So, About Those Run Plays…

July 14th, 2020

Bucs OC Byron Leftwich.

Joe has a hunch most Bucs fans will be nodding their heads up and down after reading this.

Last year Joe almost lost his lunch at how many times the Bucs ran Peyton Barber between the tackles. And got nowhere.

A team generally has only so many plays to run in a game. Why burn them when even the beer vendor can guess where the play will be, especially when the team was/is loaded with passing weapons and your quarterback was atop the league in passing?

Joe asked Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich if he was perhaps tipping pitches by calling Barber’s number so often between the tackles that defenses knew what was coming.

Joe got a terse yet strong one-word answer to his question.


Well, a noted football gambler and stat guy begs to differ.

In Warren Sharp’s 2020 Football Preview, the runs of the Bucs (and all teams) are charted. And take a guess where the Bucs like to run the ball?

When going to the ground, the Bucs ran up the middle some 41 percent of the time. That’s borderline ridiculous. It’s not like the Bucs had Larry Csonka in the backfield. The next-most called run play was behind left guard Ali Marpet at 15 percent of the run calls. Third-most were runs behind right guard Alex Cappa 13 percent of the time.

Added up, the Bucs ran between the tackles 69 percent of the time.

Joe has no problem if the Bucs or any team run up the gut so long as you have the horse(s) to do it. To the best of Joe’s knowledge, Mike Alstott isn’t coming out of retirement.

Now Joe harps on the running backs a lot, largely because Joe thinks this unit has been dragging the Bucs down for way too many years. But gosh darn it, it was almost like they were hung out to dry with predictable calls — and predictable results.

42 Responses to “So, About Those Run Plays…”

  1. Buc4evr Says:

    The only outside running play that seems to work anymore is the jet sweep, otherwise the linebackers and even the offside D linemen are too fast for the pulling guards and centers in the nfl. Our RB’s haven’t been particularly fast either, so I’m sure Lefty runs the only plays that his O-line and RBs can handle.

  2. teacherman777 Says:

    We could run the ball very well with Mankins and Marpet.

    Since then,

    Licht has forced two 5th round picks: Pamphile and Benenoch into tje starting RG spot.

    Now, Licht has gifted the RG spot to a Div II Left Tackle who is 6-6 and 300 pounds. Guards must be stocky with a low center of gravity.

    3 horrible RG’s have destroyed the past 4 years.

    Dotson could never run block. But he was a top 5 pass blocking RT’s in the NFL.

    All we had to do was keep Mankins one last year at 7 million and draft his replacement in the 2nd.

    Instead, Licht is FORCING his horrible draft picks into the RG spot.

  3. Will Says:

    Even my wife figured it out when we were at the Rams game. There’s no misdirection in the run game I think the one time they ran Miller on a reverse he got big yards. Joe do you know if the Bucs among all their coaches have anyone who looks at the tendencies of our team to help with not being predictable? Heck even after the game where Evans had no catches or some low number in the 2nd half of a game every Bucs fan and football fan for that matter knew the 1st play the following week was going to him. And it did and it was intercepted. Dang I think I answered my own question. Looks like we need another person on staff for that. Lol

  4. Joe Says:

    Joe do you know if the Bucs among all their coaches have anyone who looks at the tendencies of our team to help with not being predictable?

    Would be completely shocked if they didn’t. High school teams do this.

  5. PSL Bob Says:

    Maybe my memory fails me, which it does often, but seems like this running up the middle tendency isn’t confined to Leftwich. I remember pulling my hair out at times when the Bucs would run up the middle, as predicted, and have it stuffed at the line of scrimmage. Seems like they’ve been predictable in that regard throughout their history. The Alstott years seemed to be the exception. They’d still run up the middle, but in short-yardage situations, Alstott rarely got stuffed.

  6. BucEmUp Says:

    Run ROJO on a few second and 5 sweeps with howard or gronk out blocking and it will be a thing of beauty.Even screens to rojo SOMETHING DIFFERENT!!

  7. Oneilbucs Says:

    Lol Lol 😆 now that Jamies is gone we want to talk about run plays and how bad the running game is but I thought it was Jamies fault why we couldn’t run the ball ???

  8. Will Says:

    Very true highschool teams do this that’s why the number of up the middle runs and the way he answered you in that interview was so shocking to me. To me everyone knew we ran up the middle a lot and you asking it showed that even fans casual and seasoned could see it. I remember that interview and he looked at you with a “how dare you all me such a dumb question” look then turned away from you. His run play calling wouldn’t even make it at the highschool level. Hope it’s better this year.

  9. Pewter Says:

    So Joe, you’re telling me that the offense was predictable? Doesn’t that usually equate to turn overs?

    Jameis will haunt this franchise for another ten years. Lets just hope he gets out of the NFC South next year so he doesn’t do it to us 2x a year.

