Halloween Lenny?

October 16th, 2023

Todd Bowles was hit with a question about two Buccaneers greats today.

One was the man who had the most efficient season by a running back in franchise history: Ronald Jones. The mighty 2020 edition of RoJo averaged 5.1 yards per carry as a full-time running back with 192 carries. He’s the only full-time Bucs RB to ever hit that mark in a season.

Joe knows a lot of fans forget RoJo was the team’s RB1 in that glorious season until Leonard Fournette got hot late in December and morphed into “Playoff Lenny” and “Lombardi Lenny.”

This year, the Bucs’ running game is the NFL’s worst, as it was last season.

Bowles was asked if he’s considering RoJo of Playoff Lenny as potential practice squad additions since they are both free agents.

RoJo was cut by the Cowboys in September after serving a drug suspension. Playoff Lenny visited teams in free agency and likely was seeking too much money. He was rumored to be headed to Indianapolis in September, but then Colts 2020 third-round pick Zack Moss exploded.

Bowles said neither player is under consideration at this time.

Fournette, 28, was with the Bucs last season and struggled along with current Bucs running back Rachaad White. Fournette and the team waved goodbye soon after the season. RoJo, 26, has done little since leaving the Bucs after the 2021 season, though he did earn a Chiefs Super Bowl ring last season (17 carries, 70 yards and 1 TD).

Joe can’t make a great case for the Bucs to add either running back, though it’s possible each could be better than any running back currently on the roster.

If the Bucs can’t snap their running-game blues in the next two games (10 total days), perhaps general manager Jason Licht does hit Fournette with a text. He was well-liked in the locker room and he sure has the postseason experience Tampa Bay may be craving come January.

74 Responses to “Halloween Lenny?”

  1. R.O. Says:

    I miffed how we cant better utilize White catching passing out of the backfield better. Just blows my mind. He should 8 catches a game minimum.

  2. CalBucsFan Says:

    I would welcome either one of them back, but Bucs can’t afford either, so why ask the question?

    The Bucs are 3-0 against bottom dwellers and 0-2 against playoff caliber teams and though adding a better runner or two might help, it also moves them that much further away of drafting one of the premier QBs of the upcoming draft.

    Besides, from a long-term perspective, a top 10 (top 5 would be even better) then improving the RB stats from the bottom of the league to mid-lower half of the league, because Mayfield is nothing more than a short-term answer.

  3. Jack Clark Says:

    “If the Bucs can’t snap their running-game blues in the next two games (10 total days), perhaps general manager Jason Licht does hit Fournette with a text.”

    Jason Licht should be hitting up some offensive lineman who can actually run block with a text to actually fix the root cause of the problem instead of trying to put a band-aid over it

  4. Buc50 Says:

    Fournette is no better than what we have now. He can’t avoid a tackle to save his life.

    RoJo might be a better option but without better OL blocking, we are likely going to get the same result.

  5. Rod Munch Says:

    Lions give up 3.3 yards per carry.
    Versus a below average run blocking line, the Bucs EYPA would have been <2.9.
    White averaged 3.7 yards per carry.

    That means White average 0.8 yards per carry more than expected.

    I made up some of that, some I did not. You figure out what is what.

    But in any case, again, unless you're building a time machine to get kidnap 1991 Barry Sanders, it makes no difference who is back there.

  6. The Fighting Schianoes Says:

    I feel that R White could be an excellent 3rd down back but he’s just not the downhill runner we need right now. RoJo would have more success on 1st and 2nd downs me thinks.

  7. aleyz2020 Says:

    Maybe including Sean Tucker in the rotation to see if he’s the spark needed or let the TE’s plow through the line some.

  8. J Says:

    This scouting staff has been so focused on pass blockers I’m not sure they know what a good run blocker looks like.

  9. Rod Munch Says:

    I’m so sick of this nonsense… there’s no holes to run through. Watch the ALL22 and show me where White is missing holes or not taking what is there. He can not magically transport himself through 7 people to pick up 3 yards if there is no hole there. In fact, when you watch the film, you see why he’s the starter – because he’s being patient and getting yards that wouldn’t be there if he went full ‘Michael Pittman running into the back of his offensive line at full speed’.

