Run Game Likely Won’t Be Fixed Until 2024

November 18th, 2023

Offensive cordinator Dave Canales.

This sounds really, really whacked, but when Joe learned the Bucs missed out on Jets reject running back Michael Carter this week, Joe wanted to start doing shots to celebrate.

Joe would have been very happy had the Bucs’ waiver claim on Carter been successful. He was claimed by Arizona and “awarded” to the Cardinals because their record is worse than Tampa Bay’s, so the Bucs’ Hail Mary failed.

But why was Joe so happy? Because it proved in a very public manner that the Bucs admit they have a problem with the run game. To address a problem, one has to first admit there is a problem. So the Bucs are headed in the right direction.

Currently, the Bucs have the worst yards-per-carry average in the NFL at 3.1, worst since the 2013 Ravens. That’s very bad. And until or unless the offense has great success outside the run game, playcaller Dave Canales is going to have to wear it, types Jenna Laine of ESPN.

What has gone wrong? The run game.  … This season, they’re averaging 78.1 rushing yards per game, second to last in the league, while their 64.5% run block win rate is 30th in the league, which has been a key reason for their difficulties.

Canales took over a run game that was the worst in the NFL last year and he hasn’t been able to get things clicking. To be fair, the Bucs pretty much ignored the league’s worst running back room in the offseason.

Joe’s not going to say Canales was hung out to dry, but in the NFL it’s pretty damn hard turning chickens(p)it into chicken salad. However, the Bucs running game is worse than it was last season.

As Joe wrote at the trade deadline, it is rare to improve a team’s position group by signing guys off the street in November. They are unemployed for a reason. (That may work for Buffalo soon?)

Once the trade deadline passes, as former Bucs coach Dirk Koetter used to say, “Our guys are our guys.”

46 Responses to “Run Game Likely Won’t Be Fixed Until 2024”

  1. Tucker Says:

    Michael Carter wasn’t going to save anything, the interior oline needs work.

  2. Beeej Says:

    They banked on Ryan Jensen being able to come back

  3. Jack Clark Says:

    “Run Game Likely Won’t Be Fixed Until 2024 because the Bucs didn’t sign a running back the Jets (4-5) didn’t want. The Bucs offensive line has a 64.5% run block win rate is 30th in the league, which has been a key reason for their difficulties.”

    But but but I thought you said in the “Dominating Offensive Line” article you wrote earlier today that our offensive line was good just because we allowed 2 sacks per game? 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 So I guess according to Joe everything is wrong with our run game except our offensive line EVEN WHEN ESPN SAID WE HAVE THE WORST RUN BLOCK WINNING PERCENTAGE RATE (64%)? So I guess according to Joe that has nothing to do with our running game also being the worst in the NFL 😂. You can’t make this sh!#* up folks! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ We need better offensive lineman to fix our running game, not better running backs!

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    Personally doubt that the Bucs’ running game will be substantially better in 2024 than it is now. Bucs don’t have the $$$ to rebuild our interior OLine, so as Popeye used to say … ‘I yam what I yam and that’s all what I yam’. They’ll improve with experience (ie, playing time together) but I doubt this group will ever be the most beastly OLine in the league.

    Bucs will probably add 1 RB in the draft, but it won’t be with our 1st Rnd pick, and probably not with our 2nd Rnd pick either (we’ve got higher priorities). We won’t have the $$$ to sign a quality free agent RB, so I don’t see us improving substantially next year.

    So what does that leave us with? I vote for getting offensive coaching to improve significantly. We’re wasting far too many plays on 1st & 2nd down, putting us in overall poor 3rd down situations. This offense isn’t designed to consistently make big gains in 3rd-and-long situations, so our OC has to figure our ways to get better production on 1st & 2nd downs. Barring that, we’ll get what we’ve been getting.

  5. Front Four Says:

    Joe, it’s the O line. Put another back in there that has no place to go and the results will be the same.

  6. WyomingJoe Says:

    Agree with Jack Clark. The O-line is what needs the most work (center and guard).

