“Let’s Not Waste A Down”

September 29th, 2021

Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich

So what was swirling in the heads of Bucs coaches when they gave up on the rushing attack quickly against the Rams.

It surely has something to do with the Bucs having 3 carries for 5 yards in the first quarter. And Arians himself acknowledged Bucs running backs having nine carries for 19 yards was unacceptable and a consideration.

But speaking on Bucs Total Access yesterday via a stream at Buccaneers.com, Arians offered up more of the mentality behind the decision.

Joe loved how he phrased it.

“Let’s not waste a down” running the ball, Arians said.

“Poor performance up front and the runners early in the game. We did some screens and some things that we consider running game, just get the ball out on the perimeter. It’s something we got to pick up and get better at and quickly.”

Arians added that going back to look at what worked well in the past might be a fix, and to just focus on those plays.

It’s hard to believe right now that this is the exact same Bucs offense that pounded the rock for 490 yards through four postseason games.

31 Responses to ““Let’s Not Waste A Down””

  1. Alanbucsfan Says:

    The Bucs should emphasize the running game when they have a lead and the opponent is down. Utilize their strength (passing game) early to build a lead, then run the ball and burn clock in 2nd half.

  2. MadMax Says:

    Wasting downs is a run up the middle on too many 1st downs my man….everyone knows this already, WTF!

    That Godwin end around as a running back-More of that please with different players so they cant predict Godwin’s print when its his turn.

  3. PSL Bob Says:

    MadMax right on. Stop running the ball up the middle on 1st down. Why not run RPO or something that doesn’t tip the defense off. They know the Bucs have a tendency (or fixation) on running up the middle on 1st down, so they stack the box. Jeez, come on guys you’re better than this!

  4. Buczilla Says:

    It’s hard to believe right now that this is the exact same Bucs offense that pounded the rock for 490 yards through four postseason games.

    Seriously, how is it even possible?!? I guess the unpredictability is one of the things that makes football so fun.

  5. PassingThru Says:

    The between the tackles runs haven’t been yielding much, that shouldn’t be a surprise for several reasons:

    1. Yes, it is absurdly predictable during first downs.

    2. While RoJo is better at the running game than Fournette, both are in that large class of “commodity RBs”. Good enough to start, but not good enough to stand out from most of the other starting RBs.

    3. You can be a successful “commodity RB” as long as the O Line can create opportunities. A good O Line will create a running lane, allowing a RB to, at close to full speed, get to the next level. You don’t see running lanes created like that with this O Line, they’re better at pass protection than run blocking. In fact some of the most exciting runs during the playoffs happened when the O Line stalled out, and Fournette gave up on the blocker and created the yardage himself by running to the outside.

  6. ModHairKen Says:

    Why is it bad? RoJo and Fournette running around instead of hitting the hole or trying to break a tackle head on and some tough opposing defensive fronts. Couple that with the ease of completing passes.

  7. unbelievable Says:

    The problem is playcalling and blocking. And for those who don’t think we need to run the ball and should just air it out every single play, let me give you some food for thought:

    We don’t have to be 50/50 run/pass balanced, but we do have to be more balanced than we have been.

    But that is only if you want to win a Super Bowl this year…

    Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look at past champions and their offensive rushing play percentages each season:

    2020 Bucs – 38% for the season, 47% in playoffs
    2019 chiefs – 38% for the season, 39% in playoffs
    2018 Pats – 45% for the season, 47% in playoffs
    2017 Eagles – 44% for the season, 45% in playoffs
    2016 Pats – 43% for the season, 34% in playoffs
    2015 Broncos- 40% for the season, 47% in the playoffs
    2014 Pats – 40% for the season, 38% in the playoffs
    2013 Seahawks – 52% in regular season, 55% in the playoffs
    2012 Ravens – 44% for the season, 51% in playoffs

    A roughly 40/60 run/pass split is ideal if you want to win a super bowl. So, where do our Bucs stack up this year?

    Last week- 12% rushing plays. (18% if you include Brady’s runs)
    For the 2021 season so far: 24% (last in the league)

    That’s not gonna work if you want to win another Super Bowl. Simple as that.

  8. Bird Says:

    To many things can go wrong when you throw it 50 times

    For instance , look at two short screens where running back fell down
    Running back could have easily knocked up into air

    Have to run the rock
    Gives defense a nice breather. Plus it winds down clock so you dont have to score 30-35 to beat teams cause your defense cant get heads out if their arses

  9. Ben green Says:

    First off, you can’t run on the Rams. It cost them the game by even trying. Once you get down two scores in the second half, you shouldn’t be trying to run anymore anyway. LF is a hard nut to crack. Ben doesn’t think his heart is in it. I don’t know if you can swing a trade for Barkley, but it’s superbowl or bust. Your o line is best when they’re mashing people up front.

  10. PassingThru Says:


    It shows that the O Line was not creating running lanes. Most of the yardage on most running plays is actually created by the O Line.

  11. tampabuscsbro Says:

    Joe likes to bang drums.

    I will start banging the drum for Vaughn to be activated. Rojo has been bad two straight weeks.

    Vaughn will at least try to block. He did block before and Vaughn can catch. When it comes to running he will at least try harder. Cannot say the same about Rojo.

