Flagging Bruce Arians For Inaccuracy

June 6th, 2020

Joe has heard the following chatter from Bucco Bruce Arians previously, and the head coach really laid it on Thursday.

But it’s just not accurate.

Arians has been a little sensitive about the Bucs’ running game. He likes a lot of what he sees, more than most observers, and Arians is quick to defend it.

However, the rushing attack wasn’t very effective last year. The Bucs were 14th in rush attempts, 24th in rushing yards, and 28th in yards per attempt.

That’s ugly, especially when your quarterback rushed effectively and represented 17 percent of your rushing yards.

On Thursday, Arians was asked what would get his running game going in 2020.

“Quit playing from behind,” Arians answered with urgency in his voice.

“You know, the biggest thing with all those turnovers is that we were usually playing from behind and spotting people 10 to 14 points. As a playcaller, I know the feeling of when you’re down 14 in the first quarter, it’s like, ‘We gotta catch up.’ So you abandon [the run game]. I think at times we ran the ball really well in November and December when we wanted to. We just didn’t do it enough. To be able to play equal, even ball games, or with the lead, I think that helps your running game more than anything.”

And this is where Joe throws a flag. Sorry, coach, you weren’t “usually playing from behind.”

Below are scores from the Bucs’ 16 games last season. In six games, Tampa Bay spotted opponents big early leads, but four of those six games were close by halftime. The Bucs led at halftime in 9 of 16 games and were tied in another.

Niners  – Bucs led at halftime 7-6
Panthers – Bucs led 10-9 at halftime
Giants – Bucs led 28-10 at halftime
Rams – Bucs led 28-17 at halftime
New Orleans – Bucs led 7-3 after 1st quarter, trailed 17-10 at halftime
Panthers – Bucs trailed 17-7 at halftime
Titans – Bucs trailed 14-3 after 1st quarter, 17-15 after 2nd quarter
Seahawks – Bucs led 14-7 after 1st quarter, 21-13 at halftime
Cardinals – Bucs led 17-13 at halftime
Saints – Bucs trailed 13-0 after 1st quarter, 20-7 at halftime
Falcons – Bucs led 19-10 at halftime
Jaguars – Bucs led 15-0 after 1st quarter, 25-0 at halftime
Colts – Bucs trailed 10-0 early but led 14-10 after 1st quarter
Lions – Bucs led 14-0 after 1st quarter
Texans – Bucs trailed 10-0 early. Game was 17-17 at halftime.
Falcons – Bucs trailed 10-0 after first quarter but led 22-16 at halftime

Yes, early turnovers hurt the Bucs badly last season, but it’s really not what deflated the running game. The Bucs were usually winning at halftime, and a good running game likely would have helped them close out games and put them in the playoffs.

The Bucs did dig themselves deep holes in three of their last four games, and Joe will guess Arians still has that burned in his brain.

In the season finale, Atlanta drove down the field for a game-opening touchdown before a Ronald Jones fumble at the Bucs’ 30 yard line set the stage for a Falcons field goal and a 10-0 lead. So in that game, it was the running game that thwarted the running game.

43 Responses to “Flagging Bruce Arians For Inaccuracy”

  1. 941bucsfan Says:

    Yea I was saying the same exact thing… I like BA but sometimes he just says some false things.. you went out and drafted 2 running backs, and you were trying to sign one in Free agency, something tells me your running backs were garbage last year and thats the real reason your running game sucked

  2. Doc Says:

    Coach Arians, statement on race relations in america,was more important than any press conference about a victory on the football field. Being a leader on the football field,sometime means stepping up to the mike and supporting your teammates. Staying silence is worst than anything you can do.I know this is a sport forum, however race is entangle with sports. Talk of winning a super bowl is one thing, talking about race and doing something about it is bigger then any victory in your life.

  3. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Your last paragraph is nonsense. Actually, it is spot on as it relates to what Arians was talking about. This post is not about Jameis. He’s not mentioned at all. It’s about the running game. –Joe
    Jameis threw 2 interceptions in the last Falcon game and R Jones had 116 yards of offense compared to your Sainted Freeman’s 73 yards.

    The run game has been upgraded- better blocking RT, TE and rookie RB.- regardless of whether they sign Freeman or not, who by the way, is not very good at pass protection.

  4. Smashsquatch Says:

    Run game will be improved because…
    1. Tom Brady
    2. Less turnovers
    3. Improved defense
    4. Upgraded run blocking (Wirfs & Gronk)
    5. Balanced line (Dotson gone)
    6. KV > PB
    I’m not as worried as most about our depth at RB. I wouldn’t overpay for a vet but at the right price I’d bring one in. Have to keep in mind the Bucs have leverage right now, big time. Patience should be the approach.

