Blame Game

July 7th, 2019

Excuse for futility exposed.

Wanna know why Joe tunes out most of the howling about the Bucs’ offensive line? First, it’s not really accurate. Second, it’s a lazy excuse for non-production from running backs.

Could the offensive line play better? Sure. But it’s not like every defensive lineman and blitzing linebacker is in the backfield on each snap untouched.

Joe has seen better production from running backs behind truly awful offensive lines. C.J. Anderson when he was with the Broncos springs to mind.

Well, the past few months, one of the biggest and loudest excuses given for the embarrassing running of Ronald Jones was that he took too many hits behind the line of scrimmage. The way people acted (and nearly had Joe conned into believing), it was as if Jones got lit up by a defensive lineman or a linebacker the instant he took a handoff.

Well, jet-flyin’, kiss–stealin‘, data-analyzin’, Bucs-film-studyin’, limousine-ridin’ Thomas Bassinger of the Tampa Bay Times threw cold water on this fire. Bassinger went back to the video and watched every Jones rushing attempt last year.

And to blame the Bucs’ offensive line for Jones’ horrid running would sort of be like blaming Chief Wild Eagle for Lt. Col. George Custer’s fate at Little Big Horn.

In fact, Bassinger points out that in less than half of Jones’ rushing attempts was he hit behind the line of scrimmage.

God forbid a running back break a tackle or make a defender miss!

Fans in all NFL cities love to pile on their team’s offensive line. It’s no different locally. But Joe doesn’t see the 1970s Oakland Raiders line on several current NFL teams to allow franchises to have success at running the ball.

The fact that the Bucs almost year-in and year-out rarely have an effective running attack enough for an opposing defensive coordinator to stay up past 9 p.m. is starting to become embarrassing.

63 Responses to “Blame Game”

  1. SteveK Says:

    He’s a top 40 draft pick. He should be able to run the ball. He is also a suspect receiver. I hope year two is awesome and he corrects what ailed his game.

  2. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Yes, Ronald Jones was bad last year. So was the offensive line. We shouldn’t have taken a kicker in the 2nd Round. The sun is hot. None of this is worthy news anymore.

  3. Dapostman Says:

    Should RoJo or any RB get hit behind the LOS on 11 out of every 23 carries? Todd Gurley was virtually labeled a bust in 2016 because of his OL and offense in general. Fast forward and the Rams added to their OL and have a new coach and Gurley is a stud. RoJo is a speed back not an Adrian Peterson or a Beastmode. He’s going to need some help from the big fellas. Once he has a lane you’ll see the improvement. This OL has sucked the last 3 years no matter who ran behind them.

  4. Waterboy Says:

    11 of 23 that’s 48%. So being hit behind the line of scrimmage on 48% of a RB’s carries is acceptable? Doug Martins yards per carry definitely improved last year behind a different offensive line.

  5. Bucsfan951 Says:

    You make it sound as if 11 out of 23 isn’t that bad… that’s damn near half!!! I bet you if 11 out of 23 of your columns tanked really bad, your sponsors and especially yourself wouldn’t like that at all. Just sayin

  6. DB55 Says:

    You’re a funny guy Joe. Less than half, lmao. You are too much brother!

    I seen those 5 games Rojo carried the ball, 10 carries came against the bears and of the 23 (if memory serves me correctly) only his first carry was an open hole where he failed to make a cut and score. He basically put his head down and made contact, being his first carry and all. He could have scored though so…

    Either way, not sure why you keep quoting Bassinger. I know he thinks he’s a fact finder but the kid doesn’t know how to assess his findings imo. Dude said Alstott was an avg rb amongst some other dumb chit.

    I’ll remind you that the saints have 4 pro bowlers on their oline and their running game is pretty good regardless of who’s toting the rock, but wtfdik

    To be clear, Caleb Benonch and Demar Dotson are liabilities! The other 3 are solid, Smith just needs to eat meat and improve against speed rushers but he’s great at run blocking imo.

