Jason Licht Talks Running Backs

April 5th, 2023

Head coach Todd Bowles and offensive coordiantor Dave Canales are big believers in sharing the load at running back.

There aren’t many Derrick Henrys and Jonathan Taylors to go around the league. Teams need mulitple quality backs, yet many still sit on the free agent market.

Joe asked Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht about this phenomenon last week at the NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix. Joe only asked about the NFL trend, but Licht shared firm thoughts about the Bucs’ running backs stable.

JoeBucsFan.com: It seems like there are a lot of good, quality running backs sitting on the market, presumably their price will come down eventually. Can you talk about why you think that is — that it’s a trend in the NFL with a lot of good running backs available?

Bucs GM Jason Licht: I think it’s a good running back draft; I think that has a little to do with it. Just more and more teams — I don’t want to speak on behalf of us —  but there’s just more and more teams now that don’t believe in paying running backs. So we really like our group, really like our group. We think Rachaad [White] is going to be a stud. We really like Ke’Shawn [Vaughn]. We’ve always liked Ke’Shawn. I know he’s been with us for three years, but he really hasn’t gotten opportunities. When he has, he’s done some good things. And we got Chase [Edmonds signed in free agency]. I’m not saying we’re done there, but we like the room that we got now.

Joe is very intrigued by the Ke’Shawn Vaughn X-factor, and Joe still doesn’t understand why Vaughn wasn’t given a shot last season when the entire running game was struggling.

It seems that Licht might feel the same way.

Against the Eagles in the playoffs two seasons ago, Vaughn rushed 17 times for 53 yards and 1 touchdown, and he caught both balls thrown his way. It was a solid day against a strong run defense, but then Vaughn disappared with just 17 carries all of last season.

Flash poll posted at 8:37 a.m.

34 Responses to “Jason Licht Talks Running Backs”

  1. miken Says:

    Jason taking OJ Howard with Dalvin Cook sitting there is the reason for the running back curse.

  2. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I don’t understand why I hate Keyshaun Vaughn so much, but I do.
    If it would have been up to me, I would have cut him long ago.

  3. Goatfarmer Says:

    The head coich calls the shots on starters and playing time. An incompetent head coich combined with an overwhelmed offensive uncoordinator, and there’s your answer.

  4. SOEbuc Says:

    Who is going to be the starter? Trask is a younger, worse Gabbert. I said last night, if it’s not spicy Bijan, than I’m very much excited about Ke’ who could turn out to better than overrated White.

  5. Dooley Says:

    Vaughn has been healthy, gotten some opportunities to flash, and has looked good enough in the preseason to know there’s more to him than what we’ve seen the team do with him. Maybe Canales will be open minded enough to get Sneak some meaningful reps this season

  6. Joe Swanson Says:

    This is last year on his rookie contract what a waste. Its their own fault they didn’t utilize him more just like Trask if they are not any good then release them its not rocket science its just football. But Darden stunk and they kept having him return punts. Without Brady we are in dire straits.

  7. Daniel Says:

    Vaughn’s a fine #2 or #3 RB but probably not a ton more than that.

    I’m thrilled to have Fournette gone. Some of the worst vision I’ve ever seen from a RB.

  8. Infomeplease Says:

    If KV doesn’t turn the ball over, he would have more playing time.

  9. A Bucs Fan Says:

    If the Bucs draft RB it will be in the later rounds. I like Tank Bigsby in the 5th or 6th but I don’t know if he’ll last that long. Other than that they have more pressing needs in the trenches and TE before addressing RB.

  10. KC Buc Says:

    I feel like Vaughn is a wealthier man’s Peyton Barber. He’s solid all-around but in the limited touches we have seen, he just doesn’t look like he’s ever really going to bust a 25+ yarder. He feels safe, low ceiling. Happy feet Fournette at least would break some big ones, you just paid for it with a lot of 1 and 2 yard runs.

    I’m actually kind of bewildered by the Chase Edmonds pickup. Like if Mike McDaniel and his running back heavy offense couldn’t find use for him and the Broncos dumped him too, it sure seems like his performance value is plummeting. And we don’t have a Kyler Murray like he had in AZ to buy him 10 seconds to get open on his routes. At least with Zeke we could have had a true veteran mentor in the room. I don’t see Edmonds bringing anything. Hope I’m wrong.

  11. Dooley Says:


    Vaughn has one fumble in 257 offensive snaps over the last 3 seasons. Rachaad White fumbled 3 times as a rookie in 469 offensive snaps. So, I think there are some other factors in play as to why Vaughn hasn’t seen the field much, but who knows.

  12. KC Buc Says:

    Actually I forgot about Vaughn’s 55 yard tuddy against Carolina. Give the man a chance! At least before you give touches to Edmonds

  13. Geno711 Says:

    Chase Edmonds is nothing to get excited about but seems like an upgrade to Giovani Bernard. He became a free agent instead of Denver paying him almost 6 million.

    We are paying him 1.2 million.

