Speed Kills II

February 6th, 2020

The need for speed.

Yes, Joe is obsessed with the Bucs needing an upgrade at running back. Stevie Wonder can see this.

Joe has, and will continue to do so, bang the drum that this team must upgrade at running back if the Bucs hope to play meaningful games in January.

Indirectly, Jared Dubin of CBS Sports agrees. In an article he typed on what the rest of the NFL can learn from last weekend’s Super Bowl, Dubin noted each of the three running backs the 49ers used ran a 40-time under 4.4 seconds.

That sure isn’t the case with the Bucs. Joe looked up the 40-time of each of the Bucs’ three running backs. None ran under 4.4 seconds in their respective 40-times entering the NFL.

Peyton Barber posted a 4.64, which was 18th out of 22 running backs at his combine.

Ronald Jones pulled a hamstring at his combine but at his pro day he posted a 4.48.

Dare Ogunbowale was worse, timed at 4.65.

Is the problem with the Bucs’ rushing attack as simple as the Bucs running backs are too damned slow?

Sean Payton might think so.

48 Responses to “Speed Kills II”

  1. JimmyJack Says:

    I’d like to see what those fancy fancy Next Gen stats say about this. The heck with combine numbers. I never saw a NFL player running in a speedo and track shoes on the field.

    RoJo seemed to be pretty fast to me. Can’t say he looks as fast as Kamara though, good point about Payton.

  2. Sleepy903 Says:

    Is a 4.46/4.48 actually slow? Ronald Jones ran a 10.3 100 meter dash in high school and he only ran track part time. He’s quick and he has top end speed. I dont think that’s the issue.

  3. Colorado Says:

    But David Johnson ran a 4.50! The horror!

  4. Jean Lafitte Says:

    A 4.4 time is around 1.5 yards faster than a 4.6 in 40yds. So if your slower than 4.4 then you have somewhere around 30+ yds to make a tackle or else after 40yds forget it he’s gone. Unless he blows a tire, and like everything else, there are some drawbacks too. Speed usually requires a leaner physique which makes them also more susceptible to injury. Nevertheless, speed kills, especially all you’re key ball handling positions.

  5. Jean Lafitte Says:

    *correction* your …not you’re

  6. Jean Lafitte Says:

    By the way 4.46 and 4.48 are not slow at all

    Ezekiel Elliott ran a 4.47

  7. PSL Bob Says:

    I don’t think the Bucs have had a really fast RB in a long time. Even when Cadillac was having a great season, he’d often get run down from behind. Maybe that’s just inherent in RBs – the DBs are just naturally faster. I think Warrick Dunn was the last RB I can remember who hit the hole and was gone.

  8. PSL Bob Says:

    Joe, can you do a little research and tell us which of the Bucs RBs have been the fastest?

  9. BucEmUp Says:

    Dude you are so splitting hairs right now. Lets also no forget that Mostert was cut by how many teams???

    Peyton Barber is a solid average running back. Dare needs to be replaced and Ronald Jones would be a beast if the damn OC for the Bucs would scheme him open and run an offense that didn’t tell the defense when it was a run pre-snap.

    And your talking about wanting David Johnson? An older, injury prone back who is slower than Jones?

    Draft a late round or UDFA rb and give Jones 22 carries a game and watch the magic.

  10. SammyRebel Says:

    Sad times of the offseason boring articles….love you Joe

  11. Craig Says:

    The Bucs can pick up Dobbins or Swift in the third round and maybe grab Killins as undrafted.

    Killins might the next Kamara or the reincarnation of a Sproles.

  12. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Football speed is totally different than a 40 time. Football speed involves vision and changing gears to create long runs. There are only 2 players that had a better 20+ yard carry per attempt average in the entire NFL , and they were Saquon Barkley and Devin Singletary. ROJO is way faster than Barber , but Barber times out faster at the 40 , thus demonstrating that football speed is completely different than a mere 40 time. ROJO will only get better and should be the bell cow in 2020.

  13. mark2001 Says:

    Being too slow to read a defense, react, and release the ball also kills. But that is another issue.

  14. D1 Says:

    At the 2018 NFL Combine. We will look at the most athletic positions: wide receivers, defensive backs, linebackers, and running backs.

    Only 2 out of 44 wide receivers were able to run below a 4.4. (4.5%)

    Only 8 out of 70 defensive backs were able to run below a 4.4. (11%)

    Only 1 out of 42 linebackers were able to run below a 4.4. (2.4%)

    Only 1 out of 32 running backs were able to run below a 4.4. (3.1%)

    Out of these 188 elite athletes invited to the 2018 NFL Combine only a total of 12 athletes were able to run under a 4.4.

  15. Couch Fan Says:

    Is this even a serious question? It takes a lot more than just speed to be a Pro RB. I would think Joe with all his years of covering football would know this by now.

