Dirk Koetter And The Run Game

August 29th, 2018

Trust is back.

If anyone can glean something from the preseason, the Bucs offense will be back on track in 2018.

It’s not so much because the Bucs may have the deepest set of receivers in the NFL, but that they appear to have a newfound running game.

That’s the word from Andy Benoit of SI.com. He is of the mind in Dirk Koetter’s offense, the rushing attack fuels the passing attack, not the other way around.

It was obvious Koetter didn’t fully trust his running game in 2017—which explains the signing of free agent center Ryan Jensen, who got $22 million guaranteed after a stellar campaign in Baltimore. His arrival pushes Ali Marpet back to his more natural guard position, strengthening two of the three interior O-line spots. Actually, make that all three spots since third-round rookie Alex Cappa should beat out Caleb Benenoch for the other guard job. With a potentially imposing O-line and the addition of second-round rookie tailback Ronald Jones, the Bucs have the personnel to employ the black-and-blue ground game that Koetter’s scheme demands.

Well, Joe has hit the pause button on Ronald Jones. Hey, Joe would love to see Jones completely blow up beginning with the regular season opener at New Orleans.

But through the weeks of training camp and three preseason games, with the exception of one catch, Jones hasn’t shown Joe anything that would make Joe forget Warrick Dunn.

Joe has faith Jones eventually will turn the corner, but it doesn’t look like we are there yet.

Peyton Barber, on the other hand, looks fantastic. If Barber could become a solid bellcow, Joe isn’t sure how teams will can keep the Bucs off the scoreboard for long.

15 Responses to “Dirk Koetter And The Run Game”

  1. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    A strong running game and this offense is easily top ten.

  2. Lunchbox Says:

    I think our running game, and by extension, our offense is going to be VERY hard to stop this year. I believe Peyton Barber, barring injury, might start all season, and that’s fine. Whatever makes the offense run (no pun intended) is fine with me

  3. stpetebucsfan Says:

    We may hate to admit but luck is always a part of athletic competition and especially in the NFL where injuries can change a team’s fortunes overnight.

    Barber looks like a very competent “bellcow” RB. Where we need some luck is for him to stay healthy, or for ROJO to discover his NFL legs.

  4. Bobby M. Says:

    Bucs have the talent to match the old Vikings team that had Moss/Carter/Smith/Culpepper

  5. Pickgrin Says:

    If the OLine can be better at pass protection and do a MUCH better job of run blocking than we saw in 2017 – then the Buccaneer offense will be very hard to stop.

    If not – then the offense will still look out of sync and continue to struggle scoring points. Rendering all the “weapons” as fairly useless once again – and causing droves to complain about Koetter’s play calling.

    It all starts up front.

    Solid or better OLine play in 2018 = Dynamic Bucs offense

    Spotty or worse OLine play as we saw in 2017 will lead to a losing record, fired coaches and a whole lotta upheaval.

    This team’s fortunes are largely in your hands coach Warhop. What’s it gonna be? Whole Lotta Love – OR – Whole Lotta Upheaval?

    Keep it cooling, baby

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Cappa beating out Benenoch……Now? or Eventually?………now would be news to me.

  7. Bucsfanman Says:

    Pickgrin- Great points. I’ll add that by default, having a run-game will keep the clock rolling and the defense fresh. People forget that they’re symbiotic, one benefits the other and vice versa.

  8. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    If the O-line stays mostly injury free the running game will produce , but depth is the issue.

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    Benoit got a bit carried away IMO Joe. He seems convinced that Cappa will beat out Benenoch to create a “potentially imposing O-line” and maybe by mid-season Cappa will start, but he’s not ready right now. And with our OLine’s history of getting dinged up, I’m not sure that ‘imposing’ is an accurate descriptor. My hope is that it’ll be SOLID like Pickgrin said … good enough so that it’s not a major weakness that keeps our offense from being able to effectively employ its’ weapons.

    Was thinking that an improved running game is also a Catch 22 because there’s only 1 football. Bucs got 1,035 plays last year & 1,066 in 2016. Safe to say we’ll probably have around 1,050 max this year (Saints only got 1,000 last year with a relatively ‘balanced’ attack). Last year Bucs only ran on 37.6% of our plays, but in 2016 we ran for 42.5% (a full 5% more). IF Dirk runs at that same rate this year and IF we end up with 1,050 plays altogether, that’d be about 445 rushes on the year … PLUS the RBs have averaged about 85 targets in the passing game on top of that, bringing their total touches to 530. That only leaves about 520 OTHER touches, which also includes broken plays like INTs & turnovers by the QB.

    Assuming there’s a big improvement there, our receivers would probably only get around 480 touches this year (they got 501 in 2017 and 488 in 2016). When Jameis or Fitz have to feed ME13, DJax, Humphries, Godwin, Cam, OJ and probably a few others, it’ll be hard on one hand to keep everyone happy. On the other hand, every receiver will know they’d better catch whatever is thrown their way if they expect to get more opportunities. Aah yes, competition is such a wonderful thing.

  10. AlabamaBucFan Says:

    Cappa did not have a good game as a starter in the last game. He did not finish his blocks in the running game and he seemed to struggled on pass blocking. I think he needs another year before moving in as a starter. He was great in college when he got his hands and latched onto you, but in the NFL he needs to increase his strength.

  11. Dapostman Says:

    The numbers will tell.

    120 yards a game rushing.

    32 sacks or less allowed.

    #Get After It!

  12. 813bucboi Says:

    barber will be our savior?…….

    who would’ve thought….


  13. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    Don’t forget, in Dougies magical rookie season it took something like 5 games the Minnesota game for it all to come together for him then he blew up the rest of the season. Patience with Jones and it will work out.

  14. Eric Says:

    looks good but final piece of the puzzle is scoring, not yardage.

    But with the group assembled a competent coaching job should yield a top ten offense.

  15. unbelievable Says:

    Agreee pick.

    Solid oline = productive offense.

    They were ok at pass pro but abysmal in run blocking most of last year.