Dave Canales: There Is A Reason Why The Bucs Are Trying To Build A Ground-And-Pound Offense

November 17th, 2023

This saddens Joe.

Joe really, really, really believes the best way the Bucs can get points on the board (which, believe it or not, really is more important than the turnover battle or the number of runs-to-nowhere an offense accumulates in a game) is to throw the ball.

You have Mike Evans, a guy who Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales said is the best receiver he has ever worked with. That’s quite a statement.

Then there is Chris Godwin, who just seems to Joe like he is being criminally underutilized. Even Godwin’s former teammate, Cam Brate, took to local TV and begged the Bucs to run the offense “through Chris.”

Hell, even Rachaad White, a misplaced slot receiver, is putting up receiving numbers that are damn near Pro Bowl level for a running back. Yeah, Joe typed that.

(He’s turrible running the ball.)

So why let your best players rot on the vine? Why not use them?

Why not craft a gameplan around your most skilled weapons? Guys like Evans and Godwin don’t come around every other year.

In the eyes of Canales, he doesn’t believe you can win the NFC if you go through San Francisco, the Bucs’ opponent on Sunday, and Philadelphia by throwing the ball. Even if you have the league’s worst rushing attack.

Canales was asked Thursday about how many times he has faced a Kyle Shanahan-led 49ers given Canales’ years with the Seahawks (something Joe wrote about yesterday).

“It does help,” Canales said. “It helps to know where people are going to be at, and also knowing the style of defense and the way that they’re structured and really how good they are in that front seven and how good they are in that front.

“There’s a style that you have to play these guys. Again, it’s like, if you’re going to try and make it a dropback game from snap one, good luck. It’s why we build the offense the way we do, so that you can have a chance to beat these really special defenses by being able to be balanced, mixing it the right way with the run game and the [play-]actions, the quick game, the empty stuff.

“You have to be really calculated with the shots you take, because you can’t just got out there and think you’re going to go bombs away against this group.”

Well, here is the pothole in Canales’ statement about being balanced. The Bucs are not balanced because they have no credible running back! They run for 3.1 yards a carry. Worst in the NFL in more than a decade.

How can you be balanced when your offense’s skillset is so imbalanced? Shoot, even Warren Sharp documented how much better the Bucs are passing than running.

How in the world is Joe to expect the NFL’s worst rushing team to do anything against arguably the NFL’s best defensive front-seven? There are only so many snaps in a game. What is the point of wasting them?

There is a reason why the Bucs tried to sign a Jets reject running back this week.

This “balanced” talk make Joe want to tackle a Bill Currie Ford F-150 pickup truck on Dale Mabry Highway. Balance doesn’t win games. Skillset and matchups and scheming plays wins games.

Like the late Mike Leach used to say about balanced offenses … the wishbone, when run right, was an absolutely devastating offense. And there was nothing remotely balanced about a wishbone.

Joe checked. Billy Sims is not coming out of that Bucs locker room on Sunday.

When the Bucs won 29 games combined in 2020-2021, which included a Super Bowl and an NFC South title, was that offense balanced? Not even close!

46 Responses to “Dave Canales: There Is A Reason Why The Bucs Are Trying To Build A Ground-And-Pound Offense”

  1. HC Grover Says:

    Oh well. To punder the ball you first need a pounder. We have none.

  2. Cobraboy Says:

    Ground and pound to a top-10 pick.

  3. Saskbucs Says:

    Joe is not wrong. I get what Canales is saying, not gonna let Bosa and Young come after Baker every snap, but a run up the middle for 1 or 2 is accomplishing nothing. Is Baker gonna be easier to sack on 3rd and 3 or 3rd and 9? The answer is obvious and Bucs need to throw quick passes early and often. Make them prepare for and respect the pass every down, then maybe some runs might work, then maybe play action shots might work.

  4. Steven007 Says:

    It would likely be a complete surprise to the niners if we were to employ a pass heavy, West Coast type scheme with occasional deep throws and a rare run to throw them off balance. Obviously it would be a situational thing and we could go back to running against a team with a softer run defense. But it would be smart football. Let’s see what they come up with.

  5. Onetrickpony Says:

    This has Todd Bowles wrote all over it

  6. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    Well, especially after Sunday, we won’t have to worry about this guy going anywhere next year unless the coaching staff get blown up. I still can’t believe all that early hype on Canales.

  7. kgh4life Says:

    The Bucs cannot be balanced because they can’t run the football, plain and simple. Being “balanced” is only going to put the Bucs in 3rd and long situations which will play right into the hands of the 49ers dline. If the Bucs want to maximize their the chances of winning, they have to throw the football early and often. Scoring points will prevent the 49ers from pinning their ears back.

