Inexpensive And Effective

June 8th, 2022

A different look at Bucs running backs

It’s hard to moan much about the Buccaneers’ 2021 running game, in large part because the Bucs ranked second in the NFL in overall yards per play. And they’re one of the lowest paid running backs stables in the NFL.

This was a discussion on SiriusXM NFL Radio yesterday.

In the NFC South, the Bucs rank 24th in the NFL when it comes cash flowing to running backs. Atlanta ranks 19th, while the Saints (10th) and Panthers (8th) are among the most expensive RB corps in the NFL.

Co-host Pat Kirwan, the former Jets defensive coach and personnel chief, noted how much more the Bucs can lean on Leonard Fournette. Kirwin says Fournette had six drops and the team can get more out of his innate explosiveness.

Interestingly, Kirwan thinks the Bucs only can get another 30 carries out of Fournette without overworking him. He logged 193 through the 2021 regular season and playoffs. That would still leave possibly 150-plus carries for Ke’Shawn Vaughn, rookie Rachaad White and Giovani Bernard. And after watching White at minicamp today, Joe certainly expects the third-round pick to make the team.

So how good are the Bucs running backs collectively with Ronald Jones now in Kansas City? It’s huge unknown and could be an X-factor.

The good news is the Bucs don’t need a special — and expensive — running game for their offense to hum.

33 Responses to “Inexpensive And Effective”

  1. Casual Observer Says:

    Fournette seems to get better every year. I look for a big season from him.

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    I think that the Bucs’ running game will go as far as our OLine will take them AND as far as our OC is willing & capable of using them. Our OLine & RBs have talent, but if we continue to run at a 33% rate (run-pass ratio) like last year, our run game won’t have a chance to become elite. Too many times in the past it’s also been too predictable.

    Gut feel is that this year will be different in that we’ll run more AND we’ll be less predictable in how & when we use the run game. In his 4 years with the Jets, Todd Bowles teams had run-pass ratios of 41.7 (2015), 41.7 (2016), 43.3 (2017) and 42.2 (2018). That’s pretty consistent (averaging about 42% a year). Don’t think ours this season will be THAT high, but won’t be surprised at all to see someplace close to 40% run-pass ratio.

  3. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    DR, you know I love your takes, but I have to point out that maybe Bowles ran that much bc he did not have a QB? lol Just busting your chops my friend.

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    Senor Harry … Kinda wondered about that too Harry. Then I thought ‘Nah, maybe it’s just in his DNA’. Most defensive coaches seem to really appreciate a good run game (that eats up the clock?).

  5. GOB Says:

    I agree Defense. The addition of Shaq Mason, who is a much better run blocker than Cappa will help. I also suspect the gameplans will be more team specific. Brady understands the importance of a strong run game. The pass catchers aren’t as good this year so, they may need to rely on the run more, against certain teams. The ratio was to far out of balance last year, and very predictable.

  6. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    DR, I agree with you completely. And a ball control offense would be a smart move IMO – The friggin Rams can’t score if Stafford doesn’t get the ball in his hands. And especially in the beginning of the season with Godwin out. But I doubt we will see as high as 42%+. Not with Brady back there

  7. Defense Rules Says:

    Went back & looked at Schiano’s time here, and he averaged … 42% run-pass ratio. So did Lovie coincidentally, except his was all over the place (37.7% in 2014 & 44.7% in 2015). I’m telling ya, it’s in defensive coaches’ DNA.

  8. Hodad Says:

    When they drafted Ko I knew the Bucs were looking to run the ball more. This kid will be more of a fullback than a TE. Don’t see him running wide open deep down the seam like Gronk, but I do see him looking to put a lick on Cam Jordan in the run game. Mason is a better run blocker than Cappa, next to Wirfs it should be fun. Goedeke the glass eater, next to Jensen, and Smith? This line is built to grind people. We already know we can’t pass 50 times a game against L.A., or N.O., and win. Hard nosed run game, with play action is the ticket. I think you’ll see more of that from this Buc team, than the last 2 years.

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    GOB…..sucking up to DR may work….just don’t mention Suh.

