Identity Crisis

November 1st, 2023

Mixed messaging, results.

What are the Bucs to do?

The Bucs can’t run the ball and no sane person thinks Baker Mayfield should be putting the ball in the air 40 times a game.

So how the hell are the Bucs supposed to score points? So far, they aren’t very much, which is a pretty incredible strain on a defense that is very good in some areas and very awful in other areas.

As Jenna Laine of ESPN points out, the Bucs find themselves at 3-4 and between a rock and a hard place.

But the realization has set in, as Mayfield put it this week that they “aren’t a run-first team,” and they won’t beat many quality opponents if they continue to drop back and pass 40-plus times every game.

Just this week Bucs coach Todd Bowles said they are a running team.

Mayfield seemed to suggest just last week if the Bucs think they are a running team, that’s wishful thinking.

So what are they? A run team that can’t run? That’s always a quality goal.

If the Bucs don’t fix their run game, Joe has a hunch what the Bucs are: Not winners.

43 Responses to “Identity Crisis”

  1. Popcorn Mike Says:

    Joe I am confused. As you say Bowles say the Bucs are a run first team but they can’t run the ball. I’ve heard over and over that Bowles want to keep trying to run the ball. Well after over 20 games the Bucs cannot run the ball. Licht pretty said on the NFL network Tuesday that he was satisfied with the players and coaches he has with the Bucs. Also, he sounded like this is the second half of the season and the Bucs should start to get going. I don’t know if this was a warning to Bowles or we can look for some big changes coming. So I am very confused

  2. Onetrickpony Says:

    You asked, what are the Bucs to do?
    Get a new HC for starters

  3. garro Says:

    Anyone look up the word schizophrenic?

    Something sounds off about this right here don’t ya think?

    Go Bucs!

  4. Fishhawkbuc Says:

    How about “Undisciplined”?
    + Pre-snap penalties
    + coverage “busts”, Bowles favorite word
    + missed tackles
    + DB miscommunication
    + coach to player communication
    + #45 weight gain = much slower

  5. I remember 21 Says:

    Blows & Canales said they’re going to be stubborn with the run. They’re stubborn in more areas than that. And they think it’s a good thing (it’s not). Imagine being Turd Bowls and being willing to get fired cause you refuse to bench Ryan Neal (on a one year FA deal mind you), who literally EVERYONE sees is the weak link of the defense. Straight up we deserve to lose. The coaching & effort are substandard. This idea that we can’t change anything mid season or mid game is RIDICULOUS. Like Mike Tyson says, everyone has a plan until you get punched in the face. We’re battered & bleeding. No guarantees, but you want to have a chance to win, here’s a few things you would do, in no particular order:

    A) Bench Ryan Neal for double D who I believe is tied for team lead in picks
    B) Sneak doesn’t enter the game or touch the ball unless there’s an injury
    C) Godwin should out target Mike at this point (yeah I said it), including some deeper routes. Mike is still a great player when he wants to be. He still has a big part to play in our offense, throw him some 50/50 balls, look for some long PI calls. Chris is more versatile & dynamic, better at pulling in Baker’s style of off target passes
    D) Kill the soft zone. Let Davis & Dean play more man, especially on third down. Tell Davis if he’s seen avoiding a tackle again, you’re going to see he doesn’t reach incentives and trade him in the off-season
    E) Sit LG Matt F. Have to go with Stinnie to save Leverett in case Hainsey goes down
    F) End project 9 and let YaYa cook
    G) Palmer hasn’t shown enough upside to justify his current level of targets and penalties. Try someone else there
    H) Despite what many think, Ko is not some all world blocker. Put an extra lineman in there instead
    I) Use R. White in the short passing game instead of as a rusher. This is where he excels, in space
    J) Make an effort to score when we have the ball & timeouts before halftime. We don’t have the kind of offense that allows us to give up those possessions like we do

  6. dbbuc711 Says:

    To my thinking Bowles and Licht have bet their jobs on this roster so it us what it is.

  7. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘What are the Bucs to do?’

    Aahh yes, the question for the ages. In reality IMO, we’ve already seen the answer. Three times this year.

    o Beat the Vikings 20-17: Bucs ran the ball 33 times for 73 yds (2.2 YPP) & passed it 34 times for 174 yds (5.1 YPP) … a 48.5% run-pass percentage (with 1 sack in there). Bucs got 3 takeaways against 0 giveaways (PLUS 3 Turnover Differential). Went 6-14 on 3rd down conversions. THAT’S exactly who Todd Bowles wants us to be.

    o Beat the Bears 27-17: Bucs ran the ball 34 times for 120 yds (3.5 YPP) & passed it 34 times for 317 yds (9.3 YPP) … a 50.0% run-pass percentage (with no sacks in there). Bucs got 2 takeaways against 0 giveaways (PLUS 2 Turnover Differential). Went 9-16 on 3rd/4th down conversions. THAT’S even more better in terms of who Todd Bowles wants us to be.

    o Beat the Saints 26-9: Bucs ran the ball 33 times for 114 yds (3.5 YPP) & passed it 33 times for 246 yds (7.5 YPP) … a 49.3% run-pass percentage (with 1 sack in there). Bucs got 3 takeaways against 1 giveaways (PLUS 2 Turnover Differential). Went 8-15 on 3rd down conversions. VERY consistent with the other 2 wins.

