“It’s Time For The Bucs To Stop Beating Their Heads Against The Wall”

September 4th, 2018

Tampa Bay Times data-obsessed Bucs reporter Thomas Bassinger is no fan of Dirk Koetter’s playcalling.

It seems that when Koetter made the point this year that five out of six teams that rushed for 2,000 yards or more last season made the playoffs, Bassinger launched a new line of research to illuminate fans on the value — or lack thereof — of rushing totals.

Bassinger’s long and highly-detailed analysis is here. Frankly, Joe has little patience for the numbers crowd and Bassinger’s piece made Joe want to run head first into a blunt object a few times.  Ironically, that’s what Bassinger thinks Koetter does repeatedly, metaphorically speaking, with his run-first approach.

Bassinger concluded Koetter needs to stop pounding the rock because there’s no proof it’s the key to winning games, unless you’re the team running to protect a lead in the fourth quarter.

“It’s time for the Bucs to stop beating their heads against the wall. The modern NFL is a pass-first league, and the best time to pass is when you don’t have to,” Bassinger wrote.

All that data chatter exhausted Joe. But Joe does know the Bucs and Koetter must find a way to stop with the slow starts to games. It’s a crushing pattern that must be quashed.

Run, pass, whatever, just start scoring more than 10 points in the first halves of games. The Bucs hovered around a paltry 8-point average through last season.

32 Responses to ““It’s Time For The Bucs To Stop Beating Their Heads Against The Wall””

  1. Nick2 Says:

    Monken’s play calling was pretty damn good. Why mess with this? I think Koetter needs to suck up his ego and keep Monken as a play caller. If our offense goes into hibernation in the first half against the Saints Koetter will have blood all over his hands. Dirk relinquish the play calling now or make sure you can score points if you don’t!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. adam from ny Says:

    you ever think koetter and smitty get together privately, have a beer and laugh off all these bucs shenannies?

    and then smitty says: “let’s ride it out till we’re canned and get serious in the next town that hires us”

    and koetter responds: “yeah just don’t burst into laughter at the podium, try to look serious brother”

  3. Dewey Selmon Says:

    We have the personnel to pass the ball up and down the field, we just need better red zone production. The problem lies with clock management and trying to keep your defense fresh. Our best offense is keeping our defense on the bench. lol

  4. Va Tom Says:

    Just as a casual fan I agree with the point that it seems the Bucs for the past handful of years have been predictable. Normally run on first for little. Run on second for nothing. Pass on third to an idiot that stands 2 yds in front of the 1st down marker who’s got a dude nearly wrapped around his ankles by the moment the ball is delivered.

    Would love to see the Bucs passing “when they don’t have to”! That sounds like a nice change.

    Sure we have had huge passing gains in the last couple years, when the game’s entirely out of hand and we are down by 2 scores.

  5. adam from ny Says:

    he’s prolly a nervous nellie to hand duties over to monken…with being on the hot seat and all, the talk can quickly switch from play calling duties to “give monken the hc job asap”…i doubt dirk want’s to hand him the keys to the caddy…he rather hand him a mop bucket…



  6. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Some teams run to set up their passing game. Some teams pass to set up their running game.

    Given the lack of any power running game, questions in our OL run blocking, and the obvious talent at QB and his many targets indicate an overwhelming talent overload in our passing game with questionable running cred.

    I think Barber can get the job done…I think our OL will be adequate barring any more injuries to the wrong players…but I do not suppose our running game will set up our passing game even though JW is great at play action fakes.

  7. reality-is-a-beotch Says:

    joe you are going to piss off the conservative dinosaurs that think running the ball and defense wins championships even though history proves all dynasty’s (multiple championships) have a FRANCHISE QB’s and a great offense…. Even the vaunted 70’s Steelers had more offensive hall of Famers than defensive.

    yes, ravens won 2 but with completely different teams and not back to back.

    all the defense first teams struggle in the postseason and are 1 and done in superbowls…. Bucs and Ravens proved that. Dungy the clown managed 2 playoff wins in six years with a generational player in Warren Sapp. 2 playoff games in 6 years is laughable not greatness. It does, however, fit with the franchise low standards which makes dungy the clown a perfect fit in the Bucs ring of underachievement….

    The best defense is MORE OFFENSE!

  8. RawDog Says:

    You don’t hand play calling over to a guy based on preseason production…

  9. Bob Says:

    In preseason, it just seemed to me, that Monken’s playcalling was more oriented to passing than running from the get-go. As a result, the defense was on their heels and the Bucs came out balling whereas Koetter preferred to go more with the run. I think this team needs to be a pass first to set up the run…..Monken should do the play calling.