  8. Oddball Says:

    Dave is just towing the line set forth by his brilliant head coach. This entire team is being under utilized in some form or another.

  9. Bucfan1988 Says:

    Here we goooooooo again…

    Joe beating up on Rashaad White, blahhhh blahhhhh blahhhhh

    Joe, ONCE AGAIN, White is not a terrible RB..

    What’s terrible are these things….
    – The PUTRID blocking by Robert Hainsey…Done w this guy 🤦🏻‍♂️
    – The lack of technique by Mauch…He’s getting better, but slowlyyyy
    -The pathetic run blocking by our TE’s

    Sorry to have to keep correcting you…
    Your comment about going out & getting a quality back is hilarious…
    It wouldn’t matter who you bring in to run behind our crappy center, rookie RG, and lack of quality TE blocking, everyone would suck…

    White is starting to make a name for himself.
    When this interior gets fixed, White’s gonna stand out even more…

  10. realistic-optimistic Says:

    Do you trust Mayfield to put the ball up 45 times a game like you did Brady?

  11. WiscoJoe Says:

    To be honest I don’t think the Bucs have to worry about losing Canales to a head coaching job… the guy is either clueless or insane if he keeps pounding the ball the way he does. He gives good press conferences but his ideas are asinine.

  12. 74 Bucs Fan Says:

    So Derrick Henry is a terrible running back Joe? How many yards did he post on Sunday? Was it his fault or the Oline’s fault?

    Blocking – it’s all about successful blocking. We need better Oline play – White will do fine imo if we create some holes.

  13. rashad brown Says:

    I get what he is saying, but I don’t like what he’s saying. This game doesn’t need to be balanced. It needs to be score first and often. Then in 4th quarter with the lead and 38 seconds left, we can run the ball.

  14. Aceofaerospace Says:

    So I read that we’re not going to miss him when he is fired with the rest of the staff at the end of the season. Keep force running the ball to nowhere to your demise coach.

  15. Beeej Says:

    He has done 40 plus, I think three times out of nine games

  16. bucnjim Says:

    I think his point is if the 49ers only have to pass rush they’ll kill us. Even at 3 yards per carry that sets up a 3rd down and manageable situation. If we’re going to have a chance Mayfield is going to have to take off running on some short yardage to keep the chains moving.

  17. Beeej Says:

    We can get three yards per carry against teams like Tennessee, probably more like two against San Francisco

  18. Seattle Buc Says:

    Perhaps Bowles and Canales feel Mayfield does not fare well in a pass-first offense? Which is interesting, because the Bucs have a guy on the bench who excelled in college in exactly that, a pass-first offense with no running game that lined up more often than with nobody in the backfield. But that’s a no-go-zone for Joe and the Bakettes. 🙂

  19. Seattle Buc Says:

    Stop knocking Canales. The chances are slim to none that Offense Whisperer Bowles is not dictating to Canales what to run (pun intended).

  20. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist and Founder of UniqueModernArt.com Says:

    Sign Rojo off the street and we can implement the ground-and-pound game. (Rojo had the highest break tackle rate in the NFL when he was a starter). That’s what we need with our weak interior o-line. Our guards and center get manhandled out there alot of the time.

  21. Buckeyebuckchuck Says:

    Last i checked the Iggles, Lions, Ravens, Bengals etc etc had a pretty healthy running game. OC DC might be on to something

  22. Tbbucs3 Says:

    “ So Derrick Henry is a terrible running back Joe? How many yards did he post on Sunday? Was it his fault or the Oline’s fault?”

    Bad analogy, Henry occasionally has an off week but has proven that he can run for 100+ consistently.

    Watching White on film, he never runs through contact. How often have we seen RW1 break tackles? Rarely. In the NFL, a 26 game sample size is more than enough to prove what a RB is and in Whites case, it’s an elite pass catcher but an average run of the mill running back which makes a great RB2 but not much of a workhorse RB1.

  23. Tbbucs3 Says:

    And I really don’t get the sudden love affair with ROJO. There’s a reason why he’s not signed by anyone right now and Andy Reid and Mike McCarthy only had him on practice squad. .

    First of all he’s aging and even when he was here he was a straight line runner and is bad at making cuts and making defenders miss.

    ROJO was not good in 2021 despite the 4.2 YPC which fans only seem to care about. Theres a reason the Bucs moved on.

