Todd Bowles, Leonard Fournette and Rachaad White

January 24th, 2023

Running game chatter.

Joe is willing to wager one element of the Bucs’ offense improves next year, no matter who the quarterback is. And how could it not improve?

That would be the running game. For whatever reason, Joe doesn’t think failed Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich knew how to scheme a running attack. There were only three games in which the Bucs looked like they had a clue about running and all three were wins: At Dallas, at Arizona and against Seattle at Munich.

The Bucs had the worst running game in the league, both yards-per-carry (3.4) and total rushing yards (1,308).

Last week when Bucs coach Todd Bowles gave his season-ending press conference, he admitted the Bucs wanted to use Playoff Lenny and Rachaad White as a one-two punch but rarely could.

And it seems he wants the new offensive coordinator to figure that out.

“Lenny started out the season tough,” Bowles said. “I thought Rachaad came on. We never thought about shelving him (Leonard) for the second half of the season [to rest up] so he could be ‘Playoff Lenny.’

“I thought they were a good one-two punch. We tried to play the year out like that. Some games we had some success – moderate success, so to speak – and a lot of games we didn’t. We tried to have a one-two punch, but we never once thought about shelving him.”

So who will be in the backfield? White, of course. Joe is guessing Playoff Lenny too.

Giovani Bernard is likely gone. And though Joe wishes Ke’Shawn Vaughn would have gotten more carries, it’s difficult for Joe to imagine he will be kept. It’s going to be hard for a cash-strapped team to keep a $1.2 million player who only touches the ball 26 times in 10 games and is no good on special teams.

38 Responses to “Todd Bowles, Leonard Fournette and Rachaad White”

  1. YucsBall Says:

    It was DOOKIE

  2. Jack Sparrow Says:

    Tippy-toes Lenny is done. One touch and his down.

  3. Allbuccedup Says:

    He must be in the bucs doghouse. Hes always been able to run the ball. The bucs give him two carries then bench him.

  4. Knucknbuc Says:

    Joe you actually think Vaughn wants to come back here? My guess is he’s probably want to try somewhere else. Not to say he was super good but he never really got a fair chance here to even be the undisputed number 2 back. Playoff Lenny makes way to much to keep he’ll be gone too imo unless Brady comes back. It will likely be white and whoever else next year and rookie/ undrafted rb.

  5. SB Says:

    Sounds more like excuses than reasons to me.

  6. DungyDance Says:

    Schefter reporting this AM that O’Brien is returning to Pats. Strange, the Pats passed on the greatness of Leftwich…lol. Anyway, our ground game revitalization next year will have to be crafted by someone else.

  7. Erik Hesson | Fine Artist | Founder of Says:

    The Bucs became losers the moment that BA retired from coaching and will be listed for the foreseeable future, unfortunately.

    Bucs are a laughing stock again. All the chatter yesterday about Dallas looking so good the week before was because they played such a terrible team (the Bucs).

  8. Erik Hesson | Fine Artist | Founder of Says:


  9. SKBucsFan Says:

    I agree with that headline. No where to go but up. Draft an LT in round who isnt so lazy that he actually moves his feet and we instantly improve.

  10. Curse of Gruden Says:

    Yes, DungyDance, it will be very telling where Leftwich ends up.

  11. gofortheface30 Says:

    Gio Bernard, initially thankful to be leaving the ultimate clown organization from top to bottom – the Cincinnati Bengals, to join Tom Brady, the defending champions “lets run it back brooooo.” A Juggernaut going for a repeat. A changed organization down in sunny florida. Palm trees and boat parades yall. Look at all these stars! I can experience the joy of going deep in the playoffs for the first time in my life!

    In the end, all the poor guy got was a 2 year shi show, while his long time losing team turned in to the top dogs in the AFC with the coolest quarterback since Montana. Thats rough.

  12. Ed Says:

    With experience White will be an average back, a solid #2 guy. Bucs do not have a calibre #1 back. Fournette can’t escape that first wave of tacklers, he has no shake or quick acceleration.

  13. Michael Denney Says:

    Both backs are average, if that good. Good hands, bad feet.

  14. NEfan Says:

    Ya but it was ALL Brady’s fault because he couldn’t run for them, he’s too old and slow. For the last 22 yrs.

