good is Telvin Smith?, the list goes on and on.

    But yea keeping unsavory off-field concern players off the highly respect buc roster is doing wonders for us. GREAT JOB to the morality police, you really showed the league how to win with “high-character” guys unlike all those FSU THUGS. smh

    And guys like free we’re mid round picks could have easily signed him.

  2. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    Shame that this is such a deep RB class, but it’s also a shame that we have higher needs that need to be addressed first

  3. DBS Says:

    That is a nice way to try to spin it. But more than the run game killed them. But certainly Martin will be gone. Your problem is you have to wait with your tums until after the playoffs and the team does what it is going to do.

  4. LakeLand Says:

    Carolina Panthers
    4th In Rushing

    New Orleans Saints
    5th In Rushing

    Atlanta Falcons
    13th In Rushing

  5. D-Rome Says:

    It would be nice to have a coaching staff who knows how to utilize the talents of Charles Sims. Christian McCaffrey seems to be the same kind of player as Charles Sims (basically a running back that doesn’t run much). McCaffrey isn’t really a running back or a wide receiver. He’s certainly not a tight end. What he is, is a weapon that the Panthers seemingly know how to use.

  6. BucEmUp Says:

    One thing that really bothered me throughout the entire season until the final quarter (4 weeks maybe) is that they never threw the ball to our rbs. I like Barber after showing what he could do….but getting a stud dunno back would do wonders. At this point even though they desperately need De help my doubt with Mike Smith being able.to stop a loose tissue in a cool breeze has me.thinking other positions.

  7. The Buc Realist Says:


    to add insult, the Bucs offense was tied 26th in turnovers with 27 “giveaways” !!!!!!!! And to show the trend, the 6 teams below that, all losing records and bottom of the league in standings!!!!!!!

  8. LakeLand Says:

    Atlanta Falcons
    4th In Points Against

    Carolina Panthers
    10th In Points Against

    New Orleans Saints
    11th In Points Against

  9. LakeLand Says:

    Atlanta Falcons
    8th In Points Against

    My Bad

  10. DB55 Says:


    Great point! If it’s not a screen play koetter would know about it.

  11. LakeLand Says:

    Carolina don’t have the passing game that Atlanta, New Orleans, Tampa Bay have. But Cam Newton is great at moving the chains, with runs,short passes to his RBs and TEs. Time of Possession is important. You rest your defense and the other team offense can’t score from the sidelines.

    Time of Possession Rankings

    Carolina | 3rd
    New Orleans | 9th
    Atlanta | 12th
    Tampa Bay | 19th

  12. The Buc Realist Says:


    Know what else helps a defense???????
    the Bucs offense was tied 26th in the league in turnovers with 27 “giveaways” !!!!!!!! And to show the trend, the 6 teams below that, all losing records and bottom of the league in standings!!!!!!!

  13. BucEmUp Says:

    Realist, when you have the worst defense in the league it’s common to see the q.b take more chances and force throws knowing he has.to save the day.

    If James had just a 16th ranked defense and running game he wouldn’t need to try and make things happen when nothing is there

    Balance is key to success in most situations. Without it the ride tends to be a little rough

  14. LakeLand Says:

    The Buc Realist

    I agree with you 100%
    Offensive turnovers kills the defense

  15. BucEmUp Says:

    Pretty much a chicken or the egg conversation. What comes first the defense putting the team behind or the defense struggling because the team.was put in a bad.spot on turnovers.

    Worst third down defense in the league has nothing to do with James. Fix the defense and the entire team will benefit with Winsotn being the primary beneficiary knowing that he can live to play another down without adding another 7 to the opposing team’s score.

