The Bad And The Good

July 21st, 2021

One NFL analyst is no fan.

While Joe has been reading through Warren Sharp’s 2021 Football Preview, it is painfully clear that one thing about the Super Bowl champions drives Sharp wild.

The noted football handicapper and fantasy football guru hates the way Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich uses his running backs, especially on first down.

Sharp is absolutely convinced the Bucs offense would be damn near unstoppable if Leftwich quit banging running backs up the middle on first down and instead let plays be made by park-violating, home-invading, NFLPA-ignoring, down-forgetting, handshake-stiffing, jet-ski-losing, biscuit-baking, tequila-shooting, smartphone-phobic, waffle-grilling, trophy-throwing, roller-coaster-scared, numbers-rules-peeved, Bucs-Super-Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady.

Of course, Sharp backs up his notions with stats.

Interesting to Joe is that Sharp seems to think the Bucs have a guy on their roster who, if he plays to his potential, could save the Bucs’ running game. That’s second-year running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn.

Tampa’s only unit ranked outside the top 10 is the backfield, which landed in the bottom 10. Though even this unit has some upside, if 2020 third-round pick Ke’Shawn Vaughn can elevate his game and take on a larger role.

Joe isn’t sure about this. Joe believes the Bucs have talent at running back besides Vaughn. However, Joe won’t argue with Sharp’s larger point that the Bucs run way too much for having such a sickly-deep receiving and tight end unit.

Sharp’s position breakdowns place every unit on the team in the top-10 in the NFL, except for running backs.

Now that’s the bad. How about the good?

Sharp thinks the Bucs could have the best defensive front-seven the NFL has seen in years.

The Bucs are one of the few teams with high-end talent and depth at both defensive line and linebacker, making them an easy choice for our top-ranked front seven. If first-round pick Joe Tryon adds production to an already-strong pass-rush, this could be one of the top units of the last decade.

If Joe Tryon is all that, look out! But Joe isn’t expecting much from Tryon this year, or at least not until late in the season. If Tryon can come off the bench and get a few sacks in the final weeks, holy smokes.

The thing with Tryon is he hasn’t played a snap since December 2019. You cannot tell Joe that Tryon won’t have at least a little rust to shake off.

The last game Tryon played in was the Las Vegas Bowl against Boise State. His next opponent will be the Dallas Cowboys. That’s a bit of a different animal.

20 Responses to “The Bad And The Good”

  1. Medicated Pete Says:

    I already told America that Pete likes this defense better than the old Bucs Superbowl defense.

  2. ModHairKen Says:

    I think Vaughn should be much more comfortable this year. I hope the Bucs can run more on 1st down. Did they in the playoffs?

  3. ModHairKen Says:

    Agree, Medicated Pete. Totally agree.

  4. August 1976 Buc Says:

    In 2019 this front 7 had historically good numbers against the run, the best in decades. That is not hype but born out by the numbers.

    When so many talked about letting Shaq walk and save the money, I thought that was crazy because it is not just about Shaq but about the awesome front 7 the Bucs have and how fits in and Shaq is a closer ( like in sales) in this bunch, making sacks.

    They are not just the best against the run the last 2 years,
    The Bucs have one of the best pass rushes in the NFL they eat QB’s for lunch. 58 sacks 2020-21 in Reg and Postseason, they are #1.
    Just ask Mahome boy in his Super Bowl beating he took, and 497 yards he ran to save his life.

    No hype just the plain facts, the tape does not lie!!!

    It is good to be a Bucs fan!!!!!!!

    Welcome to the Lichthouse little D Cowpokes, and take your beating like a man!!


  5. Alanbucsfan Says:

    The Bucs had 1500 team rushing yards while ranking 29th in NFL in rushing attempts.
    If they just run the ball 5-7 times more per game, they’ll easily have over 2000 yards rushing. They have the RB talent and OLine to do it.
    But they can choose or not choose to do so depending on the D they face.
    That’s the beauty of this team- so much talent- just win!

  6. Buczilla Says:

    Embarrassing Boise State players by comparing them to the mostly shlub, woefully overpaid Dallas players is not cool. Chase Young (with the help of the mostly brain dead ne media) has set the bar extremely low for a rookie defensive end to have a good season. If Tryon can get just 4 sacks (3 1/2 less sacks than Chase), he should make every all rookie team with ease.

  7. Danny C Says:

    People always complain about our RB production, but we are a pass 1st offense. By design, we don’t run the ball often. Hopefully, that changes this year, but I just don’t see it unless we are up by double digits.

  8. Hodad Says:

    These running back stories are getting old. This offense is about throwing the ball. The goal of the running game is to keep defenses honest enough to throw it. I’m sure if we tried our O line, and RB’s would be able to crack the top five in rushing, but then we would no longer be a top passing team. I don’t know how many teams have ever been top 10 in both, but I’m sure it ain’t many. We’re good enough running to keep defenses honest, and we’ve been able to run well enough to close out games when we’ve had the lead. Rankings be damned, that’s all that matters.

