Rotten Run Game

January 6th, 2020

Grim statistic.

As we begin the first full week of a new decade, we all hope there are changes for the better and challenges conquered in all walks of life.

Joe sure hopes one thing changes with the Bucs. Yeah, a playoff berth would be nice. A step in that direction would be for the organization to finally take the running back position seriously.

For too long, the only thing serious about the Bucs running game is it seriously blowing chunks.

Greg Auman of The Athletic was doing research and unearthed jarring information on just how bad the Bucs’ running game has been for years.

Per Auman, since the start of the 2016 season, in the entire NFL there have been six times that running backs have run for over 100 carries in a season and averaged 3.2 yards per carry or less.

That’s all 32 NFL teams.

Of those six times, three were by Bucs running backs! It was Doug Martin twice (2016 and 2017) and Peyton Barber (2019).

This is simply pathetic. Until or unless this Bucs organization gets serious about the running attack, and treats it seriously, expect more picks from Mr. Entertainment, America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston. Because guess what? When you have one of the better passing attacks in the NFL and are built to throw and you can’t run the ball, only a moron would say, “The hell with the pass, we’re going to run the ball.”

You have to have the horses to run the ball and Joe hasn’t seen any horses on a Bucs roster to consistently run the ball in a long time.

45 Responses to “Rotten Run Game”

  1. JameisWin55 Says:

    This draft is deep at RB Bucs should definitely target one of Swift, my favorite Taylor, Zack Moss, Etienne, Dobbins, and sleepers like Cam Akers and Kylin Hill

  2. Thisisouryear!!! Says:

    Something I really don’t know the answer to. Is it the backs or the line? I know Joe wants a new back. It seems to me since Mankins left we haven’t been able to run the ball. And before that we were solid.

    If that’s the case replace the right side if the line, put Capps in Watfords spot and let’s go.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Primary focuses:
    -resign the dline
    -Draft Najee Harris or Taylor
    -draft a right tackle
    -let the jameis situation fall as it may, personally I’d franchise him.

    We have 90mil to get all this done, and we’re a playoff team next year.

  4. MadMax Says:

    Patrick Taylor, memphis….4th or 5th….a poor mans D. Henry.

  5. Clean House Says:

    Adrian Peterson seemingly was passed up even though there was a strong team chemistry building, them trading together in Houston. That was a mistake.

    However, Doug Martin was the number 2 rusher in the NFL, understandable why they stuck with him.

  6. Clean House Says:


  7. Adrnagy Says:

    Rotten run game.

    Rotten Defense & pass defense.

  8. PragueBucsFan Says:

    Time to let Barber go. He has reached his ceiling and its not enough. Upgrade through the draft. And draft 2 OL.

  9. BucsSuperBowlChamps2020 Says:

    Peyton Barber is just average everyone can see that but also and more importantly this offensive line sucks at run blocking I’ve seen it for years. As said previously ever since mankins left the run blocking has been poor. I still believe in jones and think if you do draft a back grab him later in the draft to spell jones. We are the only team in the nfl that has three players earning over ten million dollars on the offensive line and they are slightly above average in pass blocking and way below average in run blocking. The o-line is the main problem not the running backs.

  10. Says:

    the running game for Titans beat the Patriots this week… Tannehill was 8/15 for 72 yard 1TD & 1INT & they still won LOL no matter how much the NFL wants to turn the NFL into the arena league, the running game & defense are still important — especially the playoffs

  11. Mr. Reality Says:

    The Bucs run game has definitely been far below average too often. They held onto Martin too long, and they are holding onto Barber too long, although Peyton and Dare are only here because Licht’s first choice (RoJo) can’t block or catch well enough to play all downs. Noteworthy observations from this weekend’s playoff games that apply to the Bucs. Most teams had better balance, including a good run game. Yes, that matters, but let’s talk the elephant in the room for a minute.

    Regarding the decision on Winston, four things here…because the Bucs largest problem is with consistency at QB as for taking care of the football and good decisions..stinks. The weekend games really got me thinking.