    As far as the running game…..we are certainly getting more bang for our Buc…..(pun intended)

  10. Dooley Says:

    I just hope we lean more on running(pun intended) a balanced attack and shake that habit of going 1-dimensional as soon as we’re down on the scoreboard. To me, one of the major reasons the Rams & Saints have success against us is because they can generate pressure and be disruptive just sending 4/5 guys. That ability makes it so they can still commit secondary help to our receivers and pretty much make our pass happy attack harder to facilitate. Attacking the box with the run game should help slow down those pass rushes, and make them respect a more balanced offense.

  11. Bucsfan4ever Says:

    I keep hearing that Mason is a great run blocker and good pass blocker. Stinnie seems ok to me. Comparable to Kappa. I haven’t seen Godeeke cuz I don’t watch much college. Everyone seems to like Kieff. Orton is supposed to be a fine blocker.
    I’d say the run game looks promising.
    If Whites butt can cash his mouth’s checks we should be really good.

  12. Goatfarmer Says:

    Lenny rocks. He will beast out in 2022.

  13. Defense Rules Says:

    GOB … I’m convinced the way to beat the Rams is to come out playing smashmouth football against them. Run it down their throats until they start twitching, then they’re ours.

    Our problem in both games against them last year was that we fell way behind by around the half & had to pass to get back in (21-7 just 1 min after the 2nd half kickoff in the first game, and 27-3 just 7 mins after the 2nd half kickoff in the playoffs). Can’t do that against quality teams & expect to win.

  14. Craig Says:

    Last season had too many zero or negative yardage run plays. Part of those were from ROJO spacing out and not finishing his plays.

    If there is a positive increase in plays that work, the run plays will increase, probably, at least, to the 40% range, as noted by DR

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    TBBF … If you have to tell us that the pun was intended, doesn’t that sorta imply that you think we all overlook the obvious?

    Now, re-sign Suh.

  16. Cobraboy Says:

    I suspect the Bucs will run more to keep the D off the field more. And “running” also includes passing to the RB; same thing.

    More run emphasis helps Brady’s play-action expertise.

    Perhaps we had too much riskit-biskit in 2021.

  17. GOB Says:

    Defense, you and I both know the key to beating the Rams is not blitzing Stafford. I agree, pounding them up front will help. In the superbowl, the Patriots weren’t that effective as far as yards per rush, but they wore them down with volume. They blocked Donald from every conceivable angle, and it kept him off balance.

  18. GOB Says:

    Matt Stafford against the blitz last year.
    132.5 passer rating (1)
    74% completion percentage (1)
    15 TDs (2)

  19. Beejezus-belt Says:

    It won’t take a whole lot of production from Vaughn or White to replace Jones.

  20. Defense Rules Says:

    Cobraboy … I hope you’re right that the Bucs will get our RBs more involved in the game flow this year, other then just pass protecting or being ‘outlets’ for when everything else goes to pot. A great gameplan IMO keeps the opposing team constantly off-balance, and I’m sure that’s hard to achieve in the NFL. I would think that what helps though is having a team that equally good at running & passing the ball, and I’m convinced that the Bucs have that. Now we just have to convince our OC of that …

  21. CleanHouse Says:

    A lot of that ypc stat had to do with ROJO, now he’s gone

  22. GOB Says:

    CleanHouse, RoJo, really? The guy that nearly got Brady decapitated, and ran out of bounds with the first down easily attainable? Good thing the Patty can run

  23. Cobraboy Says:

    @DR: Bowles is a D-guy, and that’s what D-Guys like to do, even with the GOAT at QB.

    Quick strikes are exciting, but they can really grind down the quick-strike team’s defense.

    The first I saw of that was the Air Coryell days in the 70’s, followed by various versions of Air Martz/Air Sanders/Air Turner. Yeah, I’m a fossil…

    When Keift was drafted, I knew the “H-” was “Back.” But is Keift > Hape? Time will tell…

  24. GOB Says:

    Slow down Cobraboy, you’ll give yourself a heart attack

  25. Tampabaybucfsn Says:

    Not everyone is intellectually gifted

  26. Cobraboy Says:

    @GOB: you’ll give yourself one if you try to keep up with me, young squirt.

