Cleanest Jersey In The NFC

October 2nd, 2023

Baker Mayfield eating only four sacks through four games is downright stunning considering the Buccaneers have the worst running game in the NFL at 3.0 yards per carry.

It’s like a 2022 flashback but with successful scrambling added.

That included yesterday, with Mayfield scrambling eight times for 31 yards, the fifth-biggest rushing game of his career. It’s not Mayfield’s 23 runs this season that is dragging down the Bucs’ rushing average.

But this is not a bash-the-run-game post, it’s Joe praising the offensive line.

The Bucs allowed the fewest sacks in the NFL last season — 22 through 17 games. And they’re at the protection game again with a revamped group under the same offensive line coaches.

Four sacks allowed in four games is not luck.

The pass blocking has been strong overall and only Patrick Mahomes has eaten fewer sacks with two. (Hey, isn’t his left tackle some guy named Donovan Smith?)

While rookie Cody Mauch is enduring serious but expected growing pains at right guard, the Bucs’ tackles have been damn good. Nothing Tristan Wirfs does at left tackle is surprising. He’s an All-World athlete with tremendous devotion to his craft. And Luke Goedeke is passing a lot of tests at right tackle, including a huge one yesterday.

While not special, Robert Hainsey is a legitimate starting center who has proven he can pass block through 21 starts. And newcomber veteran left guard Matt Feiler has been remarkably consistent this season. The interior line isn’t perfect by any standard, but it’s doing enough.

And Mayfield’s movement instincts and scrambling have been good enough to complement the line play perfectly in three of the Bucs’ four games.

Joe is excited to see how well the line plays when it’s really jelled later this season.

53 Responses to “Cleanest Jersey In The NFC”

  1. tbc 1 Says:

    Will they do anything for the late hit on Mayfield that bent him backwards? No one can take hits like that he should have been tossed out of the game for that hit.

  2. Bbro Says:

    Mayfield has earn his spot rightfully with his determination at play. Most qb’s would of collapsed in many of the situations he’s been in 👍

  3. TampaBayBucsFanSince1976 Says:

    It is more the commitment to the running game by Canales that is minimizing the sacks as opposing Dlinemen know they have to respect the possibility of a running play as opposed to pinning their ears back and meeting at the QB. Not to diminish Bakers’ quite frankly incredible ability to read and feel the pocket movement. Kudos to Coach Bowles and his staff for putting a so far quality product and game plan together. GO BUCS and BEAT THE KITTIES!!!!!!!!

  4. Paratrooper Buc Says:

    The announcer said it best yesterday and I’m paraphrasing it: “Mayfield has one of the best senses of where bodies are on the field.” That and the experience to know when his “alarm” to move or throw is vital. The biggest change from last year in the scheme is the Oline is designed to let one body through but Mayfield is already moving and throwing as part of the scheme. That puts less pressure on the line and more on mayfield to need to scramble or be mobile. I’m a gator fan and I like Trask and I loved Brady but they are stand in the pocket throwers and our Oline isn’t that good to hold a pocket with a non-mobile QB. Canales understands how to scheme our line and Mayfield in a way to give “pass protection” which Leftwich couldn’t do to save his life. Our Oline may get better with run protection by having more experience but part of that is also body strength and younger guys have to bulk up. A bigger RB might help the running game.

    Bottom line: Mayfield’s legs and experience with Canales scheme is why we are better on offense.

  5. Zoocomics Says:

    “It’s like a 2022 flashback but with successful scrambling added.”


  6. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    Paratrooper stuff I best. You Baker and Trask man crushers leave your childish banter for the college boards. Baker is thriving where the GOAT could not. Until he does otherwise Baker will motor this offense

  7. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    Paratrooper said it best dangit

  8. Casual Observer Says:

    Mayfield’s ability to escape the tackles help these stats. But OL is doing quite well.

  9. Leighroy Says:

    Baker has escaped a few sacks that are skewing those numbers favorably, but sure I’d agree the OL is playing the pass rush better than I expected – kuddos.

    We can’t just gloss over the inconvenient truth about the run game though. A couple plays yesterday were blasted for -3 yards before the RB barely could get the handoff. Hainsey may be doing okay in pass pro, but he is a liability in the run game. The tape doesn’t lie. I liked seeing Tompkins get the ball on a “Bennd” around, he out runs any DL penetration, there should be 1-2 of those a game.

