2021 Hit-The-Hole Leader Played For Tampa Bay

May 24th, 2022

Joe’s been having fun today mauling A+ food and Florida’s best craft beer at a Big Storm Brewery taproom while studying the NFL’s technology-produced Next Gen Stats.

Joe learned our beloved Buccaneers had a running backs leader last season, and it wasn’t in the category of running out of bounds to avoid contact!

Ronald Jones, now with the Chiefs, led the NFL in “Average Time Behind The Line Of Scrimmage.” Next Gen translates that to a measurement of how much time a ball carrier is in the backfield on every play in which he is the rusher. So it’s really a gauge of who hammers a hole (or a potential hole) and doesn’t dance in the backfield, and it can indicate that a guy rarely runs wide.

Jones’ average of 2.53 seconds behind the line of scrimmage per rush led the league. Playoff Lenny tied for fourth at 2.65 seconds. For perspective, beastly running backs Derrick Henry, Jonathan Taylor and Dalvin Cook ranged between 2.76 seconds and 2.79.

Only Browns running backs Nick Chubb and D’Ernest Johnson broke 3 seconds with their average time behind the line.

Joe wonders whether Jones and Fournette attacking the line quickly is a function of Tom Brady being exceptionally efficient at handoffs, or whether it’s tied to playcalls or where they line up presnap? Or is it fair to say Jones and Fournette are less patient runners than most?

This data made Joe think of how rookie RB Rachaad White was known as an extremely patient runner in college.

Whatever the timing and focus is in the Bucs’ backfield, it’s likely to be adjusted a bit this season with two new starting guards in the lineup.

17 Responses to “2021 Hit-The-Hole Leader Played For Tampa Bay”

  1. A Bucs Fan Says:

    I have really high hopes for the Bucs running game with their off-season moves and the draft. I expect lots more runs and methodical drives to take time off the clock and help the defense out. The bonus is we are gonna see Brady feast on play action all year long.

    Let’s hope health is on their side this year and the Bucs will be Super Bowl champs again! Believe it!

  2. Casual Observer Says:

    Playoff Lenny is in for another big year.

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Rojo can run…….not bad for a “bust”…….

  4. Austin Says:

    Our backs are great, deep stable

  5. Cobraboy Says:

    Le’Veon Bell could be timed with a sundial for that metric…

  6. PassingThru Says:

    Attacking the line isn’t always a good thing. A confident RB with a good O Line can use his vision and processing skills to hang back and wait for a running lane to develop. That worked for Le’Veon Bell. I don’t think it was age or a year off that destroyed his game, it was going from the best O Line in the NFL to the worst in New York. They couldn’t block worth a damn, so the running lanes didn’t develop.

  7. Chris Tucker@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I noticed that Jones always hit the line hard and fast, but never realized he was number one in the NFL for that Stat

  8. Lokog Says:

    He still allergic to contact.

  9. Duane Says:

    This is going to be a big year for Lenny. Bowles is going to want to get the run game going, and defenses would be fools to stack the box. LFG.

  10. Bucsfan13 Says:

    Lenny tiptoes around the line too much. His vision is horrible. Gio was a better runner than Lenny. Gio has good vision and burst.

  11. 2022 Year of the GOAT RETURN Says:

    I care about average yards per carry….. 4 or more is what we need

  12. SPARKY Says:

    The reason for them quick times is because we never run outside. First down, up the gut. Don’t take long to get there.

  13. GOB Says:

    Run the damn ball, play action, play comp defense. Brady always had his best playoff success when accompanied by a great stable of backs. Sure, he can still chuck it all over the yard, but how far did that get them last year? The addition of Shaq Mason and the kid drafted to play LG tell GOB, they plan on mashing folks in the run game.

  14. gotbbucs Says:

    That’s a good point.

    I think some of this comes down to the Bucs not really caring to get very imaginative with developing a running game.
    They run the ball because they figure they had better do it once in a while to keep the defense honest, never really with the intention to purposely establish the run as part of the offensive game plan.

  15. Bucs Win Says:

    It usually takes me around 30 seconds to hammer the hole.

  16. firethecannons Says:

    We need to run the ball more and use playaction much more!

  17. Anonymous Says:

    gotbucs says:

    To the contrary, with the Red Pen wielding BA gone, expect Brady to finally get his way with installing and committing to the 1-2 back set, play-action running scheme which played a huge part in the Pats getting to and einning SB LIII against the Rams in 2018. Gone are the days of running up the gut on first down for little or minus yardage. The Bucs now have too much run blocking talent in Goedeke, Jensen, Shaq Mason, Wirfs, Gronk, Otten, etc. NOT to get creative and aggressive with the run game. Expect pulling OG behind all that beef on the right side that will pave open wide lanes for Lenny Fournette, Rachaad White, Gio Bernard any of which will consistently pick up 5+ yards and break through the second level for big chunks.

    Brady will now have full control over this hybrid attack which he so effectively used in NE to keep defenses off-balanced and tired on longer sustained drives by staying ‘ahead on downs’ on first and second and then strike deep for Evans, Gage/Godwin across the middle behind LBs and Gronk down the seam. This running scheme will negate the aggressive pass rush while causing opposing secondaries to keep on eye on the back and the other on their zone or receiver. End result is that Buc receivers will gain more separation than they had the last two seasons when the Bucs run game was so transparent and expected.

    This new running scheme will have opponents DCs tearing their hair out while their franchise QBs are kept off the field as Brady grabs time of possession by scoring TDs on longer drives consistently instead of the “no risk it no biscuit” quick scoring drives that BA loved so much.