  15. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Vaughn will still be on his rookie contract…….hard to get a decent back any cheaper……I think Gio will be gone and we’ll either draft a late round RB or sign a UDFA. Vaughn will stay his last year……but, it’s not his choice.

  16. Rob Hamada Says:

    Pretty tough to win in a offensive minded league with a defensive minded head coach. It wants to run more of a slow methodical offense to give the defense more of a chance to rest and win games defensively. That won’t attract Tom Brady or any aggressive offensive weapons.

  17. D-Rok Says:

    Bucs need a speedy burner at RB. If he can also catch swing passes, super bonus.

    Have you guys seen how many times the Niners split McCaffrey out wide? That guy learned that whole system in just a week, after his mid-season trade, and learned within a few weeks the RB and WR play-book.

    Now THAT is good coaching and a hungry, young, talented player with fire in his belly.

    That. We want THAT. (Wishful thinking, but a fan can dream, right?)

  18. Craig Says:

    I hope Bowles steps in in before he goes. The Bucs have wasted two good running backs while sticking with Up the Middle to Nowhere Lenny.

    That was as big of a waste as continuing to try and make Russel Gage, Julio, and Rudolph productive.

    I can see why Bowles has a losing record, but it doesn’t look like he can see it, so the Bucs will a losing team for another year or two, until the Glazers notice.

  19. Wild Bill Says:

    You guys are way too rough on White. The kid was the only back on the team that exploded quickly and made some exciting shifty runs with a stinko line blocking for him. Lenny was good if he got going but he took too long to accelerate and by the time he got to the line he had to break tackles to get past the line of scrimmage.

  20. NEfan Says:

    Does it matter if the avg. Is 3.2yds a carry? Bucs are better off drafting a WR that fans a 4.3 40 so they can convert him QB so when he gets the snap he has a chance running for his life while waiting for his receivers to make their cuts.

    Why did this O work last season with make shift wide outs and a banged up line going into the PO’s?

  21. ElioT Says:

    I think the Bucs can save ~$3.4M by cutting Lenny. He’s horrible and we can have the worst rushing attack in the NFL without him.

    Definition of addition by subtraction.


  22. TampaBayBucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Show me a good Oline and I will show you any RB can average 4.1 a carry. Work on the Oline first and foremost.

  23. Infomeplease Says:

    If Bowles doesn’t handcuff the new offensive coordinator then the running game should improve. If Bowles insists on running the ball on almost every first down, predictability, we’ll see more of the same.

  24. SB~LV Says:

    My fingers are in my ears !
    Fire Bowles !

  25. BucU Says:

    The #1 reason I want Bowles gone is the fact that every game his players look like they’re going to a funeral instead of a football game.
    Never have I seen such dismal effort and zero enthusiasm on the field. That includes the home playoff game. It’s been a season long issue and that’s on Bowles. He’s a terrible HC.

  26. Pewter Power Says:

    Lenny looked slower than last year, showing up overweight couldn’t have sat well with the organization after he got a new contract. Racchard white should be the number one and back should be anyone else.

  27. PSK Buc Fan Says:

    Why is the run game coordinator still here! Doesn’t he design the run plays? Or is it Byron’s fault for always calling the wrong predictable runs?

  28. Rod Munch Says:

    White will be a star, said it when he was drafted, and I stick by that claim. Might not happen next year if Trask is QB, since teams will just stack the line, but it will happen. He just looks so fluid and natural, great at catching the ball as well. He just has to really put in time and effort on protecting the ball – but keep in mind Alstott was a fumbling machine early on, and turned it around, so fumbling isn’t a trait that has to stick around.

  29. Rod Munch Says:

    PSK Buc Fan Says:
    January 24th, 2023 at 12:41 pm
    Why is the run game coordinator still here! Doesn’t he design the run plays? Or is it Byron’s fault for always calling the wrong predictable runs?


    I haven’t seen the breakdown on this, but I’m going to guess the Bucs were over 5-yards per carry on 2nd and 3rd downs. That means the issue with the running game was calling runs in predictable situations – meaning the opponents just stacked the line knowing stupid Leftwich was going to run it up the middle on 85% of 1st downs.