    Less than half, lmao, good night joe. Smh


  7. DB55 Says:

    Btw we could have solved the oline issues by signing Richie Incognito to a 1 yr/1 mil deal but you know who had the balls to do that? Gruden.


  8. Tampabuscsbro Says:

    Why is it there is no mention of how bad and predictable dirks play calls were when it came to running the ball. I could almost always tell when we are going to run. If I can see it you can bet the NFL defensive coordinator for whoever we are playing knows.

  9. Pickgrin Says:

    LOL – Nice try….

    Jones was credited with more yards after contact than total yards gained on the year!

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    Wow Joe, those video clips were some GRRREAT finds. Can still remember ‘F Troop” (funny show), but the lab howling was superb (remind me nest time though to turn down the speakers BEFORE I play stuff like that at 3 AM while my wife’s still sleeping).

    IMO we have no clue what we have in RoJo at this moment in time, and won’t know until Sept 8th when the REAL games start. Come to think of it, we don’t have a clue about how well our OLine will perform this year either. New coaching staff will HOPEFULLY make a world of difference. So will adding a couple of veteran OLinemen BEFORE that first game.

    RoJo’s first game was against the Bears, the #1 rushing defense in the league last year. He had 10 carries for 29 yds, the longest being 7 yds. He was also targeted 2 times & caught 1 pass (for minus 1 yd). Got a grand total of 20 offensive snaps.

    In RoJo’s case, talk about ‘baptism by fire’! Obviously 2.9 YPC rushing isn’t great, but RoJo got HALF of the 60 yds TOTAL rushing that the Bucs got that day on 18 attempts. Bears humiliated the Bucs 48-10 that day, but it could’ve just as easily been 100-10. It was the Bucs’ coaching staff that was humiliated IMO … they had that team totally unprepared for that game. Here’s what the game summary shows for each of those 18 rushing attempts:

    First quarter:
    o Barber … over LG … no gain
    o Barber … over RT … 2 yds (no play – offensive holding)
    o Barber … over LT … 7 yds
    o RoJo … over RG … 5 yds
    Second quarter:
    o Barber … over LG … 3 yds
    o Barber … over LT … 12 yds
    o Barber … around left end … 1 yd
    Third quarter:
    o Barber … over LT … minus 2 yds
    o Barber … over LT … 3 yds
    o RoJo … over LG … minus 4 yds
    o RoJo … over LG … 3 yds
    o RoJo … over RT … 4 yds
    o RoJo … over RT … no gain
    Fourth quarter:
    o RoJo … around left end … 4 yds
    o RoJo … over RT … 7 yds
    o RoJo … over LT … 2 yds
    o RoJo … over LG … 5 yds
    o RoJo … over LT … 3 yds

    What I see is three-fold. The game was WAY OUT OF REACH when RoJo got 9 of his 10 rushes (I wonder how motivated our OLine was to open holes by that point). Secondly, Koetter used RoJo exactly like he used Barber (didn’t exactly play to his strengths?). And thirdly, Koetter had ZERO commitment to the running game. By the third quarter when RoJo got his carries, the Bucs were simply running the ball to move the clock and mercifully end that game. Good luck RoJo. Actually, in THAT situation, 2.9 YPC for a rookie in his first game probably isn’t that bad. Nice setup coach.

  11. onetrickpony Says:

    DB55, I wondered about that very same thing,why Jason didn’t pursue
    RC at that time

  12. Alanbucsfan Says:

    I wouldn’t blame the poor running the last 2 years on OLine.
    I would put the blame on a complicated zone scheme that led to confusion by players.
    OLine, RBacks and even receivers were overwhelmed on many running plays because they were thinking too much instead of attacking.
    Jones had trouble with reading zone blocking options, but OLine was having miscommunication problems as well.
    The coaching sucked, regardless of what Dotson says. He can’t block on running plays anymore anyway.

  13. Stanglassman Says:

    Maybe BC RC is a POS and he doesn’t want him near the Bucs locker room.