    The suggestion that Joe has about getting a run game coordinator is something I can get behind. Something in the blocking just isn’t right.

    But constantly saying every RB on the roster is the issue is just nonsense.

    If you want to sign a change of pace guy, like Ronnie Brown, then I’d totally be fore that. But I wouldn’t expect much to change if they keep running the same plays. Then again, there’s nothing that says you can’t run outside, that you can’t run off tackle behind Wirfs, that you must run it up the middle when clearly the line isn’t made for that.

  10. Mike Johnson Says:

    Our running game cannot get any worse than it is now. Or can it? Bring back
    my man Playoff Lenny!

  11. Rod Munch Says:

    J Says:
    October 16th, 2023 at 4:33 pm
    This scouting staff has been so focused on pass blockers I’m not sure they know what a good run blocker looks like.


    Well get this, I just looked at a calendar and it turns out it’s the year 2023, and here in the future, there’s no rule that says you must run the ball. In fact, teams that win championships do so by passing the ball.

    Seriously, look at this list.

    Last year: KC wins the SB, while Chicago leads the league in rushing and finished with the #1 overall pick.

    2 years ago: The Scams win the SB, are better passing than running
    3 years ago: The Bucs win the SB, are better passing than running
    4 years ago: Cheifs win the SB, are better passing than running
    5 years ago: Pats win the SB, are better passing than running
    6 years ago: Philly win the SB, are better passing than running
    7 years ago: Pats win the SB, are better passing than running

    I see a pattern…

    You know who is obsessed with running the ball? People who still think it’s 1972.

  12. BucsFanSince76 Says:

    Bucs would be foolish to not at least offer a league minimum contract to Jones. League minimum for a 4-6 year veteran like jones is 1.08 million pro rated for the remainder. Bucs CAN AFFORD that, but what they cannot afford to do is stand pat with what they have. I bet my bottom dollar Jones would sign for that 1.08 million. To expand on Joes’ drug suspension verbage-ROJO was taking heart medication prescribed by his doctor and he supplied docs to that effect, so it was not an illicit drug or a PED.
    All Todd said is that neither player is under consideration at this time , which certainly leaves the window wide open that Bucs feeling could change at any given future time on the subject. Imagine what our offense could be with a RB that averaged even 4.5 a carry which Jones could do. Get off your Duff Jason Licht and sign ROJO. Let us not forget the 2022 Bucs were also 3-2 after game 5 , but lost 3 in a row thereafter. Get with it Licht.

  13. JN Says:

    4 of our next 5 are stout against the run – ATL, BUF, TEN and SF. JL would have to pull a miracle out of his a$$ for this team to run against those defenses. IT AINT HAPPENING WITH OR WITHOUT Lenny, RoJo or anyone else. Need to make some big changes with this offense this off-season and in draft. Hey, there is a silver lining – we found a left tackle!
    I said it before and I will say it again… this offense needs some juice. WE HAVE ZERO SPEED except for Palmer. ZERO. NADDA. NO F-ING SPEED. We have to have the slowest offense in the NFL. Dont get me wrong, Evans and Godwin are a very good duo but they are not taking the top off of defenses any time soon. Even if they did Baker would overthrow them.

  14. BucsFanSince76 Says:

    Deven Thompkins runs a 4.35 and that is blazing fast. ROJO runs a 4.48 and he is at that speed very quickly bout 10 yards and that is one of the many reasons he regularly breaks 20+ yard chunk runs.

  15. Tbbucs3 Says:

    For as desperate as the Bucs are at running back, these are 2 cruddy suggestions, might as well ask about Doug Martin too.

  16. Rod Munch Says:

    JN Says:
    October 16th, 2023 at 4:48 pm
    4 of our next 5 are stout against the run


    Here’s an idea then… don’t run the ball.

    Just throwing that out there.

    Turns out, I checked the rule book and everything, there’s no language that says you must run the ball up the middle a certain number of times a game.

    Someone please get this information to Bowles, I think he’ll be shocked by this new information.

  17. Slacker Says:

    Get an actual Running back here. White is not the answer. And hats off to the 2 cornerstone defensive backs that are really earning their keep.

  18. DBS Says:

    They are both unemployed for a reason. We had them and no other team has picked them up. not as a # 2 or #3. And you want to bring them back as the #1?
    No way.