  16. The Buc Realist Says:


    The Bucs defense was ranked 22nd with a 23.9 pts per game avg!!!!! I could care less about if team got 600 yards a game!!! Its scoreboard and points that matter!!!!!!!!! But the sheep were told it is yards that matter!!!!!!LOL!!!!!!!! and the Defense would have been ranked higher without all those “giveaways”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

  17. Rod Munch Says:

    Dirk needs to go back and watch his tape from 2015 and realize that being super predictable and not utilizing play action passes early in games killed his running game – that and terrible offensive line play. Move Marpet back to guard where the kid is a pro bowler and perhaps an all-pro, get a real center via the draft or free agency and the line is in good shape if Dotson can stay healthy. Speaking of which it wouldn’t be the worse thing in the world if the Bucs got a new potential LT, which in turn could mean that Smith would move to RT where he might go from merely an lower end average LT to a very good RT. Not a huge need on that by any means, but if the possibility presents itself, it’s something the Bucs should look into.

  18. Lord Cornelius Says:

    The NFC South has historically some of the best QBs probably ever in NFL history all playing at the same time within the same division. Jameis could be 4th best QB and still be a top 5-10 QB in this division.

    That’s f*cking insane. It’s also why I don’t care about that fact at all (the “4th best QB” stat).

    Also – in terms of pure passing – Winston has been better than Newton since he entered the league basically.

    Still – you’re talking about a division that has 3 teams in the playoffs; with 2 of those teams making the Superbowl the prior 2 seasons. Those same 2 teams had QBs that won the MVP awards in 2015 and 2016.

    That’s not even mentioning Drew Brees; a first ballot HOFer and super bowl winner; who has 4 of the 5 highest completion % seasons in history; and may be pushing for another SB this year. If that happens then we are in a division with 3 recent SB teams basically lol.

    Seriously holy f*cking god what an insane division… Basically to not be the 4th worst QB in the division you have to push for MVP and a SB appearance. That standard / bar is high as h3ll. At least Winston is young. Brees turns 39 in a week. I’d also take Winston over Cam all day right now. Cam’s had the benefit of playing with top 5 or top 10 defenses when he’s had success. Give Winston the same sh1t and let’s see who goes farther.

  19. Rod Munch Says:

    Realist – …the Bucs were a total of 6 points from being out of 29th place in points per game, so basically if the Vikings don’t shutdown their offense in the 2nd quarter of that game the Bucs are ranked in the 30s in points allowed. The Bucs were also ranked 32nd in points per possession, meaning everytime the other team had the ball they did more with it than against any other team. Also the defense would be ranked higher except for the “giveways” – more fake news. The Bucs defense average starting position was league average, they were not at any notable disadvantage. Finally the idea that the offense gave up points that count against the defense, buzz, wrong again. The Bucs offense gave up 1TD all year, the league average was 2.4. The only scoring that did hurt the defense was was the 3TDs given up by special teams, (blocked kick, 2 kick returns), that was well above the league average of 1. So the Bucs defense got dinged for .6 TDs more than average, but look at teams behind the Bucs in points against, like Denver, they had 6 TDs given up by the offense and special teams and when you account for those and look at pure points given up by the defense, the Bucs actually fall back further in the rankings.

  20. darin Says:

    Exactly. The lack of running the ball is killing the offense. His offense works when the running game is efficient and they are utilizing the play action passes. Not when youre throwing 60 percent of the time and a small percentage is play action. I hope they add a piece to the oline and definitely a rb. Then regardless if the running game is picking up 5 or more yards a pop he needs to stick with it more. His routes are predictable as can be so without the play action and backers biting the middle and under routes are non existent. No idea how he went almost a full season without making adjustments. I know he is smarter than some of us fans so its time he shows it. Now smith on the other hand…..👎

  21. Eric Says:

    And were counting on Dirk to turn this around.

    This reminds me of the times where we had to deceive ourselves into thinking we had something with Leeman Bennett and Richard Williamson.

    And Rah, Schiano, Lovie, Wyche.

    It’s a buc’s life.

  22. Rod Munch Says:

    Cornelius – Yeah I’ve been point that out as well, the QB talent in the NFC South is amazing. I’m hoping maybe the Saints win it all and then Brees retires, that would be a great help. However Brees certainly doesn’t sound like he wants to hang up his cleats so hopefully they get trounced at the Vikings next week instead.

