More Is More In Improving Yards-After-Contact

August 24th, 2023

“We’re going to run it.”

Perhaps the biggest concern Joe has with the 2023 Bucs is not at quarterback or everyone’s favorite punching bag, the offensive line.

For Joe, it is the running backs. The Bucs have made no secret they want to run the ball more, and seem to brag about it.

Though it is a passing league, the Bucs don’t have a star quarterback (some would argue the Bucs don’t have a franchise quarterback — point taken). So for the Bucs to overcome this insurmountable hurdle to win a Super Bowl, they must play tough defense and run the ball.

The pieces are in place for the Bucs to have a stingy defense. If the Bucs can somehow find a decent edge rush, this defense could be damn good.

The running game? Well…

The Bucs had the worst rushing attack in the league last year. Just brutal. So the Bucs upgraded the worst running attack in the league by signing two guys, one who didn’t run for 250 yards last season and the other couldn’t practice until training camp opened in July because of a heart issue.

Other than that, the Bucs look to be a powerhouse running team.

One reason the Bucs couldn’t run last year was a pathetic 1.3-yards average after contact. Only the Jets were worse and that was just a Labrador puppy tail hair lower than the Bucs.

So today when Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales spoke to the local pen and mic club at One Buc Palace, Joe asked him if yards-after-contact can be coached or is it mainly an innate ability.

Canales said, yes, more yards-after-contract can be coached up. And a way to do that is to run more.

“I think it’s just volume,” Canales said. “What happens is: contact balance, contact adaptation – if I run this way 10 times and the tackler keeps coming from inside out to the left, I have a plan for how to make him miss, how to break that tackle.

“Whereas, if you only run it twice, you don’t get the same feel. Just by sheer volume, our running backs in Seattle learned how to make those extra yards on different run types.”

And Canales then vowed his running backs will not be the second-worst team in the NFL in yards-after-contract. Trust him.

“We’re going to run it,” Canales said confidently. “So they’ll get really good at that. We’ll grow from there.”

Of course, if the Bucs can just run the ball effectively, that would mean the backs will get more carries (as the Bucs would be extending offensive drives) — more opportunities to learn how to get more yards after contact.

This almost seems like the chicken and the egg. You can improve yards-after-contract but you can’t improve if you can’t run effectively.

The thing keeping Joe from hitting a bottle of Big Storm barrell aged rum fretting about the run game is that prior to 2022, Seattle really never had a dominant offensive line during Canales’ 14 seasons there. Yet the Seahawks nealry always found ways to run. Effectively.

30 Responses to “More Is More In Improving Yards-After-Contact”

  1. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    I hope Canales knows that this year this team is expected to “TANK” in order to secure a top draft pick for a future franchise QB?

    I hope he knows this…….

  2. HC Grover Says:

    Contact. Two yards behind line up the guts. 3 yards after contact…3rd and 9.

  3. Hunter Says:

    @HC Grover I don’t disagree. I love Canales but we are about to experience some very, very tough to watch offensive football.

  4. sasquatch Says:

    Idiots rolling out the tank talk. If that were the plan, they would have traded away some guys, but the haven’t.

    Also, he’s right — you have to pound the rock to pound it effectively. Schemes help, but players get more physical by repetition.

  5. Da Bucs Guy Says:

    Will they still run when they go down by two scores?

  6. Jim Says:

    Yards after contract…

  7. SlyPirate Says:

    Dedication to running the ball throughout the game always shows up in the 4th quarter. Inevitably the RB breaks one to ice the game.

    I see it as a combination of the RB learning what the defense is going to do AND the OL wearing down the DL. Full backs can have the same effect on LBs (but no one uses FB anymore).

  8. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Sean Tucker has a good chance to fit into the RB rotation- he was making plays vs Jets.
    Most of the breakdowns in run blocking have been from backup OLinemen and TE’s.

