Faith In The Running Game

October 5th, 2018

Before the Bucs offense took the field this season, Joe had one simple mindset: Screw balance and just score points however you must.

Dirk Koetter didn’t seem to agree, but that’s another story.

As training camp opened, Koetter was selling that rushing for an average of 125 yards per game (2,000 total yards) was a formula for playoff football. Koetter was quoting 2017 data but seemed to ignore that in 2016, only four teams rushed for 2,000 yards and only one of those made the playoffs.

Fast forward, and here we are with the Bucs at 2-2 and leading the NFL in passing yards (even with a Week 5 game played last night).

The Bucs’ running game, however, is ranked 30th in total yards and last in average yards per carry at a miserable 3.1.

So is the rushing attack awful? The answer may seem easy, but it’s not.

The running game was effective against the Saints early and set up the offense for a big day, though it failed to close out the game. Peyton Barber’s 19 carries for 69 yards were certainly respectable with a couple of explosive plays mixed in.

Against the Eagles, Barber had nothing. But the Eagles are allowing just 3.4 yards per carry this season, second best in the NFL. Interestingly, the Saints lead the NFL in rush defense at 3.2 yards per carry. The Bears are a fraction behind the Eagles and also at 3.4. See a pattern?

In the last two games combined (15 carries), Barber is averaging a respectable 3.8 yards per carry with little work. Jacquizz Rodgers, Ronald Jones and Shaun Wilson have been non-factors.

Yes, loads of Bucs fans are screaming about the failed running game. Joe advises all of you to take a deep breath.

Doug Martin is gone and hold off on calling the running game hot garbage. Give it a few more games.

Joe suspects the return of America’s Quarterback, Jameis Winston, will bring a renewed commitment to the running game, as well as success, especially with shaky run defenses coming up against Atlanta, Cleveland and Cincinnati.

Joe’s not throwing in the towel yet on Barber and the center and left side of the offensive line.

40 Responses to “Faith In The Running Game”

  1. RawDog Says:

    Excellent article. Hope to see more of what Ronald Jones can do as well.

  2. adam from ny Says:

    i just re-watched the 2010 OT loss to detroit and our trio of running backs were:

    blount, graham and cadillac…

    this threesome photographed above really doesn’t compare – for real !

    some our our talent can really be questioned folks

  3. Robert Says:

    “the return of America’s Quarterback, Jameis Winston, will bring a renewed commitment to the running game”


    We were putting up 400 yards per game passing. I’m all for running, but I’ll take total YPG all day long.

    We better not slack off those big plays. heck we should see more since Murica’s QB is in the game!!!

    Go Bucs

  4. adam from ny Says:

    i will say it again…rojo is kinda like a wide receiver in build…

    at least give him kickoff returns…that’s really a good spot for him imho

  5. Loyaltotheend Says:

    So Martin may not have been the problem as the Joes thought…4 games of no run game is a trend

    Since Koetter has been head coach we’ve been a one dimensional offense with a bad defense and no special teams.

  6. SB Says:

    I know that I can’t wait to start JW3 next week in all three of my FF leagues!

  7. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    Our defense needs all the help that it can get. A viable running game sure as hell would not hurt.

  8. Pryda...sec 147 Says:

    Jameis makes others better watch Rojo turn it around with Jaboo handing it off

  9. Robert Says:

    I’m startin our defense in my FF league this week. We gone rune the ball and JW is back our D should get some breathin time!

  10. RawDog Says:

    @adam from ny:

    They are definitely not going to put Ronny Jones in as kick returner. He has struggled to catch a ball, although small sample size.

  11. El_Buc941 Says:


  12. 813bucboi Says:

    not buying it….

    we haven’t run the ball well ever since dirk became HC… reason to thing it’ll change now…..dirk abandons the run game way too early and when he does run, its predictable….defenses know its coming….I actually miss Charles sims….


  13. dmatt Says:

    Adam from NY:
    I agree, Rojo is kinda like a wr in build. However, at this juncture he has not demonstrated the performance of an ideal wr. Great coaches would maximize the skills he has i.e., kick off returns, jet sweep, wildcat formation, etc. Again, that’s what coaches who think outside the box would do with a player who has not developed his catching skills yet.