    For the Bucs their schedule this year was ridiculously difficult. They played 9 games versus teams in the playoffs and despite going 5-11, they only lost one game to a team with a sub .500 record (the 7-9 Packers) and they were 4-1 versus teams with a sub .500 record. Give the Bucs a cupcake schedule like they get in the AFC South and the Bucs are playing yesterday, even with a year like this one which seemed like a disaster. I’m not a huge Dirk fan but I do think there is something to the fact that the Bucs did beat teams they were supposed to be – so at least Dirk isn’t getting out coached by teams with less talent.

    However back to the bad part – short of the Bucs moving out of the NFC South there is isn’t really any chance of the Bucs getting a cupcake schedule where they only have to be one playoff team all year (AFC South). Heck even the Eagles with the best record in the NFC, they only beat one more playoff team than the Bucs did this year (2 wins, versus 1 win).

  23. LifeOfABucFan Says:

    But even when Doug Martin was number 2 in rushing, we didn’t have a good year!

  24. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Glad licht passed on kamara and the others to get the snoop back, the nfc south gms have been building their defenses to win championships while licht is out scouting crappy kickers, new orleans has the NFC ofensive and defensive rookies of the year on their team the bucs are 5-11 lookin at 5 wins again

  25. ndog Says:

    And just think despite no running game and the worst defense in the league Jameis still has us up 7 at Buffalo with 3:14 remaining, up 3 at GB with 6 minutes remaining, up 4 at Carolina with 3 minutes remaining, in a position to tie Atl with no time on the clock (and no LVD or GMC) and beat NO on the last play of the game. Yeah this Jameis guy sucks lets get a new QB.


  26. LakeLand Says:

    The Bucs Offense and Special Teams are part of the 23.9 PTS/G.

    78 total points off turnovers
    21 total special teams points

  27. ndog Says:

    The Buc Realist Says:

    January 8th, 2018 at 3:03 pm


    The Bucs defense was ranked 22nd with a 23.9 pts per game avg!!!!! I could care less about if team got 600 yards a game!!! Its scoreboard and points that matter!!!!!!!!! But the sheep were told it is yards that matter!!!!!!LOL!!!!!!!! and the Defense would have been ranked higher without all those “giveaways”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    No Realist it is playing when it counts that matters and like I just posted above in our last 5 games 3 of them we had the lead late and the defense let the other team walk right down the field for the win, and one was Nick Hundley. We all know you love Mike Smith but don’t act like the defense did anything to help this team win this year other than the Mia game.

  28. Mike Johnson Says:

    This is shere D KOFKA! (BS). Our running game did not kill us. Our LACK OF DEFENSE KILLED US! Our Defense finished in the bottom 5 of the league. Some say, it was the leagues worst. You cannot win unless you can stop somebody. Just ask them JAG-WARS. Look at how they won all year…DEFENSE.

  29. Lord Cornelius Says:


    Agree on the schedule; and that doesn’t even take into account losing our bye week which sucked. The Bucs would likely be a playoff team if they were in the AFC South like you said. Hell – every other NFC division looks pretty damn easy compared to ours:

    NFC East – cowboys were not good this year. Giants sucked. Redskins mediocre at best.
    NFC West – 49ers sucked until late. Seahawks not the same team. Cardinals suck.
    NFC North – Bears suck. LIons are OK but not that great. Vikings are good but Pack was missing rodgers. This is the next best NFC division and our division still smokes them.

    @Realist – the defense sucked and the coaching of the defense was not that good. Simple as that. That said – I give Smith a much much bigger pass for the defense; than I do Koetter for the offense. It’s weird to me the tampa media has not had this same sentiment and wants Mike Smith gone a year after begging for him to stay. I really don’t get it.

    Koetter has no excuse regarding Doug Martin and the run game; and no excuse for the scoring output and play calling in the red zone. That’s 100% on him with no other person to point the finger at. It’s easy to see who is responsible for that.

    With Mike Smith it’s a bit more complicated..

