“Balance Is Still The No. 1 Priority”

September 16th, 2021

Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich

The Bucs may have the greatest collection of pass catchers in NFL history, but dammit, they want to pound that rock.

Look, Joe’s not a moron. You have to run the ball in the NFL because you can’t ask receivers to run endless routes. They’ll get gassed. Mike Evans himself talked about being gassed on the Bucs’ final drive last week, so he said on Buccaneers.com.

A run game should set up the pass to be more effective and vice versa.

The Bucs should have an easy time running the ball with so much a defense’s focus on the pass, but that’s not quite the case.

Regardless, offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich was clear on Bucs Total Access that “balance is still the No. 1 priority.”

Leftwich lamented the rare back-to-back turnovers by the offense, courtesy of Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette, screwd up the Bucs’ plans.

“Those two turnovers back to back, it took us out of a certain type of game that we wanted to play,” Leftwich said. “… By turning over the ball we couldn’t possess the ball.”

Yes, RoJo fumbled and on the Bucs’ next offensive snap, Fournette played volleyball with a screen pass and it landed in the wrong hands.

The Bucs didn’t hand the ball off again for a long time in Thursday’s win. It was pass after pass after pass until they went back to Fournette more than a quarter later.

So here comes Atlanta, and you can bet good money the Bucs will be running a lot on first down again and desperately trying to establish the run.

The good news is whether the run clicks or not, the Bucs have the firepower to beat anyone.

Joe will worry about the running game after Thanksgiving.

9 Responses to ““Balance Is Still The No. 1 Priority””

  1. Will Says:

    It’s not so much the running on 1st down that drives me crazy as it’s just that there’s no creativity to it. Straight ahead behind Jensen and Marpet most times. Smh

  2. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Exactly Will.

    Straight up the gut.
    Then what?

    Play action on 1st down at least every other set of downs.
    Keep them guessing.
    How about play action 3 times on the first possession?
    That would really F with the D
    …. and then we’d all know that BL isn’t calling the plays!

  3. August 1976 Buc Says:

    You do not need to run the ball over and over on first down to have balance.

    6 times in a row to start the game against Dallas run up the middle, that is NOT balance. That is the OPPOSITE of balance, balance includes mixing things up too.

    GO BUCS!!!!!!!

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    @BL … “By turning over the ball we couldn’t possess the ball.”

    Just became one of my favorite quotes (Yogi Berra would be proud).

  5. Eddie Marz Says:

    Can’t run on first down all the time. It’s too predictable. Keep the defense guessing. Tampa’s been too conservative on first down. GO BUCS!

  6. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    Apparently, our Oline is very good, at least based on the protection they give TB, the Oline can block well. Some of this has to translate into run blocking.

    Our RBs seem way above average; Fournette used to kick butt, and we have seen Rojo do it, so…

    Is it the scheme? Other coaches – 49ers come to mind – can use a nobody RB and have great success. Does our scheme suck?

    Its a shame. An above average running game would take this offense to a level that would be extraordinary.

  7. Davy Crocket Says:

    What I see is a double team on the defensive line every run play. Guard and center agaist 1 DI man and guard and tackle against the other DI man. This should open up the center for a big hole. Unfortunately, the LB is standing there and the runner can’t beat him.

  8. Hodad Says:

    Bucs run the ball just enough to keep defenses honest, and to set up play action, that’s it. Don’t worry Joe, we’ll never be a pound the rock team with BL, BA, and Tom Brady as QB.

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    August 1976 Buc … You’re exactly right; always running on 1st down is the opposite of balance. Totally predictable, until it doesn’t work of course.

    Maybe we could use that in our favor though, since opponents now EXPECT us to run on 1st down. So, show run, then use the quick short pass out or whatever instead. Just please don’t be so predictable to start the games. If Bucs score first we set the tone for the game. We give our defense a pick-me-up, and if we get far enough ahead our defense gets an opportunity to really pin their ears back. And that’s when they’re at their best.