  14. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    Good Lord Man – By now you gotta see it, dude!

    This team is terrible at run blocking! Period!
    Marpet & whoever we line-up at right guard, are being tossed around like rag dolls on far too many occasions.

    At some point, you gotta say “You know what, I was wrong”….. we’re terrible at run blocking.

  15. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    We need more physicality from the Interior Offensive Line IMO. Too much finesse.

  16. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Trade Target

    Jamon Brown (Age: 25)
    • Position: Right Guard
    • Height: 6’4′
    • Weight: 340

    COLLEGE INTEL: Louisville
    • 2014: Second-team All-ACC. Started all 13 games at LT.
    • 2013: First-team All-AAC. Started all 13 games at LT.
    • 2012: Started all 13 games at RT.
    • 2011: Played in nine games with one start.

    PRO DAY RESULTS (2015)
    • 40-yard dash: 5.09 seconds
    • Vertical jump: 28 inches
    • Broad jump: 8 feet, 7 inches
    • Short shuttle: 4.7 seconds
    • 3-cone drill: 7.36 seconds

    NFL Draft: 2015 / Round: 3 / Pick: 72 – L.A. Rams

    Career NFL statistics: As of Week 4, 2018
    • Games played: 38
    • Games started: 30

    Injuries: On November 17, 2015, he was placed on injured reserve due to a lower leg fracture.

    Suspension: On July 3, 2018, Brown was suspended the first two games of the 2018 season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse

  17. BucfanBF Says:

    I don’t buy it for one second that our O-line is any good at run blocking and even the pass blocking is becoming suspect now too.
    I don’t see a stud RB period! Jones may eventually become that guy but the small sample size thus far doesn’t show that yet. I have been saying for the past few years that Our O-line sucks and particularly sucks at Run Blocking.

    So now that Jameis is back you see the Bucs emphasizing the run more? seriously? They will air it out even more now. Defenses will stack the box knowing the bucs cant run and we all know that Jameis has the knack for an ill advised and timed interception.

    We shall see next sunday!

  18. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Also would pluck…

    Aaron Neary G/C (Age:25)
    • Height: 6′ 4″
    • Weight: 284 lbs

    Off the L.A Rams Practice Squad

    Projected Upgrades
    LT Donovan Smith | Michael Liedtke
    LG Ali Marpet
    C Ryan Jensen | Evan Smith
    RG Jamon Brown | Aaron Neary
    RT Demar Dotson | Leonard Wester

    *Release – Benenoch | Put Cappa on IR</em

  19. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Tim Spencer < Earnest Byner

    *PSs! Byner’s right down the street at IMG

  20. Season Is Over Says:

    Lol! Barber was 16 rushes for 22 yards the game before. Yes, that is 1.4 ypc. Loads of Buc fans? How many are actually complaining? The running game has failed for many years. People have a right to complain. Barber has been useless in the running game. He has given the team no advantage as he has been unable to close out and open games. The modern game is won in the first half.

  21. Lord Cornelius Says:


    It’s weird to see a line that is pretty damn solid in pass pro; but not even average at run blocking.

  22. Buc4evr Says:

    No confidence in running game and O-line run blocking. Same old Bucs….more excuses.

  23. adam from ny Says:

    the right side of the line is a serious issue…demar is ok to fin out the year as an aging lineman, but benenoch is not pulling his weight at all…anyone would be an upgrade at this point…said dude is getting abused and confused out there

  24. Jason Elliott Says:

    Is it possible that we seem to have a weak running game because we are trying to keep up with teams eviscerating the worst defense in NFL history?

  25. Phil Says:

    Running game won’t matter if they don’t fix the defense.

  26. Bucsfanman Says:

    LUV- The RG play of Benenoch/Evans has been absolutely atrocious. Defenses are collapsing the line and running blitz/stunts to stymie our rushing attempts.

  27. doolnutts Says:

    Great article… Also not being factored is we are in shootouts. It is very hard to run the ball when we are pressured to score. I haven’t loved Barbers numbers but he is lucky to get 15 carries a game.

