Alarming Stats

May 18th, 2019

Wasn’t enough.

There is one area of the Bucs the team really hasn’t addressed or upgraded. It’s one of the puzzles that has Joe scratching his head this offseason.

The Bucs’ rushing attack last year was just downright bad. But Joe didn’t realize it was this bad.

Someone by the name of JJ Zachariason, who is an editor at FanDuel, pumped out running back stats from last year that for Bucs fans should be rather disturbing.

No team in the NFL got less production from its running backs than the Bucs. That’s total yards (rushing and receiving)

Per Zachariason, Tampa Bay running backs finished the 2018 season with 1,484 yards on the ground and through the air, combined. The next-best team was (uh, oh) Arizona with 1,718 yards.


Remember, these stats do not include rushing yards from the Bucs’ second- or third-leading rushers, America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, and journeyman backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

And then there are the touchdowns, or more like the lack thereof. The Bucs got eight touchdowns last year from running backs (again, on the ground or through the air), tied for second-worst in the NFL with the Raiders (and Doug Martin). The only team worse was Buffalo with four.

And remember, the Bucs had an offensive-minded head coach and a passing attack that was the best in the league. Yet even with defenses geared to try to stop the pass (because that was the Bucs’ clear strength), the running backs were so awful they couldn’t even take advantage of defenses tilted to defend the pass.

What was even worse in Joe’s eyes was that for the Bucs to succeed last year, as in win games, they needed at times to play keep-away — usually a goal to keep the ball out of opponents’ hands. In the case of the Bucs, they needed to play keep-away to keep their defense off the field.

To play keep-away ball, you have to be able to run at times. Nope, not the Bucs.

This is what makes the past draft so puzzling. The Bucs had a chance to add a dangerous running back yet they passed (literally) on the chance(s).

Thus far, the biggest thing the Bucs did to address the woeful run game is to dig Andre Ellington out of mothballs.

Joe’s not confident that will be enough.

37 Responses to “Alarming Stats”

  1. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Bucs also signed Bruce Anderson, RB, N Dakota St, who did well on special teams in college.

  2. GetOverIt Says:

    Seems they concluded 2 things: 1) DBs were more important to add in the draft than RB. 2) Maybe the poor running game had less to do with RB than it did with bad bllocking schemes and/or execution… –OR– They’re counting on serviceable RB and OL players to be available before the regular season starts. As bad as the defense was, I can’t blame them.

  3. Dewey Selmon Says:

    #1 rule to be a RB in Dirk’s system, you have to pass block. i was shocked at the lack of screen passes after Sims was cut. And with predictable play calls in the red zone the running game stalled which led to missed FG’s.

  4. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Both OL & DL should be better in 2019 after addressing those positions with the 1st 4 picks in the draft………………………………………………………………….

  5. Joe Says:

    And with predictable play calls in the red zone the running game stalled which led to missed FG’s.

    One of the funniest lines Joe ever heard was (can’t remember the home game) late in the season the Bucs were near the opponent’s 40 yard line and Gary Shelton said, “The Bucs are entering missed field goal territory.”


  6. Defense Rules Says:

    Aah yes Joe, the newest panic du jour is ‘Our running game stinks’. Dovetails nicely with ‘Our defense is horrible’ and of course ‘Our pass rush is non-existent’. O Lordy, I almost forgot how despicable our FG kickers are. But thankfully we have Jameis & all these fabulous receivers to march the ball up-and-down the field.

    Was at a Men’s Prayer Breakfast yesterday and a friend quipped that they found a very strange white substance on one of the RB shoes last season & didn’t know what to make of it. Turned out that he’d tripped & accidentally crossed the goal line. First time for everything.

  7. TBUC North Carolina Says:

    OLine has to improve!!! I wanted Darrell Henderson Bad!! I believe he’s better than any back we have!! With better line coaching and execution Peyton can be a good lead back…with Rojo, Anderson and the rest being our wild card backs. But I sure wish we would have grabbed Henderson in the 3rd!!

  8. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    DR :-)…I knew that punch line was coming….gallows humor is upon us

  9. Joe Says:

    But I sure wish we would have grabbed Henderson in the 3rd!!

    That’s when Joe quit paying close attention to the draft and started concentrating on work.

  10. unbelievable Says:

    LOL Defense Rules!

    Worst run game in the league the last few seasons, hmmm I wonder why….

    It’s almost like having the 31st ranked run-blocking offensive line makes it hard to run the ball? But no, that definitely isn’t it.

