No Legs, No Chance?

May 18th, 2023

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It remains the eternal question for Buc Nation: why don’t we have one of those?

The phrase “one of those” pertains to the annual search for a dynamic young quarterback to build around. It’s never happened around these parts and now a new wrinkle has emerged.

In a league where mobile quarterbacks are all the rage, the Bucs have been stuck with dinosaurs under center. One of these years, it’s going to be time for pocket change.

Kyle Trask

Just look at the quarterbacks who have started more than two seasons in Tampa — Doug Williams, Steve DeBerg, Vinny Testaverde, Trent Dilfer, Brad Johnson, Josh Freeman, Jameis Winston and Tom Brady.

Is there anyone on that list who kept defensive coordinators up at night because of their mobility?

Williams never rushed for more than 370 yards in a season as a Buccaneer. DeBerg couldn’t move. Testaverde was an exceptional athlete who rarely escaped the pocket. Dilfer couldn’t dodge Hugh Culverhouse. Johnson had no wheels. Freeman had success on the ground but Buc coaches told him not to run. Despite a few big runs, Winston could have been timed with a sundial and Brady ran for all of 86 yards during his 50-game career with Tampa Bay.

Alas, the upcoming quarterback competition between Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask won’t change this narrative.

Mayfield has never averaged more than 10 rushing yards per game during his five NFL seasons. Trask averaged 0.4 yards per carry at the University of Florida in 132 rush attempts. That’s not a typo … that’s a travesty.

“The mobile quarterback has the ability to really own the time of possession because he’s a guy who can constantly move the sticks,” says Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich. “You can’t pressure them necessarily like you want because your rush lanes have to be perfect.”

That’s the kind of challenge Todd Bowles faces early this season when Tampa Bay faces Chicago and Philadelphia in successive weeks.

Jalen Hurts is the second of two run-threat quarterbacks the Bucs will deal with in September.

Justin Fields just ran for 1,143 yards and 8 touchdowns for the Bears. In the past two seasons, Jalen Hurts has accounted for 1,544 yards and 23 scores on the ground. Along with Lamar Jackson, they are in the vanguard of changing the way NFL general managers and scouts look at the position.

“The only pure pocket passers in the NFL right now are guys who have been in the league for 15 years and have so much knowledge and experience that it allows them to make up for their lack of athleticism,” says NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah. “As a young guy coming into the league, if you’re not athletic, you’ve got no chance.”

Kyler Murray, Josh Allen, Daniel Jones and Patrick Mahomes are at their best while extending plays and ratcheting up the pressure on defenders. Joe Burrow isn’t known as a scrambler, but he ran for 28 first downs last season. Mayfield has never registered more than 18 first downs on the ground.

Now the Bucs have to deal with Bryce Young twice a season in Charlotte. Bowles must also prepare for Houston’s C.J. Stroud, another first-year quarterback who moves well.

The 2024 draft is topped by a pair of mobile passers who already have NFL owners salivating. Caleb Williams of Southern Cal ran for 382 yards and 10 TDs last year while North Carolina’s Drake Maye ran for 698 yards and 7 scores, averaging a whopping 13 rushing attempts per game.

The NFL has waved goodbye to old-school quarterbacks like Brady, Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger in recent years. In their place are youngbloods thriving on the outskirts of the pocket.

“There are two separate types of mobile quarterbacks,” Ulbrich says. “The ones that scramble to run and those that scramble to throw. They are both pains in the butt.”

One day, the Bucs will join the pain party under center. Until then, keep your eyes focused on Tampa Bay’s pocket watch.

61 Responses to “No Legs, No Chance?”

  1. D-Rok Says:

    Due to the predicted, and known, lack of longevity for running/scrambling QB’s, I wonder when the league will run out of these types of QB’s? Would the league go back to pocket-passers after all the good runners retire after only 8-10 years? Just perusing the possibilities.

    Good article, Ira, thanks.

  2. BucsFanSince1976 Says:

    Caesars has Bucs at +800 to win NFC South – Good wager there at 8-1.

  3. BBQBUC Says:

    IRA: “Why don’t we have one of those?”

    Because they don’t win Super Bowls. They only appease the wokesters.

  4. Andrew Fish Says:

    mobile QBs have been all the rage for years. The best QBs are the ones that have great pocket awareness like Brady, Manning, Big Ben, Brees, Etc. They extended the plays by moving around that pocket and helping keep the oline between them and the defender. What happens when a mobile qb starts losing there legs. they have a shorter shelf life.