  10. adam from ny Says:

    imagine if somehow we can land jonathan taylor…..

    we have a good team and it seems like moxy is starting to churn thru all 53 guys…things like that can be contagious – in a good way…

    bowles wants to run/pass at a 50/50 rate — and that’s understandable with what we’re trying to do — but you need the right personnel at the running back position…

    rachaad is kinda nice as a 3rd down back…sneak looks slower than i remember in the past – whether hitting the hole or attempting to turn the corner – chase edmonds, umm whatever…tucker, simply did’t play or dress – i didn’t notice him yesterday on the sidelines…

    it’s time for our kingly gm to go out there and get us a real stud back, to take pressure off mayfield and white, and create a solid backfield and possibly a “potential” contender…

    yes i just said it….possibly a contender…

    we are on the cusp…


  11. Mike C Says:

    What a far cry from the first half in Minnesota…….

  12. Boss Says:

    Agreed tbc. I kept waiting for an ejection!

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but don’t kneel downs count against the running stats?

    We have had 9 kneel downs in the 4 games…..take those out and our average improves…..especially Baker’s.

  14. Leighroy Says:

    Every team in the NFL except the Bears has kneel downs too. Try again

  15. Reality_Check Says:

    Leighton. The Jets don’t have kneel downs (win was in overtime). The Panthers don’t have kneel downs. If you want to be a smart @ss at least know what you’re talking about. Try again

  16. Why Bowles? Says:

    Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, beating up on bad teams. Bucs are the standing on the top step of the cellar stairs. The NFC South is by far the worst division in the NFL. The Lions will be a great test, they are a above average team. Beat them and now we’re talking NFC contender. For what was available Baker was the best pick-up by far for the money.

  17. D-Rome Says:

    The Chiefs won last night because the refs refused the call holding on Donovan Smith on that 3rd and 22 play late in the 4th. He had some good moments with the Bucs but Licht’s best off season move may be letting Donovan Smith go. At this point of his career if a player isn’t getting past Donovan Smith then he’s holding.

  18. Oddball Says:

    Wake and Bake baby!

    On a side note, Taylor Swift is ruining football.

  19. Why Bowles? Says:

    D-Rome, every olinman holds. The call that was missed was the early personal foul against the Jets safety when Smith clearly was the perpetrator.

  20. D-Rome Says:

    The NFC South is by far the worst division in the NFL.

    The worst division in the NFL is currently the NFC North. The best division is the NFC East.

  21. Wild Bill Says:

    I love the way Baker has used his run ability to escape sacks and extend plays. But how long can he stay healthy? Instead of playing safe and throwing the ball away he is fighting for every yard like a fullback! Exciting? YES! RISKY? Also yes. Can he last for 13 more regular season games and possibly additional playoff games? History suggests the answer is no!

  22. adam from ny Says:

    not so sure the south is that bad of a division…

    we are a pretty good team…so far…

    atlanta is a qb away from being a 10 win team…or throwing heineken in there. for the rally…

    the saints are a potential 10 win team as well…

    so none are hot garbage…

    carolina and their bust of a qb however are sewer sludge

  23. 1#bucsfan Says:

    I agree JOE with our pass blocking. It’s deff impressive. Bakers scrambles have bin killers for opposing defenses. Deff needed a more mobile QB then a statue back there like Brady. Keep it up baker

  24. Jack Clark Says:

    “It’s not Mayfield’s 23 runs this season that is dragging down the Bucs’ rushing average. But this is not a bash-the-run-game post, it’s Joe praising the offensive line. The pass blocking has been strong overall”

    Good run blocking also helps the QB jersey stay clean because he doesn’t have to risk getting sacked from having to throw the football as much.

  25. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Leighroy Says:
    October 2nd, 2023 at 7:57 am
    Every team in the NFL except the Bears has kneel downs too. Try again

    Absurd…..teams with losses don’t have kneel downs….and winning teams that don’t have the ball last don’t have kneel downs.

    I would bet that we are the only team with 9 kneel downs.

  26. Infomeplease Says:

    The O-line is playing better then most here expected! As they grow together the run game should too. IMHO

  27. Don'tBmad Says:

    Nobody here mentions the fact that Baker has always been able to speed read a defense since college and before. The reason for his success is Canales knows they can’t run the ball and had unleashed Mayfield’s ability to be the guy that drives that car. Let him freaking sling it.

