“Quit Running The Damn Ball”

November 17th, 2023

Sick stat.

Joe will start this morning off with a cool story about how a coach, against his conscience, decided to mold an offense around his talent.

There was a high school coach near Joe’s hometown. A rival school. The coach believed in “balanced” offense, which is sort of an oxymoron in itself. He wanted to throw as much as he ran.

Problem was, he had no quarterback who could throw the ball effectively. He also didn’t have a quick running back.

What this high school coach did have on his roster were beasts on his offensive line and a monster fullback (think a high school version of Mike Alstott). The coach thought to himself, “You know, we might be able to have a helluva offense if we ran a wishbone.”

Problem was, the high school coach thought the wishbone was the work of Satan. He loathed it. But he had an open mind and an eye for talent.

So this coach hired an offensive coordinator who had a wishbone background and told the guy, “You build a wishbone. I don’t want to know anything about it. I want nothing to do with it. I hate it, but it might be best for the team.”

What happened? That team won a state title. Yes, running the wishbone.

Joe brings up this story because of what Joe sees with the Bucs. Since they returned from Munich last November, the Bucs have demonstrated over and over and over and over again they cannot run the ball, despite forcing the run often.

What the Bucs can do is move the chains passing. And the Bucs have very talented weapons.

Below is a chart of what NFL receivers do when they find themselves in single coverage. As you can see, Mike Evans is in a league of his own.

Now a creative offensive coach would find multiple ways and schemes in order to get Evans matched up in one-on-one coverage and get him the damn ball.

It’s getting to be crunch time in the NFL. It’s mid-November. It’s the time of the year when playoff teams begin to separate themselves from the chafe.

The Bucs are very much in the playoff hunt. But Joe fears that hunt will be fruitless if the Bucs continue to pound the ball. Crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

The downside to constant, repetitive running to nowhere will no playoffs. That gets the attention of people who pull the strings at the highest levels of One Buc Palace.

Because of this perpetual desire to run when you cannot run, Joe thinks Bucs coaches ought to attend meetings “Football Running Anonymous,” sit in a circle and when their names are called, stand up and say, “My name is (insert name) and I’m a runaholic.”

If a high school coach, against his wishes, desires, DNA and soul, can be responsible and figure out what his offense is good at and maximize the talent, Joe fully expects NFL coaches to do the same thing.

As a Bucs fan yelled during the loss to the Dixie Chicks, “Quit running the damn ball!”

This run-run-run mentality when you can’t run might just get coaches run in January.

31 Responses to ““Quit Running The Damn Ball””

  1. Hodad Says:

    Yeah just throw it every plsy, that should work.

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    Another option might be to adapt your offense to use your strengths to attack your opponent’s weaknesses. Just a thought …

  3. First Last Says:

    Joe, do you think the Buccaneers try to pick up Chosen Anderson that the dolphins just cut?

  4. Buc4evr Says:

    Pass to set up the run, or should I say the screen pass to the RBs. If they have any chance to win against SF, they have to drastically change their game plan.

  5. SufferingSince76 Says:

    So, Hodad, just keep trying to run when you can’t? That should work.

  6. WillieG Says:

    When Don Shula had Csonka, Kick, and Morris, he had a running team. When he had Marino, Clayton, and Duper, he had a passing team. Shula was the G.O.A.T. but Bowles is just as good, so we should trust him and suffer through 20+ 1 and 2 yard runs each game. (Insert eye roll here)

  7. Danny Says:

    Lots of teams have used short passing game as a variation of the run game. Screens, getting White open in the flat, anything. Hell, even more creativity in the run game — sweeps, pitches, anything but between the tackles— would probably lead to improvement. White has shown he can be pretty good when you get him in space, but a between-the-tackles runner he is not.

  8. Joe in Michigan Says:

    First Last Says:
    November 17th, 2023 at 5:46 am
    Joe, do you think the Buccaneers try to pick up Chosen Anderson that the dolphins just cut?
    Yeah, he’s been chosen alright, chosen to be cut. What’s with fans wanting jack wagon receivers on the Bucs? Rod Muncher wanted Chase Claypool. Not no, but F— NO.

  9. gp Says:

    I think DR might just be on to something here!

    I know it’s “outside of the box” thinking for our coaching staff but, maybe an individualized game plan for each opponent just might work!

  10. Crazyhorse54 Says:

    Do you really think Bowles reads this article, smacks his forehead and thinks to himself, “Hey, I have to let Canales scheme up more passes.” Nah, he is in his insulated world at One Buc creating the same ole same ole. That’s why he’ll be fired at the end of the season. If I had one thing to say to TB: “In the real world where we have to be flexible and do what works, you can and should be able to do likewise. You coaches are a strange lot, being stubborn for no good reason. Take a moment to reflect and you might see that flexibility just might work.”

  11. Bucfan Says:

    If the Bucs continue to run, run, run perhaps bowels will get RUN out of town!

  12. Buc50 Says:

    The Bucs can’t run the ball because their interior line is trash. You can see that on every running play and most pass plays. Persistence won’t change that.

  13. Boss Says:

    I don’t care how much they run or pass……just do the opposite the D is expecting.

    Seems playcallers, coaches and qb can’t see what everyone watching from home can see. We can guess the next play most of the time.

  14. Seattle Buc Says:

    WillieG Says: “When Don Shula had Csonka, Kick, and Morris, he had a running team. When he had Marino, Clayton, and Duper, he had a passing team.”