  16. Matthew Fifer Says:

    @Jean Lafitte Says:
    February 6th, 2020 at 2:02 pm
    By the way 4.46 and 4.48 are not slow at all

    I agree Jean, the only times I’ve ever ran that fast is when my wife makes one of her signature dishes and calls me to the table. She’s an amazing cook, one of the top 5 reasons I married her frankly. Course, usually somewhere along that dash, I forget I’m wearing socks and running on a wood floor, then I slam into a wall/credenza/cat/etc and thoroughly regret running in the first place.

  17. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    So….SF had all that speed at RB & still lost…..

    FYI……Devin White….4.42……..used to be a RB…….maybe he can double up!!!

  18. 813bucboi Says:

    our RBs could be faster than tyreek hill……doesnt matter if the DCs are game planning to stop the run and force JW to pass…..

    our run game isnt as bad as folks think…..the problem is, JW doesnt strike fear into DCs…..DCs want JW throwing…..so they stop the run at all cost…..

    until we get a QB that can keep the defense honest by not gifting them great field position or points, the run game wont improve…..

    why was damien williams so successful with the chiefs after being sent packing by the dolphins?…..because the DCs dont want PM throwing….

    GO BUCS!!!!!

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  19. Jean Lafitte Says:

    There’s a legit reason why every single LB and DB in the league loves Jameis, and it’s not because of his crab boil and fish spread either.

  20. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Compare ROJO’s stats to David Johnson or Melvin Gordon. If ROJO improves as much between years 2 and 3 as he did from 1-2 he will be a major star. IF we get a stud RT and a monster back to pair with ROJO we’ll be fine.

  21. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Liked your correction because it reminds me I’m not the only one murdering homonyms. I’m not sure why although I do have a couple of excuses in mind….
    but I can’t just pop them out anymore without serious proofreading.

  22. Beeej Says:

    If you’re not fast, you’d better be able to push the pile

  23. Billy_45 Says:

    Rojo will easily be a Top 10 RB next year if he averages 18 carries a game.

    This 8-10 carries Crap has to go.

  24. Joe Says:

    Dude you are so splitting hairs right now. Lets also no forget that Mostert was cut by how many teams???

    It was a point made by a CBS writer (as clearly pointed out in the story and the link included) and Joe thought it was interesting given that none of the Bucs running backs are as quick as the 49ers.

    Is it a fluke or is it a pattern? Joe isn’t sure but Joe *does* know the Bucs’ rushing attack sucks and the 49ers had a good rushing attack.

    You can never, ever go wrong with speed if a team knows how to use it.

  25. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Matthew Fifer

    lol ..been there done that friend

  26. Jean Lafitte Says:


    ..and of course it never fails that even when you do proofread sometimes you miss it and don’t see it until after you post. To bad is not like facebook where you can edit after the fact.

  27. Jean Lafitte Says:

    *correction* is ..supposed to be its


  28. Defense Rules Says:

    Today in ‘Speed Kills II’ you ask the question Joe … “Is the problem with the Bucs’ rushing attack as simple as the Bucs running backs are too damned slow?”

    Back on 29 Jan in ‘Speed Kills I’ you wrote … “Now Ronald Jones has speed, so this stat tells Joe that Jones needs to be fed the ball more.’

    Just saying. RoJo is a decent RB with a certain skillset. Barber (a UFA) would actually be a decent #3 RB IMO at the right price ($1.0 mil; max $1.5 mil I would think). What the Bucs NEED is a quality running back BEAST to pair with RoJo. NOT the same skillset, because we’ve already got RoJo.

    It looks like most of the 2020 RBs in the draft are about RoJo’s size (some are smaller). There are only a couple that I’d love to have though. JK Dobbins (5’10” & 214 lbs) from Ohio State had an awesome year (2,003 rushing yards, 6.7 YPC with 21 TDs) He’s projected to go in Rnds 2-3. A RB who I like a bit later in the draft is AJ Dillon (6′ & 245 lbs) from Boston College. He also had a good year IMO (1,685 rushing yards, 5.3 YPC with 14 TDs). He’s projected to go in Rnds 3-5. Strikes me as being a Mike Alstott type of runner. Either would be good complements to RoJo. Actually wouldn’t mind drafting BOTH.

  29. Defense Rules Says:

    D1 … Good stuff. Point made.

  30. The Coroner Says:

    Emmitt Smith ran a 4.8 at the combine!

  31. mark2001 Says:

    Vision, timing, direction changing…all important. Speed is important…but many great RB’s didn’t have an over abundance of it. Emmit Smith was 4.52. Tony Dorsett was 4.3. I’d take either one. Every great RB is a little different from the other one. It is a skill set.