    First, expect it to take at least 10-6 or better just to get a wild card berth in the NFC. If they do that, fans will still probably NEVER geta a home playoff game. A team like the Bucs with a QB like Winston who gambles, makes poor decisions, and routinely…all too often…commits multiple turnovers in a game will never get to the playoffs because they will never be 10-6 or better.

    Second, each winning QB in each winning game did not commit multiple turnovers, because when you are playing a good team they will beat you most every time, using the turnovers against you—every drive is precious. Winston had turnovers in 14 of 16 games, and MULTIPLE turnovers in 9 of them. NINE. That is, he has MULTIPLE turnovers in MOST games. Just like the Bucs got beaten every time they played a good team and Winston had multiple turnovers. Even the bad teams (ARI, IND, and ATL) either did beat the Bucs in games where Winston had multiple turnovers, or almost beat them were it not for the defense (winning by only 3 points when they did win).

    Third, two of three of the losing QBs, the best in the league (Brees and Brady), had very uncharacteristic to them, either multiple turnovers that killed drives or gave the other team points, or a pick six that gave the other team points. These were the difference in the games the two QB’s lost (No, don’t say now that Winston is on a Brees and Brady career path). The one other QB that lost, basically Josh McCown…took good care of the football, but couldn’t find the end zone (a past problem by Winston that he may not be over). However, what is striking is at 40 years old regarding Winston, is McCown never consistently won when he did well, so McCown never went to the playoffs when he was a starter. McCown has a career mired in ups and down, great throws, followed by awful mistakes. And Winston is a lot like that, only Winston’s highs are higher, and his lows are much lower than McCown’s.

    Fourth, consider this: Like McCown, Winston will never play in a playoff game as a team’s starter, because as a starter (like McCown was at times), he will never be able to take his team to the playoffs. Know it: A team with Winston at the helm will never get to the playoffs because Winston’s turnovers and bad decisions will never permit it. Bucs fans can sit and enjoy careless slings of the ball for 3,500 yards on the back of the season in meaningless games, or we can demand a QB that takes care of the football and gives him team a chance to win.

    The D is pointing up, and yes, the run game needs work, but let’s not lose focus on the Bucs critical deficiency and need at QB. Winston needs to go. And let him a Barber hit the steps at the same time.

  12. Mr. Reality Says:

    Grafik, yes, the Titans run game is what really beat the Patriots. Tony Romo called that one well. Also consider supposed they had a chance to wake up and come back, who is the guy to do that? The QB. Who is the best? Tom Brady. But he made a Winstonion mistake at the end and threw a pick six, ending all hope.

  13. Defense Rules Says:

    Mr Reality … Good think-piece, and I essentially agree with you after watching this weekend’s playoff games. Turnovers are killers during the regular season, and so is lack of a respectable running game AND lack of a strong defense. There was some impressive football played this weekend, and it was enjoyable to watch. Are dare I say, even ENTERTAINING.

    Even if we had made the playoffs by some miracle this year, the Bucs couldn’t have defeated any of those 8 teams who played. We did in fact play 5 of the playoff teams this year and LOST SIX times (lost to Saints twice). Bucs gave the ball away 18 times in those 6 games, and took the ball away 7 times … a Turnover Differential of MINUS 11. And those teams happened to have the better defenses that we played (go figure huh). Not very encouraging to say the least.

    Is that ALL Jameis fault? Of course not, but he certainly was PART of the problem. Jameis threw 13 INTs in those 6 games against playoff teams, with 4 of them being Pick-6s. That probably didn’t help. Bucs scored 135 points in those 6 losses to playoff teams (22.5 PPG). Our defense did score 1 TD for them, bringing it down to 128 points (21.3 PPG). That’s 1 TD BELOW our average of 28.6 PPG for the season, and the margin of victory in 4 of those 6 losses.

    But it still begs the question ‘What to do about Jameis?’. I think it’s premature to say that he ‘needs to go’. Whether we keep him or get rid of him needs to be looked at within a TEAM-BUILDING perspective, and we don’t have all the facts IMO. But BA & his staff probably do; they just need to put it all together. MONEY will certainly be a huge issue, as will their analysis of how ‘fixing’ other aspects of the Bucs (running game, defense, etc) will impact on Jameis & our TEAM productivity. They’ve still got almost 2 months to figure all that out. We’ve made a huge investment in Jameis, and it’s not like we’ve got his replacement waiting in the wings.

