Is Bruce Arians Right?

June 17th, 2019

Run game under microscope.

Bucco Bruce Arians’ edict that the Bucs don’t need a stud running back to win will be put to the test this fall.

The Bucs’ running game was horrible last year, and Joe is not exaggerating. Quick, when is the last time a successful NFL team had its quarterbacks as second- and third-leading rushers? Remember, the Bucs had one running back gain more than 106 yards last year. For the season! That is an outrage!

And remember, neither America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, nor vagabond backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will ever be confused with Michael Vick, Fran Tarkenton or Roger the Dodger Staubach.

And it is not like that one running back with over 106 yards is Gale Sayers.

That, friends, is a damning indictment of the lack of talent at running back. Yet this offseason, the Bucs willingly ignored any upgrade at running back if not fully avoided upgrading. (No, Joe doesn’t believe pulling 30-year old Andre Ellington out of mothballs is remotely close to an “upgrade.”)

This has the attention of veteran Tampa Bay columnist Gary Shelton. Writing for his website, Shelton is appalled by the stable of mules in the backfield.

I’m not stunned that SB Nation says the Bucs have the worst running back group in the NFL. I’m stunned that anyone would suggest they don’t.

When Arians told Ira Kaufman that the Bucs didn’t need a Pro Bowl running back to be successful, what could not be heard on the podcast audio was seeing Arians sort of wince with compassion and short of shake his head thinking the Bucs’ running backs are being unfairly targeted and beat up by scribes, analysts and microphone jockeys.

Time will tell if Arians is right on target or making a fateful error.

Joe just knows defensive coordinators crave turning offenses into one-dimensional attacks. By not upgrading a truly horrendous running attack, on the surface, it appears Arians is playing right into defensive coordinators’ hands.

36 Responses to “Is Bruce Arians Right?”

  1. El Buco Realisto Says:

    Worrying about the bad RB roster is small potatoes!!!!!! There are more pressing issues like the lying qb that folds like a lawn chair, not to mention the inconsistent passing!!!!!! Or the ole stale biscuit that supposedly only came out of retirement to “reload” only to find out in a short period that it is indeed a rebuild!!!!!!! and then you have the architect of this disaster that has overpaid and missed on so many things!!!!!!!!! Hard truths are comming for the sheep and local media!!!!!!!!!!!

    2019 will reveal answers to the sheep, that the “real” fans already know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Gettinthebucs Says:

    Get karlos Williams. Cheap only a 1 year deal. Make it non guaranteed. I don’t think anyones even talking to the guy right now. The league is getting ready to ease up on weed, that is becoming clear. 9tds as a rookie and backup. Elite size and speed.

  3. Morgus the Magnificent Says:

    Football success will ALWAYS require a decent run game, both on offense and defense. Period.

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    Fix the OLine by at least adding a veteran RG & the running game would improve right then & there. Pass-blocking would probably be a lot better too, allowing us to potentially get 1 more receiver (WR, TE or RB) out into the pattern.

  5. doolnutts Says:

    If Koetter was still here and saying this kind of thing I would be pretty bent right now. Bruce Arians has a strong track record of success particularly on the offensive side of the ball and for me a clean slate to show me what he can do in Tampa.. I think he will know a little bit more about what he can get out of players than analysts or the general public, so with that being said, I am giving him the benefit of the doubt for now.

    It all comes down to wins and losses if we are winning no one is really going to care BUT if we are losing and our run game sticks there is going to be HUGE question marks on how could BA and Jason let this happen.

  6. SOEbuc Says:

    We get the point. We have a bad running game at the moment. I’ve like Peyton Barber for a while. He might not be a break out speedster running back but he’s very good blocking back, bullish getting through the middle, and has good hands.

    But what is it all about???…Good coaching. And we all know we haven’t had that in Tampa Bay since Gruden and now we have a stable of coaches with great resume’s and have coached on good teams.

    With Dirk and crew showing RoJo the ropes his rookie year, it would be so righteous if he broke out in his sophomore season with BA squad in 2019.

    …And I’m a Shaun Wilson lover so if the opportunity arises, I’ll be most excited to watch what happens.

