Anthony Becht: Don’t Blame The O-Line For The Running Game

December 3rd, 2019

Firm words for a former Buccaneer

Joe loves when former Buccaneers call it straight.

Tampa Bay’s sad running attack has been an ongoing issue since the end of the 2015 season. It’s actually improved this year from the Dirk Koetter years but remains rather poor by NFL standards.

On Sunday against the Jaguars, a team with a porous run defense, the Bucs running game was abysmal. You saw it. Joe saw it. Football novices recognized it.

So who was to blame?

Former Bucs tight end Anthony Becht had no problem finding culprits during a chat on WDAE radio yesterday.

“I thought the offensive line surge and push off the ball was phenomenal,” Becht said. “I felt like there should have been more yards in the running game.”

Becht pointed to the running backs and mostly was perplexed and agitated by the rotation.

“Again, I look at the frequency of players being used in the football game, and I don’t understand why RoJo has the third-least amount of snaps out of Barber and [Ogunbowale],” Becht said. “I mean, to me, I just question that.”

Becht noted that even if Ronald Jones had a blocking issue in the third quarter, Becht felt like RoJo did not have enough snaps prior to that play.

“At this point in the season, when you’re trying to kind of get things clicking and evaluate and move on for next year, he’s got to be in there more snaps,” Becht said. “I don’t know if there’s anything behind the scenes. I don’t know if he’s nicked up. But to me, even when he gets the ball in his hands, even if he’s not breaking plays, he is quicker, faster, more elusive, and a guy I just want to see more of. I don’t understand how those snaps break up. It will always be a question mark to me. But he should be in there for 40 snaps minimum if you got 76 snaps. He should be the lead every week.”

The ex-Buc took it a step further saying Peyton Barber was taking snaps from RoJo, the Bucs should “gas” RoJo in the final for games (meaning work him to the bone) and the Bucs should not draft a running back next season because they have something to work with already in RoJo.

Joe can’t go as far as not drafting a running back. RoJo is improved but he’s shown to be average at best and he’s certainly not trusted completely by coaches.

But Joe agrees with Becht on pounding RoJo over the final four games. There’s no reason he shouldn’t have another 90 touches this season so the Bucs can best evaluate him.

38 Responses to “Anthony Becht: Don’t Blame The O-Line For The Running Game”

  1. Bucsfaninchina Says:

    Serious mindgames being played with Mr Jones.

    Arians spent the entire season building him up, established him as the #1 rb, then yanked him out due to “missing a blitz pickup”.

    The Bucs want this kid to be the 3 down back they envisioned when drafting him in the second round, buddy needs to do himself some favors and TAKE the job.

    If not, absolutely agree with Joe – need to add something with juice cause what the Bucs got now is nothing but meh.

  2. OBP Says:

    “Don’t blame the O-line…” Who else deserves blame then for how bad it’s been? They’re paid millions of dollars to do one thing, block. That’s it, it’s not rocket science. See that big dude infront of you? Hit him in the chest and put him into the ground. We haven’t been able to run outside all season and we’re barely getting any push up the middle as is. That’s completely on the O-line. Dot is done, Donovan is trash, and even though he’s played better this year I see no reason why we should continue to overpay Ryan Jensen when we clearly could improve from him at Center.

  3. TJ Tillman Says:

    There is no creativity in the run game at all. It’s run up the gut over and over Godwin in motion. No tosses or counters. Add to it Ronald Jones needs a nice size hole to do anything. Jones is a good #2 but Bucs must address RB next year.

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    Anthony Becht usually has very good analyses; this wasn’t one of them. But he did get me thinking about WHY. Why did the Bucs ONLY get 74 yards rushing Sunday out of 31 rushes? That’s an abysmal 2.4 YPR average against the #28 worst rushing defense in the league. On the PLUS side though, it does show good BALANCE when compared to the Bucs’ 37 passing attempts (33 targets plus 4 sacks) … 45% rushing vs 55% passing. Unfortunately it also shows a LOT of ineffective/wasted rushing downs. The good news is however that it was a major contributor to why we won the TOP battle so decisively: 33:32 for us versus 26:28 the for Jags.