  14. Magadude Says:

    Good read. Glad to see some analysis from others as well as Joe that it’s not just the O line (which I think is slightly below average).

    It’s troubling that even Jones has gotten into the secondary, his longest run is for 9 yards. Where’s that direction shift and speed? 1.9 ypc isn’t going to cut it. I remember the one TD run he did have seemed to be a play to intentionally just try to get him some confidence…not exactly the guy you bring in on a clutch play…my hopes for 2019 are that he breaks out, but frankly, I have more confidence that Ellington will be the most productive RB this year.

  15. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    11 out of 23 is not bad? Joe there is no way this stat makes the Oline sound any better. Even if the other 12 times RoJo made out of the line of scrimmage, how close were the defenders waiting for him in the box? Bottom line, the Bucs Oline was terrible last year. Rojo was a rookie so he gets a one year pass.

  16. Bird Says:

    He should be called Ronald until he actually warrants Rojo in NFL circles.

    So many guys have succeeded in college to lay a sh!t brick in the pros. Let’s hope he can rush for even 400-500 yards this year and a few touchdowns. Let’s start there.

  17. rrsrq Says:

    So let’s get this straight, I am a rookie running back in the NFL, I am not even on the active roster for the first three games, I really want to show what I can do, so I am concentrating on getting the ball, remembering the play, blocking assignments, etc. oh and by the way as soon as I get the exchange a defender is there hitting me, most of the time. Yeah, that should build up my confidence. oh yeah by the way, did you hear Bo Jackson would not come hear as the #1 draft pick because of a weak offensive line

  18. Ndog Says:

    This article is called confirmation bias, which looking for something to prove your point, but as usual with this J O E it is laughably wrong.

  19. Bucsfanman Says:

    In this case, it’s both. Barber ran behind the same line and got positive (albeit few) yards. Rojo sucked and the o-line sucked. Put together=ineffective rushing attack.
    Yea, throw play-calling in too!

  20. Leighroy Says:

    What is this a looney tunes episode? If this stat was supposed to convince us the O-line wasn’t bad, then it did the exact opposite. You mean to tell me a guy can’t get a clean start 48% of the time and this is supposed to be some kind of positive revelation?!

    I’d love to know the percentage for Barbers runs too!

  21. Race to 10 Says:

    Exercise in futility or just beating a dead horse. Might as well wait until training camp, nothing but recycled news at this point. Kinda dumb to keep bringing up how bad a guy was as a rookie when we are like 2 weeks away from training camp of year 2

  22. Marine Buc Says:

    Their is plenty of blame to spread around. Our running backs are below average and our offensive line is below average. My expectations are low again this year since our brilliant GM did absolutely nothing to improve either…

  23. Defense Rules Says:

    @Leighroy … “I’d love to know the percentage for Barbers runs too!” I answered that very question Leighroy over 4 hrs ago, but it’s still ‘Awaiting Moderation’. I’m slowly deciding that ‘Awaiting Moderation’ is a euphemism for OTTDUYIBM … ‘Off To The Dungeon Until Your Input Becomes Meaningless’.

  24. BucEmUp Says:

    He acts like getting hit 11 out of 23.times behind the line of scrimmage is a good thing. WHAT AM I MISSING??!!!!!

    Those are bad numbers…and pair that with the fact that he averaged two the games he was active and Dirk Koetter basically.announced to the world that he didnt trust him catching the football or pass blocking (hardly threw the ball to Barber either) that every time the kid was.on the field (two times a game) the defense knew exactly what the play was.

    If he wasnt getting hit behind the line of scrimmage he was getting.introduced.into a solid wall of defenders who knew it wasnt a pass. Even without all that, 11 out of 23 is not a good number.

  25. BucEmUp Says:

    Rojo also bulked up to 220lb. If they get him running routes and catching passes BA will make him like Chris Johnson/David Johnson roll. Play design is key to taking advantage of his speed. Play design and execution of the blocking can be the difference between a 2 yard gain and a 25+ yard gain

  26. Destinjohnny Says:

    At least our gm who is the worst in the nfl didnt trade up for him

  27. Buc50 Says:

    To be a RB in the NFL, you MUST make at least the first guy miss. This was the issue I had with Doug Martin. The 2 or 3 good year he had was when he could get that one guy to whiff and he was off. The line may not be that great but they are NFL caliber and you have to make do with what you have.