  7. Ghost of Darrell Henderson Says:

    The solution to their problem was there at the 70th pick but they traded the #1 RB in NCAA history (8.2 ypc) for two magic beans.

    Those beans will be planted on the practice squad and might not ever play a down.

  8. Buczilla Says:

    It’s pretty clear by now that Licht does not value running backs and pass rushers as much as the other 31 nfl teams. Kickers seem to be higher on his totem poll, which makes 0 sense to me. There is still time to add another running back and pass rusher, so I will keep the faith for now.

  9. NOSBOS Says:

    Bucs running game is just fine. We now have a HC that knows the importance of at least 25 rush attempts a game. I could name more than a few teams who don’t have house names in their backfield.

  10. The Graham Tram Says:

    Ghost of Earnest Graham is going to be running his tram on 16 select days this fall

  11. The Graham Tram Says:

    and 4 times this winter

  12. ruggyup Says:

    Of course BA is right. But what is left unsaid is the need for 11 guys on the field at one time who can run, block, knock down and spit at the same time. The undercurrent on this board remains the same-it’s about team and every guy producing for the team not himself. Possible? Maybe not in Bucland. Sad.

  13. Snook Says:

    Is this really a question?

    Yes, he’s right. Did Pittsburgh sign a big free agent RB? No. They drafted Bell. Then he became a stud.

    Did Arizona sign a big free agent RB? No. They drafted Johnson and he played well.

    Anyone paying big money for RBs on the open market is an idiot. Draft one in the 2nd or 3rd round. Period.

    As for Barber… if he had stayed at Auburn for another season, he would’ve been a 2nd or 3rd rounder most likely.

  14. Lord Cornelius Says:


    1. To suggest Arians thought this was a reload and is just now (June 2019) learning it’s a rebuild makes no sense on so many levels.
    A) That’d mean he is a complete moron that has completely lost his touch with the game. Ok possible but it also means
    B) That the organization is also embracing a “rebuild”, but if that’s true then
    b1) they wouldn’t be paying all this $$ to Winston.
    b2) They wouldn’t carry all these contracts.
    b3) They’d be unloading right now for draft picks.

    This world view makes no sense to me regardless of your optimism/pessimism/subjective opinions on players. It’s a just a weird bad take IMO.

    Bucs run game 2018: 29th in total yards, 31st in yards per attempt, 26th in rushing TD, 19th in turnovers

    Bucs pass game 2018: 1st in total yards, 2nd in yards per attempt, 4th in TDs, 32nd in turnovers

    Both Fitz & Winston turned the ball over a lot last year other than the opening 2 games for Fitz and the last 6.5 games for Winston.

    This is one of the crazier stats I’ve found actually:

    Between Fitz’ opening 2 games, and Winston’s last 6.5 games, they had 5 combined total interceptions in over 1/2 the season.

    In the other 7.5 games, they had 21 interceptions.
    Fitzpatrick had a slew of 11 in just 4 full games worth of action.
    Jameis had his own 11 in the 4 games when he returned as a starter.

    It seemed the pressure got to both QBs in terms of them both pressing to try and hold that starting job.

    I blame WInston for the suspension having that effect more than anyone else.

    In a specific 8.5 game stretch last year Winston/Fitz combined for 5 total interceptions. In the other 7.5 games they combined for 20 interceptions.

  15. Kobe Faker Says:

    “Brees and Saints was 7-9 8-8 for 3 years till mr Kamara came in the scene

    Put a runningback alone vs a 250lb linebacker in space

    It works

    Those days of rumbling tumbling stumbling mike alstott days are over

    #1 mismatch in the passing game is rb vs linebacker

    *Darrel Henderson is a Kamara clone we should have drafted this year”

    Kobe Faker

  16. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Sorry repeated that last statement. Still damn lol.

  17. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    Jason Licht is a horrible team builder and has watched 8-10 very good RBs get drafted in past 2 years and he passed on all of them but drafted 2 of the worst in back to back years. The OL is doo doo & that will lead bucs to the same 5-11 franchise

  18. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Darrel Henderson really had the look of the “it” factor in his tape – especially in the pass game. Dude just has a knack for making plays. Has great hands / balance / everything you could want. Possibly best RB from the class.