  9. PSL Bob Says:

    Gee, that would be terrible if Tryon shakes off the rust and is able to refine his QB rushing techniques just in time for the playoffs.

  10. PSL Bob Says:

    I have a feeling that these backs are going to shine in 2021. They now have the confidence in their ability to gain critical yards and are running behind one of the better o-lines in football. Given the Bucs stud receiving corps, they won’t rack up the total yards other RBs around the league may, but its yards per carry that really matters when you want to keep those chains moving.

  11. SlyPirate Says:


    1st Half: Rojo/Gio to get the lead
    2nd Half: 4Net/KV to close

    Expect 150-200 yards on the ground per game.

  12. Mort Says:

    Tryon will get PLENTY of snaps in pre-season. JPP and Shaq don’t need but a handful.

  13. Defense Rules Says:

    August 1976 … Excellent point about Shaq IMO, that it’s “not just about Shaq but about the awesome front 7 the Bucs have and how fits in and Shaq is a closer (like in sales) in this bunch, making sacks.”

    The Bucs have put together a fantastic starting lineup & augmented it with some very high quality rotational players (guys like Nunez-Roches). That played BIG during the playoffs last year, and most likely will again this year. It’s probably excessively costly as a long-term strategy, but in terms of short-term results it obviously worked last year & hopefully will again this year.

    Our Bucs as of today rank dead last in terms of Top-51 CAP space (yup, #32 with only $1.5 mil available). Not a huge deal IMO since we’ve got 90 players signed, our dead CAP is only $2.2 mil, and we don’t have any real ‘needs’ at this point. Of course long-term injuries to key starters can change all that in an instant (as we saw with Vea last season), but having high quality guys to step in (again, like Nunez-Roches) made all the difference.

    Contrast that to say what the Rams’ situation is. They rank #22 with a Top-51 CAP space of $7.8 mil available, also with 90 players signed. But their dead CAP is a whopping $39.2 mil (4th highest behind the Eagles, Lions & Panthers, none of which had winning teams last season). Dead CAP is a big deal I think because in the end it limits the quality of the players you can afford to ‘hire’ regardless of how creative management gets with contracts.

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    Slypirate … 150-200 yards on the ground per game? Wow, and I thought I was being optimistic in thinking that we MIGHT average 100 rushing yards per game this season. (Bucs are predominately a passing team it seems).

    Here’s what the Bucs have done in the past 5 years:

    2020 … 1519 rush yds (94.9 YPG)
    2019 … 1521 rush yds (95.1 YPG)
    2018 … 1523 rush yds (95.2 YPG)
    2017 … 1448 rush yds (90.5 YPG)
    2016 … 1616 rush yds (101 YPG)

    150 YPG average would be 2400 rush yds in 16 games (2550 yds in 17 games). 200 YPG average would be 3200 rush yds in 16 games (3400 yds in 17 games).

    I love a team that can run the ball too (smash-mouth football at its’ finest?), but with Tom Brady as our QB, it’s hard to see us turning into the Baltimore Ravens (they did run for 3071 rushing yds last year, but ran a lot more than they passed). That’s just not us.

  15. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    As far as Tryon goes……one man’s rust is another man’s low mileage….

  16. Cobraboy Says:

    It is not a simple matter of running on first down or not.

    It is a matter of taking what is given, based on down, distance and game situation.

    If defenses focus on the pass, then gash them with the run. And vice versa.

    The beauty of this offense is the Bucs should be able to do both. It’s all about setting the defense up to impose your will.

  17. BucEmUp Says:

    Ive been saying this for freaking years…NEXT!!!!!!!

  18. 813bucboi Says:

    obviously BL knows something we dont know which is why he runs on 1st down…folks are crazy questioning the BEST OC in BUCS history…

    GO BUCS!!!!

  19. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    We really don’t need Lenny. During the season he pouted and had to be treated like a child. ROJO was the best rb but BL inexplicably kept taking it out of his hands. I will beat this drum until the end, ROJO was beating the breaks off the Bears and then they stopped feeding him then of course started passing. We all know how that game went. We are a pass first team and that is what this line is built for, there’s a reason we averaged only 3.1 ypc. ROJO averaged 5.1 and KeyVaughn 4.2. BL needs to get with the program, play action pass works because of the threat of a run. If he would keep feeding ROJO, or run game would be much better and be respected more PLUS the pass game would benefit even more.

  20. Wild Bill Says:

    Well it seemed to me that especially in the first quarter it would usually be an off tackle run with Rojo on first down. I know he wound up with a 5.1 average, but most of his bigger gains came later in the game after the passing game opened up.
    The defenses were aware of that trend and often stuffed the run until the passing game clicked. Once Brady opened up the passing game Rojo started making bigger gains. Time for the Bucs to play pass first from the get go and then pop the quick openers with Rojo, who hits the hole really fast, just enough to keep the defense guessing. They really started more of that pass first in the second half of the season when they won out.