  28. The Buc Realist Says:

    Why are the sheep not blaming the gm for the whole mess????????????? Why do the sheep and local media hold them accountable now???????? The o-line is one of the highest paid in the league and the performance is at the bottom!!!!!! even those with the poor florida education should eventually figure out that equation!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

  29. Ramon Says:

    Joe, cmon this is making me question your sanity.

  30. BA FAN Says:

    I don’t expect Rojo to get hit in the backfield near as much this year with Clueless Warhop gone and a power running scheme and real development of our OL players. Rojo will turn into a good change of pace back to relieve Barber. Also can’t wait to see what Anderson brings too.

  31. Kalind Says:

    Not sure how that helps? I mean, he was still hit behind the line on nearly 50% of his carries. That’s straight crazy. This “not a good hit” crap is junk. It still throws the timing off.

    Not sure how letting a guy through on 50% of the guys carries ISNT an indictment on the OL. Seems to me, it’s far more damning for them that RoJo.

  32. Cobraboy Says:

    Good Lord.

    Bassinger is an idiot.

    I saw the exact same thing, EVERY run by Jones in 2018, and getting hid behind the LoS ay least 1 yard behind the LoS is NOT the fault of the RB, or Jones in this case.

    49% is over double the average RB’s stats 23%).

    I just lost more respect for Bassinger.

    And I don’t blame the OL as players for those stats. I blame coaching. Virtually every time Jones came into the game the entire world knew he was getting the ball. Think NFL DC’s also knew it?

  33. The Buc Realist Says:


    If you don’t have a problem with the Buc’s not having a ” 1970s Oakland Raiders line”, Then why are the Buc’s paying the O-line like they are?????????????????

    The buc’s have the second highest paid O-line in the NFL!!!!!!!!!! Would have the highest, but are about $511,000.00 short of that egregious honor!!!!!!!!!!!!

    How does licht weight still have a job?????????? why does joe cover so much for the “overpaid” oline?????????????? why do the sheep want to waste time instead of the inevitable FULL REBUILD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

  34. Kgh4life Says:

    I’ve come to the conclusion that Rojo is a bust. When Rojo was at USC he consistently had huge lanes to run through and since he’s explosive he usually just ran by defenders. Well, this is not college. Rb’s actually need vision to pick the running lanes and make defenders miss, I don’t see that changing. Another thing that’s concerning is that for a guy that has been playing football for as long as he has, Rojo didn’t know the proper way to catch a football, how’s that possible?
    Just another indictment on Jason Licht.

  35. Ghost of Darrell Henderson Says:

    “oh yeah by the way, did you hear Bo Jackson would not come here as the #1 draft pick because of a weak offensive line”

    Surely you’re kidding. Bo Jackson visited the Buccaneers after his last season of college football. He was allowed to talk to some Buc veterans who told him to avoid playing for this team if he could. The deal breaker was when Culverhouse and the Bucs reported him to the NCAA for accepting a plane ride which was a violation and led to his being declared ineligible to play his last season of college baseball. Bo holds grudges.

    If you were to watch replays of Memphis football last year, you would notice that Darrell Henderson was hit early and often in the backfield. Still he was able to lead the NCAA in both yards per carry (All time record for his career 8.2 YPC) and yards after contact (6.18) for all 3 years that he played.

    In fact, despite being the 2nd string back, he rushed for 1909 yards in 11 games and scored 27 TD’s. NO EXCUSES!

    Yet, DH dropped to the 70th pick because at 5’9″ he was two inches below the ideal NFL back. Gump then traded him to the desperate NFC champs for two (free) compensatory picks when they would had given the Bucs all four of their 3rd round picks.