    Rojo better be Jamaal Charles / Chris Johnson hybrid in year 2 to justify this…

  19. RawDog Says:

    Almost like we’ve seen this article on JBF before…

    dead horse

  20. D1 Says:

    When B.A. was the Coach of the Arizona Cardinals , only once did he have a RB rush for 1000yds /season.

    On average, BA’s run/pass ratio is 40%/60%.

    I think its safe to assume that BA is going to pass the ball at least 60% of the time this year.

  21. Allbuccedup Says:

    I see Jameis passing 45 to 50 times a game.

  22. Chesapeake Bucco Says:

    BA and co. will pick up a stud RB during training camp….wait and see.

  23. Allbuccedup Says:

    Bucs will pick up the garbage once the good teams throw them away.

  24. D1 Says:

    Lord Corn,

    Excellent post!

    There’s no shortage of fans who seem to be projecting what they want the team to be as opposed to how BA sees it. Look no further than the draft and that should tell anyone willing to see how BA is true to his words . It’s not a rebuild.

    From the outside looking in, the job of turning this team around doesn’t seem that difficult, in fact its the opposite, the players drafted and a couple of free agents should be all that’s necessary to win now.

  25. JimmyJack Says:

    Joe I think you have a slight obsession with thinking we must have a elite RB to have a good productive rush attack. It doesn’t have to work that way. Look at a guy like Alfred Morris for example. He has had a ton of 100 yard rushing games over his career & he is not a special runner. He and Barber are probably at the same skill level.

    I understand the desire for a elite RB but also understand they are rare to find. If getting a elite guy is the only way to get a good running game then half the teams in the league are doomed. Nothing wrong with staying with a reliable & steady Barber til we find a big spash RB. You can totally produce a good running attack like that.

    And then when you find a elite RB he will get hurt(cause they always get hurt) & you will be very glad you have a steady reliable Barber on your team.

  26. JimmyJack Says:

    If you need another example aside from Morris just look up all the RBs that played for the Broncos in the last thirty years. Endless 100 yard games from RBs who nobody would call elite. Just good solid Runners who worked hard listened to what coaching taught them and did their jobs.

  27. JimmyJack Says:

    Allbuced up. Yeah maybe we will need a RB next year and pick up some garbage. You know like C.J. Anderson last year. Actually I would never call him garbage. That’s your word.

    RB is one of them positions where there is always a few good ones sitting and resting waiting to join midseason. The only thing is they aren’t getting up and bruising themselves for a team thats done by Halloween.

  28. NOSBOS Says:

    Precisely what Jack said. Don’t have to have an elite RB to have an decent running game.

  29. Allbuccedup Says:

    We didn’t pick up CJ Anderson. We are talking about the bucs I thought.

  30. Allbuccedup Says:

    JJ I didn’t say everyone sucks that gets released only that it seems like the bucs pickup these players.

  31. SOEbuc Says:

    Same idiots that thought we were going to pick up a RB in the first three rounds this year are the same idiots that think we’ll be spending any type of money on a RB in FA before the regular season.

    Just waiting on how, when, and who Licht and BA will pick up for OG.

  32. JimmyJack Says:

    AllBuccedup my point was that players who are avialable to get picked up are not always trash. C.J. was a exame from last year but you can look at Free Agent RBs avialable right now and their are some quality backs.

    The disclaimer is that those FA backs have a choice where they play. We better be winning if we expect anybody noteworthy. But I think we will be winning g this year so if we need a decent RB at some point we could be in line for somebody decent.

  33. JimmyJack Says:

    SOE……or we could have taken Dalvin Cook a few years back. If you add up all his games he wouldn’t even have a full season yet.

    These guys cry about all the players all the time and most of the time the guys they wanted don’t even live up to the value they whined about.

    It’s part of the process.

  34. Allbuccedup Says:

    Soebucs just heard on Google Jordan Mills may be getting released soon might be an option!

  35. Buc4evr Says:

    Our RB’s are not top tier, but the real problem is the O-line that simply can’t run block. No RB in the league can succeed when the other team’s D lives in our backfield. Don’t care who we pick up this off season, if it ain’t working in the trenches, there is no running game.

  36. Allbuccedup Says:

    Didn’t these guys block for Doug Martins two 1500 plus years?