  30. GumboIsForWinner Says:

    Need to move on from Fournette. He is just not good. White is cheap and also not good but not bad so keep him for depth. All the rest are replaceable by undrafted free agents every year. Plenty of dudes in college who can fit the bill.

    We need to draft a fast and elusive (be that shifty or power) back. Somebody who can turn a 3 yard run into 8 yards and a 15 yard run into a home run.

    With Fournette, he makes no yards on his own and his slowness sometimes turns big gains into medium gains.

  31. GumboIsForWinner Says:

    PSK Buc Fan Says:
    January 24th, 2023 at 12:41 pm
    Why is the run game coordinator still here! Doesn’t he design the run plays? Or is it Byron’s fault for always calling the wrong predictable runs?

    No clue. Our run scheme is garbage.

  32. Infomeplease Says:

    PSK, since the run game coordinator is still here, that would indicate that Bowles likes his run attack and wants to blame his lack of success on lack of execution!! In my view, if what you are doing isn’t working then as a run game coordinator you make adjustments until it is working!!!! You adapt to your players abilities! Apparently, Bowles doesn’t think like that!!! He believes it’s all the players fault!! Not the coaches( including himself) fault!!

  33. NEfan Says:

    If Bowels likes his run attack, the man is worse than I thought. There was no run attack.

  34. D-Rok Says:

    Of course we had a rushing attack this year, bro. It registered 0.000001 on the Richter scale, and the coaches seem to be proud of it.

    Tsk, tsk, shame on them.

  35. NEfan Says:

    I finally figured out why the oline was so beat up. It was caused from the RB slamming into their backsides every 1st down.

  36. steele Says:

    There is no great feature back on this team. No back with explosiveness, speed, power and game changing skill.

    McCaffrey is one example of a guy with all of that, plus toughness, plus crazy versatility, plus brains like a QB. Niners really put themselves in title contention with his signing alone.

    Lenny is slow, tip-toe mincing, and is absolutely not a power back, despite his size. Overhyped throughout his career, and still is.

    Rachaad is Lenny 2.0. Slow-mo, no quickness, long striding and needs tremendous blocking,wide open space and gadget plays. Should be a #3 back used primarily as a receiver.

    Vaughn, sadly the quickest, most efficient back on the roster, never gets enough of a shot to show anything.

    This team needs both a bona fide feature back, and a fullback.

  37. Sleepy903 Says:

    Keeping Lenny with his salary would be a mistake. There are a few more dynamic running backs in the draft that split the load with White. Lenny looks to be more of a glorified fullback at this point of his career. Its time to move on. We need more speed on the field.

  38. Browsing from DC Says:

    Yes, Bowles owns the failed running game as does Leftwich because they sit at the top but their underlings, running game coordinator, rb coach and o-line coach all let them and the team down. Those guys are “supposed to” work as a unit to study opponent’s film (and what other teams do that works against them) and craft a running attack. You rarely saw them do anything close to creative. I’m not talking “gadget” plays but standard pulling guards, stunts, etc.

    They ran the o-line like they thought they had the early 90s Cowboys line with Nate Newton and Co. Just plow forward and our bigger, stronger guys will prevail and of course it didn’t work because our guys aren’t that.

    Running on 1st down is typical of ALL teams but being predictable and running up the gut constantly allows the D to stack the box and you’re looking at a goal-line defense going.against a bunch of back-ups, 3rd stringers and rookies. One yard at best. Our linemen are all big, strong men with varying degrees of skills, but they all have feet. Get them moving laterally. Misdirection plays, delay handoffs, etc.

    TEs are a match up problem and if you have one that’s experienced and can read a defense (Gronk, Kelce etc) they find holes behind the run-stoppers. Otton has a long way to go. How many times do you watch KC and say “How the hell is Kelce that open so often?” You know they focus on him but he sees the openings and gets to them. He can freelance his routes. Do that enough when they’re stacking the box and the run D will loosen up.

    I don’t know who else has been fired but running game coordinator Harold Goodwin should be on the hot seat. The world saw what Cincy’s makeshift o-line did against Buffalo with pulling guards, misdirection, etc. The Bucs have no excuse. Coaching matters