  24. Seattle Buc Says:

    Tbbucs3 Says: “the 4.2 YPC which fans only seem to care about”

    That’s rich coming from a Bakette who ignores our losing record and fixates on dink and dunk passing stats. LOLOL

  25. orlbucfan Says:

    How about a couple of fullback calls to Otton since everyone on here is howling about no running game? Can’t hurt, and the 49ers won’t be looking for it.

  26. Dwayne Cone Says:

    Browns beat the 49ers rushing 34 for 160 PJ walker 18 of 34 for 192 and 2 INT
    Cincy beat them rushing 27 for 139 and passing 28 of 32 for 266′

    Jets beat the Eagles and all they can do is run the ball. 21 for 89 and 19 of 33 for 186. Got 3 picks that helped.

    All the Bucs related Podcasts are saying it’s nothing to lose this game. Bucs are still in the drivers seat and control their own destiny. What team doesn’t? Never saw another team play a game for any other. All teams control their own destiny.

    If it is true that a loss at the 49er’s is not going to matter. Which is absolute Hogwash then why not cut Baker loose to throw 45-50 times a game?
    My bet is Bucs won’t have enough drives and first downs to even get close to that many plays without the threat to run. It would be fun to watch though.

    To quote The Blind Side “Run the dang ball Burt”.

  27. GP Says:

    Maybe if we had a full back.
    Someone in excess of 300lbs but quick with a little experience running the ball.
    Hmm, where can we find someone like that?

  28. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Running plays are wasted plays. That is THE problem. The stupidity is maddening.

  29. Aaron Says:

    why not use some kind of creativity – you don’t only have to run 31 dive to establish a running game.

  30. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    I have to agree with Canales here … Yes our run game is abysmal. But in reality when the offense dials up a shot it’s pretty much been there. A few misses and a few drops, but, overall, the offense has benefitted from some timely big plays.

  31. sasquatch Says:

    He’s not wrong. Even if you don’t run for much of an average, you have to at least have the defense prepare to defend the run. If you just allow them to tee off on the QB every down, you’re not going to win. Yeah, that’s the purpose of balance. Same concept of not running the same passing play every time. If they know what’s coming, they can defend it. SO, they ought to run, but they also ought to throw on 1st down more often and hopefully save more runs for 2nd downs.

    Balance could mean a lot of things, but the main reason you want it is to keep the defense on their toes… Also, if you can succeed at pounding the ball, you increase your chances of controlling the clock, which wears the defense down, gives your defense rest, and reduces the opponent’s opportunity to score.

    That said, you also have to know when to sh!tcan the run and move the friggin’ ball.

  32. Buc4evr Says:

    Wow, this guy is going to get the Bucs buried. It’s hard to listen to this clown. He is no better than Leftwich, he just talks a big game.

  33. Defense Rules Says:

    Canales … ‘“There’s a style that you have to play these guys. Again, it’s like, if you’re going to try and make it a dropback game from snap one, good luck. It’s why we build the offense the way we do, so that you can have a chance to beat these really special defenses by being able to be balanced, mixing it the right way with the run game and the [play-]actions, the quick game, the empty stuff. You have to be really calculated with the shots you take, because you can’t just got out there and think you’re going to go bombs away against this group.”

    Before ripping Canales a new (whatever), consider that he’s probably right, BUT … that doesn’t mean that the Bucs are capable of doing what he’s suggesting. Cleveland and Cincinnati both beat the 49ers by using a relatively ‘balanced attack’ (which is all that Canales is saying).

    HOWEVER … Minnesota beat them by taking to the air. Vikings ran 21 times for 74 yards (3.5 YPC) and passed it 45 times, with Cousins completing 35 of those (78%) for 378 yards passing. He threw 2 TDs against 1 INT (inconsequential) & wasn’t sacked at all. Vikings held a 35-25 TOP advantage and a 3-1 Turnover Advantage. And yet they barely squeeked out a 22-17 win (they would’ve lost if Brock Purdy hadn’t been intercepted TWICE on the last 2 drives).

    Can Mayfield duplicate Couch’s performance in that game? I doubt it. Can the Bucs get a 35-25 TOP advantage like the Vikings did? Doubt that too. Can we generate a PLUS 2 Turnover Differential like Minnesota did? Possibly but it doesn’t matter apparently because turnovers aren’t important as we all know now. There’s a reason the 49ers are heavily favored. Nevertheless, 3 teams have already beaten them.