  5. Brandon Says:

    Trask averaged 0.4 yards per carry at the University of Florida in 132 rush attempts. That’s not a typo … that’s a travesty


    Totally misleading stat. In college, sacks are counted as rushing attempts and yards lost on sacks subtract from rushing totals. Trask is by no means a great runner, but isn’t nearly as much of a statue as Brady.

    Williams was very mobile. Steve Young was the best scrambler and most mobile QB the team has ever had… and we gave him away to draft Testaverde. For the record, I wrote the Bucs front office as part of an English assignment, and begged the team to keep Young and not draft Testaverde. Even back in grade school I was better than most GMs in Bucs history. Freeman was very mobile as was Winston. Both were considered slow by their 40 times but so was Jake Plummer who, at one point, was considered the most mobile QB in the NFL. It isn’t always about straight line speed.

    Having a QB that can move around is not necessarily a necessity but for young QBs, it serves as their best check down option when things are covered. Mayfield is mobile enough, and Trask doesn’t move extremely well but is a load in the open field. Dilfer actually had half decent wheels and could really lay a lick on a defender, like he did against a Detroit DB that he ran over in the late 90’s.

    Being a scrambler is highly overrated. Mobility is nice but running for yards isn’t what you really want from that position. Look at the best teams in the AFC. Burrows and Mahomes CAN run… but they don’t. They keep plays alive so they can deliver a dagger. Saying we need mobility and using Justin Fields and Lamar Jackson as examples pretty much proves my point.

  6. xhotwingsx Says:

    Mobile QBs sure are fun to watch, but they are usually getting injured. I am trying to think of any modern mobile QBs that had longevity? Randall Cunningham is one of the only ones, although he proved to be a great pocket passer later in his career. Vick as well, but he became a mediocre pocket passer as well.

    Bottom line, I would rather have someone that is comfortable destroying teams in the pocket and has the ability to safely run for positive gains. Or else we are going to lose them quickly like Robert Griffith III, Kyler, Tua, etc…

  7. Hodad Says:

    Kyle Murray, Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson, all missed time last year due to running. Now Ira wants Drake Meye to rush 13 times a game in an NFL 17 game season. Good luck with that. You pay QBs to pass, not run. I thought Ira knew the game of football.

  8. Who Says Says Can't Say Says:

    Players like Derrick Brooks neutralize that mobility (see Michael Vick). High mobility qb’s are good to win you a lot of regular season games, but high quality defenses like you’d meet in the playoffs can handle them.

    Let’s see if Lamar Jackson wins a Super Bowl with his legs.

  9. Cobraboy Says:

    In the history of the NFL, how many running QBs have won Super Bowls?

    It is still a passing league. Fact is, because of practice mandates in HS and college, passing QBs are harder to develop, so running QBs get the glory.

    Judge a QB on the ability to read D’s, quickly find the open receiver, and deliver the ball accurately. IF he can do that, THEN “mobility” aka running for yardage, is a bonus. If not, a QB is Bobby Douglas.

    I’d rather spent time developing the mental aspect of QB than trying to get a runner to stay in the pocket to look for a receiver first while also developing mentally

    Yeah, runners are exciting. I don’t care. They also have short shelf lives.

  10. Buc4evr Says:

    Thought I read that Canales was running RPO plays ?

  11. Brandon Says:

    Cobraboy Says:
    May 18th, 2023 at 11:35 am
    In the history of the NFL, how many running QBs have won Super Bowls?

    It is still a passing league. Fact is, because of practice mandates in HS and college, passing QBs are harder to develop, so running QBs get the glory.

    Judge a QB on the ability to read D’s, quickly find the open receiver, and deliver the ball accurately. IF he can do that, THEN “mobility” aka running for yardage, is a bonus. If not, a QB is Bobby Douglas.

    I’d rather spent time developing the mental aspect of QB than trying to get a runner to stay in the pocket to look for a receiver first while also developing mentally

    Yeah, runners are exciting. I don’t care. They also have short shelf lives.

    Great scramblers… ONE Steve Young. John Elway won two, but only after no longer being a mad man on the run after he got much older. Being able to run can help win games but is very unlikely to win you a Super Bowl in the long run.

  12. HC Grover Says:

    Make R. White the QB.

  13. BBQBUC Says:


    Good job destroying Ira’s stat about Trask averaging 0.4 yards per carry rushing at Florida. College stats include the negative yardage from sacks in making that calculation. Not only that, but Tom Brady averaged 0.2 yards per carry rushing in 2020 when we won the Super Bowl! So I’ll take the 0.4! LOL!

