What Was Todd Bowles Trying To Say About The Running Backs?

June 14th, 2023

Bucs coach Todd Bowles.

Now this is just weird. And Joe can only guess that Bucs coach Todd Bowles may not have been a Playoff Lenny kinda guy. But you decide.

Joe is a big Playoff Lenny guy. And everything Joe has seen and heard about Playoff Lenny was that he was fantastic in the locker room — once he turned his career around with a dynamite 2020 postseason not long after he and former Bucs Super Bowl-winning coach Bucco Bruce Arians crossed swords.

Think about it: If Playoff Lenny was such a rotten guy, would Tom Brady have been in his corner like he was? Would the Bucs have re-signed him? Would the Belicheats have tried to sign him?

Yesterday, Bowles was asked why he thought the running attack would be so much better after the Bucs had the worst rushing attack in the NFL last year. The Bucs really didn’t add anyone to try to improve the running back room.

(No, Joe is not counting Chase Edmonds, a guy who has Dare Ogunbowale-like numbers. Dudes like that are not catalysts for a dominant running game. Sorry.)

The only real change in the Bucs’ running backs room has been the departure of Playoff Lenny. So Joe thought it was very odd the way Bowles talked about last year’s running backs yesterday after underwear football practice.

“Just the chemistry starting out,” Bowles said of the difference. “You want it to be different. I’ll be more confident once it happens in pads, but I see the cohesiveness coming together right now so that’s a plus for us.

“Everybody is learning the same thing at the same time so the communication has been good.”

How did this group all of a sudden get chemistry? How did they suddenly become cohesive? Again, the only real change was no more Playoff Lenny.

Is Bowles trying to say Playoff Lenny was a cancer?

Two years ago Joe remembers Playoff Lenny speaking of how he thought the Jags backstabbed him. Joe even asked Playoff Lenny, “Are you saying Jacksonville tried to blacklist you?”

Playoff Lenny replied to Joe, “You tell me.”

To hear Bowles say the Bucs’ running backs without Playoff Lenny are suddenly building chemistry and becoming cohesive — what’s that all about?

Or was SpongeBob the cancer?

35 Responses to “What Was Todd Bowles Trying To Say About The Running Backs?”

  1. Tim Says:

    Perhaps Lenny looked at it like “There’s me and then there’s everyone else”, and perhaps now it’s like an “All of us” mentality. So that could be where the cohesiveness comes from.

  2. Bucsfan13 Says:

    I’m more worried about how thin we are at the position. I’m not sold on White as RB1. I know some fans think the guy is the next Marshall Faulk, but I’m not buying it. I saw a few flashes, but I wasn’t impressed for the most part.

  3. Bucschamp Says:

    I miss bully Lenny

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Perhaps he is considering the absence of Byron in the mix……..

    And, I don’t trust Bowles’ opinion with anything offence.

  5. K2 Says:

    Coach speak, is just that…very little info.

  6. Onetrickpony Says:

    Me too,bucsfan13. I don’t see anything special there, hope I’m wrong

  7. Lt. Dan Says:

    “If Playoff Lenny was such a rotten guy, would Tom Brady have been in his corner like he was?” I suppose Brady would have. He had whack job Antonio Browns back.

  8. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    What ever happened to undraft RB pickup, Sean Tucker? Was he ever medically cleared to practice?

  9. Tim Says:

    The only real change in the Bucs’ running backs room has been the departure of Playoff Lenny. -Joe

    Sean Tucker and Ronnie Brown both look to be good pickups although Tucker likely won’t be ready to go until Training Camp. I think Joe didn’t consider these as addressing the position because they were UDFA’s and until the pads come on, they are just big question marks. But IMO they both might find a spot on the team.

  10. Dooley Says:

    Running Back committee. Look at the RBs Seattle has used the last 5-6 season. Thomas Rawls, Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, & Alex Collins. Those guys aren’t necessarily household names or considered top RBs, but that didn’t stop Seattle from bilking the talent in their RB room for solid production in their run game.