    Excellent point. Good coaches coach to their talent. When super-hyped, 5-Star, speedy, physical-specimen, cannon-armed Feleipe Franks was quarterbacking at U of Florida, he sucked, except for a notable winning 70-yard TD bomb on the last play of one game. But the coach, Mullens, had recruited Franks and wanted to play him. When Franks went down with an injury away at night in Kentucky trailing by many points, Trask went in, Mullens changed his play calling to a passing oriented offense, and Trask lit up the sky with 3 TDs and a win. And he continued that for that season and the next season. Good offensive coaches can do that. I don’t think Bowles can and have my doubts about Canales.

  15. dmatt Says:

    DR & GP,
    Adjusting ur offense means getting creative to put points on the board. When do u know Bowles to get creative n think outside the box. The only coach I know to not use his three time outs before halftime to try to put more points on the board. That man is stubborn n full of pride. As for the offense, student body left n right was born in Tampa n has return home to its roots. Bowles football mindset is nothing remotely close to being modern. Do the following n beat the 49ers:
    use tight ends aggressively. That’s how other teams beat the 49ers.
    constant pressure on Purdy
    push the ball down field to Godwin n Evans
    Get RWhite in the pass game
    Run only when they least expect it
    Play man coverage
    No turnovers
    ST must step up on ko n kr, block for DT, he almost broke one last year on 49ers
    Receivers must catch psss n Baker must not over/underthrow
    Sit Ryan Neal n JTS let them play special teams only.

  16. realistic-optimistic Says:

    I get it Joe, but the only way to get better at something is to keep doing it. I’m not saying we need a 50/50 split, but you can’t just abandon the run and pass all day. That didn’t work when Brady was here, what makes you think Baker can handle it?

  17. Timbo Slice Says:

    It’s not so much that we need to stop running the ball, but we need some variety in our run. We run up the gut on 1st down basically every drive. We never have any variety, you can almost guarantee that is what’s coming first down every time.

    On top of that, all 4 RBs have the same running style, which certainly doesn’t help.

  18. Since76 Says:

    Wishful thinking. Bowles has his hands all over this wishbone offense. No way Canales and leftwich are run run pass no matter what. This has bowles finger prints all over it. It’s not working in year two. It won’t work next year either.

  19. Senor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    It must be mentally tough on ME and Godwin to work so hard and get so open, only to NOT have the ball thrown your way. Then watch our RBs get a 1 yard run up the middle. And they never complain, unlike many diva WRs

  20. Will Says:

    I don’t think ME and CG complaining would make them Diva WRs it would hopefully open the eyes of our OC and Head Coach to the fact that the current run run pass isn’t working. Hell who is the run game coordinator? Seems they need to be relieved of their duties as well. A lil creativity would go a long way to improve our running game.

  21. UpTheMiddleFor2WooHoo Says:

    What this chart tells me is that our top 3 receivers rarely see single coverage. And my guess as to the reason for that…they drop 8 in coverage because they don’t respect our run game. Why would you? No creativity. Terrible schemes. No push. Can’t see holes. Holding calls on long runs. It’s just bad as we all know.

  22. HC Grover Says:

    They play the shotgun instead of under center too much to have a good running game. Ya need 2 rbs.

  23. geno711 Says:

    I get your point Joe.

    But I am also reading the chart to suggest that Palmer, Godwin and Evans are double covered way more than any other three guys on a team in the league.

    It seems:

    Godwin is double covered 74% of the time.
    Palmer is double covered 72% of the time.
    Evans is double covered 69% of the time.

    That is 2nd, 8th and 11th most according to the chart.

    So, in theory, there are less men in the box and even more reason why our running game should be working.

    To me this is just a huge indictment on both White and the OL run blocking ability.

  24. realistic-optimistic Says:

    @HC Grover, but they have to play shotgun or Mayfield can’t see the field. So pick your poison, I guess.

  25. Greg Says:

    Pensacola woodham in 83 or 84?

  26. orlbucfan Says:

    According to all the “experts” on here, the 49ers have no weaknesses. Guess they’re not human either. How about Canales calling a few fullback plays with Joe Otton? 49ers won’t be expecting that one.

  27. lambchop Says:

    They have to still run, but more short yardage creativity is required like screens, curls, slants, drags, etc.

  28. UKBuccaneer Says:

    Abandoning the run in the NFL? Good luck with that. You have to maintain at least a semblance of variety.

  29. unbelievable Says:

    Of course Mr. Godzilla, M1K3 is on an island by himself in those numbers… Dude is virtually unstoppable in single coverage (minus a drop here or there).

    And yet the idiots around here want him benched / traded.

  30. Pickgrin Says:

    That chart makes no sense….

    It says that Mike Evans faces single coverage 31% of the time (11th in NFL)
    that Trey Palmer faces single coverage 29% of the time (6th in NFL)
    and that Chris Godwin faces single coverage 26% of the time (2nd in NFL)

    So – in other words – Evans is getting double covered 69% of plays, rookie Palmer is being doubled 71% of his plays and Godwin is double covered 74% of the time.

    All top 11 in the NFL for double coverage…

    How is that possible? That all 3 of our top 3 receivers are being double teamed 70+% of their plays???? Especially Palmer who is usually the 3rd receiver coming in with 2 Pro Bowlers already on the field….

    Doesn’t compute……

  31. garro Says:

    That is the problem! We have been playing against 12 man defenses!

    Stat geeks rejoice!

    Go Bucs!