Clean Flush In The Run Game

January 9th, 2023

Those listening carefully on TV yesterday heard the announcers shared perspective given to them by failed Bucs playcaller Byron Leftwich.

To summarize, Leftwich said the bashing of the Bucs’ poor run game is overblown because the run game wasn’t terribly special in past years.

Man, Leftwich sure sets a high bar for himself!

Last season, the Bucs ranked 15th in the NFL in yards per carry. This season they finished at No. 32, dead last.

Last season, the Bucs ranked ninth in rushing touchdowns. (They could run in the red zone!) This season they ranked No. 32 in that category.

Joe will flash back again to last season, when the Bucs ranked 26th in rushing yards. This year? No. 32.

Sensing a theme?

Bottom line is the Bucs never got much from the run game outside of opening day against Dallas (Monday’s opponent) and in November against the Seahawks. There are so many reasons: overhyped running backs, offensive line injuries and changes, and Leftwich being subpar when it comes to scheming a rushing attack, which shouldn’t be crazy difficult given the threat from the Bucs’ passing game.

Hopefully, the Bucs can channel what worked against Dallas in Week 1. But overall, the Bucs’ run game needs a high-powered microscope on it after the season.

33 Responses to “Clean Flush In The Run Game”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Is there a criminal statute that requires we run the ball on 1st down?……Our playcalling is insane…….rarely call play action……empty backfields on 2nd & 3rd downs…..almost never pass with 2nd & short….most passes behind the line to gain….
    Obligatory runs on 1st down in the red zone….(wasting the down)

    So….going from 15th to 32 be OK with Bryron.

  2. Wokeizdunn Says:

    I did note it seemed to me like they pitched the ball more to the RBs yesterday than in the past, which seemed to spread the D a little bit more. But yes, putrid run game all year. Terrible play calling, terrible game planning, seemed like no consideration of matchups or injuries on the Bucs side in where they ran, etc. And because this 8-9 (losing record…better seasons with Winston/Koetter) is in the playoffs, Bucs fans are stuck with it at least one more year.

  3. SB~LV Says:

    Hopefully they can get Vaughn and Henderson more touches against the Cowboys .

  4. catcard202 Says:

    One could argue the run game has been limited by OL play…But I tend to believe its been plagued by the predictability of Leftwich’s run game play calling.

  5. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Why would anyone expect the run game to suddenly improve when the personnel and the play caller remain the same?

  6. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    Atlanta has a nice rookie RB. We could’ve had him. Oh well. Gonna need a really good draft next year.

  7. jerseybuc Says:

    We don’t just run the ball on first down. We run the same play. Between the tackles, often with motion signaling to the D that here it comes. Never run a pitch or off tackle or God forbid, misdirection. TB gets rid of the ball sooner than any QB in the league I get it. But our play calls seem to have shrunken the playbook to accommodate that fact. The biggest takeaway for me this season is the fragile nature of our secondary. O line was devastated due to retirement and Jensen’s day one injury. But what is going on with the D backs?

  8. Mike Says:

    We don’t have the physical ability to be a power run team, yet we seem to run plays like we can. Hopefully we have realized that and start to change up the run plays to run more pulls and traps and outside zone runs.

  9. Craig Says:

    I’m not sure a better runner would do anything. They would have just rode the pine like our better rushers.

    I pray the Bucs pull it together and make a deep run into the playoffs, it might be our last look at them for a while.

  10. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Not only do we run the ball on first down, we run it to our weaker side.
    I mean why run it behind Wirfs and Mason when you can run behind the hard charging Triple D and whoever is playing LG.

    We be doin’ what we be doin…….

  11. #8's Ghost Says:

    Its time to go South Paw Bucs!
    Release the Kraken.
    Ski on one ski!
    Whatever the finger roll in Over the Top was!!

  12. Hodad Says:

    Joe, there you go throwing out stats. Byron isn’t playing fantasy football. He’s doing what’s best to win real football games.

  13. Steven007 Says:

    🎱, as a competitive arm wrestler, former competitive to be honest as I am currently recovering from a bicep tear, the move you’re talking about is a very common one which is basically called rising. You lean in close with your shoulder try to hook your opponent’s hand (generally going over top or sometimes off to the side) and then pull towards your body as hard as you can. This removes the opponent’s leverage advantage. Obviously if you have an opponent just as strong as you this won’t always work and then there are many other strategies you can employ. Not that you were that interested…

    And kudos for not tagging your favorite former DT who now plays for a team that we might hopefully meet in the playoffs. The guys simply not available anymore.

  14. NEfan Says:

    Doosh last Dallas game Bucs ran left for 16 carrys 115 yds right 6 carries for 15 yds. There’s your answer. Dallas was first game so there was no film yet throwing predictable play calls out the window. My guess Dan Quinn like every DC in the league will know exactly what to do on 1st down against the Bucs.

  15. Jimothy Says:

    It does not take a high powered microscope to see what the issues are with the run game. Our biggest loss at the end of the season was losing in the NFC Championship Game just ahead of Leftwich not being hired by Jacksonville to be their HC.