    So in our 3 wins the Bucs ran the ball 100 times for 307 yds (3.1 YPP) and passed it 101 times for 737 yds (7.3 YPP). Our Turnover Differential: PLUS 7. Bucs went 23-for-45 on 3rd/4th down conversions (51.1%).

    THAT’S the best we should expect with this team. Very few mistakes (only 1 giveaway in those 3 wins). A 50% conversion rate on 3rd & 4th downs. Fairly even distribution of run vs pass, with a running game that’s anything but flashy (the word ‘plodding’ comes to mind). All backed by a defense that limits opponents’ scoring. And it’ll beat meh teams. Beat good teams? Not so much.

  8. nick houllis Says:

    Swing passes. We know white can catch the ball well. Go back and watch all the Bucs film from 1984, and turn White into James Wilder (as far as throwing the ball to him) because white is no Wilder, but if you get him the ball in space. That, and well, we just have to live with what we have. Were paying the bill for that Super Bowl and t he attempted the next year. it’ll be ok down the road. but don’t be the raiders and fire a coach we got nowhere with that.

  9. Georgia Redneck Says:

    It’s pretty simple. Bowles has a history of losing. What to do with losers? You know the answer. It’s the same as cancer. You treat it as soon as possible.

  10. SlyPirate Says:

    A good coach looks at his roster and decides how to play to it’s strengths.

    How would you look at a roster with Evans, Godwin, R White, Hainsey, and Mauch and think you should be a running team?

  11. Darin Says:

    If they start winning the turnover battle by 3 again every game they’ll win some more. That’s something to look forward to. Nobody should be surprised. We’ve all seen bowles and Mayfields teams before. Same old same old.

  12. Chris Says:

    Bowles is going to lose his job eventually playing this boring, outdated style. Nobody runs and plays Defense to win in 2023.

  13. Voice of Truth Says:

    The Raiders started the run on bad coaches, The Glazers should take note…

  14. WillieG Says:

    “ And yet just this week Bucs coach Todd Bowles said they are a running team.” spoken like a coach married to a philosophy and not reality, aka a loser.

    This is why the Bucs didn’t make any trades. They know they will get a top 5 draft pick…….and a new head coach.

  15. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Bucs are a running team. 😆😆😂😂🤣🤣🤣😆😆

  16. jehzsa Says:

    No runs, no puns.

  17. Austin Cline Says:

    It’s just a shame this Texans game wasn’t before the trade deadline. If the Bucs lose, they should clean house, starting with Bowles.

  18. power sweep Says:

    JOE: “No sane person thinks Baker Mayfield should be putting the ball in the air 40 times a game.”

    No rational Bucs fan thinks one-year-contract Baker Mayfield should continue as the starter trying to revive his failed career at the expense of the Bucs’ future.

  19. power sweep Says:

    JOE: “No sane person thinks Baker Mayfield should be putting the ball in the air 40 times a game.”

    Actually, he’s putting the ball in the air an average of 35.14 times per game. He’s just obviously not the answer.

  20. Beej Says:

    I doubt ownership is expecting much out of this season, given the cap constraints and the decision to eat all $35 million of Brady’s salary

  21. PewterStiffArm Says:

    I live in North Carolina and I am not sure that I can stomach watching them under perform any more. Week after week defensive players in our back-field as we hand it off is priceless. We are between a boulder a bed of decking screws. If we under perform against the Texans they might combine two parades, a win against the gutless Buccaneers and a celebration of the Rangers winning the World-Series.

  22. bob in valrico Says:

    Yes Pewter Stiff Arm.
    Defense in the backfield is a real problem that has to be addressed in both the running and passing game. The defenses are also getting to Baker. He has made some good plays scrambling and nearly had his head taken off at other times, but somehow eluding the sack. No QB makes good decisions when there is a constant threat
    of breakdowns on the offensive line. We need to get better protection ,my suggestion would be the use of a fullback or H back to help with protection or lead blocking.

  23. D Cone Says:

    29th in 1st Quarter Scoring @ 1.9. Last 3 games 2.4. Last game 0.0

    Seems like the only time the Bucs move the ball successfully is when they are down 2 scores and teams give up yards to burn clock.

    Big difference between playing from 7-0 then it is 0-7. Team has options. Down 14 and things get limited.

    I wouldn’t suggest going up tempo all the time but on the opening drive might not be a bad idea. Get 7 points on the board right away and then go from there.
    When opposition puts up a score group tempo again. Might even be able to get the score from outside the 20 because once in the Red Zone things don’t seem to go very well.

