Bruce Arians Is Upset About A Trend That May Not Exist

September 28th, 2021

Playoff Lenny

Talk to Bucs coaches and they’ll tell you they want four yards per carry or more every time the ball is handed off.

It’s an admirable goal, but of course it won’t happen every time.

The Bucs struggled mightily running the football against the Rams. Only two handoffs went for four yards or more, both by Ronald Jones.

You know it’s ugly when Tom Brady leads your team in rushing for a game.

The Bucs haven’t been great running the ball all season, and they haven’t run much. So Dan Lucas of WFLA-TV asked Bucco Bruce Arians yesterday if the running game has been given a big enough sample size for coaches to be concerned.

“Oh, there’s no doubt. We’re not running the ball well in the first quarter of any game,” Arians replied. “And this one kind of got out of hand quick. Especially after that touchdown in the first series of the second half. But we gotta block better, we gotta run better, get more production out of our running back group.”

Arians saying the Bucs haven’t run well in the first quarter of any game drew a challenge flag from Joe.

Yes, they had 3 carries for 5 yards against the Rams on Sunday in the first quarter. But against Atlanta, the Bucs had 7 first-quarter runs for 35 yards. That eclipsed their goal, so Joe’s not sure what Arians is thinking.

Against Dallas, Bucs running backs had 6 carries for 21 yards in the first quarter.

Overall, Tampa Bay is averaging 3.8 yards per carry on first-quarter handoffs, and there wasn’t any monster gain mixed in there.

Yes, the Bucs must run the ball better if they want their run game respected in order to set up receivers in the passing game. But it really hasn’t been as bad early in games as Arians said yesterday.

41 Responses to “Bruce Arians Is Upset About A Trend That May Not Exist”

  1. Medicated Pete Says:

    Our RB situation is the least of our problems. Nothing to see here move along

  2. Bucfan81 Says:

    The only thing wrong with the run game is the play calling right up the damn middle in the teeth of the defense. Just get some better designed run plays. We have capable RBs the bigger problem the 29th pass ranked defense that needs fixed ASAP.

  3. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    BA has a lack of commitment to the run , and that is HIS problem. Good RB’s will tell you to a man that they get better after the 15 carry mark and at this rate Bucs will not have a back with 15 carries all year. Throwing scores points , but running the ball closes out games and gives you the W.

  4. Cobraboy Says:

    You can’t “risk it” if the RB’s are carrying “the biscuit.”

  5. Buc4evr Says:

    Agreed, RB is the least of the Bucs problems. CB, OLB and D line are in the toilet.

  6. Evolvingbucsfan Says:

    On predictable first down runs you aint getting much, stop with the musical chairs and mind games Bruce.

  7. DBS Says:

    When everyone in the stadium and at home knows what’s coming? Well that’s what you get.

  8. Robert Says:

    yep DBS…….time to go back to TB calling the plays and throw on 1st and keep em on their heels.

  9. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Would be interesting to see a breakdown of ypc going to the right vs. left.

  10. crazyBucs_CL Says:

    @“Bruce Arians Is Upset About A Trend That May Not Exist”
    The data, can tell a lot of things, like why this TV 🤡 teams with media, against his players? cause he thinks is everybody’s fault, but his.
    I think players don’t even care what he is saying…he is been saying since he came here, nothing changes.
    He was lost already when he came here almost three years ago, now he is delirious. He believes that he got merits winning SB (TB12 did), and can talk smart a$$ stuff @ his team.
    What a 🤡, what a TV clown.

  11. Will Says:

    I yelled about it last year and it got better in the playoffs but we need better run play designs. We can’t start every game with a 1st down run to the left. And then come out and start every series with a run up the gut and scream the RBs need to do better. BL needs to understand that his run plays are too vanilla he needs to do better.

  12. Robert Says:

    BL is a bad OC imo…….

    at the very least very predictable. not until TB get’s pissed will they go to TB plays again.

    BL got a SB ring……..for holding the clipboard.

  13. Defense Rules Says:

    I think that BA DOES want to run more, but our run game hasn’t been all that swooft thus far. RoJo’s fumble early in Game 1 didn’t exactly inspire unbridled confidence, but then again, when you compare our run game to Tom Brady’s passing … hmmm, wonder which one is gonna win out.