    I’m tougher than woodpecker lips…

  27. Defense Rules Says:

    TBBF … ‘Not everyone is intellectually gifted’.

    I’ll grant you that; I’m living proof. But most usually I think it’s the result of us overlooking the obvious.

    I’ve collected cartoons for probably 40 years plus (the greatest satirists in the world are cartoonists IMO). Very first one I glombed onto was ‘Crock’ by Bill Rechin & Brant Parker (Crock was the leader of a French Legionaire outfit in North Africa). In that particular one Crock’s leading his men through the desert, looking for water. There are huge sand dunes all around & Crock tells his 1st Sgt (Kruger) how much he’d love to be able to see over those dunes (to presumably find water?).

    Kruger & the men go to work on a solution: building a tower for Crock (never question where they got the wood in the desert). Anyways, the next to last frame focuses on Crock standing on the tower with binoculars in hand, as he says to his 1st Sgt ‘Amazing we haven’t thought of this before Kruger’.

    Then in the last frame the view expands & you see that the tower is still lying on the ground, with Crock standing on it, as Kruger says to commanding officer Crock ‘The obvious often escapes us, Sir’.

    Doesn’t take a genius to appreciate the sarcasm there TBBF. Our human condition is that ‘The obvious often escapes us’.

  28. Defense Rules Says:

    Cobraboy … I remember Hape, but I remember Todd Yoder better (a 6’4″, 262 lb TE mostly playing FB). They apparently didn’t bother keeping snap counts back then, but Yoder did play in all 16 games in our 2002 SB year, although he only got targeted 5 times on the season (my guess is that Todd was in there to block; he was targeted 5 times in the first 3 games, caught 2, and was never targeted again). Also played in all 3 playoff games … with no targets. Apparently Brad Johnson had a long memory too.

  29. Marine Buc Says:

    This aint 1985… Only the dumbest of dummies (Dallas, NYG) would overpay a RB in 2022.

    Plus there is a supply and demand for RBs just like every other position.

    It is much harder to find a high quality QB, Edge, OT, WR, CB – that’s why these positions get higher compensation.

    It’s basic economics…

  30. Cobraboy Says:

    @DR: Hape and Yoder were very similar players, Hape under Dungy with those horrid offenses, Yoder under Gruden.

    I think that’s the purpose of Keift: H-back, back/TE hybrid. That’s a tell for more running in 2022.

  31. Chris Tucker@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Brady will kill you, if you stack the box, so our running backs seldom have to face stacked boxes.
    ROJO should do good in Kansas City because it can also be suicide to stack the box against their Quarterback.
    Because we have Brady, just about any decent NFL Running Back will put up good numbers here.
    I sure hope White makes the team, because he intrigues me. Not only does he have excellent hands (he was a receiver, who converted to running back) but he also has the speed to really hurt our opponents!

    Oh, just wanted to add I am a fossil too, Like CobraBoy! I remember all the old time football stuff he talks about!

  32. Defense Rules Says:

    GOB … ‘the key to beating the Rams is not blitzing Stafford. I agree, pounding them up front will help.’

    Got curious about the Rams’ losses last year & there’s definitely a trend. Actually three.

    1 – In each one of their 5 losses, their opponents ran the ball down their throats (Cardinals, Titans, Packers & 49ers twice).

    2 – In each one of their losses, they lost the TOP convincingly.

    3 – In each one of their losses (except 1), the Rams lost the Turnover Battle. In that 1, they tied with 2 turnovers apiece.

    So yes, ‘pounding them up front’ really did throw the Rams for a loop it appears. Also looked to me like the average Rams’ opponent blitzed them between 10-12 times (we blitzed them 15 times in the regular season, and 23 times in the playoff game).

  33. Nick2 Says:

    Kirwan an ex Buc personnel guy loves Brady but seems to have an axe to grind against anything else Buccaneer he said Rachaad White on that segment wasn’t a good receiver and gave the Bucs back a lackluster grade. Grade them how you like but White can’t catch???? Better check the stat sheet Pat!