    Some say up tempo tires out the defense. How tired does the defense get working after numerous 3 and outs? Can’t speak for the Tampa Defense but I would feel much better defending a 7 point lead than defending to keep from falling down 2 scores.
    While in up tempo mode teams will have to defend the pass first and will open up some runs to be mixed in for some good yards.

  24. Larry Edwards Says:

    I live near Detroit yet have been a Bucs fan since 1978. It’s been difficult over the years but with Bowles in charge, maybe it’s time to follow the Lions. Their GM & Head-coach seem to know how to run a team and play.

  25. tbc 1 Says:

    I remember 21
    You are on the money with your thoughts!

  26. Bojim Says:

    They won’t be a running team at all this year. Todd and Dave, we have no running back. Repeat. No running back. Unless we get at least 8 wins and looking strong doing so, Bowles is gone and so is Canales. That means we’ll have a decent draft. Also, if that’s the case might as well give Trask his deserved shot.

  27. orlbucfan Says:

    Hey Larry E, I’m glad the Lions look decent. Have they ever won a SB? No, and please correct me if I’m wrong. Bucs have won 2, and they’re a younger franchise than Detroit. Their last SB, 3 years ago, was the first one in NFL history to be done in their home crib. They didn’t win the South Division that year, either. They did it the last 2 years. You get on this site, and you would think it’s the 1980s with all the faux fans. I laff a lot on here.

  28. Usfbuc Says:

    I listened to the special teams coach the other day and about 90% of the interview was him just spouting cliches about the game and making special teams sound more complicated than they are.

    Bowles is always talking about we have to work on fundamentals, the basics…This is the NFL why do we have so many players who don’t understand the basics/fundamentals?

  29. Glass Half Full Guy Says:

    When teams can’t run what do they do? They use screens and play action. R. White has shown what he can do with the ball in space, especially in the last game vs Buffalo. Let’s see if Canales learned anything.

    If not, Josh McDaniels is available for an OC job now. Sucks as a HC but a darn good OC with EXPERIENCE. Demote Canales to QB coach or Asst OC so he can learn and if his ego won’t accept that, can him. Dude is in over his head and has no answers, just blame-shifting.

  30. Jack Clark Says:

    By what objective measurement makes the Bucs a running team? The Bucs have many more passing attempts than running attempts, the least amount of total rushing yards, least amount of yards per carry, and only one rushing touchdown in seven games! So are we a “running team” just because Todd Bowles says we are? Make that make sense 🥴

  31. Alanbucsfan Says:

    The Bucs lost the last 2 games mainly because they had 20 penalties for 140 yards .
    The Bucs lost the 1st 2 games this year because they were getting dominated in time of possession (couldn’t run the ball) and weren’t getting turnovers.
    The Bucs won their games because they were a combined +7 in turnovers and avoiding penalties , except for Saints game.
    Good to hear the coaches are working on fundamentals- blocking and eliminating penalties – this week.

  32. T. McGee Says:

    Punt on first down. Play field position.

  33. NE Fan Says:

    Same story different season, QB & Bowles NOT on the same page. Raiders just canned McDaniels why can Bucs can Bowles? Your running game was worst in the league in 2022 so here’s an idea hire a new OC that has never schemed or ran a NFL play in his career. Does the word moron come to mind?

  34. Give it a Rest, Trask Brigade Says:

    40 passes has nothing to do with why they lost.

    20 penalties across two games does. It doesn’t matter if you can pass or run well if it’s called back on holding.

  35. Mike S Says:

    5.4 yards/attempt v Buffalo wasn’t good.

  36. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    Scoring TD’s is the new trend.

    All the other stats, is just window dressing.
    Bears led in rushing yards last year, and only won 3 games.

  37. JK Says:

    Joe, what’s up with Sean Tucker? Got a good feeling about him

  38. Since76 Says:

    Can’t pass the ball and can’t run the ball. Can’t run block. You can pass protect. Let’s call them a QB protecting team that can’t pass. That’s their identity.

  39. Esteban85 Says:

    Hate to say it but I think Bowles is the problem.

  40. Rod Munch Says:

    I know their identity under Bowles.


    The same man that got Brady his first losing season, his first loses to Dallas and Atlanta, and the guy who just saw his 3-1 team turn into a 3-4 that has lost 4 of their last 5.

    But hey, stop focusing on the wrong things and remember the Bucs lead the NFL in turnover ratio, and as we all know from the Winston days, the turnover column of the stat sheet is the most important thing in football!

  41. captivajim Says:

    interesting that Brady made similar comments last yr mid season ….

  42. NE Fan Says:

    Captjim@ not sure what you mean, I don’t recall Brady ever claiming Bucs were a running team. I always wondered why Brady favored BL, now we know it was Bowles forcing the run down their throats.

  43. Erik The Viking Says:

    We need to have a Bowles movement.