  9. Doug Says:

    Why can’t this guy be our coach?

  10. JimBobBuc Says:

    We still need a decent line. Against the Jets, Leverett was absolutely awful by allowing deep penetration into the backfield. We were lucky there wasn’t a fumble on the handoff. As Grover says, YAC after being hit 2 yards behind the line isn’t great.

  11. J Says:

    @JimBobBuc…hopefully the only Leverett will be starting is his engine this year.

  12. Voice of Truth Says:

    Did anyone notice Chase Edmunds has been made the number 2 back on the depth chart – maybe I missed it

    Vaughn might not make the roster huh???? I never see him on special teams??

    The rookie from the cuse is a better runner for sure

    Look, at least we are getting a fresh minded approach to the offense – if we can’t have experience and success at the position why not go with the up and comer and hope for the best…

  13. Topdoggie Says:

    Screw the tank talk. I laid out money for the bucs to win the Superbowl.

  14. Buc4evr Says:

    I only played RB in high school decades ago, but I do know if you have 5 guys breaking through the O line into the backfield at the handoff there is no where to go or anyway to make the D miss. This isn’t just about defensive tendencies. Look at the times the OLine has been over powered on a bull rush. Our RBs get caught on a 3 and 1 foot, for three yard losses behind the LOS. It is not all on the RBs, nobody can run behind this slow,weak, pathetic O line that gets owned every single time on a third or fourth and a foot.

  15. OR Buc Says:

    Where’s the stat that shows where Bucs running backs were first hit? It seems to me getting contacted in the backfield or behind the OL would not lead to that many yards after contact, which is exactly where our RBs were getting hit last year.

  16. J Says:

    You want every running back on our roster to be Jonathan Taylor. It’s always been the run blocking with Tampa, and that’s why so many people scream about it. I don’t see elite RB’s constantly avoiding tackles in the backfield. Not true, Barry Sanders was a magician, but since then, no one that gifted.

  17. Bucnjim Says:

    To go from one extreme to the other seems like a very difficult transition. This team from front to back was built on throwing the ball even before Tom Brady. The offensive line, blocking schemes, WR’s, QB’s (until now) TE’s, you name it we were built to throw the ball. Now (and last year) it’s run, run, run. Are these offensive lineman really the bulldozers you need to clear an NFL path for RB’s? Hope so but talk about reversing philosophies.

  18. Beej Says:

    One thing about “yards after contact” If your contact is a 225 lb safety or linebacker you have a chance. If it’s a 330:lb DT who didn’t get blocked, TOTALLY different thing

  19. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘Seattle really never had a dominant offensive line during Canales’ 14 seasons there. Yet the Seahawks nearly always found ways to run. Effectively.’

    Agree with both statements Joe, BUT … I think the reason goes far beyond the OLine. Starting in 2012, the Seahawks had Russell Wilson as their QB, and he ran for a LOT of yards (he averaged 470 rushing yards per season in his 10 years as a Seahawk). Seahawks also had a couple of big-dog 1000+ yard rushers in 5 of those 10 seasons … Marshawn Lynch (3 of those seasons) & Chris Carson (2 of those seasons). The other 5 years, they weren’t really that good a running team.

    So it took a very mobile QB (averaging almost 500 yards rushing per year) AND a big-dog RB (in 5 of those 10 years) to produce a quality running game for the Seahawks. Ironically during those 10 years Wilson was a sack magnet … 427 sacks in 10 years (8.3%). Even Baker doesn’t come close to that (7.0% sack rate for his career). And oh ya, we’re missing the big-dog running back.

    Bottom line is that we probably need to dial back our aspirations of being a true running team. If we run on 38-40% of our total offensive plays this year AND get our average up to around 4.0 YPC I’ll be very happy (a lot better than 33% and 3.4 YPC that we did in 2022).

  20. Defense Rules Says:

    OR Buc … ‘Where’s the stat that shows where Bucs running backs were first hit?’

