“I Don’t Know When The Value Of A Yard Got Diminished”

May 28th, 2023

Running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn.

It’s widely known that running backs aren’t paid as much as they used to be and a lot of personnel gurus don’t value them greatly in the modern game.

It was a quite a moment on the Ira Kaufman Podcast four years ago when Bucco Bruce Arians declared, “I don’t overpay for that position.”

Arians wasn’t joking.

The Bucs ended up having two dominant seasons while paying receivers huge money and riding running back Ronald Jones on his inexpensive rookie contract and paying Leonard Fournette just a few million per season.

“Playoff Lenny” later signed a big-money deal before the 2022 campaign.

Bucs general manager Jason Licht told Joe in Phoenix this year that he would not place the Bucs among teams that don’t want to pay running backs big money, but Licht acknowledged it is a growing trend across the NFL.

Joe got to thinking about all this again because 49ers star running back Christian McCaffrey was asked about the crash of the running back market on The Rich Eisen Show last week.

McCaffrey doesn’t understand it, he said. He sees slot receivers (Russell Gage?) and outside receivers breaking the bank when running backs who eat up lots of yards are being “underrvalued.”

Joe loved a one-liner McCaffrey droped. “I don’t know when the value of a yard got diminished.”

McCaffrey doesn’t buy the argument that injuries are more prevalent at running back and he says defensive coordinators are as scared of RBs as they are WRs.

Joe was most focused on the “value of a yard” comment.

The Bucs averaged 3.4 yards per carry last season and had the overall worst rushing attack in the NFL. The run game was miserable, including in the red zone.

If somehow the Bucs, with Rachaad White, Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Chase Edmonds carrying the rock this season, could improve just one yard per carry, they’d become a true middle-of-the-pack rushing team in the NFL.

That should greatly help their conversion percentage on third down and keep defenses guessing. It also would bolster the argument that a team can have a solid running game with inexpensive, no-name backs.

One yard.

It’s not so easy.

24 Responses to ““I Don’t Know When The Value Of A Yard Got Diminished””

  1. HC Grover Says:

    PPY is a nice stat. Price per yard for what u pay a skill position player.

  2. Allen Lofton Says:

    According to the Bucs new OC, who helped the Seahawks running game improve their passing game is music to Todd Bowles ears.
    If it works in Seattle why not Tampa. The Bucs are betting the House on it. Go Bucs.

  3. BucU Says:

    HC Grover that’s a interesting new Stat u came up with.

  4. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    “McCaffrey doesn’t buy the argument that injuries are more prevalent at running back…”

    That is pretty ironic coming from him.

  5. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    The Bucs are betting on nothing this year. And that’s alright…this year.

  6. Buddha Says:

    The Rays were picked for third in their division. They are dominating with two of their star pitchers out probably for the year. They play with gusto and passion. Why can’t our Bucs surprise too.

  7. Mark A Swygert Says:

    Since it’s baseball season I’ll use an analogy from that sport. The Bucs are taking big swings all over the roster. Let’s hope they get at least a few hits. If enough of their gambles pay off maybe they can field a competitive team It isn’t likely but it is not impossible. The infusion of youthful energy is exciting but it is also a source of anxiety. They are going to have to play a lot of guys with minimal to no experience.

  8. BigMacAttack Says:

    @Joes. Any word on rookie Sean Tucker from Syracuse??? I’m sure he probably isn’t cleared yet but is he at 1 Buc with the team or in the facility recovering lifting anything lol?

  9. Durango95 Says:

    Obviously McCaffrey makes a proven point. Bucs need to add another RB. The good news is- they have plenty of time between now and the start of the season to make it happen.

  10. BigMacAttack Says:

    Sean Tucker???

  11. Lou. Says:

    The team is taking some strong swings at UDFA runners like Sean Tucker of Syracuse and Ronnie Brown out of Shepherd. Tucker came cheap due to medical issues while Brown comes from a small college like Licht loves. Those two do not seem to be camp meat.

  12. Joe Says:

    @Joes. Any word on rookie Sean Tucker from Syracuse???

    Todd Bowles has unofficially put Sean Tucker in the same category as Ryan Jensen last year. Bowles said there is no timetable for when Tucker can get on the practice field. And naturally he wouldn’t speak to what specifically is wrong.

