Baker Mayfield Appreciates His RB1 In The Passing Game

October 11th, 2023

“Hey Rachaad, when you take a handoff, just pretend it was a caught pass.”

Buccaneers running back Rachaad White is sort of a split-personality guy.

Throw him the ball and he’ll catch it and juke players, and his physicality is usually effective. Put a handoff in his gut and, well, he looks like a backup.

White is super reliable as a pass catcher out of the backfield. His hands are smooth and his feel is natural. As a runner staring at the line of scrimmages, it’s as if he has different instincts.

Baker Mayfield now has a four-game look at White and likes what he sees. Today, Mayfield acknowledged there is sort of two sides to White but he’s always a team-first game.

“You know, he’s got no ego to him,” Mayfield said. “I think, yeah, obviously [White] wants to have more success but the time will come. So we’re just continuing to press the issue that we have to be better in the run game. For us to have success down the road here, we have to have that.

“But he’s patient and I think one of those underrated plays for him was getting him out in space, throwing that ball to him and he made a couple guys miss down [close to] the goal line. He’s a special player with the ball in his hands and we have to continue to find ways to do that as we get the run game going.”

Joe can’t wait for somebody in the Bucs’ backfield to break out as a runner. That’s really the team’s greatest need on offense. They already have a quality third-down back.

22 Responses to “Baker Mayfield Appreciates His RB1 In The Passing Game”

  1. Rod Munch Says:

    So who hasn’t looked like a backup behind the Bucs offensive line in the last few years? The line was built to pass block, and they’re good at it – but power running game, when you’re just running into the middle of the opponent defense, doesn’t work. Watch the ALL22, and tell me where White is missing holes consistently or not taking what is there – I don’t see it. I do, however, see him being patient and actually getting yards when there is nothing by waiting for something to appear and then bursting through. The idea that White is slow or isn’t explosive and is soft is just not true. It doesn’t matter who is back there, no one is going to excel running it up the middle with this line.

    But, there is a solution for that. Don’t run it up the middle that much. I will say Canales has done a good job of using playaction, and you do need to run it at times for that to work – but I think they could do more off tackle and outside runs and meet Bowles 1971 coaches handbook quota of runs to passes.

  2. Jack Clark Says:

    “Throw him the ball and he’ll catch it and juke players, and his physicality is usually effective. Put a handoff in his gut and, well, he looks like a backup.”

    Anyone will look like a backup with our sorry as run blocking.

  3. adam from ny Says:

    ^^^ yeah he will catch the ball and juke players once outside the tackles…

    so being that’s pretty much a fact, he and the other backs should be primarily running outside the tackles…

    seems like “up the gut” hasn’t really worked since the A-train days lol

  4. Bojim Says:

    Let it be White. Sunday.

  5. orlbucfan Says:

    Hey joes, off-topic, but anyway you guys can do a read comparing the STs of both teams? If so, thanks!

  6. JimBobBuc Says:

    I’m with @Rod Munch about running off tackle. I think we can do more wide zone runs and teach the backs to cut back up the middle or even backside. I consider quick passes to the RB’s in the flat the same as run, as did Bill Walsh, and with some practice between the backs and Baker, he can hit them in full stride as they run UP THE FIELD for some low risk yardage. This is something Tucker should be good at with his 4.33 speed, as opposed to White (4.48) or Sneak (4.51).

  7. EternalSon Says:

    Given space, he displays his vision.. It does kinda support that the line could be better.

    Will see.

    Go Bucs!!!

  8. Ed McSherry Says:

    Ya, what’s the obsession with “up the middle.”

    It didn’t work with a heavy RB with Lenny last year (because of the “no holes-O-line”), why would it work all of a sudden (and wasting downs on it) this year?

    “First and up the middle” is just handing Baker a deficit by starting at 2nd n’ 9″ or 10 on every set of downs.

    Wide runs, and waiting until the O-line improves to the point where the O-line is “winning” their match-ups would seem to be the obvious option.

    Last year, Brady had literally “spotted” the opposition first down everytime because of this stubborn run-policy. Why repeat that error this year when the buccaneers have an awesome receiver line-up?

    Run it with -short yardage 2nd downs,- and stop wasting 1st downs that Baker can use to significant advantage on 1st down pass-plays; why give-up that great advantage (receivers) only to “practice” an O-line to push around the opposing D-lines when you need to use the best you have to work-with in order to win games.

    And finally, the run-game isn’t going to improve by just repeatedly running RBs into the back of your own O-line.

    The O-line is doing a fine job in protecting Baker on the pass-plays (which is huge), but, for now, they’re just not
    opening-up anything for the classic run-game; it’s not Rachaad, it’s the O-line, “get it?”

    f there IS a hole to hit, Rachaad

  9. stpetebucfan Says:

    While surprisingly I basically agree with Rod’s observation I would add that I think things are improving. He can view the All 22 and confirm or deny what I “believe” I saw on the Youtube highlights which were cut pretty tightly.

    A couple/few? times (Rod you can tell us) the line actually opened a little hole and Rachaad took advantage with nice gains.

    The OL is obviously a work in progress. The only player at the same position he played last year is Hainsey at Center and he is perceived as the weak link. All the rest are new with the right side a rookie guard and 2nd year guy playing his first year at tackle in the NFL at least.