  28. Tbbucs3 Says:

    The Bucs basically got a young 1st overall pick off the streets and now has a fresh start in a much better organization than the Browns/Panthers…there’s a reason this guy is one of the greatest CFB players of all time….

    There’s a very real chance that BM can devolop into the Bucs franchise QB for many seasons

  29. Why Bowls? Says:

    DRome, really NFC North, Lions beat the Chiefs, manhandled Atlanta and Greenbay (which is not a bad team) and their only loss is to Seattle by one score. You may want to rethink your choice. Again, beat the Lions then the Bucs are a reality. The Saints, Atlanta and Carolina ALL stink. That’s OK a possible 6 wins for the Bucs.

  30. Mike Says:

    I think we need to see a lot more HB screens than we have so far. White is good in space so let the man catch some passes and gain his yards that way, and perhaps do some shotgun formation draws as well.

  31. Jeff Says:

    Man, I was wrong about the Bucs. Better than I ever gave them credit for. And Clueless Todd seems to be far less clueless this year. Wonder what Brady would have done with Canales in 2021 and 2022. I think we’d have a 3rd SB victory.

  32. BAKERSBucs Says:

    As the season goes on lots of bumbling about we beat bad teams in the off season all I heard was bucs r worst in the stupid responses continue after a win in the dome.every team in this league is capable of winning on any given week,let these young men get some assembly as a new group how the hell can anyone complain bout a new group doing whatever it takes to become above average for gosh sakes let BAKER do his thing!!!!

  33. BAKERSBucs Says:

    The jets came to life omg I wud not want to be in Wilson shoes after all the u bumb stuff he been taking he came to life yesterday & the chiefs Mahomes is mortal & the r (lucky) they won,so r the fans gonna rip him like u guys rip mayfield ,I think not,even the eagles r lucky they won yesterday cUse they deserve to lose also.luck goes a long way in life so I hope baker is 1 lucky dude!!!!

  34. teacherman777 Says:

    Thank God Baker is okay after that cheap shot!

    That dude whoever it was should be fined and suspended!

    Anybody else see Thompkins take it straight to Lattimore?

    Shoulder down and crushed him!

    Devin Thompkins is my favorite player this year.

    5-6 160 pounds of pure fire and heart!

    Devin “The Truth” Thompkins!

    Our new Karl “the truth” Williams!

    Go Bucs!

  35. orlbucfan Says:

    Hey listen, any Bucs fan worth the name knows all the missed calls and ref BS that went down through the years when Sean the Cheat Payton was in NOLA. Man, did I learn to despise that clown. Aints always get away with at least a few dirty hits when Tampa Bay comes to town. Only 11 penalties? And no Buc got their knee broken or worse? Aints are slipping w/o Payton. Screw ’em. Go Tampa Bay!

  36. D-Rome Says:

    “Why Bowles?”,

    The NFC North has the least amount of wins out of any division in the NFL currently. Currently is the key word. You rate best to worst divisions based on wins and not style points. The NFC South is not a strong division but it’s currently not the worst.

  37. ModHairKen Says:

    He has dodged at least 5 sacks. Maybe more. Haven’t seen this much mobility since Jeff Garcia. It Jeff Garcia’s wife going after other chicks who dug on Jeff.

  38. Don’t tell me it’s raining Says:

    I’ve seen comments here how Bake had the worst QBR in the league, last two years. And how QBR was the most accurate rating of a QB, because it measures all the metrics. Shake n Bake is currently ranked:

    -#1 NFC South
    -#4 NFC
    -#8 NFL

    Not too bad for a short, fat, slow, guy who supposedly is the worst in the league.

  39. Drunkinybor Says:

    Robert Hainsey is one of the main reasons we have a crap running game. He is a legit really good back up period. He can protect the q
    B. But can’t push a A D lineman a inch when running the ball. Kudos ro g8m though 3rd round pick that is using all his abities to the fullest

  40. Andrew Fish Says:

    Just remember Alex Cappa. First year was tough on him second year he was pretty good. Takes time and reps for these guys.