    Still, our rushing performance sucked. The biggest reason IMO? Lazy play-calling. VERY lazy play-calling when you consider that Jameis got 20 yards on 6 carries (none looked like designed rushes to me). Worse yet, the majority of his rushing yards came on ONE scramble (16 yards). Take away his 20 yards and our RBs got 54 yards on 25 rushes … barely 2 YPR. THAT’S gross.

    Breaking it down, Barber got 17 rushes for 44 yards, RoJo got 6 rushes for 8 yards, Logan got 1 rush for 2 yards & Dare got 1 rush for 0 yards. But it’s the questionable play-calling that stands out. Predictable doesn’t describe it. The only thing BL didn’t do was hang a sign on each RB saying “I’m coming up the middle; you’ve been warned”.

    Of those 25 rushes by our RBs, 23 were UP THE MIDDLE. Of Jameis’ 6 rushes, 5 were UP THE MIDDLE (the last 3 shouldn’t count though because they were kneel-downs to end the game). So of our total 31 rushes, all but 3 rushes were classified as UP THE MIDDLE. Nah, nothing predictable there. YGBSM.

    Breaking it down by quarter:
    o 1st qtr: 7 rushes … all 7 UP THE MIDDLE.
    o 2nd qtr: 6 rushes … all 6 UP THE MIDDLE.
    o 3rd qtr: 8 rushes … 5 UP THE MIDDLE, 1 over Left Guard, 2 around Right End.
    o 4th qtr: 10 rushes … all 10 UP THE MIDDLE.

    Broken down by Running Back:
    o Barber: 17 rushes … 15 UP THE MIDDLE, 1 over Left Guard, 1 around Right End.
    o RoJo: 6 rushes … all of them UP THE MIDDLE.
    o Dare: 1 rush … 1 UP THE MIDDLE.
    o Logan: 1 rush … 1 UP THE MIDDLE.

    The 3 runs that didn’t go up the middle got 18 yards total (16 of them on Jameis scramble in the 3rd quarter). The 28 runs up the middle got 56 yards (2.0 YPR) but one of those (Barber’s TD run in the 1st qtr) got 15 yards, and Jameis’ 3 kneeldowns to end the game shouldn’t count. So really the 24 other rushes throughout the game got 41 yards … 1.7 YPR. Yup, it sure is the RBs’ fault. (Hint Anthony: They never had a chance).

  5. Bucs Guy Says:

    I believe Peyton Barber will not be resigned, so we should consider drafting a RB in the 3rd round. He should be the large in size, pounding type with an emphasis on ability to block. Receiving ability is a bonus. Any thoughts?

    This assumes we don’t draft a QB and pick DT and RT in the first 2 rounds of the draft. Everyone knows we need a right tacle to replace Dotson. I believe we need a defensive tackle to replace Suh. While I like him, he’s on the way down with his numbers decreasing compared to past years and not worthnthe money. This offseason is going to require Licht to make a lot of tough financial decisions. Keep JPP, Shaq and Godwin. Keep Perriman, Gholston and Nassib only at the right price. If we keep Jameis, it needs to be in the $15-20M/year range to not hamper the salary cap. Also need to think about Jensen and Beau Allen, though probably we should let them play out the last year of their contracts and just try to sign them at the end of next year if you want to keep them.

  6. TDTB Says:

    Defense Rules is spot on.

  7. Bucsfanman Says:

    Play-calling AND lack of vision are contributors. Barber is a straight ahead runner, thus the runs up the middle. When was the last time we saw a Bucs RB bounce a play outside? They seem to just run right into their own linemen, literally!
    No, we are not going to see a play called to the outside for Barber. Rojo should be getting way more touches and we should be using a FB more.

  8. Casual Observer Says:

    Some good analysis comments here. I agree (my guess) that both the blocking (not “rocket science”) and the play calling are the main reasons for the poor RB show.