    I’m hoping as the OL learn, grow more comfortable with each other we’ll see continued improvement and Canalas start utilzing some different blocking schemes.

    I used love watching teams trap block and open nice holes for the RB but that takes some sophisticated timing perhaps beyond the Bucs young line.

    The offensive line leaves a defensive lineman unblocked in hopes that he’ll fly upfield, so a pulling offensive lineman can earhole him to open up a hole for the ball carrier inside. It’s an old-school play that is still run sparingly in the NFL. I’m not sure why it’s used sparingly unless timing and other issues are involved. When it works it’s a thing of beauty and quickly gets the RB into the 2nd level.

  10. Shane Callahan Says:

    The 3 middle o-lineman are overmatched. I hope they can get better, but until then, there’s no running lanes for any back and Baker has to run for his life

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    I thought Chase Edmonds practiced this past week, but he’s still being shown on IR on the Bucs’ site. He’s only got 2 games this year (really closer to 1 and a tad before he got injured), but he still intrigues me.

    Only 4 carries so far for 20 yards rushing, but he seems like someone who could break one if he can get to the 2nd level. His 4.5 YPC career average is intriguing because he’s not very big (5’9″ & 205 lbs) nor very fast (4.55 sec 40 yd dash at the Combine).

  12. tucker Says:

    Seems like edmonds had more burst than the numbers at the combine would suggest. Would like to see what he does if he ever comes back.

  13. Popcorn Mike Says:

    Joe and bucs fans, I thought I heard an analyst say something about White had to change his running style do to the type of offense the Bucs are running this year, is this a fact? I haven’t really giving that much thought. I figured from what I’ve seen he just wasn’t hitting the holes when they opened up

  14. adam from ny Says:

    we’re either gonna draft a behemoth center or rg next draft and a te

  15. Rod Munch Says:

    stpetebucfan – Yeah, I mean I’m not a film expert, but on the ALL22 you can really see the blocking, and it’s totally different than the TV angle where you can’t see that. In any case I rarely see any holes in the line when the Bucs run the ball, and I haven’t seen White missing holes. I’m sure it happens from time to time, but nothing has really stood out.

    As for the line and run blocking, Cody and Hainsey both stand out for not opening up holes – but both look very solid in the blocking game. Cody can, at times, look a little overmatched from a strength standpoint, but holds up well in the passing game. The strength issue is common for a guy coming from a small school in their first NFL season, and I suspect next year he’ll be a monster, but he needs a little time to get NFL strong. Hainsey doesn’t really stand out for anything negative, but he’s also not a guy who is going to blow anyone off the ball, but he’s a solid pass blocking center. But if you’re going to run the ball, I’d avoid running it in their direction.

    But Feiler also stands out for having the most blown run and pass blocks, although he’s been improving, and it’s worth remembering he’s been a tackle and is still learning to be a guard.

    However, if you’re going to run, I’d be following Wirfs who just manhandles everyone I’ve seen so far. If Feiler can get a bit more consistent, I’d be running a ton stuff behind those two.

  16. D1 Says:


    When the Bucs run wide left, does weiler let his man thru, or is able to stay on him ?

  17. D Cone Says:

    I understand the reasons for Canales’ running or presenting the threat of running up the gut.
    Just a One Mississippi of the linebackers focused and frozen or moving towards the line makes the shallow crossing routes like Godwin turned into a big gain possible.

    Runs to the outside linebackers can cover their zone and still have time to give the corners support before the play starts heading upfield.

    Take away the threat to run up the gut and the short game that is moving the ball will slow along with drives.

    Suppose instead of running up the gut they could drop back and throw deep every second play.

  18. TDTB Says:

    If the line can’t open the hole use a fullback.

  19. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    White is slow. He’s a third down back at best. Seems like a good teammate but a really ordinary RB. Seems durable too. Hope he can play some special teams because at some point that will be how he gets a paycheck.

  20. 941Boltsfan Says:

    At least with as bad as it has been they’ve stuck with it continuing to make the defense half expect its coming.

  21. Rod Munch Says:

    D1 Says:
    October 12th, 2023 at 2:25 am

    When the Bucs run wide left, does weiler let his man thru, or is able to stay on him ?


    More than a few times I’ve seen him completely whiff on the block – and same thing in the passing game. Again, however, he’s moving from tackle and he seems to be getting better, so I don’t want to rag on the guy, but if anyone on the line stands out a weak point, to me, it’s been him. But outside of those mistakes, I think he’s been solid. Hopefully as we get towards the middle of the season he settles in more.

  22. Rod Munch Says:

    D Cone Says:
    October 12th, 2023 at 6:48 am
    I understand the reasons for Canales’ running or presenting the threat of running up the gut.


    You make a fair point, for playaction to work, you need to run it – and the Bucs have done a good job of being balanced in terms of playaction, meaning they pass a lot out of it. However a lot of the passing is short stuff. I think to really open up the run game, they got to get guys playing back on their heels, which would mean taking more deep shots, perhaps. But at the same time, you don’t want to waste downs on low percentage throws in this type of horizontal offense. So I think it is what it is, they just need to get better at blocking, if they do so, the run game will work a lot better.