Helps If A Team That Wants To Run Can

August 18th, 2023

Bucs running backs Chase Edmonds (left) and rookie Sean Tucker.

Look, Bucs coach Todd Bowles wants to run the ball. In a throwing league. He ought to have a stout defense so this sort of makes sense.

What doesn’t make sense to Joe is that the Bucs had the worst running backs group in the game last year and basically didn’t upgrade.

And while it was only one worthless preseason game Friday, that decision appeared glaring. No, Joe doesn’t count a guy who couldn’t gain 250 yards rushing as an “upgrade” — yet Chase Edmonds led the Bucs in rushing in the preseason debut.


The Bucs’ running troubles stick out for Garrett Podell of CBS. He looked at the biggest problems each team displayed in the first week of worthless preseason games, and Podell pointed out the Bucs’ inability to run.

Podell believes, perhaps lazily, the blame is on the offensive line.

… Sure, three of their offensive line starters (left tackle Tristan Wirfs, center Ryan Jensen and left guard Matt Feiler) sat out, but projected starters at right guard (second-round rookie Cody Mauch) and right tackle (Luke Goedeke) had far from a clean outing. Tampa Bay totaled 41 rushing yards on 20 carries midway through the third quarter when the starters departed after Kyle Trask’s action. Not great.

Well, Podell sort of shoots down his argument by pointing out the starting left side of the line was sitting out.

But, and Joe checked, the NFL still allows running backs to avoid would-be tacklers, use spin moves, run over folks and generally break tackles. It’s not illegal! In fact, dodging would-be tacklers just might get guys a raise in pay. No, really!

The Bucs were the worst team in the league in yards after contact last season and a hair away from worst after contract per attempt (Bucs were tied for second-worst with 1.3 yards, the Jets were 1.2).

The bright side here is rookie Sean Tucker has been solid in the past few practices. Remember, he wasn’t allowed to touch a football due to a mysterious heart ailment for months. From his last game at Syracuse to the start of Bucs training camp, he has been off a football field.

So Tucker is way behind in many ways but appears to be gaining ground. There is hope he might be able to help this awful run game.

Of course, hope isn’t a strategy. Or at least it shouldn’t be.

41 Responses to “Helps If A Team That Wants To Run Can”

  1. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Kareem Hunt is still a FA.. Maybe we can get creative with the cap lol

  2. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Mauch and Goedecke showed what they’re capable of- they weren’t great but there were alot of positives in their performances vs Pittsburgh.
    Edmonds would have scored on one run if he didn’t slip.
    A new Oline takes a little time, especially with what it looks like another year of a backup center.

  3. Defense Rules Says:

    Don’t know who Garrett Podell of CBS is, but I pretty much agree with him. If I had to ‘weight’ a running attack, it’d be two-thirds OLine & one-third RBs. Our OLine couldn’t create holes last year, nor could they move the pile on short-yardage situations, but of course they made up for it by getting too many penalties. HOPEFULLY they do better this year, but the 1st preseason game didn’t look that promising.

    The main issue with an offensive strategy like we’re proposing to use IMO is that it requires fairly long, sustained drives eating up lots of plays. Turns out it’s quite easy to kill a drive … turn the ball over, get penalized, not be able to pick up short yardage situations, etc. We were pretty good at all 3 of those last year, but that’s not a good thing. Predictable, uncreative play-calling most likely played a big role in that, but that was by no means our only problem. It’ll be interesting to see if Dave Canales can fix the other issues that we faced.

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Stop with the “worthless” preseason games BS….

    Constantly making reference to performance in those games means they have some value.

    As for the running attack….I have zero confidence in Todd Bowles…..and, of course the jury is out on Canales….

    Licht & Bowles showed their lack of concern with the running game by drafting Defensive players as their first pick the last 3 years and 0lb in round 3 this year.

  5. Joe Says:

    Stop with the “worthless” preseason games BS….

    You prefer Joe to lie to you and call them “valuable?”

  6. Bucfan Says:

    Running up the middle 90% of the time does not work. Going to be another long season if Bowles has any input with the play calling!!!!!!

  7. KC Buc Says:

    Is it possible Tucker is pushing White for the RB1 or RB1B spot or is he moreso looking good enough to possibly lock up the RB2 spot?

  8. Boss Says:

    at least bowels knows the D damn well better be nothing short of great……..

    cause he is gonna need it for his resume next year when he gets the boot as HC

  9. Boss Says:

    the run game will never develop until they can move the chains in the air on 1st and 2nd downs.

  10. JD Still Says:

    The new offense capitalizing on misdirection and pick plays could help the running game immensely as demonstrated by other similar offenses but IMHO we are still going to need a passing attack capable of forcing opposing defenses to stretch themselves vertically and horizontally to make it work , five yard dinks will not do that , the defenses will basically treat the short passes like runs and stay home , the threat of a viable downfield passing attack is going to be needed to make the running attack work as it should.

  11. JimBobBuc Says:

    As a defensive coach Bowles is overconfident in his defense in limiting points and thus wants to run the ball and limit turnovers. I think oir

  12. kyle Says:

    lets get our 4 wins and rookie qb in the draft.

  13. Steven007 Says:

    Joe, in TBBFs second sentence he references the borderline hypocrisy of calling them worthless and then pontificating about performances that occurred in games that are ostensibly worthless. I’m sure you saw this. I’m also sure that every player not guaranteed a spot on the roster, as well as their representatives and family and friends and fans also do not consider them worthless.

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Thanks Steven007

    I simply point out the hypocrisy of it……..

  15. JimBobBuc Says:

    Joe is spot on about this. Our defense won’t be as good as Bowles thinks. Early in games we need to play action and throw high percentage passes in first down.

    We drafted backs that were known as good receivers and they usually are, but they weren’t known as runners and we are seeing the result in the run game YAC. Bad drafting of RBs. Still hopeful that Tucker gets lots of touches.

    In the Pittsburgh game we ran better behind Skule and
    Stinnie than to the right. Hopefully Mauch and Goedeke will do better against the Jets. What’s our Plan B if Goedeke continues to struggle with speed rushers?

  16. My Momma Says:

    ‘The Bucs were the worst team in the league in yards after contact last season’
    If you follow your thoughts to conclusion, Joe, why did Lichtbulb let the #1 RB in the league in yards after contact leave there Bucs before last season? Another one of Lichtbulb bright ideas.

  17. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    Pre-season games are very important.

    They show the Bucs who won’t be staying on the team, lol

  18. My Momma Says:

    My Momma understands that the aforementioned #1 running back in the league after contact, couldn’t catch, and, couldn’t block. But if we’re going to be so dependent on the run then why not keep him? Even when he wasn’t the number one back in 2021 the offense still scored more easily than with tippy toes Lenny. The offense still worked better with him.

    Can’t tell me they couldn’t afford him. Look where he wound up last year.

  19. Statguy Says:

    There is one play last game I wasn’t fond of. I was watching the online and the center and rentire right side all had great blocks and a good hole to run and watched Vaughn walk straight into the back of a lineman and go nowhere

  20. Defense Rules Says:

    Bucfan … I’ve asked others to provide proof that Bowles had ‘input with the offensive playcalling’ last year but so far I’ve received zero no proof that was the case. Even this year I’ve seen no evidence that he intends to micro-manage Canales and second-guess his play calls. (He has said that he want to run MORE, but that’s not saying much given that we only ran on 33.3% of the plays last year, lowest in the NFL).

    I haven’t even seen any evidence that he had any input on selecting offensive players (ie, our OLine & RBs especially?). That’s Jason Licht’s realm, although I don’t doubt that Bowles had significant input on which defensive players were drafted. Even then, Bucs drafted both sides: 5 defense (Rnds 1, 3, 5, 6, 6) & 3 offense (Rnds 2, 5, 6).

    I realize that Bowles makes a convenient scapegoat for many JBFers because he’s a defensive head coach and thus looks at the game differently from most offensive head coaches (like BA & Chucky who both won Super Bowls here). But without strong defenses, neither of those coaches would’ve ever even sniffed the Super Bowl. My biggest HOPE this year is that Dave Canales can live up to the hype that’s being thrown his way, for without a strong OC, this is gonna be a long year.

  21. Marine Buc Says:

    I doubt we are going to see the full playbook for this offense until the Bucs play in Minnesota week #1…

    I’m confident our new O.C. will call a broader variety of run plays once the real games start.

    I’m not worried – yet.

  22. Steven007 Says:

    Marine, I completely agree. Between not even having the full offensive starters out there, and the stated proclivity to not show all cards, I really don’t think we’re going to know the offense looks like until at least we’re through the first quarter of the season. Also, not worried… Yet

  23. Buc1987 Says:

    Just pass.. a lot more…when you have Evans and Godwin as your WR’s.

  24. HC Grover Says:

    I will sed Bowles a strongly worded letter to let him know. Get ready for The Bowles Curse 2023.

  25. NE Fan Says:

    We are talking about a coach that destroyed 4 or 5 records Brady had for 22 years. YES, you have to run the ball in order to have success in this league, last season solidified that, but it shouldn’t be the key focus of your offense. Don’t forget Hainsley, Stinnie (both played in the SB ) and Goedeke started the majority of last season. In other words, this wasn’t Mickey Mouse line. Sorry fans, Bowles leaves Bucs can win again, he stays it’s to the Toilet Bowl.

  26. unbelievable Says:

    One day we will find out what sort of incriminating evidence the Bucs o-line players have on the Joes… because it’s never the o-lines fault according to them, (even when we’re watching them get ragdolled and blown up week in and week out.)

  27. NE Fan Says:

    unbelievable, as DR wrote, predictable play calling, poor personal substitutions or the lack of, coaching all contribute to poor line play. If you recall the Ravens knew what play was coming next, I’m sure they weren’t alone. Put some pads on and try and block a NFL d lineman or LB if they know what play is coming, nearly impossible.

  28. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    After the Steelers game, Todd Bowles was asked about the offensive execution.

    He said, he was in favor of it.

  29. optimisticbucsfan Says:

    80’s football is extinct.

    I feel like Todd is a leftover from the Jurassic Era of football.

  30. Joe in Michigan Says:

    HC Grover Says:
    August 18th, 2023 at 1:06 pm
    I will sed Bowles a strongly worded letter to let him know. Get ready for The Bowles Curse 2023
    The curse would’ve been if the Bucs listened to you, kept Smith and Mason and the $25 million they were owed, and had to gut the defense for 2 subpar players. The Curse of Habitual Complainer avoided, THANK GOD.

  31. gotbbucs Says:

    Preseason games mean nothing to established starters….and everything to depth players and fringe final roster players. Just accept them for what they are, a glorified joint practice that the owners charge admission for. There’s very little game planning and a team like the Bucs that have installed a new offense have zero incentive to give the first teams on their schedule a glimpse of what they actually want the offense to look like.

    The 0-16 Detroit Lion’s were 4-0 in the preseason that year. Just saying.

  32. KC Buc Says:

    Bowles didn’t destroy Brady’s records, Leftwurst and Father Time are to blame there. As a bucs fan, I could care less about Brady’s longevity records from his NE days and no one forced him to come back and play for Bowles and Leftwurst, he knew the risks.

    I’m with Marine – we will know our running game potential in the 1st quarter of the season. Let’s see what Chef Dave can cook up and if one of these backs can step up.

  33. HC Grover Says:

    1 yard abd a cloud of guts.

  34. Goodbuc'nlife Says:

    My eye test and understanding of the position tells me Rachaad White is more than capable. I have no clue, Joe, why you don’t give him more credit. I feel, the o line was more to blame last year than White. He’s complete. There is a reason why we didn’t look to the draft for a “premium” back or upgrade as you say. Give White solid opportunities with halfway decent seams to penetrate, and he will produce. Mark my word. LFG.

  35. Joe Says:

    He’s complete.

    Complete what? White is pretty solid catching the ball, no doubt. There is nothing (yet) to suggest he is a quality runner other than hope. And what is hope? Wishful thinking.

    Could White be a good runner? Sure. Joe just wishes the guy would show it. Is that really too much to ask? One good game running the ball out of 18 is not a good batting average.

    His advanced stats running the ball were awful last year.

  36. Brandon Says:

    The fact that the man that never met a tackler that he couldn’t trip over is gone so that will help the running game tremendously. When a dude has six years in the league and only two seasons averaging FOUR yards per carry or more, it doesn’t take a genius to see that Fournette was a giant part of the problem. After he was cut in Jacksonville, his rookie undrafted replacement had 1000 yards and a greater YPC (4.5).than Lenny did in any of his three years with the Jags. Dude was straight up overrated. Not a good player and so many Buc fans thought he was good. Craziness.

  37. Fred McNeil Says:

    Honestly, friends, I can see the obvious problems with our week one preseason game too. Joe made it sound like we had a little hope. He then proceeds to pee in my cornflakes. I don’t care. I think we will be much better at running the ball this year. One preseason game with few starters is not a good measure of our potential. Preseason is for inspecting rookies. Maybe we will be miserable come September. Maybe we will celebrate. Right now there is no need to be miserable. I always say: why worry about a problem that may never come? Maybe plan ahead to counter that problem if necessary, but don’t make yourself sick over a something you can’t really forecast right now.

  38. Fred McNeil Says:

    Translation: don’t worry. We will be fine…

  39. garro Says:

    What I saw was an improvement. It’s preseason and they wanted to get a look at the run game obviously. The only thing that bothered me is the penalties and the lack of push in short yardage. The Holding penalties were BS calls Joe so there is that. We would have had a much better stat line rushing without those and the false start.

    Go Bucs!

  40. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    Last I heard was that playoff Lenny was still available for work. Out with the old in with the older!

  41. BillyBucco Says:

    So let me get this out of the way first when it comes to looking at the preseason.
    The 49ers are ranked as the best at running the football and they had 69 yards.
    There is literally NO WAY to judge anything based on a preseason game.
    This team wasn’t even TRYING to win, like they are John Harbaugh or something.
    Defense Rules is spot on when it comes to the logistics of running the football in this league. If it takes 12 plays to score, that is just that many more opportunities for turnovers and penalties. So lets say they run the ball 35% of the time, that is still MORE. Nobody is saying they want to run it 50%. However, I do think with this QB, and I’m talking about Mayfield, a 55-45 split is what they are striving for.
    As for Canales, it’s asinine to say THE JURY IS OUT. The jury hasn’t even had a chance to “See” the arguments yet lol. There isn’t even a jury formed yet. Am I concerned, YES. Do I think it’s a dumpster fire, NO. Not yet.
    I’m pretty sure our RBs are finally being coached and I’m fairly certain Canales has 2 testicles while BL might not have any.