    The Rams might build a statue of their GM, Les Snead, outside their stadium. I think Gump will have to wear a disguise when leaving our stadium.

  36. Architek79 Says:

    You give people like Bassinger a platform when you write him up or mention him. I would pass on any of his work since he weaponizes stats on a normal basis.

  37. Skip Says:

    To blame Rojo’s lack of production on the o-line would suggest that the o-line blocked better for Barber, a theory that this fan refuses to buy into.

  38. BigMacAttack Says:

    It was a lot of fun watching Blount run up and down the field when he was here. He couldn’t get you a TD from the 2yd line but he sure could takeoff for 30-40yd breakouts with epic hurtling. He wasn’t good enough to keep though. He has what, 2 or 3 rings now?

  39. DB55 Says:

    tanglassman Says:
    July 7th, 2019 at 4:35 am
    Maybe BC RC is a POS and he doesn’t want him near the Bucs locker room.
    Forgive me for my crudeness but I’d rather be a pos than a bunch of f’n 🐈 ‘s, but wtfdik

  40. DB55 Says:

    Jay Ajayi is a FA, that is all!!!!

  41. Loyaltotheend Section 312 Says:

    This is a reach by the Clueless Joe

    This line is bad at run blocking



  42. OneBuc55 Says:

    RoJo is far from being a bust…

    Think about this for a moment, 23 carries in 16 games; if you subtract the 11 times the offensive line allowed the defense to blow up the play and tackle Jones behind the LOS, that’s less than 1 carry a game…

    Not exactly how you build a young players confidence…

    Shame on you Dirk Koetter…

  43. Joey Joe Joe Jr. Says:

    This continues to be a terrible contrarian take by Joe. “All fan bases complain about their O-lines, therefore, our fan base is just following suit.” That’s certainly a possibility, or we could take an empirical approach and point out that the Bucs O-line gave up the most qb hits, and they were the 3rd worst team in the league in running backs getting hit behind the line of scrimmage.

  44. Jameis Almighty! Says:

    Jason Licht needs to be firrreeeeeed! Inexcusable. How can a man be so bad at his job and keep it? Hopefully arians is ripping into Licht and scolding him for all the bad personnel Arians has to keep telling off.

  45. Joe Says:

    That’s certainly a possibility,

    Phil Simms said when he worked national games for CBS, he made a point to listen to local sports radio in whatever town he was in either after the game or the next morning. He said two constant complaints in every city with no exception: People complaining about playcalling and people complaining about the offensive line.

    Joe has seen a bad Bucs offensive line before. How quickly we forget the vaunted line of Garrett “Whoops” Gilkey, Oniel Cousins, Anthony Collins and Josh Allen. Now that was truly bad.

  46. Buc4evr Says:

    Any time the RG is getting hit in the backfield about 50 percent of the time something is seriously wrong with the O-line. The 0-line probably didn’t even open running lanes 50 percent of the time. Worst O-line in nfl history and we did nothing to make it better this off season.

  47. Joey Joe Joe Jr. Says:

    “Phil Simms said when he worked national games for CBS, he made a point to listen to local sports radio in whatever town he was in either after the game or the next morning. He said two constant complaints in every city with no exception: People complaining about playcalling and people complaining about the offensive line.”

    I’m sure this statement is typically true, but that doesn’t mean the fan base is always wrong to complain about play calling or the offensive line. There are still terrible play callers and terrible offensive lines. We may not have the least talented offensive line, like some we’ve seen in the past, but their numbers are comparable or worse than the lines you mentioned.

  48. BucsFan727 Says:

    Cj Anderson would of been run stuffed out of the league pmaying behind that oline. There’s some good RBs coming out next year Joe. We can only hope they draft a stud next year.

  49. unbelievable Says:

    Well no wonder you think the o-line is fine. 🙄

    48% is absolutely horrible Joe.

    We’ve been one of the 2 worst teams on that metric the last 2 years in a row. That’s not on the runninbacks, cmon man.