  10. adam from ny Says:

    precisely bob

  11. Bucsfanman Says:

    You have to start somewhere. The problem was he never adjusted. Take what the defense gives you.
    Not for nothing, but you HAVE to be able to run the football to win in this league.

  12. Horse Liver Says:

    Bassinger is the only Tampa Bay Fishwrap guy that I pay attention to. His data analysis and number crunching combines with football knowledge and logic to be a solid package. The useless toads named Tom Jones and Martin Fennelly can take a long walk on a short pier. They are so bitter and negative, I wonder why they even bother if they have that much hate in them.

    But Bassinger is worth the read every time.

  13. Lord Cornelius Says:

    In all of that analysis there is not one comment about running efficiency related to the red zone; or the red zone in general.

    That’s where an effective run game is important.

    He brings up the Rams as an example of a pass first team succeeding. They simply passed more on 1st down. THat’s it. They had one of hte best / if not the best / run games in the league and the best RB in the league lol. Their RB had 19 f*cking TDs.

    Chiefs / Saints / Falcons all had way better run games than us. Everyone knows the Saints run game is more important to the turnaround they had than Brees continually slinging it out.

    HIs entire article is basically a decent point if all he cares about saying is to pass more on 1st down. Other than that there is nothing that valuable I’m getting out of it.

  14. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Eagles won the Super Bowl
    Eagles were 3rd in NFL in rushing
    4th in Defense
    13th in passing

    It’s not dinosaur thinking- it’s statistical facts, not fake news

  15. 813bucboi Says:

    Lord Cornelius Says:
    September 4th, 2018 at 10:33 am
    In all of that analysis there is not one comment about running efficiency related to the red zone; or the red zone in general.
    That’s where an effective run game is important.


    hard to run 4verts in the red zone!!!!!!!!


  16. BringBucsBack Says:

    I thought that there were three key points in Basinger‘s article:

    1. Should be a no brainer but, if it doesn’t work, get away from it; if it works keep doing it!

    2. There is no correlation between a teams’ rushing ability and the success of play action. Play action works even for teams who are poor rushers. I have read elsewhere how truly effective play action is and how many successful teams are dependent upon it, as it freezes the defense if only for a split second. (I would play action every single passing down greater than a one step drop and never empty out the back-field, as that clearly identifies a pass-play.)

    3. Teams that run the most early in the game are among the worst (see Bucs). Teams that run late in the game, so as to run out the clock and “seal” a victory, often rush for more yards and are among the best teams! Rushing becomes a byproduct of scoring and leading!

  17. Wausa Says:

    Good point Bob

  18. gatorkmk Says:

    Winning teams run the ball.

    Teams that run the ball do not always win.

    Correlation does not equal causation.

  19. gp Says:

    A good run game helps the passing game
    A good passing game helps the running game
    Playing with a lead helps both
    The best defense is a strong, time consuming offense that scores

    Predictability in play calling shuts all of this down

    Sometimes there is truth in a cliche

  20. Godeep66 Says:

    Did any of you ever think that Koetter did not want to pass the ball early in the game because of the risk of JW turning it over? Dirks fingers are crossed that Fitzpatrick does well and plays the rest of the season and snags a wildcard spot. This way he can get rid of JW and then bring in a new intelligent QB next year (draft or trade or FA) and then coach him up.

  21. gp Says:

    For a bag of hammers…
    You’re not very bright

  22. Brandon Says:

    I think the most important stat he listed was the ones involving teams that ran the ball most in the 1st quarter (almost all dreadful losing teams) vs teams that ran it most in the 4th quarter (the teams that won the most). The 4th quarter teams are easily explainable by them trying to eat clock and seal the victory… but the 1st quarter losing teams can also be explained that they are terrible and have little to no confidence in their defenses and passing games. They would run the ball and hope to actually be able to move it while keeping their D off the field… two quarters later those were the teams that ran the ball the least in quarter number four because their plan seldom worked.

    Good teams are aggressive in trying to move the ball and do whatever will work to get them points. Then when they build their lead they will run the ball to kill clock. It’s very simple. The Patriots have had years where they seldom ran the ball and were fairly ineffective when they did but they were still among the league leaders in scoring and time of possession.

    We need to use our talent. We’ve got THE best group of receivers in the NFL (regardless of what some other people say, nobody can match the 4 WRs we have and 2 TEs) and we need to threaten defenses with them, spread them out, and run when we want to not because we feel we have to.

  23. AlabamaBucFan Says:

    Monken was once a receiver coach with the Jaguars. He used a spread offensive at Southern Miss, which employed a lot of 4 WR sets. In three years, he took a 0-12 team to a 9-5.