  5. Youngbucs Says:

    Joe in my opinion you’re proving the coaches point. look at the gms u have highlighted now think back to what happened in those gms.

  6. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    The success (or lack thereof) of the running game was honestly a mixture of Arians’ Theory and Joe’s Theory. Yes, there were certainly times when running the ball was just not feasible due to the deficit but there were certainly also times when the game was close or we were ahead and we just weren’t able to run effectively. Why Ronald Jones wasn’t getting the bulk of the carries, I’ll never understand, especially with Nothing-Special, Expiring Contract Peyton Barber seemingly the feature back. I’m sure we as a fanbase would feel much better about the running game if Jones had been utilized more, especially late in the season when we were already officially eliminated. That is a major fault of Arians last year that just seems inexcusable.

    Overall, I feel like we are in a good place with Jones now as RB1 and with our entire line returning and the addition of Wirfs and Gronk. Another year of growth for the line as a whole and for Jones in the 2nd year of Arians’ system combined with Tom Brady should allow for, at bare minimum, a decent running game.

  7. DoooshLaRue Says:

    You’re not entirely wrong Joe.
    What I’ve been saying for a long time now, is that when you give away the ball early as much as we did last season it changes EVERYTHING.

    The game plan goes out the window and panic sets in.
    Maybe it shouldn’t, but I think it does.

    Fortunately, that “problem” has been eliminated and I think this season we can work our game plan and see a much improved run game.

  8. Darin Says:

    Every team is gona be behind in some games. Stats stats. 7-9 won’t cut it. That’s it.

  9. Stanglassman Says:

    I thought the same thing about the accuracy of this when he said it. They seem to put lots of emphasizes on the last few games. Seems like they’d take the injures to the Qb (knee, throwing thumb) and top two WRs into consideration. There was only about 6-7 games that the defense wasn’t playing so poorly that not any offense could overcome it or when the offense wasn’t riddled with injuries. In those games are when they went on a winning streak. They took Seattle to OT at the turning point of the defense with the exception of Dean Who gave up 200+ and 3 tds. Love Dean but he got exposed as a rook that game.

  10. Mike Johnson Says:

    Ownersship and Arians have created mega pressure on themselves. They have more hype than any other NFl team for a while. If his golden boyz (brady and Gronk) do not win, make playoffs appearances for 2 consecutive years, Fans are gonna turn on them quicker than an African gabon viper..and that’s quick.

  11. PSL Bob Says:

    We need to get Devonta Freeman. He’ll fix it!

  12. Ryan Elias Says:

    I wonder if Leftwhich felt like they needed to out score their opponents and then some to make up for the 2-3 turnovers Jameis was good for each game. Thus, putting more pressure on the play caller to pass instead of run. They already trust Brady more then they’ve ever trusted jameis. I had more trust in jameis to drive for a last minute score than I do with a lead and 2 minutes on the clock.

  13. Tampabuscsbro Says:

    Joe is leaving out how often Late turnovers hurt this team just as much as the early turnovers. Winston threw a ridiculous number of interceptions in the 4th quarter just like the first. As well as America’s backup completely stalling out.

  14. Tampabuscsbro Says:

    Also while on the subject I would give Lamar Miller a shot for some depth at camp. I think that should happen. Freeman wants way more then he is worth that would be a bad idea. He hasn’t rushed for 1000 yards in years.

  15. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Is it just me or did it seem (and hasn’t it seemed for a long time) that the Bucs attempted far too many 1st down up the middle runs…..mostly stuffed. I don’t have the stats on first down running ypc but it sure seemed like it was very poor.

  16. AwshBucs Says:

    You did some good research Joe but i’d say it’s incomplete.

    The next step you should take before condemning Arians statements is compare and contrast the rushing production in games where we were ahead at the half vs games where we were behind.

    I’d wager to say we had more production in the 8 games that we led at halftime. And furthermore i’d wager that we had the best rushing production in games where Jameis didn’t have multiple 1st half turnovers. Which forced us to pass the ball more to make up for lost possessions.

  17. AwshBucs Says:

    Basically my point is that you jumped to your conclusion that Arians is totally wrong much too quickly.

  18. Cobraboy Says:

    I disagree with The Joe’s analysis of the games, i.e., black and red.

    According to my numbers the Bucs averaged 114 YPG rushing when they were ahead (the black games) vs. 85 YPG when they were behind (red.)

    Additionally, in those red games, the Bucs averaged 4.5 turnovers vs. 1.4 in black games.

    Are my “quick math” stats wrong?