  19. Since76 Says:

    White doesn’t seem like he wants to hit the hole like he owns it. He wants it to be wide open. He does catch the ball well tho. The only problem with that is Mayfield can’t lead him with the ball. He’s either reaching back for it or diving for it most of the time. Maybe that’s the olines fault too. Nobody seems to want to take responsibility for this offensive hot garbage.

  20. adam from ny Says:

    didn’t realize rojo got cut…i thought he was still wallowing in dallas

    they should get him back in here right quick…!

    he runs hard…and then harder…

    he was more of a brady casualty – meaning brady needed a trusted receiving back he was comfortable with in pass pro…

    lenny earned that with tom, and rojo completely fell out of favor with tom, and into the abyss…

    it’s a new time – rojo just might have a real time revival here…

    take the shot mr. licht

  21. PewterStiffArm Says:

    Or, this just in. Just because we handed the ball off to Shawn Tucker a few times doesn’t mean we abandon his style either. Give him the rock, there is no way he will do less than Mr. White.

  22. BucsFanSince76 Says:

    Are you obtuse or just dense? Read the story again-ROJO had 192 carries and averaged 5.1 per. Who has the longest run from scrimmage in Bucs history???
    ROJO at 98 yards. Mike Piazza had a dismal Minor League career and hit about .238 for his Minor League career , but when he was called up to the bigs , Mike became a .300 hitter and alot of HR’s as well. Mike went into the Hall in 2016 after being a 62nd Round Draft Choice. The point is that some players perform their best on the biggest stage with the brightest lights and ROJO is that kind of player.

  23. RichieRich Says:

    Sick of the Mayfield hate, my goodness you see the games that Hurst and Brock Purdy had yesterday ? let me explain, if the buccaneers win their division Mayfield has somewhat decent season close to 2020 he’s going to get a Geno Smith kind of deal and Bowles will get ab extension. This is the bottom line could they draft another quarterback yeah maybe but Bowles the front office like BM. Complain all you want on message boards it ain’t going to change the damn thing

  24. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    I think Ro Jo’s YPC that year, was exaggerated by a 98 yard run, no?

    But, it was fun to watch.

  25. TOMMY MORDUE Says:


  26. Shane247 Says:

    I’m currently 54 & have been watching football probably 44 years or so. I grew up in IL & had the pleasure of watching Walter Payton singlehandedly keep the Bears in games. Years of terrible QB’s & suspect O-lines. Then I watched as Barry Sanders singlehandedly kept the Lions in games suffering the same terrible QB play & O-line issues.

    I could go on and on how teams with so so quarterbacks & bad O-lines are bailed out game after game, year after year by great running backs. Do you think Payton & Sanders had gaping holes to run through? News flash, they didn’t!

    I’m not buying the “but, O-line isn’t giving these guys big enough holes” nonsense. Our running backs are terrible! White would be a nice change of pace back, but not your #1. Vaughn shouldn’t even be on the team & who knows about Tucker.

    As much as it pains me to say this, I think they should trade Evans for a running back. Maybe Henry or another bruising back on a team that’s going nowhere this year.

  27. SlyPirate Says:

    White – Failed
    Vaugn – Failed

    Sean Tucker – Inadequate Sample Size
    Give ST 2 games @ 20 touches a game and see what he does.

    Dewayne McBride
    Stud RB on Vikings practice squad. Give him a shot.

  28. adam from ny Says:

    even if you subtract the one 98 yard run vs carolina, he still averaged at least 4.5 yards per carry or higher…

    i think it really all unravelled here in tampa for him when they left him hanging, 22 yards short of 1,000 yards that year (978 yards if i recall)…meanwhile they or tom made sure AB got the catches necessary so to meet some pay incentives in the final game of the season…

    rojo really did get the shaft right there and then…and maybe his attitude really skewed after that – i wouldn’t know…

    and brady didn’t see him as the receiving outlet he needed when the pocket was breaking down – which def was true – lenny excelled in that spot…

    i really think rojo could have a revival – he just needs the chance and the right system…

    if you weren’t tom’s guy you weren’t going to flourish in tompa bay for those 3 years…

    i don’t think i remember anyone other than alstott hitting the hole harder than rojo here in tampa…

    maybe he should be revisited…not much wear on those tires either

  29. adam from ny Says:

    my opinion on sean tucker so far:

    seems like a smaller version of nick chubb…sorta…but one who gains no yards…lol…

    similar style…with still a little tiki barber in him…

    but he is a little small…not a big back…

    and oddly enough he actually looks a lot like chubb…like they could be related – go figure…