  10. Joe Says:

    So Joe, you’re telling me that the offense was predictable? Doesn’t that usually equate to turn overs?

    The running (?) game was.

  11. Casual Observer Says:

    Unpredictable is good.

  12. Marine Buc Says:

    OT J. Peters just signed with the Eagles. Possible replacements for LT Smith just got much slimmer.

    If Smith opts out I hope Joe Haeg can step in and play at a high level.

  13. Craig Says:

    Those 13% that went to Cappa didn’t happen until late in the season. That part of the season that made RoJo look like he might make it.

    Defenses had the box stuffed because they knew the highest percentage play they had was to jump an obvious pass and score one of that massive number of pick 6’s our QB tossed.

    It also had to be hard to call plays with a QB who rarely got past the number one on his progressions.

    There was no deception because Magoo could not do that. Look off a linebacker and toss an out to a RB? Highest percentage interception rate there was because Magoo stared down the spot where he was going to throw.

    Leftwich will do better with an intelligent QB that knows all the tricks a defense tries and how to beat them.

  14. Joe Says:

    Very true highschool teams do this that’s why the number of up the middle runs and the way he answered you in that interview was so shocking to me. To me everyone knew we ran up the middle a lot and you asking it showed that even fans casual and seasoned could see it. I remember that interview and he looked at you with a “how dare you all me such a dumb question” look then turned away from you.

    LOL Yeah, got the “glare” alright. 🙂

    And Joe wasn’t looking for a reaction, was looking for an answer, information.

    One thing Joe learned about the NFL years ago and it is so, so true.

    “Never underestimate the power of egos.”

    Not saying everyone in the NFL is an egomaniac. Maybe not even two-thirds. But sometimes what we all can see is something some NFL folks don’t see because they are blinded by ego.

  15. Nick2 Says:

    I dont see how a team that has run the ball so poorly can be so indignant that its not the case. Just come out and own it and fix it. Yeah we suck running the ball but that will change would be a fresh approach.

  16. Joe Says:

    Just come out and own it and fix it. Yeah we suck running the ball but that will change would be a fresh approach.

    Thank you.

  17. Bucsfanman Says:

    Couple all of the above with opposing defenses stacking the box to FORCE the Bucs to throw AND that the QB did not check out of said failed plays, yea it’s a recipe for disaster.
    It’s not ALL on coaching. You need the guy under center to recognize a failed play and make adjustments. 8 men in the box=generally a failed run play.

  18. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I’ll post the same thing I did the last time this article ran (of very similar article)

    Our running up the middle didn’t start with BA & BL….we’ve been doing that for years.

    And until Joe posts it……Rojo with only 15 carries per game would have totaled 1008 yards….

  19. Will Says:

    Joe totally understand the ego thing and I’m sure the fans would’ve appreciated a true answer as you were looking for. Trust me ego isn’t just in the pros when it comes to stubborn play callers.

  20. Youngbucs Says:

    Oneilbucs still whining about winston. Won’t you be his agent he looking for 1. It’s always someone else’s fault. If I was an agent I wouldn’t touch him.

  21. Eddie Says:

    Truth of the matter, you have to go with the horse’s you have. Great idea about running misdirects and outside but do you HAVE the talent to do it?

  22. Oneilbucs Says:

    Youngbucs I know you wouldn’t touch no black quarterback . You the type would rather Sam Donald than Mahomes cookie .

  23. Oneilbucs Says:

    The running game was not the problem last year . Remember we had the 7th rank offensive line last year and our defense was good as well according to the no football knowing fan base the only problem we had was the quarterback and now he’s gone . So now Bayron Leftwich is the new scapegoat ? No excuses …..

  24. Mike Says:

    Assuming Youngbuc is a racist….. nice Oneilbucs now I know the truth about YOU

  25. Will Says:

    Oneilbucs I don’t care what the stats said about how good our Oline was by the end of the year they couldn’t run block consistently throughout the entire year and everyone that’s being open and honest should be willing to admit that.

    Eddie we don’t know if we had the horses for all that(although I think we did and do) because even when Rojo was running better then Barber he got subbed out for Barber or Dare. Give the kid 12-15 touches a game and watch what he can do for your run and passing game. Not to mention that BA is so high on Miller granted he was hurt early last year and I’m NOT saying he’s a Tyreek Hill but you’ve got to have a package of plays for him like that to exploit his speed(screens, reverses, jet sweeps even faking any of those to him keeps a defense honest) and I know he’s no longer our QB but Jameis was deadly outside the pocket and we rarely rolled him out. Another blemish to me on BL as a play caller.

    And then there’s the NOT SO SPECIAL special teams. Bucs have been horrid in the kicking and return game for I lost count of how many years.