    I would definitely NOT classify Arian’s general statement as inaccurate at all (He said the Bucs were usually playing from behind and spotting teams 10 or 14 points. That’s what is inaccurate. It’s really very simple.–Joe ) because the team gained 34% more on the ground while ahead than behind, and turned the ball over 3 x more in the red games when behind.

    In fact, I would rate his statements, especially the turnovers, as absolutely accurate.

    IMO, turnovers drove the running game lack of success, not a lack of commitment or talent.

    But I DO understand the obsession with the run game will likely not go away any time soon, like the obsession with sacks last season. Casuals are like that.

    Obesessors gotta obsess…

  19. Lamarcus Says:

    BA still out there laying blame on turnovers. Now blaming JW for the run game?

    Brady will have 20 picks and thats OK but what will be the excuse then? And what makes Brady different from other qbs playing no risk it biscuit it that he is not gonna throw picks?

  20. Lamarcus Says:

    And continuing to blame turnovers when you BA and your coaches allowed it to happen doesnt convince me that we are winning anything not even a playoff game

  21. Cobraboy Says:

    And keep in mind using a halftime stat is useless and meaningless. A team can get behind in the second half, too. When that happens, it is reasonable for the running game to be abandoned.

    If you wanted to do accurate analysis, you’d have to chart the run play while behind vs. the run plays while ahead. I could do it, but that would be a deep dive into the game play-by-play sheets.

  22. AwshBucs Says:

    Lamarcus. Dude. I was and still am a massive Jameis supporter. But in the world we live in, 35 turnovers, on any team, by any QB, sucks and hurt the team.

  23. Cobraboy Says:

    @Lamarcus: when was the last time Brady had 20 picks?

    You are pulling peanuts and corn out of your butt.

    More Winston butthurt from casual fans.

    Why not set up an idol with Jameis Christ, get a Drew Brees Fat Head, and stick needles in the knees, praying for a season-ending injury for both Brees and Hill to cure your weird obsession.

  24. Youngbucs Says:

    Lamarcus yea you wish Brady could be blind folded and not throw 20 picks!!!!!!!!

  25. Cobraboy Says:

    Joe said:

    (He said the Bucs were usually playing from behind and spotting teams 10 or 14 points. That’s what is inaccurate. It’s really very simple.–Joe )

    Are you seriously gonna parse and pick apart a GENERALIZED, off-the-cuff statement? It’s neither general nor off the cuff. Arians has said it before multiple times in multiple ways. –Joe

    The question was about the running game, and you go all Snopes Fact Check on the guy on one seemingly minor piece of his answer. He’s speaking Big Picture, and you’re parsing tiny words.

    And in those games in red, the ones where I did some stats on, his statement was entirely correct.

    I suspect he is more focused on fixing the bad games than the good games. In the black games, the Bucs rushing was square in the middle of the NFL pack; not great, but not at all a disaster. In the red games, the Bucs were in the bottom 3.

    Which do you think irks Arians more?

  26. Youngbucs Says:

    Some of you act like these turnovers are supposed to be normal Smh. And blaming the coach lol he just got here. Turnovers been a problem

  27. Cobraboy Says:

    You are still parsing, Joe.

    It’s like you are looking for a reason to create controversy.

    There is a reason many coaches don’t like the media, especially when the media is playing “gotcha.”

  28. Clean House Says:

    Blame Jameis

    This washed up phony Coach is a propoganda master
    Put this guy on the main stream media after his paid vacation ends

  29. Clean House Says:

    Should have kept the 26 year old NFL leading passer.

    AARP tour will crash and burn- coach and and QB alike

  30. DBS Says:

    ^ Done and not coming back? Why are you here? Just another liar.

  31. DoooshLaRue Says:


    Add him to the club of those who say they’re done with the sight and will never return.
    And please notify President 1987.

  32. stpetebucsfan Says:

    The improved Bucs passing game will help the running game. Brady is a very accurate passer with 20 years of experience seeing everything defenses can possibly do to adjust.

    Brady will know which WR is most likely to get open…he can throw it where only they can catch it…He has three of the best possession receivers in the league…how are DC’s supposed to stop Gronk, ME, CG, Brate, OJ, whichever back emerges as the receiving threat…it should be easier to run the ball.

  33. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    Lamarcus Says:
    “And what makes Brady different from other qbs playing no risk it biscuit it that he is not gonna throw picks?”

    You keep forgetting that the majority of Jameis’ picks had nothing to do with the deep game, which is why they were often so costly. It’s much easier to create a pick-6 when you get the ball near the line of scrimmage.

