Can Bucs Afford To Run?

January 20th, 2021

Bucs RB Ronald Jones.

Joe was very disheartened the way the Bucs played ground-and-pound on first downs against the Saints.

Why is that? Because when the Bucs offense was ripping apart teams, the Bucs were throwing play-action passes on first down and lighting up the scoreboard.

The offense just seemed very sluggish to Joe against the Saints and part of that is, Joe has to believe, is running so much on first down.

Now what will the Bucs do this weekend? One noted handicapper believes if the Bucs run as much as they did Sunday, it will be the kiss of death.

Speaking earlier this week, Bucs tight end Cam Brate seemed to hint the Bucs ran a lot on first down because the slimy Saints were all but begging the Bucs to run.

Either way, Brate said the Bucs didn’t get frustrated by the offense sputtering early because they know they can come from behind after sluggish starts.

“I think that just goes back to how the regular season played out [and] some of the games we played – the Chargers game, the Falcons game – where we got down big deficits and we were able to come back,” Brate said. “We didn’t really get down big during this game, but we weren’t always running smoothly on offense.

“We just kind of had a feeling that we were going to figure it out. The looks they were giving us, they were inviting us to run the ball, so we kind of took it upon ourselves to get the ground game going. I think that really opened up a lot of things for us.”

Joe knows the Bucs don’t want to get down by two touchdowns in this game. Aaron Rodgers is 70-1 when leading at halftime at Lambeau Field.

Can the Bucs run early and still win? Let’s consider:

The Bucs may have struggled running the ball on first down this season, averaging 2.7 yards a carry on first down through the first 14 games. That 2.7 yards on first down was the worst in the NFL.

And while leaning on the run last week, in the first five drives only one of those drives got at least 10 yards. That cannot be repeated on Sunday. (Yes, Joe knows one was a three-yard touchdown drive.)

Having typed that, the Packers seem a bit soft defending the run. Opponents average 4.6 yards a carry. Only six teams allowed a worse average on the ground.

By contrast, the slimy Saints were tied for fourth-fewest yards allowed per run (the Bucs lead the NFL in fewest yards per play at 3.6).

There is no way around it, however, the Bucs must outscore the Packers in the first half.

23 Responses to “Can Bucs Afford To Run?”

  1. Cobraboy Says:

    When a team plays two safeties 15-17 yards off the LoS with no movement forward, man-up the WRs, and fades LB’s to the outside, that’s five men in the box.

    Run. The. Ball. until the commit to stop it, THEN the play-action is far more effective…

    Hars to argue with success against the league’s top defense.

  2. Destinjohnny Says:

    We took what the saints D (best in the nfl) were giving us
    U do this we do that you do that we do this

  3. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:
    January 20th, 2021 at 9:02 am
    I do not see the correlation between “abandoning the run” and being up by halftime. I agree more play action on 1st down.

    The running game:
    * keeps Rodgers off the field.
    * It balances the offensive attack.
    * The Saints had the #4 run defense whereas GB is #13
    * and of course, it sets up PLAY ACTION that we all want (hopefully BL too)

    I do see the Bucs playing the type of offensive game that they did vs WFT instead of the game against the slimy saints. The Saints 2-deep safeties with 7 in the box asked us to run. GB’s D is good, but not as good as the Aint’s
    good observation Joe, lol

  4. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Mix it up, that’s where Bucs have shown great success. Very little motion and play action last week. This maybe a shoot out, Roger’s is a great passer and with the exception of last week DB’S have been notoriously weak, plus they are banged up. Snow will be a factor and it will be interesting to see how Godwin, Evan’s & Brate will do. Sure hope Brown can play. If it comes down to a running game, on paper we seem to have the edge. Big concern special teams in inclement weather.

  5. rrsrq Says:

    Admittedly the Bucs were not successful on their first two drives running the ball, but if I am not mistaken, it was 3rd and 3 and 3rd and 2, TB12 throws two long passes to Gronk and AB when a short run or short pass would have kept the chains moving on a couple of those early drives

  6. Kentucky Buc Says:

    If they are going to run on first down maybe something besides 2 yards and a cloud of dust up the gut. Try the edges every once in awhile.

  7. Robert Says:

    Either way, the play action should be open more. One thing they have to do is keep LF in and hit em with the screens……until they bite then go deep!

  8. 813bucboi Says:

    run on 1st down!!!!…establish the run and set the tone….

    the offense “sputtered” because we faced a great defense…simple as that…just like the saints offense “sputtered” when they faced a great defense sunday night….you cant expect for the offense to light up the score board like it did vs the lions….lol…theres a reason why lion fired their coach and have a top 5 pick and while the saints have won the division 3 str8 years….

    you clowns are never satisfied….earlier in the season we were too pass happy…needed to run more… we run more and folks are saying run less on 1st down….lol….

    obviously, yall should keep your day jobs….lol…

    BL knows what he’s doing….you clowns dont….