  28. WyldKat Says:

    I thought Jones did okay with his runs considering, it seemed to me, that he had defenders waiting for him at the line every time.

  29. 813bucboi Says:

    October 5th, 2018 at 10:16 am
    We need more physicality from the Interior Offensive Line IMO. Too much finesse.

    I agree…..the offense itself is too finesse….dirk and smitty are too finesse….Arthur blank told us they were soft and we still hired them….SMDH!!!!


  30. LakeLand Says:

    According to Football Outsiders, the Bucs O-line are ranked 32nd in run blocking

  31. Mike in MO Says:

    Did the Bucs really know what they were drafting in Rojo? They seem surprised by his lack of pass protection. How can you invest such a high pick (38th) and not know what you are getting?

    Confused in MO.

  32. LakeLand Says:

    I’m not making this up, here the numbers, according to them

  33. unbelievable Says:

    So when Doug Martin is running it’s all his fault and he is horrible.

    When all other running backs have the same average or worse, let’s just hold off before calling horrible. Did I get that right Joe?

    BTW Martin is averaging 3.9 ypc in Oakland right now.

  34. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    LC & Bucsfanman

    U ain’t neva lied!

    At this point, u gotta do something to shake this unit up.

    The thing I’ve always admired about Dante Scarnecchia (N.E) is that he doesn’t care when/where you were drafted.

    Or how much money you’re making.

    All he gives fuk* about is the final result. Production on the football field!

    And If he doesn’t get the desired result out of his unit – dudes hit the bricks.
    New England’s transaction history literally goes through roof – every time.

    That is until they find, the right combination of run/pass offensive lineman.

    U see In New England, there’s always the sense of urgency to forge a competitive roster. Continuously churning the fat.

    Here we’re nurturers, OUR GUYS are OUR GUYS. We’re trying to squeeze every ounce of talent out of a prospect (even when there’s none).
    Long-term development yada yadda. Which breeds compliance.

  35. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Excluding: QB’s Ryan Fitzpatrick & Jameis Winston – scramble yards. WR Adam Humphries 4 yds.

    Running Backs
    • Peyton Barber
    • Jacquizz Rodgers
    • Ronald Jones
    • Shaun Wilson

    Combined Rushing Stats (RB’s)
    • Rushing Attempts: 71*
    • Rushing Yards: 205
    • Rushing Yards Per Attempt: 2.8*
    • Rushing Touch Downs: 1*

    No matter how you spin it – that’s fuking pathetic

  36. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Which breeds *complacency

  37. Bucsfanman Says:

    Does anyone know the deal on Cappa? Injured?

    The reason I ask is that the two stiffs we keep rolling out at RG are horrendous. Couple that with an average, at best, RT and you have an entire side that ain’t worth a damn!
    Do we have anyone else who can play the position? Better yet, can we get someone else who can play the position?!
    3 of the 4 backs we have are scat-backs, and that’s being generous! We need an o-line that can open holes.

    LUV dropping knowledge as always! What’s good my friend?!

  38. Reach87 Says:

    @Luv, thanks for posting thoughtful alternatives. Hope the staff is looking at these guys and more (experienced DB?). Go Bucs!

  39. Owlykat Says:

    It is bad coaching not only on defense but OL too. Warhop couldn’t even cut it as the Brown’s OL Coach. He insisted on bringing two of his brownie OL who turned out to be some of the worst OL players to ever wear a Buc’s Uniform. His lack of good judgment shows not only in his brownie busts, but that at the first of this season he contended D. Smith was a top three LT in the NFL! Duh NO!!! He can’t develop an OL to save his life. Our Ex-Patriot LG actually took Marpet and D. Smith under his wing and taught them the NFL ropes. Benenoch is a total bust and should be cut. Warhop even revealed he was having a retired All Pro Center to help train Cappa as a Center. That also explains why Cappa isn’t trained to play RG where we badly need him now. Warhop keeps under producing at OL no matter who you give him. Fire Warhop along with Smitty and get a real OL Coach and you will be amazed at the difference you will see.

  40. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    @Bucsfanman – I’m good bredren – how about yourself?

    @Reach87 – Ur welcome brotha.