  34. TheDood Says:

    Washed up phony coach?!?! What the hell are you talking about?

    You mean the QB coach that tutored Big Ben & Peyton Manning?
    You mean the 2 time NFL Coach of the Year?
    I could go on with more but I”m not gonna bother.

    There are some real ignorant statements made here. Newsflash: The Bucs are the alltime worst NFL team with a winning percentage of 40%.

    They have lost 60% of their games on average every season. Do you really want to lay the failures of this horrible franchise on the new guy? That’s ridiculous.

  35. TheDood Says:

    PS: I wonder who knows more about coaching? Some doofus on this website or a guy who won 2 Super Bowl Rings as an Assistant Coach and has this resume:

    Virginia Tech (1975–1977)
    Graduate assistant
    Mississippi State (1978– 1980)
    Wide receivers coach & running backs coach
    Alabama (1981–1982)
    Running backs coach
    Temple (1983–1988)
    Head coach
    Kansas City Chiefs (1989–1992)
    Running backs coach
    Mississippi State (1993–1995)
    Offensive coordinator
    New Orleans Saints (1996)
    Tight ends coach
    Alabama (1997)
    Offensive coordinator
    Indianapolis Colts (1998–2000)
    Quarterbacks coach
    Cleveland Browns (2001–2003)
    Offensive coordinator
    Pittsburgh Steelers (2004–2006)
    Wide receivers coach
    Pittsburgh Steelers (2007–2011)
    Offensive coordinator
    Indianapolis Colts (2012)
    Offensive coordinator & interim head coach
    Arizona Cardinals (2013–2017)
    Head coach
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2019–present)
    Head coach

  36. unbelievable Says:

    “Sometimes he says false things”

    Sometimes? Lol.

    I actually like Arians but he is one of the biggest bullchitters around. The dude has a doctorate in coach speak, that’s for sure.

  37. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    unbelievable Says:
    “… a doctorate in coach speak…”

    LOL Nice one.

  38. Buczilla Says:

    When your running backs are just plain bad to barely adequate, you can’t expect to have a good ground game. Starting a right tackle who’s coach admitted before the season can’t run block worth a lick on a line that is already below average at run blocking is a gosh damn disaster waiting to happen. I’d go on about the former up and down quarterback as well as a defensive backfield that was putrid for most of the year, but I’m bored of talking about last year. The whole team contributed to the lousy ground game as well as the coaches.

    With all of the improvements that we made at the end of the last year, a solid draft, keeping our defense intact, and by upgrading at QB, this year could be special.

  39. Bucsfanman Says:

    Historically, it always seems like the Bucs will use any excuse to abandon the run-game. I have never seen a team so scared to run the ball, especially in short-yardage situations.
    And, being down doesn’t mean give up. You can only score one TD at a time. I’ll even go so far as to say that throwing the ball excessively from behind just makes it worse. Teams KNOW what you’re doing. Instead, punch them in the mouth a couple of times. I mean, if you are that far out of a game, why keep putting your QB in harms way?

  40. Jim Says:

    Arians: “As a playcaller, I know the feeling of when you’re down 14 in the first quarter,..” So why is Joe presenting stats at the half?

  41. Cobraboy Says:

    Jim Says:

    Arians: “As a playcaller, I know the feeling of when you’re down 14 in the first quarter,..” So why is Joe presenting stats at the half?

    Poor effort at statistical analysis forwarded by an agenda.

  42. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    The only ones who are wrong are the zealots who put all of the losing at the qbs feet and those who refused to give him enough blame for them. So we have up here a good sampling of American society, left and right. People too blind by their own hatred, prejudices and ideals to make proper judgements. Moderation in the face if extremism is always the best way to go because too much of anything is no bueno. Every part of this team had a hand, foot and mouth in the losses last year. I believe Arians knew that Jameis was the best option to help us win but he was too stubborn to learn from his mistakes and check down so let him play as he played. Hoped for the best but expected the worst and Jameis did(n’t) disappoint. I never felt Arians threw him under the bus like some whined up here.

  43. Oneilbucs Says:

    This is how I know that some of you people don’t know football . A passing game does not help a running game . We have been ranked at the top in every offensive category in the NFL with no running game . The last time we a thousand yard runningback was in 2015 . Every since we have been at the bottom in rushing . I know people are going to say we were 15 ranked in rushing but we never had a threat in the back field but 1 year the past 5 years . That has been the problem with this team . When we have leads late in the 3rd or 4th quarter the we have no runningback to close out games and every team knows it . That’s why we have been bad .And our defense has never been able to make stops to end games and our fan base just blind with hate towards Jamies and was never been able to understand that .