    The defense was crippled with injuries to every key player we had pretty much. Spence was by far the biggest loss. It’d be like the Broncos losing Von Miller week 1 in terms of how important he was to our team (not in terms of how good the actual individual players are though). He was our only promising pass rusher and the dropoff was insane after him. David/Kwon/Grimes/VHIII all missed significant time and tons of games. Baker was a failed pickup; and Ayers fell off a cliff. Ward sucked.

    At least Mike Smith had a talent excuse. Dirk really didn’t – outside of the Jameis injury. It’s no one’s fault but Dirk’s; when he calls a bunch of run plays in the red zone on a drive in which the pass is working; or calls a bunch of pass plays in the red zone on a drive in which the run is working. It’s no one’s fault but his that he has Desean Jackson in and 3 WR’s in the red zone trying low % pass plays. Clock management / playing to kick a FG / not evaluating his own RBs correctly – 100% on him. You can’t blame that on anyone else.

    Still – I’ll be fully supporting this staff because that’s what I do. We need to add a f*ck ton of talent on the lines. Go all out like the Jags have the last 2 years in FA. Get some big names. Move Gerald McCOy. Do something big because just a little tweaking is not going to be enough imo

  30. LakeLand Says:

    NFL Offensive Leaders PTS/G

    New Orleans Saints | 4th
    Carolina | 12th
    Atlanta | 14th
    Tampa Bay | 18th

  31. Not there yet Says:

    Why did Martin look like the best back in training camp? There are plenty of training camp warriors across the NFL. –Joe Why was the run game average during his 4 game suspension? He was only suspended three games, and it was good in two of those games. –Joe It all adds up to the starting running back being someone drafted in April. Barber is average and would be nice commentary back but nothing more

  32. SB Says:

    Joe……….surely you are pulling enough coin to hire a Proof Reader.

  33. 813bucboi Says:

    The Buc Realist Says:
    January 8th, 2018 at 3:03 pm
    The Bucs defense was ranked 22nd with a 23.9 pts per game avg!!!!!

    what was the offensive scoring average?…….less than 23.9…..

    COACHING!!!!!…..GO BUCS!!!!

  34. feelthepewterpower Says:

    Saints couldnt do shid on the ground vs. the Saints, yesterday. Carolina has an awesome run defense. So does the Vikings.

  35. feelthepewterpower Says:

    err Saints couldnt do shid vs. the Panthers run defense^^

  36. 813bucboi Says:


    we faced:

    -5 teams with losing records
    -1 team that finished .500
    -4 teams with winning records outside the division
    -our division(3 teams)

    so we faced 6 teams that made the playoffs this year…..last year we played 5!!!!!

    yall do realize the bears pick #8 and the phins pick #11……2 teams that we thought we were so much better than!!!!!


  37. lightningbuc Says:

    DB55 Says:
    January 8th, 2018 at 2:10 pm
    I was sitting there watching all of Jameis’s FSU teammates winning and couldn’t shake the thought that most in TB wanted nothing to do with any of them. Ramsey, Freeman, O’Leary, Cook, KB, how good is Telvin Smith?, the list goes on and on.

    But yea keeping unsavory off-field concern players off the highly respect buc roster is doing wonders for us.


    What in the world are you talking about? The Bucs have the NFL’s version of Harvey Weinstein.

  38. Tony from Los Angeles Says:

    Let’s see…

    Worst defense in the NFL with the worst pass rush.
    Worst ground game.

    I’ll say it for the 100th time.

    The Bucs need to bring in 8 new faces on the offensive and defensive lines via the draft and free agency to compete with the incumbents, improve the starting lineup, and vastly increase their depth.


  39. DB55 Says:


    I’m saying – don’t be skerd call 1-800-Ask-Jason. Before calling 911 call 411 ask db55

  40. DB55 Says:


    Btw that’s slander. Good thing the libel laws are weak in the country.

    You know darn well he’s never been found guilty of anything. But pls continue….

  41. lightningbuc Says:


    Slander? LOL! I didn’t name anyone. You’re inferring.

  42. JD Says:

    This guy is a beast, if we got him at BPA maybe and also get another RB I don’t care from where but just a decent RB at least. Just this guy alone improves the run game tremendously IMO.