  13. lambchop Says:

    McCaffrey makes a valid point. But, there are more RB by committees used in the NFL. I think RBs who can turn the corner deserve more money than RBs that go through the middle, if we’re talking about potential injuries and YPC, unless you have a guy who can consistently break tackles and get 3-4 YPC through the middle. Otherwise, running b/w tackles is a “throw any able body” tactic.

    Not every RB is on McCaffrey’s level.

  14. gp Says:

    Sure would love to see some truly bruising fullback play leading our running back through the line.
    Sadly, college programs aren’t producing them any more.
    We do have one guy on the team who would/could fit the position, and he’s not currently a tight end. Don’t expect to see it except in gimmick plays though. And if we see many of those this year it will probably mean the season is already lost.
    Make the switch official and early though, and this season might get rather interesting.

  15. Rod Munch Says:

    What was the yards per carry when the play wasn’t a 1st down run up the middle and everyone in the stadium knew what was coming?

  16. TDTB2022 Says:

    Good job, Joe!

    Ira would be proud.

  17. Rod Munch Says:

    The reason RBs are paid so little has to do with supply and demand. You can get a RB off the waiver wire and ride them to a SB. That isn’t happening at WR or TE. It’s really that simple.

  18. Rod Munch Says:

    If White is a 3-down back, he’ll get 2000 total yards (1300/700). If they use him in more in platoon, he’ll be closer to 1500 total (1000/500) yards.

  19. FrontFour Says:

    Remember, it’s the O line. I like the pre-camp line up. Bunch of big guys that can stomp you. If they can play the running game gets a whole lot better. I’d also like to see Vita lead blocking for Ko on short yardage.

  20. NutterBuccer Says:

    Byron Leftwich is gone. End of story that 1 yard extra will be gained. I loved lenny but damn, if he got hit before or at the line of scrimmage he fell like a ton of bricks. He had to get in space to be effective

  21. RustyRhinos Says:

    McCaffery has missed over 18 games in his time in the NFL,
    Sep 20, 2020 NFL Pedal Ankle (high) Sprain Grade 3 McCaffrey suffered a right high-ankle sprain during Week 2’s loss to the Buccaneers and missed six games
    Nov 8, 2020 NFL Shoulder A/C Joint Sprain McCaffrey injured his shoulder on the last drive of Week 9’s loss to the Chiefs. He missed 4 games
    Dec 9, 2020 NFL Thigh Glute Strain McCaffrey’s thigh tightened up ahead of Week 14 game. He missed 4 games due to that injury.
    Sep 23, 2021 NFL Thigh Hamstring Strain Grade 2 McCaffrey suffered a strained hamstring in Week 3’s Panthers win over the Texans. He missed five games.
    Nov 28, 2021 NFL Pedal Ankle Sprain Grade 2 McCaffrey rolled his left ankle in Week 12’s loss to the Dolphins. He was placed on injured reserve Monday and has been ruled out for the remainder of the season.

    Yeah I will take his word on injuries and pay with a larger grain of salt.. Good RB, glad we do not have to play against him twice a season.

  22. SOEbuc Says:

    I promise ke’ will pick up yards

  23. realistic-optimistic Says:

    The problem is not that teams don’t value good RBs, it’s that legit 3-down bellcow RBs are like unicorns. Even the ones people call bellcow backs get injured too often and the team has to have contingency plans in place. The days of Dickerson getting 35 carries a game are long gone.

    It’s funny that you focused on CMC, Joe. How many games did he miss while in Carolina? Injuries and fresh legs are the reason RB-by-committee was created. You’re taking a huge risk as a GM if you sink 8+ million into your RB1.

    The Bucs saw plenty of D’Onta Foreman and Chuba Hubbard the last few years. SF was lucky CMC stayed healthy last year. Roll the dice again this year and see what happens.

  24. BigMacAttack Says:

    Thank you RustyRhino OG for putting McCaffreys injuries down. The Bucs owned McC when he was a Panther and that was the few times he was on the field. He’s been lucky as a 49’r but it won’t last. Toast

    Thx Joe for Tucker update