  14. Chris l Says:

    Agreed but the stat is also misleading. Not so much this year but our defense was so bad in 2018 and much of 2017 we had no choice but to pass which yes lead to more interceptions. It’s a team game and this team has sucked but they are turning the corner. We need to adopt a run first mentality. That is what wins championships. I sure as hell don’t trust jameis to take over a game and not screw up

  15. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Three the teams that won this weekend beat us…….the Tennessee game was a gift with Jameis throwing 2 interceptions early giving them very short fields and the ref blew a call on their fake punt that would have won the game for us.
    The same with the Texans…..should have won and the Seahawks lost in OT.

    The point is that the Bucs can play very competitive football if we don’t turn it over….the same would go for playoffs…..

    As far as running back…..the brute from Alabama, Harris could be picked up in the 3rd round…..if anyone has any doubts watch the last 4 minutes of the Alabama/Michigan game……he was unstoppable….carried defenders with him.

  16. BucEmUp Says:

    A better back is sure to be out there, but how much of it is the oline coaching or rb coaching? How much of it is play design or play calling? So many variables I think all three phases need to be addressed.

  17. Buc believer Says:

    So we have a rotten run game since 2016…… hmmm Jameis was drafted in 2015. He has had 3 coaches AND a piss poor defense (most of the time) as well as a suspect online. And through all this has managed to throw up some incredible numbers as well as have some turnovers with at least 25-30% not being his fault. And YET after ALL that people are crying for this young mans head and want to run him out of town. CRAZY CRAZY

  18. Anglican Says:

    The horrid run game falls completely on our GM

  19. Mr. Reallity Says:

    Defense…I can’t agree in you saying it’s too early to say Winston must go. Were this two or three years constantly changing receivers, coaches, and systems, I’d agree. Not to mention, any novice knows Winston’s problems are at the very least poor decisions and probably mixed in with inaccuracy and not seeing the whole field (back to poor decisions). BUT…they built this team around him. Largely same receivers, and they kept Koetter her to keep the system, and brought in Arians. QBs themselves need to be able to self-correct when they see the results Winston does. It’s been five years. There will be no epiphany. Arians says he’s going to look at all the INTs? He did that before…and said they made adjustments but they were not working. Winston needs to go.

  20. Mr. Reality Says:

    Believer says: “And through all this has managed to throw up some incredible numbers as well as have some turnovers with at least 25-30% not being his fault. ”

    3,500 yards on the back half of a season lost is not incredible numbers. It’s garbage yards. Fine. while no other QB gets to uncount 25-30% of their INTs, let’s do that just for Winston. He STILL has unacceptable numbers that lead the league. As we saw, in important games, ONE pick six will kill. Let’s not even talk about more.

  21. Sports Guru Says:

    I been told y’all Peyton sucked.

  22. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Agree with DR and reality on their analysis of Jameis. while its true the team needs ST, running game, and good defense, all of our winning streaks with Jameis under center had special efforts from the defense. That said his gambling style
    often involves stellar efforts from the defense to stop the bleeding from Jameis turnovers.
    Having watched America’s favorite Journeyman, Ryan Fitzpatrick go and defeat
    New Orleans and Philadelphia without a good running game,ST, or defense. I would expect our franchise QB to show this ability occasionally. IMO,Jameis only needs to worry about winning the offensive battle. He will need to limit his turnovers to do that.

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

    As I’ve have said before…even in today’s pass happy “cat word” rules NFL…the teams prevailing in the play off ( which have not started yet) have dominating running games if and when they need to bludgeon their opponent

  24. Buc believer Says:

    Mr. Reality still did not address the 3 coaches in 5 YEARS. That is a different scheme almost every year. What if you went to your job and the boss kept changing the way he wanted you to do it? Also Gay is DIRECTLY responsible for two losses this year. I’m not saying that Jameis is faultless but we all need to be fair.