  24. joestang Says:

    Koetter is too predictable with play calling, give Monken a chance.The BUCS offense looked the best I’ve ever seen in pre-season.

  25. Trench War Says:

    To win games more frequently I believe teams should take full advantage of the rule changes that benefit the passing game. With the rules today that are geared to protect the receiver and the QB, the passing game has evolved more into a track meet. With the passing interference calls so blatantly one-sided receivers don’t even really need to catch the ball to gains chunks of yards anymore. Just make incidental contact and the flags fly. In todays game you no-longer use the run to setup the pass, you do the opposite.

  26. Pickgrin Says:

    If the Bucs OLine can do its job a good bit better than last year – run blocking especially – then all the complaining about Koetter’s play calling will stop.

    A healthy, capable running attack opens up the entire playbook and forces defenses to adjust. Forces defenses to stay in base more often on early downs – thus creating coverage mismatches for the Bucs offense to exploit whenever we want to pass.

    In short – its the element of surprise – the element of keeping defenses “on their heels” and “guessing” that allows a creative playcaller to shine.

    Bucs 2017 offense was very good at passing and quite bad at running as a generality. Being so obviously one dimensional makes it very tough on the play caller.

    Bucs longest TD run in 2017 was TWO YARDS! That alone speaks volumes as to why this offense has struggled to score points.

    The best collection of pass catching weapons in the league is practically neutered (especially in the red zone with a shortened field) when the run game is so ineffective and the QB rarely has a clean pocket for even 2 seconds.

    Its not about who calls the plays – its about the effectiveness and the proper execution of the plays that are called.

    In pre-season this year – the 1st team with Barber was able to run the ball effectively and thus made Monken look quite competent. Which is why some are saying Koetter should give up play calling.

    As long as the run game keeps clicking – the offense will look great – regardless of who is calling the plays. Koetter is one of the better offensive minds in the league and will show that in 2018 – IF the OLine can do a better than adequate job of run blocking and pass protecting.

    It all starts up front!

  27. Issaic haggins Says:

    Any one see FSU s play action last night or handoffs where the qb ran with the rb . What was that ????? It looked like high school freshmen ?? I think you need Lamar Jackson to make that abortion of an offense work !!

  28. Bucsfanman Says:

    Isaac- As the resident Hokie alum, I must agree. I think Taggert thought those Conf. USA, or AAC plays were going to work against Bud Foster’s defense. Another prime example of not adjusting. They looked like they were on two different levels.

  29. Bucsfanman Says:

    Pickgrin- You can’t keep Pick-ing on the o-line play! Remember, it’s Doug Martin’s fault!
    Everything starts in the trenches.

  30. D the Bucs fan Says:

    The problem with Koetter is that his bails on the run to soon. And doesn’t know how to make adjustments until it’s too late. prime example i rewatched the thursday night game against the patriots. He kept running long developing plays like he always does which all new england had to do was play zone keep everything in front of them. We didn’t do anything until 9minutes left in the 4th. To start throwing slants. I question Koetters football iq. Playcalling to me is about points not yards. That’s one thing his offenses have failed to do in Tampa. That’s why we like Monken even tho it’s preseason previous years Koetter led preseason offense didn’t score nothing close to Monkens.

  31. Jeffbuc Says:

    I saw an article where it broke down every play type of every team last year. We led the league on running on first and second down. And had the second worst yards per carry last year. And I think the same article said we had the farthest distance to gain on 3rd down. You can’t repeatedly run on first and second down to open a game and punt on your first 4 possessions. Or sometimes koetter got really tricky and he passed on first down got 12 yards then ran it twice in a row and couldn’t convert on 3 and 8 and punt. In preseason I noticed we were passing the ball on all downs then sprinkling in a run that would gain nice yardage. That is more of what we are set up to do. With all these offensive receiving weapons we should be a pass to set up the run team. And if koetter doesn’t see that early this season it is going to be a long year. And I hope the media calls him out on it. Because you won’t have to worry about him not liking you next year.

  32. D the Bucs fan Says:

    Pickgrin when Koetter was the oc and we ran for over 2000 yards we still did score to well. It’s all about play calling. Ie the rams last season the play caller head coach McVay. Made Goff look good after his first season every one was claiming he was a bust. Todd Gurley turned back into a beast. Because of play calling. I live in ATL and people noticed the difference in play calling from Kyle Shannon and Sarkison they were a historic offense under kyle. Koetters offenses have never scored alot of points except maybe when the falcons lost in the championship game when Green bay won the sb. Just saying.