Pass Pro At Running Back

August 19th, 2020

RBs learning to block.

It irks Joe to hear coaches and NFL suits talk about how a running back must be able to block and that is more important than if he can run.

This drives Joe wild and in a way is dishonest. If the most critical element of a running back is blocking, then either go out and get fullbacks or quit farting around and put a guard in the backfield.

Yes, Joe understands pass pro is vital. But let Joe ask you something. Could Adrian Peterson block? How about Eric Dickerson? Or Barry Sanders? Or Ricky Williams?

Joe doesn’t know and you know why Joe doesn’t know? Because they ran the friggin’ ball so well. They were drafted to do what their position title suggests: Run!

True, coaches don’t want to telegraph plays by pulling running backs who cannot block on passing downs. Joe gets it.

Yesterday, Bucco Bruce Arians sort of shed light on why coaches harp so much on a running back blocking. It’s more than just important. Running backs in college, Arians said, are rarely asked to block so finding one that can is key.

“Coming out of college, the hardest thing to be taught is pass protection, technique-wise, because they’re not taught how to really stop a powerful man,” Arians said, noting an unnamed young back learned a valuable lesson yesterday.

Again, Joe gets how blocking is important. But for once Joe would love for the Bucs to get a running back for whom blocking isn’t even an issue — because he can run the damn ball so well.

18 Responses to “Pass Pro At Running Back”

  1. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Picking up the blitz for RBs has become more important this season.

  2. Bucs_in_Spain Says:

    Joe here missing the deception element to football. If they know you’re going to run, then they’ll load the box and make it harder. Not impossible, but harder. The best teams in recent years are those that run really well out of pass looks and pass really well out of run looks.

  3. Jason Says:

    While running the ball is 1st priority in a rb, pass protection is part of being a complete player. In today’s game a rb who can’t block is like a situational pass-rusher. Valuable, but not going to play every down.

  4. Go Bucs 72 Says:

    I would argue keeping Brady upright all season is more important to the Bucs success than RoJo‘s yards per carry.

  5. D-Rome Says:

    The RBs the Bucs have had since 2015, and their inability to block, are a big reason why there is a false narrative that the Bucs offensive line has been a problem. The offensive line has been good. It’s been the blocking of the TEs and RBs that has been the real issue.

  6. All lives matter Says:

    This isn’t a pure running offense like the teams AP, Dickerson, Sanders, or even Ricky Williams played on. His game plan is a Don Coryell type offense here the pass is way more prominent than the run, thus the emphasis on why the RB must be coached up at protecting the QB in pass protection. I would’ve thought you already knew this but you seem to harp on it frequently. I hope this helps to put your misguided critique to bed. j/k ..

  7. 40TDs Says:

    Somebody forgot we are not in the nineties. This is 2020. Running backs have to block to protect your QB. This is now a passing league. C’mon Joe!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. 40TDs Says:

    Check the sheet!!!!!!!

  9. PSL Bob Says:

    In today’s NFL, an every down RB is ideal. That keeps the defense guessing. An every down RB has to do 3 things really well, run, block and catch. Sure, breaking off a 15 or 20 yard run now and then is great, but with Brady under center, you also better be able to pull in those quick check down passes. And, most of all, don’t let Brady get nailed on blitzes.

  10. Perimeter Blocker Says:

    As a high school coach, you always have to harp on the RB “attacking” the defender as opposed to “catching” the defender. In essence, you tell the back to run to the pass rusher and “bring it” to them as opposed to standing there and catching the full brunt of the defender’s momentum…

  11. lambchop Says:


    Exactly! I was going to say the same thing. Defenses read protections from the personnel and formations. The whole point is to sell a run on a pass play without the typical run protection. So, you need a RB to fill that void in pass protection.

  12. lambchop Says:

    Sorry, I meant to say “without the typical *pass* protection”.

  13. Buczilla Says:

    I’m all in on your last sentence Joe’s, but those backs like Sanders, Peterson, etc. are hard to find. Hell, our gm has yet to find even an average running back. 🙄

  14. pick6 Says:

    unless you are facing peak Adrian Peterson, there’s little downside to blitzing the crap out of a backfield featuring a suspect pass protector over the course of a game. The defense will either get the runner in the backfield or get some shots at the QB.

  15. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Emmitt Smith was an excellent blocking back for Aikman

  16. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Walter Payton was a great blocking back as well

  17. Buckanear Says:

    How many championships do those great running backs have? Isn’t that what the goal is?

  18. Brandon Short Says:

    Buccaneer, it doesn’t matter. The poster seems to think that Barry Sanders played in a pure running offense…. you know, the run and shoot and all those draw plays he ran during his career. Kinda makes the poster look like he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.