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Freeman & Winston could move quite well but were discouraged…..

  15. TDTB2022 Says:

    Give me a pocket passer all day!
    Let the RBs run the ball.
    I don’t mind getting another Lombardi trophy with a pocket passer.

    Good job Ira!

  16. Dooley Says:

    Dual threat QBs aren’t some new phenomenon, it’s the acceptance and application of that style play of those QBs that has changed as time has gone by and I see it as an evolution of the position coming full circle as the QB position before offenses evolved in the 50’s & 60’s was really just another running back. Now offenses are evolving to take advantage of those QBs while defenses scrambled to find ways to now take what could be seen as a 10 vs. 11 advantage with a pocket passer as opposed to dedicating 1 of 11 defenders to “QB Spy” being invented to contain players like Steve McNair or Mike Vick or Cam Newton. The taboo is gone now, and it’s almost like you have to be a servicable athlete with the mind to play QB to be successful in todays’ NFL.

    “Because they don’t win Super Bowls. They only appease the wokesters.”

    5-time SB champ & HOFer Roger Staubach would probably disagree, and we’re 3 months removed from watching the two style of mobile QBs the article eludes to in its’ conclusion w/Hurts & Mahomes played in this years SB. Steve Young won a few ‘ships and if we’re expanding it to “mobile QBs that have taken their teams to super bowls” the debate on their ability changes.

  17. Coburn Says:

    Never found having a scrambling qb that appealing. I guess scrambling to throw is nice to have, doubt me out altogether on the other though. They say pocket qb have to have that much more to make up for lack of athleticism. I see it the opposite. Guys use their athleticism to make up for lack of reading defense, pocket awareness, quick decision, and yes protection. It’s what you do when the play breaks down and can lead to injury

  18. rrsrq Says:

    @BBQBUC, the question was mobility, I do believe Patrick Mahommes fits in that category as a mobile QB and has won two. Bucs would have beat the Chiefs by 40 if it was not for Mahommes ability to extend plays. Nope, Hurts did not win a SB, but he was there. Josh Allen mobile enough to almost get there, even Rogers has pocket mobility… this is what the article is about, not every running scrambling QB that runs for 500 years, but I will take a Lamar Jackson any time.

  19. rrsrq Says:

    Bucs stopped Jameis from running as well, he was shifty enough to get first downs and touchdowns with his legs, I think he had 6 rushing TDs in his rookie season. Imagine if they did not force him to stay in the pocket and pass, that is likely 10 less INTs and a winning season

  20. D-Rok Says:


    I believe Staubach won TWO Superbowls, not 5.

  21. BBQBUC Says:

    Check out this list of the quarterbacks who have won Super Bowls since 2000. All thoroughbreds, I tell you! LOL!

    Trent Dilfer

    Tom Brady

    Brad Johnson

    Tom Brady

    Tom Brady

    Ben Roethlisberger

    Peyton Manning

    Eli Manning

    Ben Roethlisberger

    Drew Brees

    Aaron Rodgers

    Eli Manning

    Joe Flacco

    Russell Wilson

    Tom Brady

    Peyton Manning

    Tom Brady

    Nick Foles

    Tom Brady

    Patrick Mahomes

    Tom Brady

    Matthew Stafford

    Patrick Mahomes

  22. Dooley Says:


    typo for sure, I was trying to meld the fact he made it to 4 SBs, but won 2 all while trying to through TSA up here at Kennedy airport and hit 5 with chubby fingers

  23. Greg G Says:

    One of two quotes supporting Ira’s position comes from…wait for it, the Jets defensive coordinator. Really? Let’s look at the list of winning QB’s from BBQBuc above. Now let’s cross reference any instances where said QB played for the Jets.

    Oh that’s right. Nevermind.

    I’d like to hear from Belichek, or Reid, or Tomlin on what they think about the critical importance of a mobile QB is. Heck, I’d accept a take from Bowles or Arians. But the Jets DC, I’ll pass.

    Interesting read, I think I’ll choose to disagree.

  24. Cobraboy Says:

    Avoiding a rush can be done with deft movements, like we saw with Brady. That is an entirely different metric than a running QB.

  25. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Joe Kapp, who passed away this month, averaged 5+ yards rushing during his career with Vikings which included a SB win over Ira’s Chiefs.