  50. WestChap Says:

    I never understood how a 2nd round pick could be a healthy scratch for so many games. How does a 2nd round RB get only 23 carries his rookie year? Because he was behind an All World starter… nope. Because he was on a playoff team that couldn’t risk any learning on the job… nope. Getting hit almost 50% behind the line is not great, but you can’t blame the number of carries on the OL… I think this one lands on Koetter and Monken. Maybe he was such a bad pick that sitting him was the right answer… but feels wrong when you see his USC tape. We’ll know soon as BA and Goodwin will either save him or release him… they’re not going to use a spot on the 53 for someone they’re afraid to play.

  51. Joe Says:

    Good analysis West Chap.

  52. Joe Says:

    48% is absolutely horrible Joe.

    Don’t agree. At all. Especially when one of those blockers was Caleb Benenoch. Joe is also well aware defensive lines are paid (quite handsomely) to get penetration on each and every snap too.

    Besides, unless there were some rule changes in football Joe is unaware of, running backs are allowed to break a tackle, elude a defender or even run to daylight. Imagine that!

  53. Magadude Says:

    “healthy scratch”

    Oh, that’s right. smdh.

  54. Buczilla Says:

    Spread the blame however ya like. The bottom line is that we have done next to nothing to fix one of the worst rushing attacks in the league other than to hire new coaches. It can still be rectified before the season starts, so while there is hope, I’m not holding my breath.

  55. Magadude Says:

    Joes says: “How quickly we forget the vaunted line of Garrett “Whoops” Gilkey, Oniel Cousins, Anthony Collins and Josh Allen. Now that was truly bad.”

    Oh my, that was BAD. And I remember Anthony Collins diming out reporters in the post-game! Gilkey. Talked to him in Detroit at the team hotel. Talk about a bag o hammers. Looked the same way on the field.

  56. DB55 Says:

    Healthy scratch – if I recall correctly Koetter said RoJo couldn’t play until he learned to pass block.

  57. Joe Says:

    And I remember Anthony Collins diming out reporters in the post-game!

    ??? Not sure what that means.

    He was an ass, that’s for sure. Never played another snap of football again after the Bucs told him to go home with four games left.

  58. unbelievable Says:

    Imagine that indeed.

    Now imagine if your o-line didn’t allow your running backs to be hit in the backfield more often than (almost) any other team?

    Go look at all the teams with the best rushing games, and look at their Stuff % (Percentage of runs where the running back is tackled at or behind the line of scrimmage). Notice anything?

    The teams with the lower stuff % numbers are almost universally towards the top. Every year.

    This doesn’t mean we can’t upgrade at running back. Nor does it mean RoJo wasn’t to blame for his own performance.

    It means the o-line is also at fault. Their job is to block. If you’re letting more defenders rush into the backfield than any other team, you’re not doing job well enough.

  59. unbelievable Says:

    *not doing your job well enough.

  60. Barbosa Says:

    I think we will find out very quickly this year if Rojo busts or breaks out. Within the first four games. You can’t hide a poor running back. I’m hoping he’s tougher and shows less fear. Cmon Rojo! It’s now or never answer the bell!!

  61. Cobraboy Says:

    @unbelievable: when you tip your play to the defense, and they have one more guy in pursuit than you have blocking, it’s not on the OL or RB. It’s on the scheme, coaching and play call that tipped the D.

    You tip plays to the D, and only an incompetent DC will keep you from suffering.

  62. unbelievable Says:


    absolutely agree. I could sit on my couch and guess run play call at least 80% of the time under Koetter the last 2 years. It was infuriating!

    Definitely another piece of the puzzle.

    Well since the OL and RB positions are basically the same, I really hope these new position coaches can bring it out more from our players.

  63. BucsFan727 Says:

    Its football Joe. T.E.A.M. sport. Rojo was bad last year. But its a team sport they have to block for him better. His confidence was shattered playing behind that crap show. These Joes never played. Or coached football. Joe dont know. Why lie and make things up? That’s not ok around here. Bye-bye!–Joe There the Tampa pin and mic club drumming up some clicks in the Den of Depression.