    GO BUCS!!!!

  9. Alanbucsfan Says:

    The Packers D is average – Rams didn’t have Cooper Cupp last week and it hurt their offense. The Bucs offense will be fine.
    The key for the Bucs is the D- stop the run, pressure Rodgers.
    Again – no stupid penalties (false starts, DLine offsides) , win turnover battle and Succup comes through again.
    Tighten up on that special teams D.

  10. Ftmyersbuc Says:

    Kentucky, you won’t see many nfl teams running outside the tackles on 1st down. Risk reward is poor. It can be a nice gain but it’s far more likely than an inside run to net negative yards. 2nd or 3rd and short is when they run outside primarily.

  11. Cobraboy Says:

    The other team plays defense, too. NO was maybe the best in the league.

  12. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    The problem with the Saints was they had only 5 in the box & still stopped our runs on 1st downs……

    I’m for mixing it up……and I’m also for not going deep on 3rd & short…..

  13. Fish Says:

    If ROJO was 100% and used from the start we would have run the ball better. He is a much better runner then Fournette

  14. Cobraboy Says:

    @tbbf: is there a better front 7 in the NFL than the Saints?

  15. Joe Says:

    @tbbf: is there a better front 7 in the NFL than the Saints?

    Steelers (when healthy)?

  16. JimBuc2 Says:

    Seems simplistic I admit, but if Boles plays two-deep safties, Arod will be forced to throw a lot of out routes. Sooner, or later one of them will get jumped. GB won’t have much success attacking our interior Dline, if they try our front seven will feast. Brady, in his own words has seen every defence existant and knows which weak spot to exploit. I don’t think this game will be a cake-walk, but I’m not overly worried either. If Brady takes a lead into half time, great, even more so if we open the third quarter. I think Rodgers still has that last Buccaneer curb stomping in his head. Punch him in the mouth early and often and he will fold like a cheap lawn chair. Bucs win 34 – 17 and become first home team to host, and win the SB
    Go Bucs!

  17. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    Joe Says:

    @tbbf: is there a better front 7 in the NFL than the Saints?

    Steelers (when healthy)?

    Do I have my Homer glasses on if I say the Bucs when healthy? (Meaning Vita Vea in the lineup)

  18. Cobraboy Says:

    Joe Says:

    Steelers (when healthy)?

    Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:</b?

    Do I have my Homer glasses on if I say the Bucs when healthy? (Meaning Vita Vea in the lineup)

    Can’t vouch for the Steelers, what Joe opined could and may be true. But IMO the Saints are close. Thye Bucs O did well, overall, against a top NFC defense, even with a few missed real opportunities.

    The Bucs, when healthy, and when playing in a decent scheme show spurts of greatness.

    The difference is the Bucs D is one of the most inconsistent defenses in the NFL. Yes, when cookin’ with gas, that can shut you down. But they also have moments of gou8ng into a turtle shell and making any offense look like world-beaters.

    In this season alone I have seen both top-tier great defense, and pathetic, last-in-the-NFL, Mike Smith-losing defense, especially on pass defense.

    This Bucs team shows the ability to blow teams out and get blown out.

    The question is: Which D shows up in Green Bay?

    In 2002, you knew the D would show up every week. You worried about the O.

    This season, you have no idea what defense will show up. The D from the first GB and last Saints game, or the defense from first two Saints, Jints and KC games?

    This defense is the most schizo I’ve ever witnessed, not exactly predictable confidence-inspiring.

    I do think if Vea is healthy, he can be an important contributor.

  19. Formally Tampa 2 Says:

    Tampa had a very different & very good game plan for NO, so I trust them to have a good game plan for GB. Turnovers Matter!

  20. Godlovesbucs Says:

    The reason why drives didnt get going was because of the passing game. We had a lot of 3rd and short only to throw it deep. Let rojo get 15+ carries, fournette 15 touches and brady 25-30 passes. Keep rogers off the field and the defense rested. D and run game are huge in cold weather.

  21. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Love to see a pro set

    Rojo/Fournette, maybe either one of those two and Shady… just to confuse GB.

    Think of the options🤔

    Anyway you look at it, it’s about the Defense

  22. Buc1987 Says:

    I trust them to figure things out and compete @ GB.

  23. Brandon Says:

    Most important stat isn’t Packers #13 rush defense. It’s the 4th worst yards given up per carry. Teams abandon the run when down by double digits which happened quite frequently against 13-3 Packers, who scored over 30 points per game. They remind me of Manning ‘s Colts when Bob Sanders was hurt. They are built to protect leads, not shut anyone out.