Less Defenders, Less Success

October 17th, 2022

Joe remembers when Leonard “Lombardi Lenny” Fournette joined the Bucs and was all smiles because he would no longer be running against stacked defensive boxes.

His prediction was accurate.

The concept was simple: defenses would have the respect the Bucs’ stud passing targets and wouldn’t “stack the box” with eight or more defenders.

Lombardi Lenny has had much fewer bodies to avoid since arriving in Tampa. NextGen Stats tracks that data with sensors in players’ equipment, and Fournette has been among the backs running against the fewest defenders in the box.

For example, before yesterday’s game Fournette was hammering away against an eight-man (or more) box on only 20 percent of carries. Twenty-four NFL running backs were facing tougher odds, including 13 running backs at 25 percent or more.

Again yesterday, Fournette had plenty of unstacked boxes to face in Pittsburgh. And Tom Brady’s friend Charlie Weis, the former Patriots, Jets and Chiefs playcaller, was grumbling about it this morning on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

The league-worst Tampa Bay run game (total yards and yards-per-carry) is the real deal, Weis said, as in really bad.

Weis cited teams not loading the box on Fournette, including Pittsburgh, and yet he still can’t get it going since opening night against Dallas.

As Joe wrote yesterday, it’s all got a very Doug Martin feel to it.

Can someone please get a faith healer to Ryan Jensen’s house?

28 Responses to “Less Defenders, Less Success”

  1. Brandon Says:

    I’ve been saying forever that Lenny is overrated. Good person, good pass receiver, good blocker, bad runner. Runs like a top heavy two year old. Can’t turn the corner, stop and start, can’t put his foot in the ground and get up field on stretch runs, and his legs go dead at contact… but most of you clowns think he’s an all-pro. Nope… he’s not good…never has been very good. Two seasons in his career he’s average FOUR yards a carry or more… TWO!

  2. Your Mom Says:

    I’m guessing the offensive line is probably a lot worse than any of us realized. w/o Jensen anyway.

  3. teacherman777 Says:

    Engram is playing great for the Vikings.

    Goedeke has never played guard in his career.

    He’s getting blown up on half of our plays.

    We could have drafted Goedeke in the 3rd.

    Hainsey is also not an NFL starter.

    We are getting destroyed at the line of scrimmage.

  4. OBVIOUS Says:

    And Licht’s responsibility? No trades, Didn’t even sniff Tretter. No Suh equals No Leadership on the D line. So what about LICHT’S leadership? He has FAILED BOTH LINES!

  5. Jerseybuc Says:

    Left side of the line is weak!! How bout we try the right side? Also lenny doing a lot of dancing back there instead of hitting it

  6. AKicknTheBucNuts Says:

    Any word on Jensen’s injury and return?

  7. gotbbucs Says:

    Nobody is afraid of Fournette taking one to the house. They’ll gladly give him one or two 12 yard runs a game, because that’s about as far as he can go before he starts looking for a place to fall down.
    We’re not strong in the middle of our O-line and Fournette can’t or won’t run wide, so, recipe for no running game.

  8. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    teacherman777 is correct, we are getting beat at the line of scrimmage on BOTH sides of the ball, but really bad on the offensive side.
    The Saints taught the rest of the NFL how to beat Brady and the Bucs.
    Pressure Brady with 4 people, and blanket the receivers.

  9. Waterboy Says:

    Exactly what I said yesterday. They were able to get pressure with 4 and drop 7 in coverage and the Bucs still couldn’t run on them.

  10. Marc Coppola Says:

    Sign Josh Gordon! Sign OBJ! Sign Davin Joseph! NOWWWWWWW!

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    Brandon … I think you’re being a little harsh on Lenny. In his 6-year career, he’s run the ball over 1,000 times, averaging 4.0 YPC over that timeframe. He’s also caught over 250 balls, averaging over 7.0 YPR on those. His catch percentage is just a tad shy of 80%. He blocks well & appears to be a great teammate. I’ll take that every day of the year.

    Last year Lenny averaged 4.5 YPC on 180 rushes (812 yds). This season his average is down to 3.6 YPC on 95 rushes (343 yds). Same QB. Same OC. Same Lenny. The difference? The OLine. I think Lenny’s done well just to get the yardage he’s gotten. The blocking isn’t there this year, and our OC hasn’t figured out yet how to compensate as a result of that.