  30. Crazyhorse54 Says:

    As much as I am pleased with Bowles this season his stubborn commitment to ‘balance’ is going to cost him his job. If his defense needs so much rest, they need better conditioning. This remains a passing league, Todd

  31. adam from ny Says:

    rod is correct as many others are…

    there are minimal holes being opened up by the interior ol…

    it’s just a fact…

    but a good running back can “get skinny” at times, or turn into a bowling ball…

    the only room to run is outside the tackles and yes we def need to see more ko kieft…

    is he in the dog house

  32. adam from ny Says:

    the season will unravel if we don’t repair the running game and fast…

    the passing game and qb simply are not good enough to survive on it’s own…

    yes an elite passing offense can survive on it’s own…

    that is not the bucs

  33. GumboIsForWinner Says:

    To answer Rod Munch.
    Advanced stats show White is bottom barrel in expected yards. Specifically, he averages about 1 yard less than expected per attempt. So, yes, a quality back would be doing much better. An average back would get gaining an extra yard per rush.

    And not to let Canales or Bowles off the hook, White faces a 8 man front more than about 2/3rd of the backs in the league. So we suck at running yet defenses know when we are going to run and stack the box.

  34. Pelsbuc61 Says:

    One thing is crystal clear, Bucs can’t continue to suit up these sorry cast of RBs and expect different results. He’ll, at this point bring up some practice squad RBs or poach one or 2 from another team’s practice squad.

  35. GumboIsForWinner Says:

    We could go back in time and draft Tyjea Spears in the 3rd round.

  36. Bojim Says:

    No. However could break a few of those tackles. I like the kid from Denver.

  37. Rod Munch Says:

    Pelsbuc61 Says:
    October 16th, 2023 at 6:16 pm
    One thing is crystal clear, Bucs can’t continue to suit up these sorry cast of RBs and expect different results.


    Right, because everyone you put back there fails… but the issue is all those people you put back there. Just keep cycling through guys and sooner or later one of them are going to work.

    Or you could just stop wasting downs running it up the middle, maybe run off tackle, do some sweeps, call more screens, etc.

    But nah, it’s probably all the RBs that are the issue, and if we change out with a new every week, sooner or later we’ll find someone that works.

    Until the next week when they don’t work, at which time we’ll run them out of town as well.

  38. Rod Munch Says:

    BTW, White had 7 carries yesterday, averaged 3.7 yards per carry, which is nearly a half yard better than what people average vs Detroit.

    Yesterday, after 7 carries, Saquon Barkley was averaging 0.8 yards per carry. What a bum, they should have cut him.

  39. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Dig up Ricky Bell.

  40. Mike C Says:

    So Joe you asking players about the “Blow out loss” or do you shelf that crap comment when you are talking to them?

  41. Rod Munch Says:

    DoooshLaRue Says:
    October 16th, 2023 at 6:51 pm
    Dig up Ricky Bell.


    HAHA… that literally made me laugh out loud.

    You know the Ricky Bell movie is on Netflix, I think. I started to watch it a few weeks ago, and I had to quickly give up, gave me the d-chills. I remember watching that movie as a teen, and all my friends watched it too, and for years, we’d ‘pay tribute’ to the film by reciting many of its memorable lines. Like if we met a new person with the name of Ricky, we’d repeat that name over and over again like in the movie. Not that I still do that today, certainly not.

  42. Voice of Truth Says:

    No backs are going to make any difference with this group of non run blockers.

    C can’t drive block anyone. Mauch gets rag dolled routinely, no push unless he is hitting someone from the side – that Fieler dude is invisible, no push at all and then there is Wirfs who isn’t exactly a road grader in the run game

    We can’t run anything inside and we rarely try to run off tackle or sweeps, it is literally mind boggling watching the new guy basically call the same plays Byron did…hmmmm……

  43. Larrd Says:

    Sign them both!