    But we were 27th I can only think we can just go up from here. BUT being a Bucs fan I know better than assume things lol

    Quenton Nelson is a animal.


  43. VegasBuc Says:

    Would love to get RB Sony Michel in 2nd or 3rd.

  44. tnew Says:

    I wish we had the 4th best running back.

  45. LakeLand Says:

    The Bucs problems are most than defensive problems. Anytime Mike Shula offense outscore your offense for 4 straight years.

    You have major offensive problems

  46. SB Says:

    Vs. Patriots……5pt loss (3 missed FGs and a PAT)
    Cardinals ……..5pt loss
    Bills ……………3pt loss
    Packers………..Overtime loss
    Lions…………..3pt loss
    Falcons………..3pt loss
    Panthers………3pt loss

    I don’t know Why everyone thinks this team sucks so bad when we were so close with a bad rush attack, a QB that commits stupid TOs, and no Edge Rush to speak of.
    If you guys don’t want to find something positive about YOUR team then go find another team.

  47. LakeLand Says:


    If you don’t have anything positive to say about the Bucs QB.
    I suggest you go root for another team.

  48. Howard Cosell Says:

    The Joes and Howard saw this running back issue coming down the road like
    a freight train, yet NO ONE addressed it and we put our misguided faith in Drug Martin!

    OK…..Ok….maybe it was just the Joes who saw the problem and not Howard…BUT….Howard is on the bandwagon now! Joes were right!
    Drug Martin may have single-handedly sunk the Bucs 2017 season and caused the Joes to not get 1 million unique visitors!

    Howard is pissed!
    Licht needs to be held accountable!

  49. SB Says:

    LakeLand Says:
    January 8th, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    If you don’t have anything positive to say about the Bucs QB.
    I suggest you go root for another team.

    Either you have seriously bumped your head or you are smoking crack!
    I am a Die Hard Gator fan and may be the Only one that was totally on board with the JW Draft. You prolly don’t pay enough attention to remember that tho. I am not going to do a “Realist Repost” tho to prove you wrong. You can do it yourself if you wish. Be my guest. Stay out of Washington Park if you can man

  50. SB Says:

    Howard is pissed!
    Licht needs to be held accountable!
    We don’t really have a RB issue as much as an OL issue. And a DL issue. If the Lines aren’t addressed in the first two picks then we Definitely have a GM issue!

  51. USFBUC Says:

    You guys knocking Winston are forgetting the impact that having a terrible run game, the worst defense money can buy, terrible coaching, and bad play calling will have on a young QB. Just the bad run game and a league worst defense is going to make Winston feel like he has to be the one to win games. On top of that a generally weak coaching staff who at times was clearly lost on the sidelines, consistently made poor decisions about team and personnel management, and couldn’t call a game to save their jobs (The players saved the coaches jobs by over-performing the last few weeks) was just too much.

  52. USFBUC Says:

    @Howard everyone saw the train wreck at RB coming, everyone except the coaches and GM.

  53. Duke Says:


    Nice research. However, in the interest of getting a more accurate assessment of the schedule instead of the batch approach to statistical analysis, try opponents records when they faced the bucs. Let’s take SF as an example, they weren’t the same team wk 9 as they were wk 16. The fact is the bucs faced team’s with back up QB’ s or struggling when the Bucs faced them. Not every team but if you are operating on the premise of providing the best possible picture I believe it’s not bad information for comparison sake

  54. LakeLand Says:

    The Bucs SOS was stronger than Atlanta, Carolina, New Orleans because those team played the 5-11 Bucs twice. And the Bucs played those teams twice. At the beginning of the season, everyone SOS is equal.

  55. SB Says:

    That is your only response Lakeland?

  56. Pawel Says:

    What pisses me off is I wish we used Charles Sims like Carolina used McCaffrey, you have to keep feeding the ball so a player gets in a rhytm. Then, should of used Howard in passing earliee in the season. On defense, I think the play calls sucked , maybe its a good scheme but Smith couldnt predict opponents offensive play calls.

  57. LakeLand Says:

    Yeah SB, that all I have.