  9. Bobby M Says:

    Rojo is immature…..that’s the reality of that situation. He’s Hargreaves 2.0….big program, high expectations, but inability to operate as a professional. Everyone bashed Koetter for putting him in the dog house….yet it seems Arians as sent him back and we applaud it. In the NFL, you have to be able to protect the QB on blitz pickups/pass rush. Being “ok” isn’t acceptable especially with Winston’s knack for turnovers. Rojo isn’t protecting Winston…..he’s not reliable and so he cant be used. Jaquiz rogers made a career of pass protection….and he’s a much smaller dude then Rojo. Its an attitude and commitment. Rojo doesn’t have that…like I said before, he wants to do all the highlight stuff but none of the dirty work. The NFL doesn’t work that way. This is year two…..RB’s across the league step in during their rookie yrs and execute on passing downs yet Rojo is still struggling with basic concepts.

  10. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    i think Jacksonville made a concerted effort to stop whatever run game they thought Tampa Bay had and have Jaymiss beat them. With all of his turnovers, whose to blame them?

  11. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Our running game doesn’t pass the eye test…..pure and simple….I didn’t see the “push” that Becht described……to the contrary……I saw very few holes at all and all of our running backs were hit immediately on most plays.
    I agree that the playcalling lacks any creativity…..we don’t need to run to set up play action…..we, by reputation and repetition, are already set up… action on 1st & 10 would work very well.
    Even with our LB speed, other teams try to run outside on us all the time but we don’t.
    Regardless, we still need to draft a RB…..I’d like to see a brut….perhaps in the 3rd or 4th round….not a 7th round prayer.

  12. mark2001 Says:

    Great point Scotty. For anyone watching a range of college football, we saw the same thing in the Wisconsin/ Minnesota game. Minnesota took Taylor, maybe the best RB in a decade in college football, out of the game early by loading the front and putting a spy on him continually, making Coan The QB beat them. For those of you not seeing the game, Coan made some nice passes, Wisconsin scored a number of TD’s, and made Minnesota play their normal D. Then Taylor feasted. Make Jameis beat you with his play…he has proved an uncertain commodity. Why wouldn’t you?

  13. #1bucfan Says:

    It’s still Rojo second season he’s improved from bust to average in a year. He’s still got a lot to learn but he seems to have all the tools to be an above average back. Get him in games so he can learn an develop. If a good RB is there in the later rounds then draft one I’d say find a cheap prove it deal in FA an focus our draft pick on the trenches. We need help on both lines. Damar needs to be replaced an we need some more depth on the Dline. Might wanna think about drafting LVD an jpp replacements. I know both of those guys still got a few years left in them but it would be good to pick up someone they can develop behind them

  14. down in the dirt doug Says:

    Excellent analysis defense rules.If our coaches were in charge during WW11 then they would have posted a sign in German saying–we will attack at dawn –we will be attacking the middle of your line!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  15. c-spann Says:

    @TJ Tillman

    I agree with TJ, there is no creativity, we often telegraph that it is a run play. basically doing the same crap as last year under DK. They need to run tosses, stretches, run from pistol or the gun. Defenses see what play is coming a mile a way

  16. Kobe Faker Says:



    Kobe admits it’s odd. Leftover? Leftfoot? Sandwich?

    What the hell is a Leftwich?

    Is it those chubby cheeks? You cant resist wanting to squeeze those chubby cheeks?

    Kobe had enough.

    ITS BYRON LEFTWICH aka QB coach Intern aka Gary Coleman

    Who has failed Jameis Winston and the Tampa bay Buccaneers from being 9-3 and playoff bound

    Kobe demands accountability!”

    Kobe Faker

  17. Boombang Says:

    I have been a TRUE Bucs fan since the beginning – A ride and die fan…..No bandwagon fan here….. But I am preplexed, what game(s) are Mr. Becht watching where he see the offensive line doing any blocking…… There we’re several times during the game where holes were created but that was due tho the design of the play influencing the defense to go a certain way…..Our O-Line are constantly and continuously beating off the ball – No push…..Never getting to to the second.
    The opponents d-line is in our backfield more often than our RBs……What EXACTLY is Mr.Becht seeing…..Should RoJo be getting the bulk of the run plays, hell yeah….. But he should also pick up blitzs too…..I think everyone would agree that the success of any play depends on EVERY ONE doing their job….No time to take plays off…..Benching RoJo was the right thing to do, a learning moment…..Mr. Becht, if you really want to see blocking, look no further than the Ravens O-Line…..Hell, I am 63 yrs old and I can run through the holes they create……Hell! you bash Winston for his inconsistency….Well, bash the O-Line for being incapable of blocking either in the pass game or run game.