  34. BakerBucs Says:

    whenever I c the name Seattle bucs don’t bother reading his stupid comments just read his handle Seattle bucs is all u need to know I r on the wrong website we are east coast jackass to many drugs in that loser of a state

  35. J Ghotier Says:

    So Joe the Offensive Coordinator is worried?! I think I’ll go w/ much more highly trained and intelligent in the field…

    I do get the sentiment and sacredness take wholeheartedly and agree to many extents, but I don’t know how much a Reporter/Journalist turned Offensive Coordinator guru/expert’s opinion is the gospel

  36. sasquatch Says:

    BakerBucs Says:
    November 17th, 2023 at 3:27 pm

    whenever I c the name Seattle bucs don’t bother reading his stupid comments just read his handle Seattle bucs is all u need to know I r on the wrong website we are east coast jackass to many drugs in that loser of a state

    You have no idea what you’re talking about. Maybe turn off the right wing propaganda and climb out from under your rock.

  37. unbelievable Says:

    Well at least now you all can save yourselves from being disappointed when you see the same exact run, run, pass progression every drive until it’s way too late in the game…

    Stubborn is as stubborn does…

  38. Glass Half Full Guy Says:

    100% right on every point Joe. It’s just wasting snaps. They way we run the ball teams can’t wait for us to do that. It’s like having a quarterback with a dislocated throwing shoulder and trying to pass all game. It’s flat out atupid.

    You can keep the D honest with screens, play action or sweeps as a substitute for a poor running game. It doesn’t have to be “bombs away”. There IS a middle ground between ground and pound and no-risk-it.

    Canales is a joke

  39. Glass Half Full Guy Says:

    Also, the time to “build” a ground and pound offense is over for the time being. You “build” via draft, FAs, working on it through camp and as a last resort, the trade deadline. Nine games in and the best you can do is tweak some things and scheme better.

    You can’t “build” anything without the pieces to do it with.

    As for facing the Niners and their pass rush, we might need to see Trask by halftime just to keep Mayfield healthy. With the way QBs are dropping like flies (Burrow is now out for the year as the latest one) if we somehow make the playoffs there might not be many QBs left to worry about.

  40. D Cone Says:

    Giants have the least amount of 1st downs @171 before the five others that are not worth listing. Bucs are one of them.
    SF is 8th with 202.

    As far as passing on first down Bucs have passed 99 times to SF 109.
    SF passes 54% on 1st down. Bucs based on Giants # pass 57%+ on 1st.

    If Joe wants more passes on 1st down maybe he can ask the person on the field responsible for keeping the chains moving to throw the ball passed the line to gain on 3rd down.

    How many times are we going to have to watch a 3rd down pass to a check down receiver 4 yards behind the chains get tackled by two defenders immediately? Quick slant for 5 when you need 7?

    I guess it puts the blame on the receiver for not breaking tackles but puts the passer @ a 100% completion rate on the play.

    I’d suggest the QB hold the ball a little longer, deliver the ball farther down, field, and take a few hits. Then I remember how hard it is to hit a golf ball out of the trees and Mayfield is in that situation as the pocket gets smaller.

  41. Proudbucsfan Says:

    So now I’m banned from commenting?

  42. Proudbucsfan Says:

    My last post disappeared

  43. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist - Founder of UniqueModernArt.com Says:

    Let Vita play Fullback and bust some heads!!!!

    Give him a few hand-offs once in awhile too!!

    Do it and we never lose again. Watch

    Lol, but seriously.

  44. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist - Founder of UniqueModernArt.com Says:


    Any opinion on my last comment about playing Vita at FB?

    Let’s make it happen!!!

  45. 941Boltsfan Says:

    BRILLIANT!! Abandon the run cause it doesn’t work! It’s a waste of a play!? I mean seriously? I can’t imagine with out the threat (as weak as it is) of running the ball, that if the Bucs sat back and only threw the ball with and taking away of the idea of play-action pass cause there is no run game. That they can just sit back and only throw the ball with defenses knowing. Not a winning formula

  46. Pappabill Says:

    IT MAKES SENSE…….if you have run blocking linemen and strong runners.
    Unfortunately we don’t. What we do have is two of the best receivers in the NFL and an offensive line that is much better at pass blocking than run blocking……and on top of that we have Baker Mayfield……a gritty get it done QB that is so underrated that our own unknowlegable idiotic fans want him replaced with Kyle Trask who isn’t even close to Mayfield in ability.
    Yes we must run from time to time , but just to keep the defense honest. I’m hoping to see them cut Mayfield lose and use Godwin much more. BIG PLAYS is what we need to win . Like about 6 or 7 of them…