    Looks like Edmonds did poorly at Miami last year but pretty solid in Denver until his season end injury, but I did not watch the games to be fair. I will give him a chance now that he is a Buc.

  14. A Bucs Fan Says:

    @Geno – Even more so that Edmonds only counts 300k towards the cap this year. This might be his last stop with his injury history. Hope he does something but he honestly might not make it past August.

  15. Geno711 Says:

    Edmonds against Seattle in his career.

    22 rushes for 123 yards.
    13 catches out of 13 targets for 127 yards.
    7 kick returns for 139 yards.

    Maybe our new offensive coordinator is over rating him. Guy seems to be injured every year.

  16. SlyPirate Says:

    The best strategy for RB is to play the long game, a la Jonathan Stewart. Share the load. Maintain a moderate contract. Keep that tread on the tires. Otherwise, you just burn out. Keshawn Vaughn is smart.

  17. Goatfarmer Says:

    When the roster balloons to 90 for training camp, there will be at least 5 RBs on the roster, hopefully at least one of them can compete for a return job although Thompkins looked pretty good at it. Of course a one legged hop-a-long would have looked ok after watching Dardung. I still can’t get the spots out of my eyes from watching that sh!tshow.

  18. Bojim Says:

    Somebody doesn’t like Vaughn for some reason but keep him around. Stop bringing up Cook. Let it go man.

  19. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    He probably does not practice well. Most coaches believe in the “practice like you play” idea. Maybe KV does not get that. I do want him to play and will keep a good eye on him in preseason.

  20. Smashsquatch Says:

    I too think KV is solid and needs more reps. Add a mid-late round RB to the room and roll with those four.

  21. Buc1987 Says:

    Leonard Fournette is still available.

  22. Buc1987 Says:

    Donovan Smith is still available too.

  23. Lakeland Steve Says:

    What does everyone have against Vaughn? He has done nothing but get better but hasn’t really gotten an opportunity to show what he can do. Either Brady or Leftwhich must not have liked him or trusted him. Does he not practice well or something? Let’s give him a chance this year.

  24. Jimbo Says:

    The jason leight loving Joe-Joes just can’t let you know how bad JL is as a GM. He has drafted several running backs. No have panned out. They all have been OK, nothing special. It’d be better if JL just traded up into the 2nd round to draft a kicker….oh, wait a second.

  25. Defense Rules Says:

    Vaughn is a solid back IMO who rarely breaks the big one, but also rarely loses yardage either. That Philly game you reference Joe is representative of that. Yes he got 53 yards in 17 carries, for a rather pedestrian 3.1 YPC average. He did have 1 long run of 17 yards in there though (his 1st carry that game), so for the other 16 carries he got 36 yards … 2.3 YPC average. Most of those 16 carries were 2-3 yard runs.

    Still, he makes a good #3 or #4 RB. Teams need guys like that. Hopefully he breaks out this season.

  26. Goatfarmer Says:

    A 55 yard scamper for a TD is a short run, apparently.

  27. Mike Says:

    Honestly, I would be okay if they didn’t draft a RB this draft. Those picks would be better spent on beefing up the O-Line, improving the pass rush, getting a decent nickle corner and perhaps some actual depth at many positions, including LB and OT.

  28. Browsing from DC Says:

    Yeah Vaughn did great 2 years ago with a good OL and Arians. Last year he would have been run up the gut into a solid wall of defenders just like Lenny and White for no gain. Fix the line and scheme up some blocking and we should be ok this year.

  29. GumboIsForWinner Says:

    We overrate our own players too much. Vaughn is pedestrian at best. If this were baseball he’d be a 0.0 WAR RB. No better or worse than somebody you can get in the 7th round or off a practice squad somewhere.
    White is probably of average ability among starting RBs.

  30. BUCman Says:

    I agree that Ke’Shawn Vaughn has been underutilized and underated. IMO he is a better back than White. White is being overhyped. White has no special qualities. He has average speed, average power, no wiggle, and runs too upright. Jason Licht is promoting White because he drafted him and is praying he improves over last years 3.7 yards per carry. What a disaster last years draft was! The best pick last year was the punter.

  31. Just Leave Trask Alone Says:

    White doesn’t seem electric to me. No suddenness. Not high twitch. Runs upright.

    Decent hands. Seems to have good instincts which carries him, but he’s not a star tailback in my book. Vaughn might have better upside. Edmonds has a fork in him. He looked done last year.

    I’d rate Tampa RBs meh

  32. TonySoprano Says:

    I have no idea what Licht saw in KV. He’s not fast, quick, big, shifty, not is he a good pass catcher. For a professional NFL running back, he’s below average at everything. He could’ve been a 7th rounder/UDFA, can’t believe we blew a 3rd on him.

  33. Goatfarmer Says:

    I rate posters who put their fantasy boi in their screen name way below “meh.”

  34. Ed McSherry Says:

    I’m not impressed with Rachaad White critics. They write too upright, and apparently didn’t watch the games last year; especially “The Munich Game.”