  18. miken Says:

    The narrative the O line stinks is bs. Need a replacement for Dotson next year, but the worse thing you can say about the unit is they are average.

  19. Greg Says:

    I don’t really see anyone in the upcoming draft that I like as a running back.

  20. Hodad Says:

    Good running teams usually have bell cow backs, or a one, two punch like the days of A-Train, and Dunn. We insist on using 4 backs, and expect to tap the hot hand. So Rojo made a mistake, and got benched. Jameis can throw 5 picks, with two fumbles, and get a cookie. Doesn’t sound like fair coaching to me. Got to keep the kid in there. Smith whiffs all the time. He left a free runner to hit JW too didn’t bench him. Rojo should be on the field 70 percent of the time, Barber 25%, Dare very rarely.

  21. Bob in Valrico Says:

    At the end of the day,Jameis would be at or near the top of the accountability list. While he has improved in some areas like deep ball accuracy. HE still has
    taken until his fifth year to learn to throw the ball away. HE still stares down receivers on occasion and holds the ball too long at times leading to turnovers.
    There is no one thing that prevented us from being 9-3 but TO’s can change momentum and contribute to losses.

  22. orlbucfan Says:

    BA is responsible for the boring (yawn) run gameplan not BL. I’m sick of run up the middle on first down!!!!!!!!!! How about some actual scrambling run calls for JW for a change?? That way he can get the sack kings off his backside once in a while. Not impressed, BA!! We have 4 games left–get inventive!! You (should) know what you have on this offense by now!

  23. Bob in Valrico Says:

    While our RB’s are not racking up the statistics ie. yards. They are producing points. Our current tandem of Barber and Jones have matched the 10 TD’s
    scored by Martin and Sims in the prolific 2015 rushing attack. We still have 4 games left and It does seem like are O line and RB’s are able to put it all together when it counts in the redzone.

  24. D-Rome Says:

    It’s only the slack jawed mouth breathers out there that think the offensive line is among the worst in the NFL. The offensive line is average to above average. Jameis has more time to throw the ball than 20 other QBs in the NFL. Jameis is also the 2nd most blitzed QB in the NFL next to Russell Wilson. In other words, opposing teams have to blitz because they can’t get home with a 4 man rush. Many of Jameis’ sacks on the year are self-inflicted. I think if the Bucs were to get younger at RT the line would be even more improved.

    As Becht pointed out the offensive line created plenty of opportunities for a strong running game. I’d venture to guess the offense has played over 800 snaps this season and some of you out there think the offensive line breaks down half of the time. No one remembers when they give Jameis a clean pocket or when they open running lanes. They only remember the few times there has been a break down.

  25. 813bucboi Says:


    you over thinking it…lol…

    see @scotty

    thats all it was….

    jags were going to force JW to beat them…BL recognized that early in the game…..

    our strength is passing…..JAX cant stop the run or pass….

    GO BUCS!!!!!!

  26. unbelievable Says:

    He’s right about the idea of the backs not being able to get going, b/c they keep changing who is in there.

    RoJo should have had more snaps for sure, especially since him and Barber have different running styles. But Barber is also capable of grinding out those tough 4 – 6 yards in traffic, so it’s not like he’s worthless.

    But RoJo has the ability to take one to the house. Why don’t we design more plays for him to the outside, where he can get open in space?

    DR nailed it- they playcalling in the run game just isn’t creative, at all. And since you’re running so predictably on almost every 1st down, why not mix it up with some play action or screen pass to keep the defense on their heels?

    BL is lucky AF that his boring turtle shell plan didn’t backfire in the 2nd half a la the Giants game.

  27. unbelievable Says:

    LOL at the offensive line being above average.

    Not even close. They get zero push in the run game and are highly inconsistent in the pass protection.

    You know why our run game looked good during the beginning of the game? We had a 6th o-lineman in their blocking.

    Good o-lines get push with their default 5 guys.

  28. Delawest Says:

    BRAVO !!! Bobby M. Simply magnificent.

