Passing To Running Backs Still A Problem

September 14th, 2021

Standard for tight ends.

The Sage of Tampa Bay sports, Ira Kaufman, won’t like this.

For Ira, throwing to running backs, specifically backup running backs, is manna from heaven. And he has been (strangely) beating the drum all summer for this despite the Bucs having a historically ridiculous stable of high-end receivers and tight ends.

Joe is of the unshakeable belief that you get the ball in the hands of your best players and good things happen.

Now allegedly, the reason the Bucs went out and signed a Bengals backup running back was to give this version of a nuclear warhead of a pass-catcher to 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, helmet-tossing, football-punting, Bucs Super Bowl-winning quarterback Tom Brady.

Per numbers calculated by Vincent Verhei of Football Outsiders, passing to running backs for the Bucs in Week 1 wasn’t much better — if at all — than Brady throwing to them last season.

About the only thing that didn’t work for Tampa Bay last year was passes to running backs. Well, it’s still a problem for them—Brady was the NFL’s worst passer on throws to running backs this week, going 7-of-10 for 39 yards with an interception. However, he was the best passer on throws to tight ends, completing each of his eight passes for 90 yards and two scores.

So this is simple math for Joe. Throwing to foot-rubbing, car-littering Rob Gronkowski (and Cam Brate and O.J. Howard), good! Throwing to running backs — please don’t.

Yes, yes, yes, Joe understands Giovani Bernard caught two passes on the Bucs’ game-winning drive Thursday. Like Chris Godwin or Antonio Brown couldn’t have caught the same passes on the same routes?

Gronk had a pair of excellent catches on the same drive, too. And Godwin’s crazy back-shoulder catch, which nearly caused NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth to wet his pants live on the air, set up Ryan Succop’s game-winning field goal.

Joe is not anti-Bernard. Not even remotely. Rather, Joe is just very much highly pro-Bucs tight ends and receivers. Joe’s just all-in, pedal-to-the-metal, throw to your Pro Bowlers and future Hall of Famers at receiver and tight end.

When your best players get the ball in their hands, good things happen.

34 Responses to “Passing To Running Backs Still A Problem”

  1. PassingThru Says:

    Joe, WRs and TEs are not 7/11s, they are not open all the time on every play. Sometimes the pocket protection collapses, and other times you want the defense to pay for being overly aggressive. Those are the times you check down to a pass-catching RB or call for a screen pass.

    You’re also ignoring that the Bucs love longer routes which: a) take more time to develop; and b) open up the short levels of the field. That makes having a pass-catching RB important to a smart QB like Brady.

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Again….pure football ignorance on display….

    The passes to running backs are usually not designed plays…..Brady uses them when his other options aren’t open…..let me repeat…..all of those elite receivers & tight ends aren’t open!

    As for the third down back run pass option….I believe all 32 teams use that….

    This continues to be an idiotic argument….I’m quite sure most would agree that Brady will hit the open receiver….if not the running back.

    Now…are Rojo & Fournette doing their job at catching passes out of the backfield….that’s an entirely another matter.

  3. Mort Says:

    Start Gio, sit RoJo and Lenny if they aren’t going to catch short passes. CANNOT have Leonard bouncing balls off his hands like he is wearing oven mitts or something.

  4. Mike Says:

    Fournette was setup for success on that screen pass that got tipped and intercepted. He just has to catch the damn ball.

  5. SlyPirate Says:

    The NFL has a long history of success with passing to RBs …

    Bill Walsh’s West Coast offense innovated pass plays to RBs. He did okay.

    The greatest show on turf put a RB in the HOF with a steady stream of passes.

    Andy Reed (disciple of Walsh) perfected the screen pass.

    The Saints have victimized the Bucs since 2006 with passes to Sproiles and Kamara.

  6. Beeej Says:

    The occasional pass to pass-blocking RB when pocket collapses, gets you 3-5 yards instead of a throw-away. Aside from today . Meh

  7. Medicated Pete Says:

    Tom makes the call. He knows 1 TRILLION times more than the average JOES & a wanna be Italian named IRA

  8. Oneilbuc Says:

    How about just use them to run the ball. I’m so tired of can he catch. He’s a running back not a receiver he’s paid to run the ball so that should be his main job . That’s why NFL today will never be better than the 80s , 90s , and the early 2000s!!

  9. Buc4evr Says:

    We are going to need Bernard against the Rams. As quick as Brady’s release is , he is going to still need to use the RB as a safety valve against the Rams D.

  10. SB Says:

    Look guys. For once in what seems like forever we are the NFL CHAMPS.
    We got Dallas’ BEST game they will play all yr. These guys have never played with targets on their backs! Dallas had a goal to show the world they have something and they did.
    Hopefully we shake off that rust, realize that noone are patsies and understand that Everyone wants to take us down.
    I think it was GREAT that we won ugly. We needed that lesson IMO.

  11. @MidAtlanticBucsFan Says:

    I think @Medicated Pete slipped one too many pills this morning. Where’s the popcorn, Joe?
    #Clown #GoBucs

  12. tampabuscsbro Says:

    Issue is the running back room is filled with mental midgets (maybe not bernard idk) that make crucial mental errors that lead to turnovers. That’s the primary reason why it’s bad.