  44. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Fournette probably wants too much money.
    ROJO might take 2 years to learn Canales’ playbook

  45. SB~LV Says:

    lol… forget about it!
    There is a reason he is unsigned anywhere

  46. Defense Rules Says:

    Rod Munch … ‘The suggestion that Joe has about getting a run game coordinator is something I can get behind.’

    As luck would have it, the Bucs must’ve listened to Joe & you Rod. Harold Goodwin is listed as our official ‘ASSISTANT HEAD COACH/RUN GAME COORDINATOR’ on the Bucs’ website. And has been since 2019.

  47. Defense Rules Says:

    The only RB on our current roster who I hold any hope for is Chase Edmonds. So far this year he’s only gotten 4 carries, but for 20 yards (5.0 YPC … slightly higher than his 4.5 YPC career average). Of those 4 carries, he’s gotten 2 first downs. I thought he was gonna be back yesterday, but apparently didn’t dress for the game.

  48. RGA Says:

    Run blocking is the problem, not the running back!

  49. FairMinded Says:

    A motivated Fournette is far better than what we’re seeing so far. Unmotivated Fournette is a problem. Worth a try…Rachaad White is just not RB1 material. Not hating on him. He’s a good utility player and a patient runner who can get 5 yards when needed coming off the bench. But he doesn’t have game breaker shiftiness or speed

  50. Pewter Power Says:

    Get cut then come back to that team for next to nothing? That was a silly question to ask I think. No way he’s that desperate

  51. adam from ny Says:

    i agree with pewter power..

    pride can keep both guys away if we insult their worth…

    they might not like how they exited tampa, so why come back…

    money talks tho

  52. Weebs10 Says:

    Why is Mike C so hung up on not calling it a blowout loss? 20-6 feels like a blowout because you know we didn’t score a touchdown. They spanked us.

  53. Jack Clark Says:

    Weebs10 Says:
    October 16th, 2023 at 9:41 pm
    Why is Mike C so hung up on not calling it a blowout loss? 20-6 feels like a blowout because you know we didn’t score a touchdown. They spanked us.
    A blowout loss is the saints beating the patriots 34-0, losing by two scores is not a blowout because we still had a chance to win in the fourth quarter

  54. orlbucfan Says:

    20-1plus 3 from a T/0 is no blowoff lost. . The problem is the weakest and green O. Bucs fan know patience.,joes, you need get some tech glitches fixed on on here. Seriously.

  55. Kansas95Bucs Says:

    Why don’t we utilize slants and quick routes? We’re not built to run right now

  56. Rod Munch Says:

    Defense Rules – I think we both meant a new one. Or maybe we just fire the current one and don’t have one at all. Either way I’d be fine with it, and I doubt anyone would notice any negative effects.

  57. Rod Munch Says:

    Jack Clark – The Panthers were expected to get blown out in Miami, because the line was Miami -14.

    So 14 points, in the NFL, is a blowout.

    Didn’t have to be that way, except Bowles is punting from near mid-field on 4th and short down by 14 with 10 mins left. Who does that except gutless ‘tiny balls’ Bowles? Well, Dirk did it as well, and Bowles and Dirk are the same caliber of head coaches.

  58. Rod Munch Says:

    BTW, did you guys see the fabulous news that the Olympics is adding flag football? I can’t wait to see if the players and the cheerleaders share the same uniforms.

  59. CAbucsfan Says:

    Cook is available per Jets, maybe a 5th round pick?

  60. Jack Clark Says:

    Rod Munch Says:
    October 16th, 2023 at 11:01 pm
    Jack Clark – The Panthers were expected to get blown out in Miami, because the line was Miami -14. So 14 points, in the NFL, is a blowout.