  25. Defense Rules Says:

    Mr Reality … I’m NOT saying that Jameis is the long-term answer for the Bucs. Only that in 2020 we need to look at the whole picture … offense, defense & S/Ts … BEFORE ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater’. It’s hard to say you prefer what’s behind Door 2 or 3 when we have no clue if those are even alternatives. IOW, there may be NOTHING behind those doors; it’s too early to tell.

  26. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    People who want Jameis gone always use the term ‘garbage yards’.

    These are the same people who complain about a losing culture, then want to lose for a draft pick.

    Last year, these same people claimed 4,000 yards was the only thing people could point to. They claimed ‘You can’t teach accuracy on the deep throws. He can’t score in the red zone.’

    This year he reached 5,000 yards, massively improved on deep ball accuracy, and was among the best in the red zone.

    So, if they were completely wrong about those things, why take their word that he will never make the playoffs? If anything, them making that claim means he’ll make the playoffs next year, since he proves them wrong.

    Winston showed marked improvement this year. All that’s left is reducing picks. It will come.

    But if we listen to these guys, we would give up on Winston and watch him do it for another team. And then they’d say ‘we should have kept him!’

  27. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Either Franchise Winston, or sign him to a short-term extension…like 3 years with half guaranteed.

  28. Mr. Reality Says:

    LOL: “Winston showed marked improvement this year. All that’s left is reducing picks. It will come. But if we listen to these guys, we would give up on Winston and watch him do it for another team. And then they’d say ‘we should have kept him!”

    Yeah, you are right. In 10 or so more years, Winston may be up to standards of young Watson or Allen, striving still to be like Favre or Manning. Naw. Continuing keep a guy and suck because you are afraid the very guy who is not cutting it MAY go do it for another team is garbage thought, just like Winston’s garbage yards. Marked improvement? How? Same passer rating as his rookie year but with many more picks…and can’t say “Oh the potential” after five years of this joke.

  29. Mr. Reality Says:

    Defense…don’t be lulled into thinking well we are improving because we won 8 this year, or 9. As I said, he hasn’t cut it, and won’t. He will never get you 10 or more wins. This isn’t year 1 where we say we have to work on his decision making. Even his faithful say well that’s just I’m. Not working. Not throwing out the baby…but the bathwater stinks to high heaven and has to go now.

  30. NOLES Says:

    Mr Reality — is right for the most part. Running game, good D & winning the turnover battle usually equals playoff wins. I know its a passing league but ball control is a great D against a great passing team. You can’t score if you don’t possess the ball…

    Winston does appear to be the exact opposite of what a playoff QB is. Lets see how they play this…

    As far as O line.. I would draft a center & cut Jensen. Also draft R Tackle in top 2 Rd’s. I like Cam Akers a lot & think we can get him in the 3rd. He is a pure RB w great Vision rushing over a 1,000 w one of the worst O Lines in ALL OF COLLEGE football..

    Brate will also be gone at 7m & if we don’t throw to the TE in this offense then let’s get a cheaper blocking TE that fits our scheme. Trade OJ if you can get anything for him. Like a 3rd or better pick. If not keep him.

    Keep the D & use Jensen money on CB or Safety in FA..

  31. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    On topic, since this article is about the running game, I called for Peyton Barber’s head for two years now, saying he wasn’t good enough to start…and he isn’t.

    That said, I was wrong for wanting him gone.

    After he and Rojo, who else do we really have? We need 4 RBs, and we have two worth mentioning. We can draft a guy and still keep him.

    But personally, I think Rojo is going to be good enough. Setting aside Joe’s annual push to draft a RB, there are really only two reasons we don’t have a good enough running game:

    • The offensive line is built to pass protect over run blocking
    • As I pointed out last off season, Arians offense is pass first, and always has been

  32. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Mr. Reality

    I said where he improved. Read more, discount less.

  33. Mr. Reality Says:

    Buc Believer…this year was the second scheme Winston was in. I think I was clear already–Koetter was his continuity before. Four years. Now we got his old coach and an “OC I can identify with” whatever that means. Results worse. Winston needs to go.