    Our OLine is also much better pass blockers than they are run blockers IMO. Of course they get a lot more practice pass blocking, so there’s that. Oh and forgot about the play-calling being somewhat predictable (?) when it comes to running the ball early in games.

    And yet isn’t it interesting that our pass-happy Bucs ran MORE than they passed in 2 of our 4 playoff games, and ran it a bunch in the other 2.

  14. Nutterbuccer Says:

    We abandoned the run while down 14. That’s just ridiculous. Lenny is dancing at the line and rojo got his head stuck up his ass. But doesn’t matter. Still gotta mix the run in here and there.

  15. Kgh4life Says:

    The Bucs running scheme is quiet basic, there’s no nuance to it, so it’s very easy for defensive coordinators to prepare for. The bucs also have their wrs and tight ends consistently block LBs and DEs, which is not sustainable.

  16. SB~LV Says:

    Try running the ball 4 times a quarter …. SMH … they CAN run block if they commit to running the ball! Run the freaking ball ! The average will go up

  17. Rod Munch Says:

    Who cares if you don’t run the ball? The team has been setting every offensive record in team history and we just won the SB, and people are worried about running the ball? It’s not 1974 people.

  18. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    Against the Rams, Rojo & Fournette only had 9 carries between the both of them.
    Seems like someone is being bi-polar, with the run game.

  19. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Put Gio in on first & second down sometimes……defenses won’t be prepared for him to run…..he can also add to the passing game and pass protect on early downs……how about a little creativity, Byron?….Mr. “We just want to put our player in a position to win”……

  20. Rod Munch Says:

    People are stupid — we didn’t lose the game because we couldn’t run the ball, the Bucs didn’t have any issues moving the ball. The Bucs lost because the defense was garbage.

    Do people here even watch the games, or just comment on them?

  21. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    I’m thinking, Rojo & Founette coulda ran the ball 20 more times, and it wouldn’t have made a difference last Sunday.

    It just wasn’t the Bucs day.

  22. Pryda...Sec147 Says:

    You knew what kinda day it would be when Dean dropped that freebie ! Ffs that pissed me off !

  23. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Bucs have two running plays off tackle right and off tackle left. Easy to defend.

  24. DBS Says:

    Yes people are stupid? And Rod is the first person to complain in the open thread about running the ball on first down and being predictable.

  25. Darin Says:

    They need to run the ball or there’s no play action. You know the thing the QB has done the best in the history of the league. Plus running the ball well is beating your opponent up. Instead they’re trying to out finesse teams who can be beat down if they want to. Need to run at least 40 percent or you’ll get more L’s. Now ya dont have to but ya dont have to win either. Now those Olinemen need to take the skirts off and start run blocking

  26. CChead Says:

    Pick up Marlon Mack. Great lass. Atcher and runner

  27. CChead Says:


  28. Oneilbuc Says:

    You can’t run the ball 5 times and say we can’t run the ball !! If they don’t get the running game going we ain’t winning the superbowl . I don’t think we even make it to the superbowl without being able to run the ball.

  29. gotbbucs Says:

    The answer to this puzzle depends on who actually has the heavier hand in the offense to start this year. Is Leftwich calling the offense to start the game and as the heat mounts does Brady start to veto the calls.
    The running game is way more affected by the actual play calling than the passing game. There’s options for a QB in the passing game. Running backs need to go, generally speaking, where the play is called, and if that play caller isn’t capable of setting up good running downs in rhythm with the passing game then the running ba ks and the offensive line are screwed.
    Basically I’m saying that I think Leftwich is still a very weak link on this team and nothing will ever be done about that as long as Arians is there.

  30. Listnfrmafar Says:

    When your down 21-7 with no way to stop opponent your choices are limited. Has Bowles ever heard of a sweep?

  31. Infomeplease Says:

    The BUCS got beat by a very good team that out played them!!! The Bucs are also a very good to team that failed to play that way against the Rams!! The loss wasn’t because of the running game necessarily!!