    I don’t know what -14 means because I don’t gamble, but I do know the panthers lost to the dolphins by 21 points, 42-21, that’s a blowout. Even when people were playing madden on Xbox they would stop playing if you were losing 21-0 because there was no chance of you coming back to win, that’s a blowout. I don’t think of the panthers losing to the dolphins by 14 points as a blowout because 14 points is not insurmountable, even in the fourth quarter. But if the rest of the world disagrees then we will just have to agree to disagree

  61. westernbuc Says:

    If the Vikings do a fire sale then maybe mattison

  62. IE Buc Says:

    RoJo can’t catch and can’t run really great on the outside, but man can he run up the middle. He is a beast up the middle. We should sign him as RB3 and just have him churn it up the middle. Doesn’t matter if he doesn’t have a great OL, he will get his yards up the middle no matter what. At this point, we have seen enough of Vaughn.

  63. Mike C Says:

    Two possessions and a one score game at the half is not a blow out, only someone who wants to be DrAmAtIc would call it that. That or people who do not know what a “blow out” is. What happened to Dallas in sanfran for example… you know like when backups are in early 4th quarter. Not sure why I have to explain what a blow out is to people who supposedly watch football. If the lightning get beat 3 to 1…. it IS NOT a “blow out” ffs smh.

  64. Mike C Says:

    Also one of the Joe’s is a child and is calling it a blow out on every article, I doubt very much that he describes it that way when talking to players….

  65. D Cone Says:

    It’s not 1972. Sure isn’t Hits like Baker took on the sideline was commonplace and the Hit on Godwin in the 4th was Soft.

    Teams have not been winning Superbowls because they are Good at Passing the ball. They win because they are Good at running the ball and it opens up the passing game.

    KC vs Sf Super Bowl Season. 98yds/GM vs 144yds/GM respectively. Had SF not had an Average QB that overthrew wide open receivers the 49er’s would have won the game and not the Chiefs. Chiefs being Abe to run the ball better than their Season average was the decider on the KC side of the ball. Rushing that game had KC @129. S F @ 141

    Anyone that is crying for the Bucs to become a passing dominant team should also be asking for someone that can throw the ball with some touch 25 yards down the field.

  66. D1 Says:


    In the NFL , any loss by double digits is considered a blow out!
    Why? Because most betting lines are within +\- 5.5 pts.

  67. Mike C Says:

    D1, you are a idiot

  68. Mike C Says:

    You o realize teams typically get SEVEN points on one score right…..

  69. Zoocomics Says:

    @ ROD Munch… I agree, I think most/any RB behind our Oline would struggle, I guess the question is would a better talented RB struggle as much? Perhaps it’s just the coaches speak as Bowles and Canales assures us that we got the recipe for a viable run game, but we still haven’t ironed everything out.

    I still think it’s Hainsey. Our Oline has not been the same since we lost Jensen under center. The bitch of it, is it’s easier to find a serviceable replacement RB vs acquiring and inserting a starting Center mid-season. Meaning? We’re stuck until next off season, or an injury facilitates a move, and that would leave Leverette snapping the ball.

  70. JN Says:

    Not much they can really do 6 weeks in… just keep working at it and hoping we see some kind of improvement. It’s like making chix salad out of chix $hit and expecting it to taste good. Ain’t happening. It is what it is. Need an RB in the worst way and continue to revamp OL. Wirfs is an all pro… I have hope for Mauch. Rest are role players/backups.

  71. rrsrq Says:

    They will not bring either back, that would be like admitting they made a mistake, even though it really wasn’t. It was what it was, but Rojo being unemployed and a way better option than we currently have is a time to say, what do we have to lose. Maybe Canales playbook is a factor, but the guys in the locker room that were on that super bowl team knows what he brings. What’s up with Chase, is he on IR?

  72. Cobraboy Says:

    I am ready to move on from EVERY back on the Bucs roster.

    I gave these guys plenty of rope, and they just get worse.

  73. Jack Sparrow Says:

    Lenny “Twinkle Toes” Fournette is no better than Snow White. 4net goes down easily by a mere touch by a DL’s finger….

  74. Glass Half Full Guy Says:

    The stat line says the RBs suck with low YPC. The eyes tell you the line isn’t creating holes, so they must also suck. What we don’t see is the inept coaching in the run game, starting with Canales and on down to Goodwin and the o-line coach.

    You fix problems at their source or “root” and work your way up the chain from planning to results. The RB’s performance is the end-result. The coaching is the “root” of the problem.

    Canales is new and inexperienced but the other dolts have been here a while and none of our backs have lit it up. Not hard to connect the dots.