If Bucs Are Going To Have A Run Game, Now Is The Time

October 13th, 2023

Lions edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson.

On paper, the more Joe looks at this game with the Lions on Creamsicle Day come Sunday, the more nervous Joe gets.

The Bucs’ run game sucks, has for over a year. There’s no need to sugarcoat things. Three yards a carry is pathetic. Let’s just be real.

Well, on the other side of the ball, here come the Lions, the second-best run defense in the NFL. They allow 3.3 yards a carry — to teams that can actually run the ball.

So when you can’t run it, guess what teams do? They throw it, which the Bucs have demonstrated they can.

Here is the Catch-22. When Bucs quarterback Baker Mayfield goes back to pass, here comes one of the best young edge rushers in the game, Aidan Hutchinson. The second-overall pick in last year’s draft already has 4.5 sacks and two interceptions.

Trust Joe, Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales is keenly aware of who lurks.

“Every play, Hutchinson, where is he at?” Canales said. “Is he on the right? Did they flip him over for a series?

“Just being conscious of that – whether it’s the run game or the pass game.”

The best way to combat Hutchinson is to have Mayfield move out of the pocket. Joe isn’t worried if the Lions put Hutchinson on Tristan Wirfs. The Bucs’ All-Pro tackle can handle things just fine. But what if the Lions line up Hutchinson over right tackle Luke Goedeke?

Goedeke has played really well at right tackle. Tangling with Hutchinson will be a helluva test. But you know what, Goedeke did a fine job against Cam Jordan in New Orleans. Maybe he can lock up Hutchinson, too?

25 Responses to “If Bucs Are Going To Have A Run Game, Now Is The Time”

  1. Defense Rules Says:

    Sure do wish that a good running game was a switch that you could just flip ON or OFF like the title implies (I’d keep it ON). But alas, such is not the case. We are who we are: a young (and mostly talented) team that still inexperienced when it comes to putting all the pieces together for having a great rushing attack.

    Against below average defenses we can be beastly running the ball. Against beastly run defenses, we’re below average. So maybe it makes sense to play to our strengths instead of our weaknesses?

  2. stpetebucfan Says:

    I do not view this game as “make or break” but it is clearly a great test to see how far the new OL, new QB, and new OC have come so far this season.

    75% of the season is still ahead and I believe the Bucs will continue to grow. I just hope this game isn’t a setback in that growth.

    This is a chance for Canalas to really test his judgement and ideas. An extra week of scouting, and extra week to heal, although with the exception of ME13 most of the injuries are on the D side of the ball.

    To this point in the season I give the Bucs an A+. Not because of their record or performances on the field as much as how much fun they have been to watch.
    I hope they continue the fun on Sunday!

  3. UKBuccaneer Says:

    I’m gonna call this in the second year of his career. Aidan Hutchinson is a HoFer one day. He’s that good.

  4. Fansince76 Says:

    Without a run game against the kitty’s Bucs will probably lose which sucks!
    What’s looming huge is the Goedeke vs Hutchinson matchup, Canales has to
    scheme to help the guy out because Hutchinson can wreck the game all by
    himself he is that good. Wish we had a pass rusher like him!

  5. bob in valrico Says:

    I believe the Bucs need to keep working on the run game to make their play action passes be more effective. Getting receivers on the move and open downfield will also help make both the run game and passing game better. Unfortunately it’s gonna take time. But I think we should keep working on both facets of the game simultaneously.

  6. Duane Says:

    Joe’s conventional wisdom fails yet again.

    Regardless of how many yards per carry the Bucs run game produces, the Bucs are still going to run the ball. And they have. The pass/run split is 52/48 so far. What the run does, if nothing else, is sets up the play action passing game which the Bucs have been pretty good at so far this season.

    Plus Baker Mayfield is not an easy guy to bring down, with “eyes in the back of his head” (essentially, knowing when the pocket is breaking down and so move up or out to either find the open receiver or to run it to the line to gain).

    Not to say that the Lion’s pass rush, or any other team’s pass rush, can or should be ignored. But the Bucs offense is designed to defeat a pass rush, and designed pretty well.

    As for the Bucs run game, our brand new offensive line is still on the learning curve, and we can anticipate them getting better at run blocking as the season goes on.

    We’re only 4 games into a 17 game season, with a rebuilt team. Patience, grasshopper, patience!

  7. A Bucs Fan Says:

    As long as Goedeke’s calf is ok I think the Bucs will be fine.

  8. Bbro Says:

    Detroit is far from a pushover win anymore n with the right adjustments they could make a superbowl appearance which we the Bucs could as well but we just don’t seem as hungry with the exception of Mayfield he’s on a mission to prove himself and I give him a big applaud for that.

  9. Lt. Dan Says:

    Goedeke v. Hutchinson. If Goedeke holds his own against that Tasmanian Devil Hutchinson then I will celebrate Big Storm style! The Bucs will have two young bookend awesome tackles for the foreseeable future. How many teams can say that?