  32. Smashsquatch Says:

    Rojo progressed in 2019. His vision and anticipation stills needs improvement along with his open field running. Too often when he found open space he looked awkward and stumbled as he tried to open up the throttle body. He’s still very young and I like his trajectory. Agreed, if we add some juice to that room it’ll quickly turn the RB position into a strength.

  33. mark2001 Says:

    And Dorsett wasn’t the fastest cowboy… Bob Hayes was…maybe the fastest NFL player of all time… 10.08 hundred meter. And he was a great receiver, but probably not their greatest. Can you imagine him in the screwed down defense rules of today’s game?

  34. Brandon Says:

    PSL Bob Says:
    February 6th, 2020 at 2:06 pm
    Joe, can you do a little research and tell us which of the Bucs RBs have been the fastest


    Warrick Dunn ran a 4.38

    BTW, no way in Hell Smith ran a 4.8. He ran a 4.6.

    But Legarrette Blount ran a 4.70. Cadillac ran an official 4.51.

  35. mark2001 Says:

    brandon…i had Smith 4.52.

  36. Bucnjim5656 Says:

    Every year NFL teams get caught up on these speed guys but they forget to check and see if they can actually play NFL caliber football. What happens to most of these guys is they take two or three big hits and they call it quits. Someone mentioned football speed when the pads come on. This separates the men from the boys right away.

  37. Skipper Says:

    It’s the O’line, Walter Payton would struggle behind this line.

  38. Tbbucs3 Says:

    So much unearned ROJO love on here. What has he done that shows you he can be a top 10 back? Forget the Oline for a sec. When you watch him on tape does he really look that explosive? Not to me.

    ROJO was not that good this year aside from a couple games.

  39. Tbbucs3 Says:

    Sorry StPete, ROJO and “major star” don’t go together.

    ROJO will be a solid back, not a superstar.

  40. Vooloo Says:

    Since someone asked about all Bucs RBs 40s. Here they are.

    Warrick Dunn 4.28 (pro day)
    Doug Martin 4.46
    Ronald Jones 4.48 (pro day)
    Cadillac Williams 4.50
    Earnest Graham 4.50
    Michael Pittman 4.50
    Peyton Barber 4.64
    Dare Ogunbowale 4.65
    Mike Alstott 4.68
    Errict Rhett claims he runs 4.4, Orlando Sentinal said between 4.6 and 4.7 at pro day.
    LeGarrette Blount 4.70

  41. Vooloo Says:

    Anyways so it looks as if he was no faster than Graham or Pittman and no one said they were burners.

  42. stpetebucsfan Says:

    ROJO needs to work his butt off on one skill this off season. He needs to be able to pick up the blitz so BA has confidence to have him in the game other than running situations.

    @D.R. Agree draft them both! Get a beast/mean RT and voila we have a running game.

  43. Bucemup Says:

    Ronald Jones has speed and we all know this. The other two do not and when you don’t have speed at the running back position you’re not scaring any defense. I’ve been saying for years that the Bucs needed speed at running back. Why this team covets 4.6 40 running backs is beyond me. The 49ers back all have break away speed so no matter who’s in the game you have to keep an extra defender in the box because of the fear of them taking it to the house. Hey Bucs how about we try something different and add not only speed but vision at the running back position. Maybe just maybe you will see more of those 25-50 pop run plays. What do I know? I’m just a fan.

  44. Joe Says:

    When you watch him on tape does he really look that explosive? Not to me.

    Was waiting all year for RoJo to break one and he finally did in the last game.

  45. D1 Says:


    Thanks for the research.

    I was shocked by WD’s time.

    Then I noticed that (pro day) followed the time. (Great job including it)
    Gotta add a Lil time to that number for comparison.

    A Pro day time is always better than the combine (Less injuries ). and the pro day time is the preferred one when comparing players from earlier decades.

    Bottom line, the 40 is not the perfect test for speed..
    The overall number specifically. But it’s quality data for teams to use during the scouting process.

    While not perfect, its true that the fastest players in the league also have the lowest 40x’s.

    The “doesn’t translate onto the field ” line is not entirely accurate.
    Fast is fast, the fastest players on the field are fast on the track too.

  46. Bob in Valrico Says:

    I can’t remember how many but i seem to remember at least one longer run from ROJO. It was called back due to a penalty.

  47. D1 Says:


    Bucs…running backs…..slow , avg sized, not great at anything in particular, just 5.10 215 4.6 zone running back who can’t block, and teams actually encourage to run routes. That’s how dangerous they are. They draft a profile apparently. .. .it must say….can’t excel in any area of the game and unpronouncable name is perfect.

    We have a legit blazer at receiver, the kinda speed everyone claims they want,
    We got one .

    Oddly, the consensus opinion is dump him!

  48. Isaac haggins Says:

    Jones was fast , now with the added weight ???