  12. Craig Says:

    Throw Vaughn into the mix with RoJo for the first three quarters.

    Save Lenny for the fourth quarter and let him be a wrecking ball. The O-line should work better against the Pats.

    I am still wondering if the Rams game was some kind of a sandbag thing.

  13. Bobby M. Says:

    I would look into Marlon Mack with the Colts…..much better fit then Rojo. Let Fournette and Bernard carry the load for a few weeks until Mack could get up to speed. Highly doubt Rojo is coming back…..not a great fit for what Brady likes and seems to be a bit of a head case. New environment might serve him well

  14. SlyPirate Says:

    I’m a fan of spreading the defense out with WR and TE for some run plays.

    I’ve not seen the Bucs do this and it could be a nice wrinkle.

  15. Listnfrmafar Says:

    It’s NOT the RB’S It’s the lack of creativity in the running plays. Am I to believe that all Lenny & Rojo are capable of are dives and off tackels? They did have one nice creative play the scissors reverse to Godwin he scored on. Where are the counters, sweeps, quick pitches? Everything is down the middle with Brate leading, one might wonder how good a lead blocker he is. This looks like a page out of the Nebraska 70’s playbook. Stop blaming the back BA, look at your OC.

  16. unbelievable Says:

    ^ gets it

  17. kgh4life Says:

    The Bucs should definitely pass the ball more on 1st downs to get into more manageable 2nd and 3rds. BA has always been a stubborn coach with wanting to be balanced, however, he seems to be coming around to the fact this offense goes through the passing game.

  18. Stanglassman Says:

    I do like how innovative the 49ers are on offense and special teams. The Bucs are unimaginative and a bit too predictable.

  19. Rico210 aka wutdaBucisthis Says:

    34 points a game so far…
    Go Bucs

  20. ShermanWins Says:

    unbeleivable hit it right on the head. No run game equals no victory. The run game sets up the play action passing, keeps the ball out of the opponents hands unless Ronald Jones is involved, keeps the clock running, keeps your defense off the field, wears down the defense of your opponent, makes your offense multi dementional. This is why I don’t trust Leftwich. He thinks he knows it all. Pound the Rock!!!!

  21. Rod Munch Says:

    Why the hell are people hung up on running? The offense has NOT been a problem in the least, the team is 2-1, and lost to probably the best team in football because the Bucs defense can’t stop anyone.

    How in the world does running the ball up the gut for 1.2 yards on more first downs help us? If you want to run the ball, get up big by passing, then run the clock out. There, you people obsessed with stats and getting xx number of runs plays per game can all be happy.

    But you can’t blow anyone out if your defense is hot garbage and keeps letting the other team score.

  22. gotbbucs Says:

    This coaching staff has no interest in establishing a running game. A good running game would require some thought in developing, and Arians doesn’t value running backs enough to waste that kind of time.

    I will maintain until the end, there is nothing special about Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones is just a thumper,, but at least he’ll stick his head in there and fight. Gio Bernard came in that Rams game and immediately had the most explosive play that I’ve seen out of any of our running backs in at least two years. Vaughn has that same burst in the passing game. Let Jones and Fournette watch for a while and let the scat backs and Godwin and Brown carry the ball. How can the results possibly be worse?

  23. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    When we went 3 scores down, both my Son and I knew what was coming. We both knew that Raheem was going to unleash his Dogs on us.
    It was 3rd and 20, and we called a little shovel pass to Bernard, that was stopped for a 2 yard gain.
    We called that play out of desperation, because we could not run the ball, nor could we stop their pass rush.

  24. firethecannons Says:

    Rams dominated all 3 phases against us, now they can play the Cardinals who are feeling themselves a bit. Good at least one of those teams gets a loss!

  25. rrsrq Says:

    How bout running the ball on the edges or perimeter instead of student body right, student body left

  26. unbelievable Says:

    Rod Munch Says:
    September 29th, 2021 at 6:56 pm

    How in the world does running the ball up the gut for 1.2 yards on more first downs help us?

    It doesn’t. No one is advocating for that. But you still have to run.

    Use the passing game to set up the run. Throw on 1st, run on 2nd. Be unpredictable for a change! Keep defenses on their toes and guessing.

    20/80 run/pass is not how you win championships.

  27. Ben green Says:

    Brady took the passing game with him, right down to the flare control and motions. It’s the old Fairbanks offense with wrinkles, and of course modified to fit todays NFL. The run game is purely Arians, and that ain’t good. You have a bunch of mashers up front. Lineman love to run block, the way Kardashians love attention. Turn these guys loose, and tell the backs to run north south. A three or four yard gain is all they need to keep teams honest. Linebackers are inharently anticipatory. As long as you have the threat of a running, they’ll eventually get sucked up. It’s about complementary football. Brady is so good, he doesn’t need Barry Sanders dancing in the hole. Get the yards that are in front of you. The goat will take care of the rest

  28. Ben green Says:

    running game.

  29. DoooshLaRue Says:

    The MASTERMIND needs to be more creative.

    Let the passing game establish the run game via play action.
    First down run up the gut is just stupid.

  30. Rod Munch Says:

    Yeah, I’ll take my chances with the ball in Brady’s hands over Rojo and Fournette.

  31. German Buc Says:

    Throwing 55+ times a game isn’t the answer either.