    I remember watching him when he was the QB in Tampa, he always seemed emotionless and dejected. That how I feel about his Offensive game plan now.

  16. bucs4life Says:

    Our capital flaw regarding the running game stems from Leftwich’s playcalling. We had a very small number of medium and long range throws. We’re always working timed throws in short range and behind the sticks. What does that do? Linebackers and safeties get drawn to the box and runs are easily stuffed. Football is a chess match between offense and defense, in which you have to keep the other side guessing and trying to adjust and read the play. There’s no escape to that. So if you want to call plays, you have to be deceptive and work the short blanket in your favor. Are they stacking the box? Good, then call a hard play action and smoke them with medium/long passes. Are they dropping too much in coverage? Good, then audible a run or a draw. Leftwich seems to live with his head in Wonderland. You cannot get complacent and stubborn, you always have to keep the defense on its heels, even if a No Huddle drive is what’s required. We need someone who can do that properly, this is the NFL for crying out loud.

  17. Jvato24 Says:

    What an absolute loser mentality, he should been fired the moment that comment was made. I’m glad you brought this up, wtf kind of misery mindset is that!?!??

  18. Rod Munch Says:

    It’s 2023 and the rushing game means absolutely nothing. You run the ball through the air. The offense would have been much more effective if they eliminated more runs, mainly the run up the gut for 0.4 yards on every 1st down.

    However, what does matter, is scoring points, and that’s where Leftwich is a complete loser and an idiot. The Bucs finished behind the Redskins in scoring, and barely beat out the Steelers. That’s where the dramatic fall from Arians, to this putz, took place.

  19. Goatfarmer Says:

    Todd Blowes power running game will gain about 35 yards on 20 Carrie’s. The rest of it will be Brady panic passes if he survives the Boys pass rush to finish the game.

    Bye Todd.

  20. Goatfarmer Says:

    Every morning this year, I’ve started my day with a shower and a shave. But first i take a big Leftwich. Usually painful.

  21. NEfan Says:

    Funny I drop a Leftwich also, directly into my Toilet Bowls

  22. Kidfloflo Says:

    Guys relax, he has been setting teams up ALL YEAR to reverse his predictable play calling! Bombs on first down running on second and short, flea flickers and a good ole statue of liberty to seal the deal! Gonna be epic and we will resign him for 5 more years! Can’t wait

  23. alton d green Says:

    I think the Glazers should fine Lefty and Todd $50,000 for everytime they try to run the ball hahahahhahahahhahaaha

  24. alton d green Says:

    our runners have a sprained neck from running into the O-line’s arse

  25. alton d green Says:

    I live about 900 miles from RJS but i’m a career Brady fan. Folks if you think there is a snowball’s chance in Hell that Tom will be back, call your pastor, Congressman, senator, Dr., lawyer, dentist, and drug dealer and ask them to PLEASE fire TODD & Lefty and pray that Tom comes back. let me save you some wear and tear on your knees. AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN!!

  26. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    Shut up DB

  27. David Says:

    I’ve been saying it since week four… This is a PASS first team. The pass sets up the run, which in turn sets up the play action.
    You know what offense does that better than any other country… The Georgia Bulldogs, Todd Monken as OC.

    It is exactly what they did on their Super Bowl run and most of last year. I guess BA had a lot more influence over BL than we thought and BL apparently learned nothing.

  28. Onehorse Says:

    Yes, those first down runs are boring and because they have become completely predictable, they rarely go anywhere. So, yes, Leftwich is basically throwing away the first down on almost every series. What a farce!

  29. Rob Singer Says:

    What kind of dumb-as-a-bag-of-rocks NFL coach believes in installing all those give-away/blatantly obvious running plays JUST BECAUSE THE IDIOT BELIEVES IN RESTING HIS DEFENSE LONGER, when he has the greatest QB of all time still passing as if he’s in his prime!?

    Bowles ran the Jets into the ground. Now he’s doing the same thing to the Buccaneers.

    This coach has no passion for Offense. And what’s almost worse–he STILL believes he’s some sort of “Defensive Genius”….which he sure made clear in the Divisional game with the Rams last year, essentially wiping out another Brady incredible comeback.

    Tampa Bay has turned into a pathetic football team because of this totally inept coach. Kudos to Brady for not publicly excoriating the clown.

    Stephen A.—- you DEMAND black coaches? You can have this one.

  30. WeAllBleedRED Says:

    Leftwich needs to go. Bowles needs to return to his role as DC, which he did quite well. I feel like the Glazers need to wake up and make the tough calls. NFL owners obviously care about their pride- why would they not keep themselves in the best possible position to win another Super Bowl?

    If we’re going to blame someone, why not the ownership? Ultimately, the BUC stops with them…

  31. Mad Michael Says:

    We stink this year. And next year we have no Tom Brady so we will stink for years to come.

  32. Eric b Says:


  33. Rich Says:

    Lefwitch designs his plays the night before.
    Brady knows what wil work seconds before the center gives him the ball. Why does Brady even listen to Lefwitch?
    A whole season of frustration.
    Watching the Bucs play is painful.
    I will watch the highlights of a game if the Bucs win.