    All parts of the team had mis fires that contributed to the loss. Pre snap penalties on both sides of the ball. dropped passes, missed communications in the secondary, lack of a strong- consistent pass rush, a shanked punt, the o line could have played better, DW picking his own cb( second game in a row). This was a complete team loss! Even the officials helped by not throwing a flag on the blatant pick score play and for throwing a flag on Gronk for opi!!!!

    This team needs to play better!! The season is just starting..a lot of time to fix things!! Keep the faith!! GO BUCS!!

  32. Duane Says:

    The problem with the run game is that its hard to invest in when you have Gronk down the seam, Godwin over the middle, Evans in single coverage, or AB on an out. Also hard to run when your defense gives up all they yards and points.

  33. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Duane, no doubt it is early and Rams clearly more prepared and beat them up. But this is the third game in a row with no defensive improvement.

  34. Bojim Says:

    Offense is fine. Defense is scary.

  35. Rod Munch Says:

    Darin – Brady passed for 450 yards… if they ran the ball some more he’d have had 600 yards? Huh?

    Again, the issue wasn’t the offense, it was the garbage defense. If anyone was following along in the gameday thread, everyone knew it, if the offense failed to score once the game was over since the defense wouldn’t stop anything. If the Bucs rush 12 more times on first down for 22 yards, that isn’t turning that L into a W.

  36. You gotta be crazy Says:

    Put two full backs in Jesus… It’s not hard

  37. unbelievable Says:

    @Rod – you can’t say the Bucs offense was just fine. Yes, the defense was soft but the offense didn’t do anything to help for a while.

    [b]4 out of the Bucs first 5 drives resulted in 0 points.[/b]

    In contrast, the Rams scored on 3 of their first 5 drives.

    (They came away with 0 points on their first 2 drives just like the Bucs, but then proceeded to score touchdowns on the next 3 in a row. Actually it was their next 4 in a row, to be technical.)

  38. unbelievable Says:

    Actually, it was their next 6 drives in a row lol, with the last 2 being field goals.


  39. Merlin Says:

    Honestly, if we ran the ball zero times in the first 2 possession maybe we don’t go 3 and out

  40. Rod Munch Says:

    unbelievable – what Merlin said is correct, if stupid Leftwich doesn’t waste 1st downs on those opening drives running up the middle for 1.2 yards, then maybe the Bucs score some points.

    I don’t have an issue with running, when they’re not so God awful predictable with it. For example, the Falcons game, they finally mixed things up, and early on moved the ball with ease until stupid Jensen stalled the offense with that stupid PF call on 3rd down.

    But in LA, the issue wasn’t Brady. You’re telling me the offense would have been better taking the ball out of his hands so we could run up the middle on more 1st downs at 1-yard per pop? Setting up the playaction pass is great, no issue there, but like the Dallas game where you have 6-series in a row where you run up the gut to start it, and have 14 yards and a fumble to show for it… you can’t just keep doing that thinking it’s brilliant.

    Also once the Rams are up by 2 scores, and you know for a fact the defense can absolutely not stop them, again, you’re saying take the ball out of Brady’s hands to run it up the gut… because why? Because a coach told you in peewee in 1984 that you have to run the ball to win? It’s not 1984, 1974, 1964, or even 1994. This team uses the pass to setup the run – but you’re not running the ball when the defense can’t shut anyone down.

    Also Bernard had what, 9 catches? That is an extension of the running game as well.

    This is the stupid Winston garbage all over again. Winston would put up 400 yards, have 4 TDs and the Bucs lose 35-31, and people would blame the offense and not the defense that didn’t stop anyone all day.

    I don’t understand the mindset that looks at the obvious answer, the one you can see with your own two eyes, then says… NO… this is deeper than that… In this case, it’s not deeper than that, it’s really the crappy defense that was the issue.

  41. Jeffrey Says:

    Hey Bruce!! It’s a game!!! Your team was out played!!! Some times the other team makes play’s!!! I believe the bucs were going undefeated!! The opportunity was there!!! I believe you will win another championshi but don’t make this personal!!! Love the team thats in Tampa!!! Im a Patriot fan!!! But i believe in Brady & his passion for the game!!!! Have fun & winning will come!!! Wish the team the best!!!