  12. Redeemer Says:

    Chris is right on. The Steelers were able to pressure Brady with 4 rushers. It’s easier said than done though. It isn’t a magical formula. All QBs struggle when you can get home with 4, yes even TB12. This team is trying to pretend to be something they are not. They are not a run first team. They need to pass to setup the run, not vice versa. Everyone is quick to blame BL, but what’s the difference between the last two years and this one? Todd Bowles is head coach.

  13. Fred Says:

    We should seriously consider looking into signing Erick Flowers off free agency. Not sure how the cap would work but I’m sure they can do some magic. Goedeke needs a year to get his bearings in but right now we need a vet.

  14. gbobucsfan Says:

    What’s Logan Mankins up to these days?

  15. VATom Says:

    O Line SEEMS ok because Brady gets the ball out fast. But in reality, when you see how they actually block, it becomes apparent they are not good. The classic line that the O Line are just glorified “speed bumps” is usually wrong. Those guys pull and block depending on the scheme. These guys rely on Brady’s quick release and the fact Defenders have to go around them…to make them look good. I can’t recall of it was Hainsey or Goedeke all day yesterday who was blocking guys on the back of their shoulder as they just stepped around him.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    All the coaches are not doing their job the last 2 years play calls were fine with Bruce Arians now all of a sudden the head coach and the offense coach don’t know what the heck they’re doing

  17. doolnutts Says:

    Is it Lenny or the line? We couldn’t even execute a QB sneak something Brady was hitting in NE about 80% of the time or higher. The line doesn’t seem capable of getting a push at times. We got bullied yesterday.

  18. Iamabuc Says:

    We need to add “TippyToes Lenny” to all of those other moniquers we made-up for him. Cause I yet to see playoffs Lenny and whatever else some guys call him. SMDH

  19. Jack Sparrow Says:

    Very Simple…. Fournette is an overrated player. He runs slow, cant break tackle. I watched other RB’s last night, and you can see it will take 3 to 4 guys before they are taken down but Fournette, just 1 guy and he is down.

  20. B.D Says:

    Jensens swelling has to go down… still?

  21. BucsFanSince76 Says:

    Sign Tretter and plug him into the line-you are better immediately.

    Sign Suh and plug him into the line-you are better immediately.

    These are 2 things Jason Licht can do to get better immediately.

  22. Redeemer Says:

    dool, Brady should’ve changed the call on the sneak. Pittsburgh had three defenders shoulder to shoulder inside. There was no place to go. The line got no push, but with that look, he usually audibles.

  23. Outsider Says:

    Lmao stop blaming Lenny for the bad running numbers. Yeah he made a few bad plays but he’s had to fight for the yards he’s got and has showed up when called upon in the last few games. He’s the only one who’s scored TDs in two games and that’s not on him. It’s a combo of bad play calling AND horrendous run blocking.

  24. Show Me the TDs Says:

    Lenny needs to plant his foot and run north and south. He dances too much.

  25. Outsider Says:

    Jack sparrow how many guys did he run over to get the td yesterday? Shut up, he actually gave the Bucs a chance when no one else stepped up. Lol entitled a$$ fans

  26. Bucsmarley Says:

    Where the hell is sneak. He played well last year and preseason. I’m sorry everyone is so hyped on white. Ide be willing to bet he would be more productive. He probably told bl he sucks

  27. unbelievable Says:

    People placing the blame on Lenny don’t know what they’re watching.

    Yes there have a been a small handful of runs where he missed a hole, or cut the wrong way, but it’s the o-line who has been getting blown up again and again and again.

    Week 1 in Dallas, Lenny was making chicken salad out of chick chit. There are multiple defenders in the backfield half the time he gets the ball. Just like how it used to be with Doug Martin.

    When every single slob sitting at home on their couch knows the Bucs are running, don’t you think the opposing defense does too?

    Leftwich and the o-line are the problem, not Lenny.

  28. westernbuc Says:

    Our future ring of honor member offensive guard Ali Marpet retired and then Ryan Jensen (who brought more than blocking) got hurt. Now we have two inexperienced guys learning the craft. Licht needs to make some calls.