Jason Licht Says Third Down Will Be Different

May 8th, 2021

“Just watch, Mr. Glazer.”

The high-octane, 30-plus-points-per-game Tampa Bay offense was just warming up last season and just got a fresh shot of juice.

That was Joe’s takeaway from GM Jason Licht talking this week.

The Super Bowl general manager told fans to look for changes, particularly on third down,

“We think every highly of RoJo and Leonard [Fournette], and Ke’Shawn [Vaughn], we have a lot of excitement around him, too. I think he’s only going to get better and better,” Licht told Beckles & Recher on WDAE Radio. ”But to get a guy like [running back Giovani Bernard], that’s what his bread-and-butter is — is catching the ball out of the backfield and protection.

“And he’s just a really smart mature, veteran-savvy guy. I think it’s going to be very, very helpful for us this year. And I think we’re going to see a difference, you know, on third down and passing situations with a reliable guy like himself to come out of the backfield.”

There’s the word “reliable.” RoJo is the opposite of that as a pass option. Leonard Fournette was much better, but was out of synch early last season and isn’t known to be as smooth as Bernard.

And to think Licht got Bernard for just a shade over the NFL minimum salary.

26 Responses to “Jason Licht Says Third Down Will Be Different”

  1. Irishmist Says:

    And with Bernard being a reliable blocker, we won’t have to keep the tight ends in as much for protection. The opposing linebackers won’t know who to cover.

  2. Hodad Says:

    Would’ve been interesting to see what we would’ve done if Harris, or Etienne fell to 32. My guess is Licht knew they wouldn’t, and got his guy before the draft. Good job.

  3. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Start the season already! Crazy to imagine that the Bucs will improve upon last year.

  4. Medicated Pete Says:

    This season is going to be so fun going in as the Champs! Game #1 vs Patriots please

  5. August 1976 Buc Says:

    The Bucs offense will be on the field more in 2021 because of 3rd down efficiency. Lookout that means an even fresher defense. It would be good to see at least 60 sacks this year from the D. The offense will score 35+ a game this year. Going to be very hard for teams keep up with a historically great offense being led by Mr 7 Rings. “Fast times at Ridgemont High” GO BUCS!!!

  6. adam from ny Says:

    stashe bernard knows both rojo and fournette are on their final year of deals…

    so if he shows very well and vaughn progresses, there is a chance they let both rojo and lenny walk and resign bernard for a bigger multi year deal, while drafting a back…

    it will be interesting to see what our backfield looks like in 2022, compared to this year…

    but that’s getting waaay ahead right now…

    currently we have a log jammed 4 man backfield loaded with skills and that’s a good thing

  7. Bird Says:

    Agree. Points and 3rd down efficiency should go up

    Watched packers and saints gAme again last night
    Way to many drops by rbs

    Saints game was against top defense. They were taking away receivers
    Was perfect time to throw underneath which brady does so well

    Good luck NFL trying to stop this freight train

  8. All lives matter Says:

    ..and I think just to make it not look so obvious of our intentions on 3rd downs Gio should be in there on every 3rd down, regardless of down and distance.

  9. adam from ny Says:

    we could average 35 points a game this season…

    and it would be crazy if the defense can hold the opponent under 20…

    somewhere between sapp’s famous 17 points, and like 20 points…

    just keep the opponent in the teens and we will fuggin’ dominate

  10. The Red Mirage Says:

    I love the pick up of Bernard, he’s probably good for 3 more first downs a game over last year. With the additional game I think all Bucs single season records are in jeopardy. GO BUCS

  11. Steven007 Says:

    Pete, I’ve heard that the game against the Patriots is set for prime time Thanksgiving night. We will see if that happens.

  12. adam from ny Says:

    they are hoping to plop the bucs pats game in as the late night game on thanksgiving…game 3 of the day

    nothing is set in stone yet…

    but whispers are being heard that it is tentatively penciled in right there

  13. windbaggery Says:

    Why did Cincy waive the guy? Not sure I understand why you cut a guy like that. What was the story behind it?