  11. Bucnjim Says:

    Doesn’t tell the whole story that’s for sure! Looking at last years halftime scores the Bucs were getting beaten badly most games. Almost to the point where they had to completely abandon the run game to even have a chance. When you don’t have the lead you run the ball less and less. Even when you have the lead playing vs. the Saints, Falcons, Steelers, Eagles, etc… you have to score points to win.

  12. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Ronald Jones.

    Watch and see the improvement. Barber will go down, Jones will get a shot, and run with it. Literally.

  13. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Defense Rules Says
    “O Lordy, I almost forgot how despicable our FG kickers are.”

    I was listening to a couple podcasts this week, and two of them had Buccaneers. com staff writers.

    One said when Gay kicks the ball, it’s as loud as one of the cannons going off.

    The other said that on that 58 yard FG he attempted, it had more than enough distance, and that the coaches didn’t even bother having Santos try the kick.

    I mean, think about it…2 yards short of 60 yards. Personally, I think they were checking his leg strength on that one and did not expect him to make it.

    The reason I bring this up is that Gay seems to be much, much better than expected. He’s making some good FGs, and he has the leg strength.

    Our kicking issues might be fixed…or well on their way to being fixed.

  14. Bucnjim Says:

    The stat that is way more alarming is pass defense! Took some time to look at every category and it’s embarrassing! Opponents average was almost 75% completion rate by far the worst in the league. This wasn’t so much about sacks and pressure as it was about not even being able to cover for 2 seconds. So if you wonder why the Bucs went straight secondary just take a few minutes and check out ALL the passing defense stats you will see why.

  15. Clean House Says:

    Fire Licht today,
    He makes a mockery of common sense, football intelligence. He’s the ultimate buffoon.

  16. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Yeah Bonz, I heard the same story about the kickers. Agyuao and Santos have a lolipop kick, goes high and short. Gay actually drives through the ball. Just have to worry about where the hell is goes. Remember Kyle Brenza? Licht signed him after he kicked a 58 yarder in pre season for the Lions. What we didn’t know is his kicks were like a foul tip in baseball where the crowd scatters and tries to get out of the way. lol

  17. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Dewey Selmon Says:
    May 18th, 2019 at 5:03 pm
    Kyle Brenza? Licht signed him after he kicked a 58 yarder in pre season for the Lions. What we didn’t know is his kicks were like a foul tip in baseball where the crowd scatters and tries to get out of the way. .
    are you saying he kicks like Jameis throws… 😉

  18. Smashsquatch Says:

    Alarming indeed if you care about last year’s record. Run game will benefit from improved coaching, scheme, and defense. Bucs will add to this position at the end of camp too. San Fran is loaded at the position and can’t possibly keep all their guys. That’s just one team. Our run game and play calling was highly predictable last year in part due to coaching and also game flow.

  19. Cobraboy Says:

    @Bonzai: Gay does not have to overstride to go 60yds. That is is normal swing. Think about that.

    I also expect Jones to break out. It’s not like he was bad and the other RB’s were good last year. Whenever Koetter put him in the game you KNEW he was going to get the ball…as did the defense.

    Koetter’s offense was NOT good. His passing game was good. That’s it.

  20. Beligerentbuc Says:

    Nope…it’s on Jameis remember…everyone is on a blame Jameis kick for a miserable rushing attack and league worst Defense.

    Ask yourself if Brady or Rodgers would survive playing with this D or rushing attack.

  21. Defense Rules Says:

    Bonzai … I’m still of the opinion that the Bucs will start off the year with TWO kickers … Gay & Santos. From what we all read, Gay’s issue was accuracy from close in, and Santos’ issue was accuracy from afar. Santos won’t get better from far out (leg strength?) but eventually Gay SHOULD get better close in. Question is… How long will it take for him to become ‘acceptable’ on the shorter stuff?

    Remember way back in 2015 when Licht let Patrick Murray walk after the 2014 season and decided to go with Kyle Brindza. Booming leg. Lasted all of 4 games … whooppee. He was 4-for-8 inside of 50 yds, and 2-for-4 outside 50 yds. Made Connor Barth happy; he got another chance to shine that season once Licht swallowed his pride. But of course Licht canned HIM also after the 2015 season in favor of the best college kicker ever … Rocket Roberto. Hung with him through one whole (tragic) season then Licht got yet another brainstorm. In comes Nick Folk … the ANSWER to our kicking woes. Lasted all of 4 games himself, before Licht swallowed hard once again and brought back Patrick Murray. Who obviously had to be let go because he couldn’t hit 60-yarders so in comes Chandler Catanzaro in 2017. Our hero lasted all of 9 disastrous games, until Licht brought in Cairo Santos to right the ship. Not sterling, but he was perfect from inside 40 yds (6-for-6) & on XPs. So obviously we drafted yet another kicker. It’s a Bucs’ life alright.