  26. Beej Says:

    Running QB’s generally have a career about as long as good running backs

  27. BBQBUC Says:

    Alanbucsfan Says: “Joe Kapp, who passed away this month, averaged 5+ yards rushing during his career with Vikings which included a SB win over Ira’s Chiefs.”

    1. Joe Kapp lost to the Chiefs in the Super Bowl.
    2. Joe Kapp never won a Super Bowl.
    3. The Vikings never won a Super Bowl.
    4. Joe Kapp averaged only 12 yards rushing per game, on 2.3 carries per game. His measly rushing was a non-factor in the Vikings offense.

  28. Mike Johnson Says:

    The mobile QB is the way and the wave of the NFL future Buc Fans. Get use to it. The daze of the statue of Liberty QB are slowly fading. You can drop back and stand there occasionally. But not every down. Linemen are simply to strong and quick nowadays. Don’t worry though, Both baker and Trask will have to run for their lives here and there.

  29. Kevin V Says:

    I’m aware of the stats, but if I was a QB, I think I would prefer to take my chances running. Standing still and getting clobbered, especially from the blind side looks brutal.

  30. Beej Says:

    You just fold up like a wet blanket and hit the deck, live to fight another day. Some QB’s just stand there and hold the ball until the bitter end

  31. D-Rome Says:

    I thought Jay-Miss had better mobility than he was given credit for. He wasn’t a running QB but he was faster than given credit for and could extend plays.

  32. Jeff’s grandpa Says:

    Give me a pocket passer all day running qbs dont last

  33. BringBucsBack Says:

    Ira, that was a short-sighted, hot-take article and the JBFers have enumerated, fairly well, why.

    Joe, I’ll write football articles with more experienced intelligence, if you’d like.

  34. Geno711 Says:

    Ira, Joe Burrow processing time is what makes him elite.

    The travesty is articles like this that suggest that yards gained rushing is a more important factor for a quarterback than his processing time. It is just not the case.

    You may be trying to put lipstick on the rushing QB, but it is their completion percentage, lack of turnovers and processing time that make the difference for NFL quarterbacks.

    I will take guys with those traits over a guy who rushes for 300 yards in a season as a QB any day.

    Jalen Hurts did not become a better running quarterback in his 3rd season. His improvements were in completion percentage, time to throw, and interceptions. That is what made the difference in people thinking him elite.

  35. Tampa2ATL Says:

    “Solder couldn’t dodge Hugh Culverhouse” …….almost spit out my coffee laughing at that unexpected jab

  36. Tampa2ATL Says:


  37. BBQBUC Says:

    Mike Johnson Says: “The mobile QB is the way and the wave of the NFL future Buc Fans.”

    Riiiiight. Because they are proven Super Bowl winners! LOL!

  38. Pickgrin Says:

    Good mobility is obviously a bonus – but that has to be on top of the most important aspects of Quarterbacking.

    Seeing the field – pre snap. Knowing what you are looking at and correctly anticipating what the defense will do after the ball is snapped. Spotting the best potential match ups. Changing to a better fit if you don’t like what you see from the Defense vs the play that was called. Recognizing potential blitzers and adjusting your protection scheme if necessary by communicating with your blockers. This is all pre snap….

    Then – post snap, its going through your reads – quickly finding the “most open” receiving target and getting the ball out quickly and accurately. All while ‘sensing’ (because your eyes are downfield) where and when the pressure is coming from – and being capable of stepping up or out to avoid said pressure and buy an extra second or 2 to get the ball out cleanly. And above all – ‘good decision making’ is most important. Don’t throw into double coverage – don’t throw high over the middle – don’t try and throw across your body to the middle of the field – etc….

    “Running” QBs who don’t excel at all of the above will never be “good” NFL QBs.

    Just looking at the list of SB winning QBs over the last 20 years shows what it takes to be among the best. Mahomes is really the only QB who runs well on that list – and Patrick is hardly a run first QB either. He does everything he should pre and post snap and usually only runs to buy more time or when forced from the pocket by quick pressure.

  39. ATLBuc Says:

    If a qb has to rely on his legs he has a bad line. How did Mahommes’ legs help him when he played against the mighty buccaneers in the Superbowl?

  40. Beej Says:

    Brady led the team in rushing one game last year, so… yeah

  41. Pickgrin Says:

    To be fair – Aaron Rodgers was also a very good runner earlier in his career when he won a SB. But AR also was stellar at all the things a good QB has to be good at and was an absolute surgeon usually with his passing accuracy…

  42. BBQBUC Says:

    Brady averaged 0.2 yards per carry in 2020 when we won the Super Bowl so there’s that. 😛

  43. Geno711 Says:

    Four times Aaron Rodgers won the MVP. He never did rush for 300 yards in a season in those 4 MVP seasons. Being mobile is good. He was pretty mobile two of those four seasons. But it was his arm and mind that were more important than his mobility.