  14. Bird Says:

    Bernard asked for his release after bengals tried to get him to take paycut

    Whats great is he was making around 5 mil per year
    Bucs signed for right around 1 mil

    He has made 25 mil in career but that just shows to things:
    He wanted the hell out of Cincinnati
    And he wanted to play with the goat , franchise on the rise and chance at super bowl

  15. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We should be improved in 5 areas:

    Bernard over Shady
    Return game with Darden
    Healthy OJ Howard (at least starting the season)
    Tryon backup at OLB
    More experienced secondary

    Jury out on improved ST with new draft class & FAs

  16. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    For many years, Giovani Bernard kept the pass rush off of Andy Dalton up in Ohio, besides catching nearly every ball thrown to him, out of the backfield.
    Yes, believe it or not, we have got even better this year!
    Brady really wants an undefeated season, and now has the team to do it.

  17. Ne+ bucs fan Says:

    Bernard is Shifty just like when James White was on the field they all knew they were going to him but they still couldn’t stop him so I don’t think we’ll be all to predictible,,, they can’t cover everyone,,,, when he’s on the field didn’t stop him when he was in Cincy and we have the goat throwing to him

  18. SB~LV Says:

    It’ll be interesting to see Vaughn in the preseason , clearly they see something in him and he simply was not ready or needed last year. This team will be able to grind the clock and bludgeon defenses, the visiting teams will be glad to get back on their plane and go home.

  19. Buc1987 Says:

    Chris@Apple….undefeated and Bucs in the same sentence.

    Who would a thunk it?

    I have been.

  20. Leighroy Says:

    It’s interesting though, LF is a 77% career pass catcher, RJ3 72%, and Gio is in between at 75%.

    I certainly think Gio is an upgrade over Shady at this stage of their careers, but would be surprised if he’s anointed the 3rd down role by default. Gio is certainly not the guy for 3rd and short or goal line either.

    Better depth is hard to complain about tho!

  21. Colonel Angus Says:

    I see the Bucs hosting Bills for that opening night.

  22. Dbbuc711 Says:

    Absolutely no reason I can see for Light to not get Executive of the Year award. No GM is even close.

  23. Ben green Says:

    Believe me, you don’t want an undefeated season, especially with an extra game on the schedule. Winning a meaningless game, and exposing players to unnecessary injury does nothing to help you win a championship. Go ask anyone on the 07 pats. They were worn out by the playoffs and needed an epic collapse from the chargers to escape. Then a ball sticks to some guys helmet.

  24. Swampbuc Says:

    Lenny can be out there on 3rd down also, and he plans on it. He wants to be the every down all the time back. Love Lenny glad he’s back.

  25. August 1976 Buc Says:

    You play to win every game you play, YES we do want 20-0. Losing is not why you play the game. Yes we do want 20-0. Who plays to lose? You play to win every play, every period of every game. Never practice to lose, sorry, champions just do not think that way. Brady and Gronk have talked about being undefeated, and I am glad they are man enough to openly answer questions about it. There is already pressure, big deal, might as well plan to win the games. Fully embrace the challenge of going after an Immortal season in 2021-22. GO BUCS!!!! GO BUCS!!!!

  26. Brandon Says:

    It’s funny how we had someone RELIABLE last season and he rode the bench because he was over the hill in Shady… now we have 29 year old Bernard who has torn both ACLs, had a yards per carry in the last three years of 3.4, 3.2, and 3.8 and hasn’t topped 7.8 yards per catch in the last three years… and we think he’s gonna be better? The dude was signed for the league minimum and received a $137K bonus. He is insurance. He is here to make sure if Rojo doesn’t continue his rapid improvement and Vaughn doesn’t make improvements then he can step in… if he can somehow beat out Fournette… which I don’t believe he can… not even sure he can beat out Procisse in a fair competition. You guys are putting a lot of eggs in one old, broken down basket. Bernard wasn’t even very good when he was still in his prime. People say, look what he had around him, that’s why he wasn’t good… maybe the people around him weren’t good because of him as well. “Knowing your assignment” oftentimes isn’t enough. This dude is toast.