  22. Stonedbuc Says:

    6.66, yup we’re are in football hell.

  23. LakeLand Says:

    I thought we could have moved up last year and jumped Cleveland for Nick Chubb. It was only 4 spots, we had three 2nd round picks and a 3rd. We probably could have gave the Giants our top 2nd round pick (38) and the 3rd (94).

  24. Alvin Scissors Harper Says:

    I just don’t see how Jones is going to be a bust. He’s too quick, his USC highlights are too good. With some coaching and some blocking, this kid is gonna be just fine.

  25. BuccoBoras Says:

    Let’s keep both kickers and use them situationally.😃

  26. TBUC North Carolina Says:

    I Second what Clean House Says…says!!!!

  27. Stanglassman Says:

    The fans would’ve been satisfied if we drafted RB, Bruce Anderson in the 5Th and signed Gay as a FA. But now We have the same results and something something to complain about.

  28. Sport Says:

    Defense, I don’t see any stats supporting accuracy issues with Gay at short field goals. Didn’t miss an extra point in 2 yrs and averaged 86% overall and was asked to kick alot of bombs, which would drive down the %.

  29. Chris Simms 2020 GM Says:

    “But I sure wish we would have grabbed Henderson in the 3rd!!

    That’s when Joe quit paying close attention to the draft and started concentrating on work.”

    Jeez Joe, I thought you guys did this JBF thing full time. What are you, an accountant or something?

    The Bucs got 8 TD’s from all of their RB’s? You would think that Gump would jump at the chance to draft Henderson. That guy scored 27 TD’s by himself last year despite sharing the back field with Tony (9 TD’s) Pollard.

    Be like the JETS, Fire Licht Tonight!

  30. Chris Simms 2020 GM Says:

    Sorry, Darrell didn’t score all 27 TD’s by himself, one of those was a TD pass that he threw.

    That’s right, he could have been a back up QB like Lamar Jackson.

    I believe he might have been a QB in high school where he was voted Mr Football Mississippi 2014.

    But Gump didn’t recognize the need for a RB that could score. Funny the Rams did, although they had the #2 offense in the NFL last year, they gave Gump two magic beans for Henderson.

  31. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    I’m still amazed in our last two seasons (32 games) the longest rush TD by a RB is 5 yards. No home run ability what so ever. Peyton Barber is solid but Rojo needs to be that game breaker that we lack

  32. Defense Rules Says:

    Sport … Gay did better in 2017 (88.2% – 30 for 34 FG Made) than he did in 2018 (83.9% – 26 for 31 FG made). Did hit all of his XPs both years. He certainly does have a big leg it appears, since he hit 8 FGs from 50 yds out in his 2 years at Utah.

    The stats that I’d found on him (attempts at various distances per year) showed that he was perfect (17-for-17) in both years from 20-29 yds. He was close to perfect in both years (20-for-21) from 30-39 yds. It was the 40-49 yd range where he started to hiccup a little: 4-for-6 in 2017 and 7-for-10 in 2018 (combined 11-for-16). He actually did better than that from 50+ yds: 5-for-6 in 2017 and 3-for-5 in 2018 (combined 8-for-11).

    Still, very impressive in my book, but we’ve seen in the past where rookies sometimes overthink it and don’t do as well initially as they did in college. That’s why I was saying it may not be a bad idea to keep Santos around early in the season, just in case Matt Gay turns into Roberto Aguayo or Kyle Brindza.

  33. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    I’m still amazed in our last two seasons (32 games) the longest rush TD by a RB is 5 yards. No home run ability what so ever. Peyton Barber is solid but Rojo needs to be that game breaker that we are missing

  34. Sport Says:

    DR, Hah! Point well taken. I can’t wait until our kicking game is a boring, non-story…

  35. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    Weird, sorry about double post

  36. BucEmUp Says:

    The Bucs NEVER threw the ball.the their running backs. Show the stats for just rushing in games the opponent didnt have a three score lead by the end of the first half.

    ITS COACHING!!!! ITS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE! You cant run the ball when your playing catchup and your not going to have good recieving yards to your running backs when you NEVER THROW THEM THE DAMN BALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Watch how good coaching will take a 5 win team and turn it into a 9-10 win team in one offseason

  37. Brandon Says:

    In era where teams keep only two QBs, you guys are proposing we keep two kickers? Not going to happen. One or the other. The rookie will be given every opportunity to win the job. If he falters at some point he might be stashed on IR and a veteran replacement brought in… we ARE NOT keeping two kickers.