    Being a dinosaur (or just any dude in our current Cenozoic era) that excels at pre-snap and post-snap reads is even better.

  44. Beej Says:

    To my knowledge, there is one running quarterback in the NFL over 30, and that’s Russell Wilson.

    I suppose you could start looking at quarterbacks the same way you do running backs. You sign them in the first round by the time their 5th year option comes around they’re done and you got to get another one

  45. Cobraboy Says:

    With the vast, vast majority of running QBs, their legs make try up for their lack of noggin’…and ultimately fall short.

    Ability to avoid the rush should not be confused with “running.” Hell, even Peyton Manning and Dan Marino, as statues, could avoid a rush.

  46. PanthersSuck! Says:

    Brady rushed for over 1,000 yards!!!

  47. Pelsbuc61 Says:

    Ask RG3 how’d that career go with his legs.

  48. HC Grover Says:

    Ira we do not have’ one of those’…Becuz we had Tom Brady.

  49. HC Grover Says:

    Do the receivers scramble too on the scramble and throw play?

  50. View from 132 Says:

    This just in… blog comments from old white dudes favor QBs that can’t run. Shocker.

  51. unbelievable Says:

    LOFL, sorry Ira but you’re way off here.

    No one is wishing they had Justin Fields, no matter how much he runs for.

    Being able to scramble CAN be nice when a play breaks down. It can also lead to you just losing way more yards and/or possession of the football.

    In the list of most important traits for a good QB, being mobile is maybe 5th or 6th on the list, at best:

    1. Accurate passing ability on short, mid and long range throws
    2. Ability to read defenses pre and post snap
    3. Footwork in the pocket
    4. Height
    5. Hand size
    6. Mobility

  52. Alanbucsfan Says:

    BBQBuc- Correct, Chiefs won that SB, brain fart on my part.

  53. firethecannons Says:

    one name: Jordan Travis cue the rage

  54. Duane Says:

    The best asset of any quarterback sits atop his shoulders. The second best asset of a quarterback is attached to his shoulder. The third best asset of a quarterback is everything else.

    Being mobile is an asset, but designed quarterback runs being called more than twice a game is how you turn a quarterback into a retired quarterback.

  55. Stormy Says:

    QBs who use their legs to buy time is one thing, but those who can’t or won’t learn to read a defense will never win a thing.

    Most important quality for a qb is between the ears. Manning,Brady etc proves this. Won’t change. Defensive coordinators will scheme away run first qbs. But one that can diagnose a defense and pick it apart is unstoppable.

  56. garro Says:

    The NFL is making it a capital offense to look sideways at a QB so expect more. They are killing the game of football with this nonsense! If your QB gets drilled by a linebacker a few times he is not gonna want to run much, and his HC is gonna tell him to cut it out! But…

  57. nick houllis Says:

    To me the Bucs season goes one of two ways:
    1999 Dungy ball, great Defense keeps score down, Bucs veteran Baker Mayfield playing the role of Trent Dilfer, leads team until late season injury brings in fan fave inexperienced Kyle Trask playing the role of Shawn King to help push the team over the top into playoffs.


    its 2013 and Baker plays the role of Josh McCown until winless Bucs have nothing to lose and put in Trask playing the role of Glennon to coast the Bucs to the finish line…. No.1 pick and FSU’s Jameis Winston aka USC’s Caleb Williams!

    I really don’t see anything in between, although Bucs coach shoving 5 dash 2 in the faces of Bucs press Ala Sam Wyche would be entertaining.

  58. Dooley Says:

    You can be smart/intelligent and superiorly athletic, idk why some of you guys are talking like reading a defense comes at the sake of being athletic enough to convert a 3rd & 4 with your legs if…..wait for it…you don’t like what you see progressing through your reads. It’s not a this/that thing

  59. matthew a veal Says:

    if trask becomes qb, we drafft a running

  60. matthew a veal Says:

    if trask becomes qb, we draft a running qb to usher in a new era

    its not a happy way to start

    baker we draft a running qb unless we are sb contenders

  61. mark2001 Says:

    Mobile, yes. But I’d say, depend on the legs too much and you won’t last.