  10. TDTB Says:

    Employ a TE at full back some plays (Keift seems like the natural for this) and address the inability to open holes.

  11. Lord Cornelius Says:

    It’s DL like the Eagles who have stars everywhere that scare me more than having one elite edge rusher.

    Hutchenson has been on like a Aaron Donald like tear tho this year – in his own class.

  12. Patrickbucs Says:

    He plays the majority of his snaps at LE. Goedeke is the matchup.

  13. Cobraboy Says:

    I look forward to witnessing what this team *really* is made of.

    I have no real expectations for a win or loss.

    There comes a time each season where one game can determine the future of the team and future aspirations.

    IMO, this is the game. Not the Iggles (new O), not the Aint’s (division rivalries rarely separate “men from boys” due to the emotions involved), but this game vs. Lions.

    Lay an egg, and we may be the same ol’ same ol’. Play well, beat the Lions without gimmicks and trickeration, and perhaps we have something.

    We will know at 7:30pm Sunday night.

    This is the biggest Bucs game in quite a while.

  14. orlbucfan Says:

    Lions are no longer bottom feeders. I’m glad for the team and its fans. Bucs fans know how THAT feels! Hey Bowles, how about D having a YUGE day in run-blocking? That’s not a foreign concept around here. LOL. Bucs have enough healthy receivers to neutralize edge rushers. This will be a great learning test/experience for both Canales and the OL. Get ready for Cardiac Bucs to win. They’ll be wearing the right colors and helmets. Weather could be iffy and needs to be watched. Getting psyched–GO BUCS!

  15. Jeff Says:

    Yeah, Bucs ain’t running this Sunday. Sorry. Bucs probably have a 15% chance of winning this. Completely outclassed by the Lions.

  16. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    In the old days you would run right at the best pass rushers. Make them work hard at the run to slow down the rush. Similar to basketball where you make the best scorer on the other team play D. Seems offenses don’t try to do those things as much but I certainly recommend it this Sunday.

  17. Craig Says:

    This one could be a great chess match, if the Bucs are coached up this time.

    The Bucs looked flat a couple of times this season, like they weren’t ready.

    The Monday game was the most glaring example.

    If the coaches did it right, this will be a worthwhile game to cheer for.

  18. SOEbuc Says:

    Cam Jordan been getting shut down by Bucs since Brady arrived Wirfs rookie year. I don’t know why it continues to come up every Saints game. But Goedeke is MVP behind Baker and Wirfs on offense and he is nasty. Can’t wait to see a big test for him and Bucs oline.

  19. Duane in Sanford Says:

    This game will be much closer than the Eagles game. Detroit hasnt made the playoffs since 2016. They are off to a hot start, but its not like they cant revert back to the old Lions and shoot themselves in the foot this week. Giving the edge to the more rested home team this week lads.

  20. Buckeyebuckchuck Says:

    Might be a big day for Otton. Lions LB are just ok in coverage, not great. Deeper passes, avoid Kerby Joseph he is a ball hawking safety. Run game, good luck, Alim McNeil is a poor man’s Vita Vea. Cornerbacks are decent, not great, might be a big day for Evans and Godwin

  21. Crickett Baker Says:

    This may be a learning curve for Hutchinson. We held Kamira to 33 yards. I don’t think the Lions have played a defense like ours. I don’t know if we will win or lose but I am looking forward to an exciting game!

  22. Shane Callahan Says:

    Fingers crossed, tough game, and MUST get some kind of running game. Ps, Is there really no way to improve at center and guards positions?

  23. JimBobBuc Says:

    I lived in Houston when JJ Watt was unstoppable. Only Belicheck could game plan him. They would let JJ rush from his LE spot and if he rushed outside they would run inside of him, and vice versa. Let Hutchinson rush up the field and then run or pass right where he was. Let him take himself out of the play!

  24. Ed McSherry Says:

    Have a prepared game-plan for a ton of screen-passes, and not wait until it becomes the only option for moving the chains half way through the second quarter.

    Have faith that the Buccaneers’ defense will do the job, and save the: “stubborn, up the middle run-game” for the Panthers.

    11 penalties last week against a good defense, and still a “W.” Clean that up this week, plus the above with the offense, and it’s 4-1 after this week, imo.

    Oh, and no disastrous “pull-back, protecting the lead,” please, in this game coach Bowles; 100% until “0” seconds left in the game, thank you.

  25. Pewter Power Says:

    here comes one of the best young edge rushers in the game, Aidan Hutchinson.

    Uh you’re missing another pass rusher one will be Neutralized without a doubt by Wirfs no matter which edge rusher it is. We’d be able to chip on the other side if needed. Pass rush doesn’t bother me. Losing to Seattle because their o line isn’t great either. That run defense though