    You can find that on the Pro Football Reference site by plugging the name in for the RB the looking at ‘Advanced Rushing & Receiving’. Using Rachaad as the example, he had 129 rushes & his Yards Before Contact (YBC) was 315 yards, so he averaged 2.44 yards before first contact. His Yards After Contact (YAC) was 166 yards, so he gained an average of only 1.29 yards after first contact. That’s our big-dog running back.

    Just for kicks I looked at Chase Edmonds career. In his best year (2021 with Arizona), Chase gained 592 yards on 116 carries in 12 games. His YBC was 414 yards, so he averaged 3.57 yards before first contact. His YAC was 178 yards that year, so he averaged 1.53 yards after first contact. His combined 5.1 YPC average is awesome IMO for a 5’9″, 210 lbs RB who only saw limited action.

  21. HC Grover Says:

    All our opponents have to to is stuff rhe run. This will lead to runaround Mayfield blunders. it is pretty simple.

  22. Pickgrin Says:

    Despite Joe’s claims to the contrary…

    Last year’s inability to run the ball AND the hope that the Bucs can run well this year speaks almost exclusively to the run blocking success (or lack) of the Oline and TEs.

    If the Oline can open up some holes, White is going to have a big year.

  23. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    “I couldn’t feel any better about our QB situation” – Dave C.

    “He’s a real starting level talent.” – Dave C.

  24. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Lorenzo Neal was our best run blocker…and he was only here a year…looooong ago.

    Mike Alstott was running so hard that year that he would be on the sideline getting fanned by staff to cool him off.

  25. Snooker Says:

    I’m with top doggie!! don’t comment much, second time ever, love this site, been reading for yrs, enjoy- mostly, and mean that, good insight and blustery comments, of course I think I know wats upand grade wat I know, wich yeh yeh, we all do with arm chair expertise, wich of course I think I know more but I’m not coaching, seeing, planning and so on but ya, still think I gotta decent perspective,got lots of knowledge and open minded perspective, lots of intangibles not factored in, got a funny feeling, and admittedly could be wrong but still betting on our boys!! only a hundo on super bowl but payout is insane! other odds. nfc South, playoffs, nfc championship, are ya kidding me?? small investment and backing my boys, win win! What if! be a supporter, know all the goings on, and not just scratching your balls, tipping em back and thinking your a gm or coach. ha ha! I do it

  26. Usfbuc Says:

    Last year the play calling seemed pretty bad to a lay person. At times it was like the defense knew exactly what okay we were running. So I am hopefully with better play calling we will get better at the run.

  27. I Say I Say I Says:

    Playcalling remains a question mark. I haven’t heard much talk about that any more.

    Canales was not calling those plays in Seattle. And he has zero experience at any level doing it. Maybe he’ll be great doing it, but, he could also stink at it.

    I didn’t see craftiness in play choice in either preseason game so far, but those are vanilla by design. So TBD.

  28. RagingBrisket Says:

    If the oline gets blown back then virtual all rush attempts will fail. We don’t have the talent up front to improve the run game.
    All the talk about needing better backs that can make defenses miss tackles is just idiotic scapegoating for terrible oline play. Wirfs alone can’t make this line function competently and neither can better backs.

  29. MelvinJunior Says:

    Hmmmm… Dang. I didn’t even know that Canales was the OC in Seattle… Shoot, I thought he was just the ‘QB-Coach’ or something random like that!? So, that makes me feel a lot better now… Guess, I was just surprised he left Pete Carroll and Seattle for the exact same position at Tampa & Bowles. I really, haven’t paid that close attention. But, after reading a few of the comments on here this off-season randomly, it now appears that I was wrong. You know what happens when you assume things. That was A LOT better signing by the Bucs then, that what I had originally thought!!!!

  30. Fred McNeil Says:

    Running is important, but passing wins more games. Being good at both helps a lot.