    I expect Canales to bring some of that same energy establishing this offense in year 1 and do what it takes to get the most out of White, Vaughn, and whomever stick between Laird, Edmonds, & Brown. Outside of personnel everything about our run game is subjected to be changed moving from leaning on duo blocking to being a predominately zone-run team which can make a big difference even with the talent we’re carrying over.

  11. Legendary Scout Says:

    I know he isn’t Jim Brown by any standard but Chase Edmonds has averaged over 5 YPC twice in his career and catches balls. He’s more like 2015 Charles Sims than any version of Dare Ogbunwale.

  12. rrsrq Says:

    Playoff Lenny was pedestrian for the Bucs, he benefitted year one because of the offense and a helluva offensive line and he pouted when Rojo got touches, I believe Rojo left in free agency because of Lenny. He probably had an attitude when we know Rachad White looked more explosive and with more touches probably would have outplayed Fournette. I like Lenny – but was he a team first guy, probably as long as he was RB 1. I do think the room is thin right now, and once some cap room is cleared by restructuring, we will see another RB brought in or see what Tucker has

  13. Statguy Says:

    Dare averaged a career 3.3 yards a carry. Edmonds 4.5 a carry and 8 per a catch is closer to McCaffery (4.6 & 8.5) than Dare

  14. Cobraboy Says:

    Last season Fournette came in fat and lazy, and it showed.

    I appreciate him for the SB, but the guy was nothing special last season.

    Maybe he’s crisp. Isn’t he still homeless?

  15. Buddha Says:

    Addition by subtraction!

  16. Marine Buc Says:

    Bucs need to add one more quality FA RB after they restructure Mike Evans’ deal.

    I don’t want Fournette back… Too slow and he will not like being the RB2.

    First chooice would be Dalvin Cook but K. Hunt would be a cheaper backup option…

  17. Brandon Says:

    “If Playoff Lenny was such a rotten guy, would Tom Brady have been in his corner like he was?”

    Poor example… didn’t Brady vouch for and bend over backwards for Antonio Brown?

    Lenny averaged UNDER FOUR yards a carry four times in his six year career. There’s a valid reason for that. As big as he is, he wasn’t a true power runner, way more often than not, his legs went dead on contact. He’d launch himself into tacklers instead of keeping his legs moving. He lacked quickness and simply couldn’t put his foot in the ground and head up field. He tiptoed to the line and lateral to the line and had a hard time getting going. With little to no agility, he also lacked speed to be a true breakaway threat. As a receiver he had good hands but lacked the speed and agility to be a true route runner out of the backfield. He was simply a dump off or screen guy. There were no routes, just run to or stand in a space and catch the ball. And once he caught it, he rarely could break a tackle from even the smallest defensive back. He simply wasn’t a threat and his stats back this up 100%. Sure, he could block, and that’s why Brady liked hjm. But if Brady were concerned more about team success and not personal safety, he should have pushed the Bucs to get a RB that was good at running and not just pass blocking. Fournette was/is extremely overrated. His 2020 postseason he ran like he was hungry… last season, he played well against Dallas… and that was it. There was absolutely nothing special about him and the fact that no team has bothered to sign him up to this point verifies this. Even Good Run, No Block Ronald Jones has a team… but not Fournette.

  18. View from 132 Says:

    Joe: If Playoff Lenny was such a rotten guy, would Tom Brady have been in his corner like he was?

    Uh… you mean like Antonio Brown, his former roommate? He let a complete asshat live with his family to increase his Super Bowl chances maybe 1 to 5%.

  19. Infomeplease Says:

    DC spreading out the o line will help considerably! Last year the oline was always so compacted it was hard to create gaps, yet alone, run through them. This year will be like night and day. I hope!

  20. R.O. Says:

    I just think he’s not throwing anyone under the Bus. Byron or Lenny. Its time to move on and see what these players can do in an Offense with a more diverse running “Attack”. Rather just handing the ball off crossing your fingers and hoping.