  41. Leighroy Says:

    Haha wow you guys, you got me! Our running ills are cured! Who knew kneel downs were the sole problem? 🙄

  42. JD Still Says:

    Well, first off , a lot of you aren’t going to like what I’ m going to tell you , but friends and fellow fans will tell you the truth or they are not real friends nor fans, so here goes , We have a very good football team , We have a great defense, great special teams , great receiving corps, and a surprisingly good offensive line, and an improving running game, but, We are not scoring enough points, last Week Miami ,(who we do not play in the regular season) put up 70 points against Denver ,( who beat Chicago this week who we did play), then Buffalo ,( who We do play this year) put up 48 against the Dolphins this week who only scored 20 against Buffalo) ,the point is, they put up 20 points and lost against better teams. We still have to play Buffalo, San Francisco , Detroit, and others in the regular season , who can put up 30 or more points a game regularly, 20 some odd points a game is not going to cut it, especially as we move into the playoffs , now Mayfield has been playing well within his skills and has limited his mistakes, but, he has given no indication that his play will improve to the point that We will be able to compete with all those high scoring teams once We reach the playoffs . Mayfield is playing to the best of his ability but his play has not improved since the preseason when in four quarters of play , he only had a little over 100 yards of passing offense and only a couple of scores, if we really want to compete, We should let Trask play , who threw for over 500 total yards and was improving every week, We can stick with the past and get more of what we already got , or move on and see what the future holds , Who dares wins!

  43. stpetebucfan Says:

    Lets be honest. Baker is not the next coming of Patrick Mahomes but he is talented in the pocket and out of it.

    2 of the 3TD’s yesterday simply do not happen if the over the hill Brady was under center…the fade in the end zone while a great throw is a toss Brady was great at…but Brady would have thrown the ball away or gone fetal position on the other two…especially the Otton TD.

    IE…I love how this kiddie corps is playing OL but Baker is also very instrumental in making them look good. He simply never gives up!

  44. BucFanforLife Says:

    It’s because the Bucs roll with Tide. Others are skimping with Purex. GO BUCS!!

  45. tbc 1 Says:

    This team put in the hard work in preseason and it now starting to show-HATS off to the whole team and its coaches.
    When will the buccs start to show interest in signing Baker to a 3 or 4 year contract-now that will be interesting as the longer they wait the more the price goes up…

  46. Why Bowls? Says:

    D-Rome, other than Bucs win over Minn. The NFC North has beaten up on the NFC South. Except the Bears every team has a win or two over the South.

  47. mark2001 Says:

    Frankly didn’t make one prediction about Baker one way or the other. But if the guy keeps playing like he has, I think we found our franchise QB.

  48. unbelievable Says:

    I notice there was no comments made about their run blocking ability… Hmmm I wonder why?

    Also – thank god Mayfield is mobile and shifty. We would have 2x as many sacks on the year, at least, if he wasn’t. Hainsey needs to move to guard. He’s too weak at the C position. Wirfs is a stud though.

  49. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    Casual Observer Says:
    “Mayfield’s ability to escape the tackles help these stats.”

    You beat me to it. I don’t see Mayfield as having the fluid in-the-pocket elusiveness that Brady demonstrated. He has some of that, but moreso I see a guy who is thicker and stronger who can muscle through contact and jersey grabs.

  50. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    Tampabaybucfan Says:
    “We have had 9 kneel downs in the 4 games…..take those out and our average improves…..especially Baker’s.”

    As far as combined yards-per-carry average, the 31 teams averaging better than us have also had kneel downs. Most of them, anyway.

  51. Aaron Says:

    Too bad no RB can operate behind this shoddy run-blocking OL

  52. James Barnes Says:

    Go get Jonathan Taylor from the Colts – he is great back – great out of the backfield at catching the ball – play more 12 technique for both run and pass and let Baker innovate – people forget he turned the Browns around then got stabbed in the back because he played hurt. At Carolina they had a terrible coordinator – good ones create the offense around their players not the other way around. We need one more strong OLineman and Jonathan Taylor and we would be playoff bound –

  53. James Barnes Says:

    Go get Jonathan Taylor from the Colts – he is great back – great out of the backfield at catching the ball – play more 12 technique for both run and pass and let Baker innovate – people forget he turned the Browns around then got stabbed in the back because he played hurt. At Carolina they had a terrible coordinator – good ones create the offense around their players not the other way around.