  29. 74 Bucs fan Says:

    On one play, Barber ran straight into an Olineman (announcer said Demar Dotson). Looking at the play develop, there was a nice hole developing up the middle and Barber simply slammed straight into our own Lineman, bouncing back for a 3 yard loss. Find the hole dude.

    Barber is a safe and steady runner, but that is it. Give Rojo the rock and see what happens the rest of the year.

  30. Pickgrin Says:

    Normally Becht is on target.

    Not this time. Our Oline is still not very good at run blocking. Some games have been better than others this year – but all in all – we are not a good running football team and 70% of that failure is on the OLine IMO.

    Good analysis DR. But did you ever consider that the primary reason we run “up the middle” so much is because our tackles are bad run blockers and the interior guys are better at it? Makes sense to me. Dotson has been a serious liability in the run game for some time now. Smith ain’t much better….

  31. SOEbuc Says:

    Hmmm. i do remember Dotson’s ass getting so far pushed into the backfield that PB was knocked about ten yards back. Get Rojo a RT and C/OG and I’d like to see what happens.

  32. Defense Rules Says:

    813bucboi … ‘Overthinking it’? Love it.

    But now my turn … “jags were going to force JW to beat them…BL recognized that early in the game….. our strength is passing…..JAX cant stop the run or pass.”

    Your words, not mine. So our strength is passing, and the Jags were trying to force us to use our strength to beat them? Wouldn’t that kinda be self-defeating bucboi?

    Bucs had good BALANCE in the game (45% run – 55% pass), we were just ineffective in our USE of the runs. Perhaps “JAX can’t stop the run or pass” against other teams like you said bucboi, but they did a pretty good job against the Bucs. Of course, we did kinda help them accomplish that feat. Of the 25 rushes by Barber, RoJo, Dare & Logan a full 92% were up the middle. I’d call that ‘helping them’.

  33. Loyaltotheend Section 312 Says:

    Every good GM should draft RB’s and trench players every year. Those positions get beat up so quickly you need depth or your dead

  34. pick6 Says:

    i appreciate what peyton barber has done, but i would suggest the bucs lowball him in a big way and put more focus on the kind of veteran free agent backup RB that the Patriots seem to have 3 of every year.

  35. Dapostman Says:

    Keep Cappa. Trade any of the others that you can. Acquire as much draft capital as possible. Trade back out of the first round and acquire more 2/3 round picks draft a whole new OL with rookie contracts. Draft road graders if possible. Watch run game improve and offense will be even better. The OL we have now just isn’t good enough to make a serious run at the playoffs and beyond.

  36. ElioT Says:

    If Rojo has a problem between the ears which results in him losing snaps when he’s clearly the most talented RB on the team and has been running hard…

    Then that’s even more of an indictment on Jason #Lichtmyb**s poor drafting.

    I personally don’t think Rojo has been given enough snaps and I’ve seen #44 miss several blitz pickups and generally suck at everything else.

    If this team loses any more high draft picks because of crap talent evaluation they need to send the scouting and personnel department packing along with their dumba** leader.

  37. ElioT Says:

    With Jameis, Evans, Godwin, OJ, Brate and now Perriman…

    There is ZERO reason this team shouldn’t be able to run the ball even with a total scrub at RB.

    No defense should be able to stack the box and if they do, it’s because we’re so predictable and never seem to audible out of a clear run blitz into a pass.

    If the O-Line is so good, why are we bringing Watford in at Tackle Eligible all the freaking time?

    Where are draws, dives and option runs out of the gun?

    It’s always bunched or heavy sets and run up the gut, way too easy to stop.

  38. Issac haggins Says:

    Give Lefty a rest up in the Box, Let Ba call the plays and if you had a real ownership group and GM they would demand you get Ro Jo 25 carries and he must be prepared for and play 80 percent of the snaps !! Give the dam guy theball the guy can be an amazing runner / player if just given the load !!

    Trust Me on This and I know many others feel the same !!!

    Btw the most improved part of Winston’s game is his touch and positioning of screen passes !! It truly is way better than it has been …… 25 carries , 5 plus screens a game and the guy may be NFC offensive player of the week. …….And quit letting him come out of the game if he has a play of more than 8 yards , That’s building a loser mentality. No your not coming out , get your ass in there and stay in there !!