  21. Fred McNeil Says:

    Joe, I wouldn’t read anything into what Bowles said. I mean it’s possible to read something into it if you squint your eyes and look at it sideways, but I think he was just trying to get to the next question.
    I think Lenny’s gone simply because we could get about the same performance we got from him for about $1 million instead of $7 million. If he were to offer to come back for vet minimum we would probably welcome him back with open arms.

  22. Fred McNeil Says:

    Bowles was just trying to say nothing
    If Lenny would come back for vet minimum we would welcome him back with open arms.

  23. Fred McNeil Says:


  24. ModHairKen Says:

    You can have better chemistry without Fournette having been a cancer. Maybe they just get along better. Maybe the pay disparity is not an issue. Maybe they all like the same video games.

  25. sasquatch Says:

    Benign comments. Joe trying to make a story out of thin air.

  26. Marine Buc Says:

    Tom Brady wanted Fournette because he could pass block and was a solid receiving RB… It wasn’t due to his ability as a runner.

  27. Pickgrin Says:

    The Bucs upgraded their RB coach and seriously upgraded their running schemes via hiring Cannales as OC. His youthful exuberance is reportedly infecting the whole offense and the players are really enjoying the learning process as they absorb the details of the offense as a whole and focus on perfecting their roles within it….

    This is what Bowles was referring to…. it wasn’t a parting shot at Lenny.

  28. Defense Rules Says:

    Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t understand what RB ‘chemistry’ is. OLine chemistry? Sure. DLine chemistry? Yup. Same with LB chemistry & Secondary chemistry. Maybe even WR/TE chemistry. But RB chemistry?

    To me, chemistry relates to how well a position group works together on the field. Dunn & Alstott had good chemistry. Csonka & Kiick had good chemistry. Today though, we rarely if ever see 2 RBs on the field at the same time anymore. So what’s RB chemistry, going out to eat together once a week?

  29. Jimm Says:

    And reinforce above. There is a new leader in the running back room. The running back coach. Try contrasting the personalities of the former and the latter see if that doesn’t help.

  30. Dooley Says:

    “So what’s RB chemistry, going out to eat together once a week?”

    Being able to know they’ll both get shots to contribute w/o one having feeling alienated because he “thinks” he’s RB1, chemistry in the competition doesn’t necessarily have to be adversarial in order for it to work out best for both players AND the rest of the team.

    One guy has a rep while the other is watching, the other comes and can correct his teammate without there being some type of rift between them. “Each one teach one” and all that unity stuff from the 70’s and early 80’s I wasnt alive for

  31. lambchop Says:

    @Defense Rules,

    Probably the fact that RB2 is pouting about his lack of touches and RB1 has to go coax him to be team first and “we need you, dog!” in the middle of a game.

    It’s a distraction when a guy can’t be dialed in to his own play and has to divide his time to babysit his counter part. I mean they celebrated each others TDs, but you know when the other guy isn’t really rooting for you to be successful.

    I don’t fault Lenny for being that way, but if you’re that competitive, you don’t come to camp out of shape.

  32. Ben Harvey Says:

    I wouldnt read much into this, sounds like coach speak to me and perhaps he didnt have a great answer for the question and just mentioned some general sh$t.

  33. garro Says:

    Wow Joe Lenny a problem player from what Bowles said? That is quite a stretch.

    Come on man! Bowles had a problem with Lenny because he refused to stop dancing around in the backfield and just hit the hole. Yeah I know that there were not many to hit. But he didn’t have the quicks to be dancing around. Plus there were at times small creases that he refused to just put his head down and go.

    Bowles had enough last year if you recall him laying in to Lenny as he came off the field last year. After one of his tap dances. 3rd and short I believe.

  34. TDavis Says:

    Fournette just wasn’t a great RB last year. He did this little shuffle every time he got a handful, and he wasn’t that explosive. But basically the answer to every question about the offense last year is 6 words: Offensive Line and Bruce Arians’ offense.

  35. TDavis Says: