Running Attack Could Doom The Bucs

August 19th, 2023

Run blocking in focus.

Now before folks roll their eyes, when Joe refers to “running attack,” Joe is not just referring to running backs, but the entire offense.

Yes, the running backs stunk last year and the offensive line was disjointed from the late-July moment center Ryan Jensen went down with a destroyed knee.

Bucs running backs did little to help the line. And the fact the Bucs didn’t do anything to upgrade the running backs sure was glaring last week in the first worthless preseason game. That’s when Chase Edmonds of all people led the team in rushing with 18 yards.


Jenna Laine of ESPN suggests the “X-Factor” this fall might be how the remade offensive line can perform.

Buccaneers running backs averaged just 2.5 yards per attempt in their preseason opener against the Steelers. And if you thought last season’s offensive line shuffling was concerning, this year, the Buccaneers will likely have a different starter at every position than they had in Week 1 last season. Tristan Wirfs has moved to left tackle, Luke Goedeke has moved to right tackle, rookie Cody Mauch is expected to start at right guard and free agent Matt Feiler is at left guard. Center is also up in the air as Ryan Jensen recovers from a serious knee injury. They’ve committed to a more balanced attack under new offensive coordinator Dave Canales, but this instability could throw a wrench in those plans.

As Joe wrote several times this offseason, there are question marks all up and down the line. One is like a dog howling at the moon: What’s going on with Jensen?

Joe has a gnawing feeling we may have seen the last of the warrior.

Still, the running backs must step it up. They can’t use the line as a crutch. Make a defender miss. Outrun a defender. Run a defender over.

Joe understands Todd Bowles has spoken for months about wanting to be a running team. So it always puzzled Joe; if Bowles wants to run the ball so badly, then why did the team not make more clear improvements to the worst rushing attack in the league?

Hope isn’t a strategy. Or at least it shouldn’t be.

25 Responses to “Running Attack Could Doom The Bucs”

  1. RagingBrisket Says:

    The backs are adequate. The oline is the real liability. Stop giving them a pass constantly. If they are getting blown back off the ball on every snap it wouldn’t matter if you had Emmitt Smith and Marshawn Lynch in the backfield.
    Licht is responsible for putting the right pieces in place and he has not picked the right pieces on the oline to be competitive this season.

  2. Tim Says:

    Referencing your article about the possible pickup of another WR to replace Gage, I agree with many here on this site that Palmer has earned his chance. Use that extra roster spot on a G/C.

  3. garro Says:

    Joe we have to get this run game going.

    If not we are in for a very long season. Neither of our QBs is capable of carrying this team on their back. Brady did well to compensate for the O line last year. Mayfield and Trask will be a disaster trying to do the same thing the GOAT did.

    This new offense we are told is more QB friendly and the Zone scheme should help the offensive line. Or so we are told. O line looked sloppy as is expected in preseason and the new offense. Penalties is what killed the run game stats Joe.
    Vaughn needs to show up this week if he wants to stick around.

    BTW I don’t need Jenna to tell me what I already know.

  4. SufferingSince76 Says:

    If Bowles continues to try to run the ball even when the holes are not there you will know he walks the line between stubborn and stupid.

  5. Voice of Truth Says:

    Todd should watch the Falcons – they know how to run the ball very well….oh and they took the best RB in the draft on top of what they already had

    We went Chase Edmunds…

    Todd is toast by mid season

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Maybe we will see some improvement in tonight’s worthless preseason game but it won’t matter because it is worthless….

  7. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Goedeke is a Glasseater, he said so himself

  8. Toad Bowels Says:

    In Like we trust!

    I hope Cody, Luke and Ko get better week by week and nail down the right side of the line.
    The C battle between Hainsey in Leveritt needs to be decided quickly so the line has the to jell.

  9. HC Grover Says:

    Why? Because it is Bowles. He should start the practice squad and rest the starters. Watch for procedure and holding penalty count. Maybe he got that cleaned up a little. Specially if any good runs get called back.

  10. Beej Says:

    I can envision two back sets, with a real fullback in front

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    HC Grover … Todd Bowles didn’t stock this OLine with the players we’ve got available to work with. Of our 5 most likely starters (Wirfs, Feiler, Hainsey, Mauch, Goedeke), FOUR of them were drafted by Jason Licht. Nor was Bowles the one who developed them; all 4 were developed by Joe Gilbert, offensive line coach.

    Reality is that only ONE of them (Wirfs) was actually starter-ready in his rookie year, and he was a 1st Rnd pick. The others were drafted as higher picks (Mauch #48; Goedeke #57; Hainsey #95) and need time to develop. I’m confident that they’ll get better this year with more field time, but IMO they NEED a field leader like Jensen out there to help expedite that development (coaches can only do so much in practice & from the sidelines in games).

    Yes Todd Bowles is HC and ‘the buck stops here’. If the Bucs do really bad this year he’ll be toast … and should be. But IF we do poorly because our offense sucks, he’ll pay the price for picking marginal offensive assistants, but they’ll pay the price too … as they should. Ask Byron Leftwich if he got off scot-free for last year’s offensive performance.

  12. George R Says:

    Joe, why all the position movement with the O line. I understand Wirfs. You put your best lineman to protect the QBs blindside. Mauch was a LT why not put him at LG center Jenson RG Goedeke and RT Feiler a position he played in Pittsburgh.

    LT Wirfs
    LG Mauch
    C Jensen
    RG Goedeke
    RT Feiler

  13. JimBobBuc Says:

    Our OL isn’t any better than last year as Mauch needs to learn and Goedeke is similar to Donnie. Most are playing a new position this year. NextGen stats for last year show we were about 6th worst in run blocking and despite the zone scheme improvement, I don’t see the OL doing much better. Looking at the NextGen stats our backs (remove WR running stats) were near the worst in the league for YAC and broken tackles. Maybe the zone scheme will make White and Sneak great backs? I don’t think so. Our WR’s will probably have more rushing yards than our backs! We need to get Tucker lots of touches. Canales will really need to be a miracle worker with his play calling, let’s see…

  14. bucsfaninOregon Says:

    I have blamed Licht here before for ruining last year’s team by not addressing the OL in mid-season. Looks like Jensen is gone so what has our hero doing- -reviewing next year’s draft? He needs to pick up OL discards ASAP.

  15. Ringer Says:

    I want to know what “commitment to the running game” looks like. Productivity on first down or lack thereof has always factored into how often you run the ball. Does commitment mean you still run at 2nd and 9? Hoping the subtraction of non creative Leftwich, gets us better on first down. Down and distance usually determines when u can run, right?

  16. Destinjohnny Says:

    Does Todd do the drafting ??

  17. PassingThru Says:

    Is OLine stunk it up last season on both pass protection and run blocker. Yes, Fournette showed up to camp as a fat slob, but metaphorically speaking, he couldn’t squeeze his love handles past the tiny holes the OLine created.

  18. DJB Says:

    Is it really possible to gain any cohesiveness by not playing all of the projected OL starters at the same time? And some have not played at all. Seems a very risky way to go about the business of building a decent OLine.

  19. Red86 Says:

    Cap space and Jensen return are reasons why they didn’t overhaul the offensive line. Plus, big name players contract expires this season. Our first and second picks should be on the offensive line, preferably some big school players from the Midwest and not some diamond in the rough small schools. Horrible teams get Qb first then fix the line later. By the time the line is fixed, the qb is considered a bust from a dysfunctional organization.

    I’m expecting to see Trask and Wolford to be with the Bucs next year. Mayfield might stick around, if he does well, but only if his next contact is the right price. This may be a bumpy ride this season due to going all in with Brady and crew. However, I don’t believe they will suck like the media and some fake Bucs fans saying we should tank the season; before our first preseason game happens.

  20. Crickett Baker Says:

    Loved the “hope isn’t a strategy” remark, Joe. It is a great reminder to some who comment here. I have some faith in our current team (although I don’t see any glass on the opponent’s uniforms so eating it seems unproductive). I have seen improvements and I will be VERY disappointed if we do not win the game tonight.

  21. Destinjohnny Says:

    We don’t have the players
    Has nothing to do with coaching

  22. Mike Johnson Says:

    Long season guys. A few of us go together last night with adult bevs of course. Arguing about how many wins we will have this season. One said 7, another 8, one said 5 and two of us said 6. I’m sticking with 6 wins. Make sure you gotta plenty of libations on game days..You’re gonna need’em.

  23. Duane Says:

    They need more push from the inside of the line. It is a different scheme and different parts from what we had last year, so yeah another work in progress. Hoping we at least try to run a bit more often behind Wirfs. Ultimately, its a scoring and passing league, and the paradigm of this team is run the ball and get turnovers. Maybe the results will be different this time.

  24. RustyRhinos Says:

    Hey, Voice of Truth “Todd is toast by mid season” and if he is not are you, and sharing your “Voice of Truth” someplace else?

  25. Baker bustemup Says:

    passing thru says that was freaking funny fournette cud not squeeze thru love handles holes in defense.we need more jokes like that instead of all the complaining we have a good enough team kiss BKERS ass for coming to Tampa u bunch of chronic whiners know it all maybe u guys shud build u r own team then we can attack u like a bunch of tards