  34. Mr. Reality Says:

    Bonzai…if your goal is to get a rocket to the moon, but you only get it to go faster and still run of out gas halfway, that’s not an improvement. Winston can throw for 6,000 yards with proportionate INTs in getting that…but still…give the ball away multiple times per game and they are no closer. Bad decisions and turnovers won’t change. As you all say, that’s just who he is.

  35. Mr. Reality Says:

    NOLES interesting point: “You can’t score if you don’t possess the ball…”

    And herein lies Winston, who NOLEs also rightly says is opposite of what playoff QB is.

    With Winston, the other O doesn’t have to possess the ball. Winston will throw it to the D for the score, or put them in position where long possessions aren’t needed.

  36. Mr. Reality Says:

    Beliver says: “Also Gay is DIRECTLY responsible for two losses this year.”

    He lost the Giants game directly. And had either he OR Winston done their jobs, they’d have beaten ATL.

    Accountability. No one is saying Gay gets a free ride. Do that another time or two, and he’ll be gone. And Winston? Same standard…only he is WELL past his share of mulligans.

    Why try to deflect? Those who didn’t cut are gone. Except Licht. Winston needs to go.

  37. Ineffable Dullard Repairman Says:

    The people that want Winston gone should preface it with a replacement–a replacement that can hum it downfield to fit Arians scheme. You don’t get rid of your above average car and replace it with a clunker.
    The ONLY way I’d get rid him is to offer Winston, OJ Howard and two #1’s to the Bengals for Joe Burrow–and I’m guessing that still wouldn’t be enough.

  38. ancientasbuc Says:

    Mr. Reality has a very one-sided, fact bereft, common take. He just used a lot of words to get there. To the point of the run game. It did not take this staff or the last staff long to know that the strength of the talent on the team was passing. The o-line was built to pass block, the QB is a thrower, and the WR talent is some of the best in the league. They choose to focus on the pass because the rules support it, the talent supports it and the defensive talent was not there, YET. The ran effectively enough to set up play action and many teams do it. The best teams do it. Our team has been bad situationally, improved this year but bad this decade by either talent or scheme or both. Winston and receivers struggled more with new roles in scheme than has been reported or admitted to by staff or players. Uncover that and ask about plans to be better situationally and with decision making. You’ll solve the run game stuff. No one in the league with our passing talent is going to be a running team.

  39. TBUC North Carolina Says:

    Agree w NOLES even though I’m a Gator! But I’d give Winston a short contract, team friendly! As a team we need a more balanced attack! More rushing now to set up the pass. And agree w NOLES on Cam Akers !!

  40. Craig Says:

    The good seasons for Doug Martin happened when Lorenzo Neal was the fullback blasting holes for him. If we could find a fullback, wait, BA doesn’t believe in fullbacks.

    Then we need either Taylor or Najee Harris in the 4-5 rounds. The only problem with big backs is that they get hurt often.

  41. jjbucfan Says:

    O-LINE, O-LINE, O-LINE!! anyone that actually watches the games knows this is on the O-line. Running Backs have to have a hole to run through and cannot dodge every lineman or LB that darts through a gaping hole in our our O-line.

  42. Siege the Bay Says:

    Let’s leave Jameis out of this discussion. It’s getting old hearing him in every discussion. We still need an every down back like maybe a Dalvin Cook, if you will

  43. PUGS&BUCS Says:

    Dalvin Cook missed week 15 with an injury and sat the bench for the Vikings.

    He actually had a better fantasy day than Peyton Barber who put up -0.7 fantasy points.

  44. geno711 Says:

    Need to move on from Peyton Barber. I do not think he is even average. I think he is less than average.

    He may try to run tough and hit the right hole. OK. Is that what we are striving for when it comes to our running back.

    How about one that can concern a defensive coordinator.
    How about one that is able to run a wheel route.
    How about one that can take a swing pass and beat the linebacker one on one.
    How about one with elusiveness and/or speed to break open a small hole into a large gain.

    ROJO shows he can be a sufficient number 2 and is only 22 years old so maybe will improve more. Move on from Barber every bit as much as you want to move on from Dotson.

  45. Allbuccedup Says:

    Bucs need to draft a running back let Barber go.