    Also those aren’t designed plays those are live to fight another day decisions.

  13. lambeau Says:

    Joe–listen to your fans.
    In SB 51 James White won the game with 14 receptions ; WR’s were covered.

  14. Joe Says:

    In SB 51 James White won the game with 14 receptions ; WR’s were covered.

    1. The Belicheats didn’t have anywhere near the same level of tight ends and receivers the Bucs have (yes, Joe is aware they had Gronk).

    2. How on earth did the Bucs average 30 points a game and win a Super Bowl without a backup Bengals reject? 🤷‍♂️ 😲

  15. tampabuscsbro Says:

    Just saying Joe those are live to fight another day decisions. Also our WR’s had the dropsies week 1 that wasn’t AB. Especially Mike Evans

  16. sasquatch Says:

    Never draw conclusions after 1 game.

  17. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    2. How on earth did the Bucs average 30 points a game and win a Super Bowl without a backup Bengals reject? 🤷‍♂️ 😲

    Sure, Joe has nothing against Giovanni Bernard….

  18. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Fournette is a Jaguars reject
    Brady is a Patriots reject
    AB is a reject

  19. Architek Says:

    Agreed Joe!

  20. PassingThru Says:

    It was Bill Walsh’s West Coast Offense that revolutionized the passing game. Even teams that didn’t adopt the West Coast Offense added horizontal passing elements to their game, which meant more passes to RBs and more short passes to TEs. Having an excellent sideline to sideline, short to long passing game simply opened up the field for all the receivers.

    Why do you think Brady distributes the ball so well, to so many different receiving targets? Because throwing sideline to sideline, short to long opens up the field for everyone.

  21. VSyl Says:

    It didn’t work so well because they were passing more to Lenny in the beginning which I also didn’t understand. Once they started using Gio in this way, it started to show better results

  22. gotbbucs Says:

    Good old ignorant/illogical Joe. Keep on keepin on, Joe.

  23. mark2001 Says:

    Joe… I think I kind of know how it feels to have someone criticize something in most everything written, on some level.

    But then, I’m just one of those Ornery part German blooded cusses from the heart of the Midwest originally. So it is like the proverbial water off the ducks back. LOL.

  24. Hodad Says:

    My only question is if we don’t need a pass catching back why did we get Gio in the first place, and why did we gush at the fact that we did? Be lucky enough to draft a back like Kamara, and even the average Joe will be asking to pass to him more.

  25. mark2001 Says:

    I think what Arians is saying, is that you can only expect to see Gio one or two times in a series, in a normal game. That’s just enough to keep the chains moving.

  26. Rod Munch Says:

    What we need to do is run it up the middle more on first down to start series. That is how you win football games. Up the gut for 1.3 yards and an occasional fumble. We don’t need to be doing fancy garbage like playaction passes or going to the 2 min offense, just 1.3 yards, every first down in the first half – that’s how you win NFL games!

  27. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Joe, Pat’s did not have Gronk against Atlanta, the #1 TE was Bennett, Gronk was injured. Receiving core was Mitchell, Edleman, Amendola and Chris Hogan and Brady still won. How does Dan Quinn feel, lost to Brady in Seattle SB (DC), Atlanta SB (Head Coach) & Dallas last Thursday (DC) poor bastard.

  28. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Bernard’s value to this team was on display during the Bucs’ final drive.
    That is exactly why the Bucs signed him.

  29. mark2001 Says:

    Listnfram… If you starting making lists of coaches the Brady “punked” as we used to say, you would have quite a few lists and quite a number of items on each list. Just saying… that is one one the reasons that he is called the GOAT.

  30. JimBuc2 Says:

    Why all the kvetching? Brady is outta Siberia, on his second yacht, seventh ring, and by all signs very pleased to be here. Don’t think he needs Joe to tell him which player to throw to, he’s pretty good at that. And happy, too. When Joe sports 7 SB rings I’ll give more weight to his opinion. Until then Joe can type, TB12 will complete passes as he sees fit. By the same measure I am unconvinced Brady could write a blog as well as Joe can. To neutral corners, gentleman.
    LFG Bucs!

  31. Mike Says:

    I believe Joe’ s account has been hacked by a stats geek lady we know well here. Using only stats to make the story. If you do not throw to the RB, the defense will double the TE. The stats should be based on the situation, if you do not throw to the RB, you may get a pick if you throw to the receivers.

  32. cover deuce Says:

    You’re the one always complaining about nerds manipulating stats and yet here you are, at a bare minimum offering stats without any context. RoJo and Lenny don’t have good hands and they’re the ones getting the majority of the check down targets. That’s why those stats look bad. Hope this helps

  33. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Good I about to erupt. Buc just got a taste of headhunting. They are the top dogs and the rest of the NFL want what they have. Until they continue to kick everyone’s arse the threat is there. Head on a swivel.

  34. Listnfrmafar Says:

    Sorry Gio about to erupt.