It’s Not Working

December 13th, 2018

Running on first down a struggle.

Later on the internationally popular Ira Kaufman Podcast this subject is tackled in more detail with Joe and others. There is a perception that the Bucs (read: coach Dirk Koetter) often run on first down.

Joe hasn’t researched how much the Bucs run on first down. But the perception is Koetter calls for a run (up the middle) on many first downs.

Again, Joe can’t say that’s accurate. But thanks to the good people of NFL Films by way of BSPN’s NFL Matchup, Joe is certain of one thing: running on first downs this year for the Bucs is just slightly more productive than urinating in the wind.

The Bucs have the third-worst yards per carry on first down runs. The Bucs average 3.9 yards and only Atlanta and Arizona are worse.

Another thing Joe doesn’t know is if this is just a sign the Bucs have a rotten running game or that defenses are waiting for Koetter or offensive coordinator Todd Monken to run the ball on first down?

Or maybe a little bit of both?

11 Responses to “It’s Not Working”

  1. Larry Says:

    The Bucs offense is predictable. Because they have so much talent on offense, it isn’t as apparent as teams without this much talent. With all this talent, if they only had a really good OC, with some imagination, they could be far better than they are. The kicking game is the REAL achilles heel for the Bucs and it has been for years. Winston seems to have cut way back on his bone head plays, (for now at least). If they only had a stud running back, an imaginative play caller AND a CONSISTENT KICKER they could possibly make the playoffs. From there, who knows??

  2. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    This is because we cannot run the ball, plain and simple. I don’t think the first down mix is that bad this year.
    What I have been curious about but I can’t find it is our yards before contact stat. I feel like the amount I see our backs hit in the backfield, we have to be one of the worst in this regard.

  3. THETRUTH Says:

    In Saints game , 2nd half strip sack we got on Brees BUCS called 2 running plays on 1st and 2nd down leaving an obvious pass down on 3rd, knowing we cant block anyone. WE HAVE NO RUNNING GAME!!!!! i knew the game was over at that time and i question if KOTTER ACTUALLY OVERRULED MONKEN AND CALLED PLAYS ON THAT SERIES..

    oh ya followed by miss FG , feel like we went conservative which is mistake this team continues to make.

  4. THETRUTH Says:

    How about a TE or RB screen when the defensive rush is getting in backfield so easy.. How to slow down a NFL rush 101, screen pass (high percentage especially with Winston being off target last week)

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “Running on first downs this year for the Bucs is just slightly more productive than urinating in the wind.”

    This looks like another one of those ‘Duh’ issues Joe. Bucs have only 1,283 rushing yds this season on 324 carries … 4.0 YPC. That ranks us #27 in the NFL (not impressive). But look deeper and it turns out that Jameis & Fitz together have 396 rushing yds together on 77 carries … 5.1 YPC. And since almost none of those were designed runs (but rather scrambles off of broken pass plays), one can probably assume that most weren’t on 1st down.

    Subtract out the QBs’ rushing stats and the Bucs have gotten ONLY 887 rushing yds out of 247 carries by the non-QBs on our roster … a 3.6 YPC average. Even a little worse actually than what your graph shows (3.9 YPC on first down). And right in line with what Barber (3.7 YPC), Rodgers (3.6 YPC) & RoJo (1.9 YPC) are averaging.

    Bottom line is that our running game doesn’t just suck on 1st down … it sucks period. Predictable play-calling on 1st down MAY be an issue, but since our total rushing results are in-line with our 1st down results, I’d put my money on two other factors: (1) our OLine can’t run-block for beans; and (2) all of our RBs are average to below-average at best. When your (theoretically) most explosive RB (RoJo) has a longest run of NINE (yes, 9) yards on 23 carries (and sports a 1.9 YPC average), you know your running game is in trouble. Thank you again Jason Licht.

  6. Bob in Valrico Says:

    The team lacks an explosive running back to make plays out the backfield and
    on passing downs. in 2015 we had a great tandem at RB. They contributed 837 yards in the passing game alone and took a lot of pressure off Jameis. We have almost no screen game to backs and only 319 yards receiving yards by backs.
    Jason Licht has passed over too many good RB’s in the draft reaching for a
    kicker or DB’s that are often too short or too slow. The Saints flooded our backfield in the second half and blanketed our receivers in part because they
    there is not much threat out of the backfield.

  7. RustyRhinos Says:

    So the 4th worst first down rushing teams Jags,(4-9)Bears,(9-4) Texans,(9-4) Ravens(7-6), Bill’s(4-9)are a whopping .2 yards better than us on first down. There are a few playoff team only .2 yards ahead of us. The end is not yet here then.
    What happend with the world beaters of last year we all wanted to be like? How are the Jaguars doing, A Director of football operations check! Signed plenty of top Qulaity FA’s, check! Second season new fresh head coach, check! Drafted a high pick first round RB. Check! How fast are their fans dumping on the staff? Players, managment?
    Just curious.
    Go Bucs!

  8. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    These stupid MFers draft an explosive running back in Ronald Jones , but they obviously did not do their homework on his football IQ. Jones had massive troubles learning the playbook , therefore keeping him off the field and when he finally started getting some touches he gets hurt.
    However , Jones is now healthy and these morons have to start getting him 10-15 touches a game to see what you have or you don’t have. Where in the hell are the screen pass and the flare to the RB late in the game when the opponents dline is killing us?
    By not playing Jones coaching staff is just proving they are lame ducks. This is a FREAKING HOT MESS of a franchise.

  9. 813bucboi Says:

    #1 offense huh!!!!!!!!!!


  10. Howard Cosell Says:

    From 2009 thr 2019 (11 years) Bucs have had 6 different coaching staffs.

    1.) Gruden
    2.) Morris
    3.) Schiano
    4.) Lovie
    5.) Koetter
    6.) Whoever replaces current staff

    That’s a new staff every 1.83 years

    Awesome! It’s a Bucs life baby!

  11. Rod Munch Says:

    It’s not only that the Bucs run the ball on 1st down a lot, because over the course of a full game they probably don’t, the issue is early in the games they run it on nearly every first down and nearly always up the middle – and they telegraph what is coming. Just watch the games. They rarely use play action passes on 1st down, they either come out with a back there and run up the middle against a stacked defense, or they come out in shotgun and tell everyone they’re not running the ball up the gut.

    Also, if you spend the first half running up the gut on 1st down, then for God’s sake use a play action pass on 1st down at least as often, don’t just go to shotgun and telegraph the play.