The Run Game Will Improve

July 28th, 2023

Only room to improve.

On face value, Joe can fully understand why folks are skeptical of the Bucs’ run game.

The Bucs, you may have heard, had the worst rushing attack in the NFL last season. And really, the only changes have been cosmetic at best. The Bucs really didn’t upgrade at running back for the league’s worst rushing attack. Strange.

(Joe knows a lot of folks are on the bandwagon of undrafted free agent Sean Tucker. In part due to his medical condition, yesterday was the first time Joe saw Tucker do anything, and it wasn’t much if you consider a four-yard run something. Given Rachaad White averaged 3.7 yards a carry last year, Joe guesses a four-yard run might just be something. Tucker could be a quality back, but Joe can’t jump on that hope chest after one carry in underwear football.)

However, stathead Warren Sharp believes the Bucs will be better based on their schedule, as Sharp wrote in his “Warren Sharp’s 2023 Football Preview.”

The rushing attack was abysmal in 2022 finishing with a league-worst -0.21 EPA/rush and the third-worst success rate. The running backs had the third-fewest yards before contact. The schedule of opposing rush defenses is projected to be easier, and the return of Ryan Jensen could spark more success for the running game.

Joe will also take a wild stab and suggest if Ryan Jensen can play, that should certainly help. (Joe finds it telling the Bucs have Jensen, recovering from a destroyed knee last July, on a pitch count this summer.)

Joe has two reasons to expect improvement in the run game.

1) From where it was at rock bottom, it can only improve.

2) Byron Leftwich had his access card to One Buc Palace deactivated.

13 Responses to “The Run Game Will Improve”

  1. DR. POPS Says:

    It’s a good thing you can’t deactivate a person.

  2. J Says:

    Tucker only had one run?

  3. Pickgrin Says:

    Better OLine with better run blockers

    Vastly improved run scheming and better timing on the called runs

    This is what will take our run game from 32nd to top 15.

    Oh – and Rachaad White gonna bust out with about 1200 rushing yards…

  4. RGA Says:

    Improving the rushing attack starts with upgrading the offensive line play.

  5. Tony Says:

    “The Run Game Will Improve”

    Well, can’t get worse than last in total rushing yards and last in yards per carry.

  6. Wild Bill Says:

    Well last year every opponent knew the Bucs would usually run on first down. And often on second down. That usually left Brady in a third and long must pass situation. Hope the new offensive coach mixes the calls up.

  7. Bucsfan13 Says:

    There are actually people on this board who refuse to acknowledge that having the worse rushing attack in the NFL played a huge part in our anemic offense last year. Playing behind the chains constantly is a recipe for disaster. It’s telling that Goedeke was on a podcast and he said he looked forward to running the ball and not trying to pass block 50x a game.

  8. PSL Bob Says:

    The parallel to Leftwich loosing access is Canales taking over as OC. Better scheming and play calling. Like everyone has said, can’t get any worse.

  9. JimBobBuc Says:

    Seattle pulled their guards often, don’t know if Feiler can do this but Mauch is supposed to be good on the move. If Feiler doesn’t pull well, who can replace him at LG? Stinnie? I love the zone run game and so does Wirfs based on his comments this year.

    Looking at Seattle tape, Kenneth Walker and Rashaad Penny both look better than the Bucs RB’s. Big plays on cutbacks behind the playside and only Tucker has that vision and quickness to cutback weakside. Tucker might be the only comparison with the speed and elusiveness. I’m not sure White has the vision and speed for the big backside cutbacks, but he should do well with the inside zones. Other big runs were inside zones that depend on the back breaking arm tackles on LOS.

  10. Adam's Angry Says:

    The Bucs are back to their “faith based” approach to team building.

    They HOPE to be better.

    They’re not doing anything to GET better, they’re just lighting candles and saving novenas.

  11. Sly Pirate Says:

    LT – Wirfs 345 lbs + LG – Feiler 330 lbs + Tucker 4.3 speed!

    775 lbs can open a hole. 4.3 speed can get upfield.

    Get used to 4-5 yards per carry. Get used to 2-6 and 3-1.

    That’s how Baker/Trask will succeed.

  12. garro Says:

    LOL That is pure geniuos.

    Even an Idiot could deduce that without even glancing at the schedule.
    I hate statgeeks.
    Strength of schedule is based on the previous year. …so Yeah…and the fact that it could not be much worse.

    Go Bucs!

  13. Glass Half Full Guy Says:

    I know my handle implies that I’m an optimistic guy but the Bucs ground game could actually get worse than last year (but I believe it will improve).

    Injuries can happen again, we hope Jensen can hold his knee together, etc but if other teams and their coaches feel the way some of our fans feel about our QB situation, they can really focus on stopping our run and force Trask or Mayfield to beat them. Last year due to a poor rushing attack and constantly playing from behind, Brady was forced to throw 50 times a game. Even a distracted or diminished 2022 TB12 is better than either of our current QBs. Not a knock on either of them, just his 23 years of experience alone sets him apart.

    So if teams had no problem forcing the issue and making Brady try to beat them, they won’t be too worried about Traskerfield doing it. They’ll play it straight at first but if we have success running, expect loaded boxes from our opponents. We need our ground game to work.

    Last year the Bucs (BL and his assistants) called run plays as if they had 5 bulldozers on the line who could just impose their will and drive it up the gut. News flash. They didn’t. When they pulled guards, etc (rare but it happened) those plays generally worked. Hopefully Canales will design running plays around the strengths of his players and not try to fit square pegs into round holes. BL wouldn’t (or couldn’t) adapt