  26. Youngbucs Says:

    Oneilbucs always playing the race card lol your wack

  27. Youngbucs Says:

    I don’t care if winston is purple he’s still a bum to me

  28. Youngbucs Says:

    Take his nuts out your mouth you probably think he’s on Mahomes level. Sorry bro they not even on the same planet. Winston tells everyone how good he is Mahomes shows them. I’ve never heard a top QB say I’m 1 of the greatest you wanna know why people where busy saying it for them. You keep hitching your wagon to Winston that’s your thing good luck with that.

  29. Oneilbucs Says:

    youngbucs you are uncle Tom and you’re gay to make a comment like that . I guess that’s what you dream about Brady cookie lol lol 😆😂..

  30. Oneilbucs Says:

    Will I agree with you bro that offensive line is going to get Brady killed if they play like they did last year . The running game I don’t know because Rojo never got a chance to get going . Every time he got going last year Bruce Arians would take him out . And our defense has to play better than last year . We gave up the most passing yards last year . My main focus this year is defense and running the ball .

  31. Youngbucs Says:

    Oneilbucs your a clown all you can do is try to insult me. That’s all you got your all talk just like that false messiah you love to worship. Winston is bad for business on the field and off it. The proof is out there I’m real about Winston can change my mind but with actions not words. Just play smarter he’ll unlock his potential. I can look at it realistically because I’m not a jock sniffing talent can only take you so far. But keep making excuses those things are running out if he doesn’t fix his gm it will be over soon I’m rooting for him but I refuse to make bullspit excuses!!!!!

  32. Youngbucs Says:

    Oneilbucs ima ask you a straight? Does Winston have a turnover problem?????
    Yes or no save me the Manning and other QB bullspit give me an answer. Watch this people he can’t do it. Simple yes or no

  33. Oneilbucs Says:

    youngbucs once you come at me with the gay stuff then I know you are trying to disrespect me . And just because I have a different opinion about the team then you that doesn’t mean you can come at me or anybody else in a disrespectful way . And as for turnovers if you tell any young quarterback that every thing is all on you meaning wins and loses and you know that your defense had been bad since you been on the team what do you think will happen to that young quarterback . That’s why Payton Manning told Burrow not to try to win every game on your own it’s a marathon not a sprint . Payton Manning said he had to learn that his self . And that was the problem with Jamies . Now rather you want to amid it or not Payton Manning had more turnovers than Jamies and his team still won why ? Because he had a better around him . And that’s just Facts it takes a team to win one game . Mahomes is good but he was drafted to a playoff team and look at his weapons and coaches . They are better than ours and that’s just the truth . He has a good running game that you have to watch we don’t .

  34. Youngbucs Says:

    Like I said a bunch of fluff answer I rest my case.

  35. Youngbucs Says:

    That jameis1of1 dribble getting old get some new material.

  36. Oneilbucs Says:

    youngbucs go look at the NFL network right now their goes my proof . Watch the Rams game and you will see what I’m talking about .

  37. Chris l Says:

    For what it’s worth we’ve seen Peyton barber and a lot of times rojo try and kick it outside to no avail whatsoever. Remember the infamous safety in the Carolina game? That was a momentum turning play. The blocking and running has been bad but Peyton barber wouldn’t get anywhere else even outside of these calls.

  38. Youngbucs Says:

    Nah I’m good I’m done with you good luck with that.

  39. Jeffbuc Says:

    Agree joe it is sad when I can sit in my living room watching just live feeds
    And I can be 95% on when the bucs are running the ball. It to me looked like we were lining up in goal line. The wide receivers in close on every running play. This has been the problem for a long time. It is like our offense is so predictable. And then we find a play that works we never run it again. Like Howard in his first year we ran some delayed screens to him and they picked up big yards. But we only ran that play once very three games. I never understood when a play works why not keep running it on a drive until they stop it. Then next drive lineup same formation. They thing they know what is coming safeties come up and we throw deep to Evans or Godwin. It is never good when a fan thinks they can be a better off coordinator

  40. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    Now if the the running game significantly improves this year who will all the various football “experts” around here give the main credit to? If we should see a a better variety of run plays or even see RBs catching an occasional pass after a run out of the backfield, who will get the rave reviews?

    Will it be Leftwich, Godwin or BA? Or maybe it will be Tom Brady after all he is our new “magic man”. Maybe it will even be Licht for his incredible (incredulous) running back selections of Vaughn and Calais in this year’s draft. ;>)

    Can’t wait for the real fun to begin!

  41. Buczilla Says:

    I’m nodding profusely. Geez, I’d almost give up a date (if I wasn’t already happily married) with Salma Hayek to get Alstott back on the team in his prime.

  42. unbelievable Says:

    Gee, it’s almost like many of us were screaming all season about how dang predictable the play calling was, especially in the run game.

    Yet we were called idiots and haters bc we scored a lot of points and racked up a lot yards…