Run Blocking Greatly Improved

October 15th, 2020

Mauling defenders

There may be a reason Ronald Jones just had two of his best back-to-back games.

The football thinktank Football Outsiders, an outfit Joe trusts, has done a deep dive on NFL run blocking and the results they have for the Bucs may surprise you.

In some elements, the Bucs offensive line is ranked No. 1 for run blocking. Yes, really.

Now this sort of gets stat-geeky but if Joe can figure it out, it should be consumable for all.

Football Outsiders has a stat they call “power success.” This term is defined as “a percentage of runs on third or fourth down, two yards or less to go, that achieved a first down or touchdown. Also includes runs on first-and-goal or second-and-goal from the two-yard line or closer.”

Guess where they have the Bucs ranked in such a stat? Try No. 1.

Yes, really. In fact, Football Outsiders claims the Bucs are 100 percent effective at power success. In open field yards, which Football Outsiders defines as, “yards which this team’s running backs earn more than 10 yards past the line of scrimmage, divided by total running back carries,” the Bucs are ranked No. 7.

The Football Outsiders crowd even breaks down how offensive lines are blocking when a running back goes around left end, left tackle, between the guards, right tackle and right end. Between the guards, the Bucs rank No. 1 as well.

You know what that last stat tells Joe? Ali Marpet and Ryan Jensen are blocking their arses off. And you know what, Joe recently said the way RoJo is running up the gut, it is reminding Joe of Mike Alstott the way he and the line just moves human bodies.

Yup, that would be Marpet and Jensen as well.

16 Responses to “Run Blocking Greatly Improved”

  1. Clean House Says:

    Nice work o-line

    Weak link is Smith- I thought it was a terrible mistake when they signed him to an extension

  2. The Coroner Says:

    I often just watch the linemen. FO is right on. Tristan Wirfs has pancaked some All Pro defensive ends and outside linebackers – not just once, but multiple times in a game.
    Bruce. Run first! LOL on that one.

  3. lambeau Says:

    So–a tribute to the interior line.

  4. D-Rome Says:

    Teams weren’t afraid that the Bucs could beat them with the pass last year so they made sure they stopped the run.

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    Imagine what our running game could accomplish if we used it on more than on 37% of the plays we run. With RoJo & Fournette (when he’s healthy), we could be kickin some serious arse, owning the clock, wearing down defenses, while keeping our own defense rested up.

    Now if we could just find some offensive coaches to capitalize on our new-found strength and who understand that running the ball effectively still has a place in modern-day football.

  6. Alanbucsfan Says:

    I understand your frustration at Bucs wanting to run ball more given the success, but consider the circumstances the Bucs were in vs Bears- Bears were successful towards end of game stopping the run. Bucs were down to ROJO and Vaughn as only 2 healthy backs, – could Bucs afford to pound RoJo relentlessly risking a possible injury? The passing game would’ve been successful if the pass protection had been better.
    I chalk it up to poor OLine pass protection, dumb penalties, poor execution and missed opportunities on D for turnovers.

  7. August 1976 Buc Says:

    Hey Warren what is your favorite call? Sapp would be going off on the sideline with joy and loudly say “Alstott up the GUT!” while imitating Gene Deckerhof lol If these stats are real about Offensive line play, then all the more, pound the rock baby, down their throats. It keeps Brady’s jersey clean, and that means “Mr 6 Rings” will have a chance to be the surgeon he is with the football and slice up defenses like he has been doing for 20 years. GO BUCS!!!!

  8. Chris l Says:

    It also tells me Bruce Arians should have gone for it at the end of the game.

  9. 40TDs Says:

    No more Santa Claus at Quarterback. No more 8 man in the box.
    Who would have thunk it?????

  10. Sport Says:

    Look at Joe going all stat wonky.

    How about you go back to your All 22 tape and review how well Rojo made Roquan miss in the hole…Twice!!!

    Sure blocking is improved, but so is the running.

    And where is your ‘he should be starting’ free agent pickup?

    Aren’t you the same Joe who says Rojo was a bust after his 23 carry rookie season?


    In BA I Trust!

  11. 813bucboi Says:



    plus rojo is currently a top10 rusher…

    GO BUCS!!!!!!

  12. Defense Rules Says:

    Alanbucsfan … Agree wholeheartedly with your last line, and very few teams are good enough to just run whenever they feel like it. Situational football still applies. But the Bucs pretty much abandoned the run later in the 4th qtr of the Bears game, even though it had been successful throughout the game. And we’d already abandoned the deep pass (Bucs was terrible on the night passing deep). IOW, we become one-dimensional, and against a stout defense (like the Bears) we simplified their defensive play-calling tremendously IMO.

    Yes RoJo might’ve gotten injured, but you can say that on every play in every game. He only had a total of 17 rushes in the Bears game … that’s nothing. He averaged 5.2 YPC on the night, despite his last 3 runs in the 4th qtr only totaling MINUS ONE yard (meaning that on his first 14 rushes he averaged 7.7 YPC … monstrous for a Buc.

    With 9 mins left in the game, they ran him over RG (Cappa) for -1 yds (same play as the previous play BTW), and then 2 plays later ran him over RT (Wirfs) for 2 yds. Both runs were on 1st-and-10 (with a defensive pass interference sandwiched in-between). Then with a little less than 3 mins left, they ran him again … in 1st-and-10 once again … over RG (Cappa) for -2 yds. After that RoJo never touched the ball again.

    So his last 3 rushes in the 4th qtr totaled -1 yd, and they gave up on him. Have to ask myself ‘Why did a RB who averaged 7.7 yds on his first 14 carries (with 89 YAC no less) all of a sudden end up with negative yardage on his last 3 carries?’ Was he too tired after 12 runs in his first 3 qtrs of play? Did his OLine poop out & forget how to run-block? Were the plays called so predictable that he never had a chance to get untracked? Was the Bears’ defense just on fire?

    So many questions; so few answers. One thing’s for sure though: we lost a game that was perfectly winnable.

  13. Bucs Says:

    I don’t know what to think about the O-line. Yes, they’ve been better at run blocking, but the bears game was unwinnable when Mack & co. started getting home on every rush. Wirfs will become elite and Marpet already is. Jensen has improved. I’m not sure what to think of Alex Cappa, and D. Smith looks like a big liability. This is the single most important unit for the bucs’ success this year (followed closely by the D-line). Maybe Rojo had a better game since the play calling wasn’t so predictable as the weeks before?

  14. SB Says:

    I have been holding my tongue on DS76 for a good while now. Dude just is NOT earning his money. I went back and watched the game for a 3rd time and focused on Nothing but the OL. He should have gotten his arse chewed out on film day. He was terrible

  15. Brad Says:

    The weak link is getting Leftwich to actually run the damn ball when it’s working

  16. stpetebucsfan Says:

    I think the OL is simply emblematic of the entire team…a work in progress.

    The entire team..and coaches…need to get better. What makes the season exciting is that this group has enough upside to make that improvement.