  7. Salary Cap Hell Says:

    Sunday prediction : Bowels gets bowled over in the coaching department. Embarrassing time to be a Bucs fan.

  8. Jeff’s grandpa Says:

    Center position is the weak link

  9. Voice of Truth Says:

    Even average DT’s just steal the lunch money from our C and G’s – and we carry their trays to the table and pull out their chairs

    Basically, outside of the worst defenses in the league, we can’t win any battles from G to G

    Pillars at tackle and sandbags in the middle…

    It’s sad to watch..and so predictable in playcalling the 8 year olds in our section are calling the play 50% of the time

  10. Hodad Says:

    When you draft projects on the O line, and miss on RB’s like Vaughn, what do you expect? Think Licht can find a good center, and RB in next years draft? How about FA’s, like Edmonds? Yeah, hope it gets better in 24, but the same GM will be making those decisions.

  11. Jonbucfan Says:

    The Bucs have major rebuilding to do on the Oline. No need to waste money or pics on another RB. The best back in the world is not running successfully behind those guards and center.

  12. realistic-optimistic Says:

    their 64.5% run block win rate is 30th in the league

    The RBs certainly aren’t saving the run game, but this is the main problem. ^^^

    White is really not good enough at making the first guy miss if that guy is in the backfield. Vaughn, Tucker, and Edmonds are all trash IMO.

    And while I like some commitment to the run game (unlike Brady’s years here), Canales needs to improve the type and timing of his run plays. Way too many inside runs behind an interior line that he knows is regularly failing. Mix in more outside runs.

  13. Jack Clark Says:

    I think Joe is suffering from schizophrenia because his multiple personalities are disagreeing with each other. Joe writes an articled titled “Penetrating Defense” explaining how even the great running back King Derrick Henry couldn’t gain any yards because he kept getting hit before he could cross the line of scrimmage just like our running backs have been all season, then Joe writes another article today titled “Dominate Offense Line” which he claims that our offensive line is good just because of pass blocking stats, then Joe post another article today titled “Run Game Likely Won’t Be Fixed Until 2024” quoting from ESPN that our run blocking is neigh worst in the league and the most important (key) reason why our run game is trash. You can’t make this sh!#* folks!

  14. TampaBayBucsFanSince1976 Says:

    GM decisions have been highly questionable , especially Oline draftees in last 2 drafts. I guess a bunch of you sheep just love Licht brain based on the GM poll from a few days ago .

  15. Ed McSherry Says:

    More damning with faint praise.

    Quote: “To be fair, the Bucs pretty much ignored the league’s worst running back room in the offseason” End Quote

    Except for Rachaad White, who’s an elite RB we’re fortunate to have.

    It’s the interior o-line, not Rachaad.

    That needs to be understood and cut in stone as a
    prerequisite before truthful, “improving the run-game-talk,” begins.

    Tapes prove he doesn’t miss the holes, if any. There aren’t any. Tapes prove there aren’t (rare) any (virtually). On the rare occasion there is a hole in the O-line, Rachaad has hit them hard for impressive gains.

    Unbelievably, even then, so many have been called-back for holding penalties, mostly occurring “behind the play” that didn’t affect the play; but called-back just the same; and penalties caused by…guess who: yes, of course, the O-line.

    None of this shows-up in yards per rush stats.

    Okay, now that the “non-game-watching” “stats-quoters” have been enlightened toward truth-in-commentary, continue with run-game-fix-talk.

    Hopefully, Canales means that he’s going to stop play-calls for “up-the-middle” until next season when, through the draft, free-agents and trades, the problem can be fixed properly with a change in the players who are underperforming with no hope of improvement possible; maybe just downgrade a couple of current players to the depth-ranks,” but the O-line
    sorely needs some Pro Bowl player level of influence.

    Recommend, for starters, giving a tryout to any player who even looks like Ryan Jensen.

  16. Buc4evr Says:

    Yeah it’s the Oline, but in the interim the Bucs need better play calling to get the RBs to the 2nd level. Play calling is so bad that RBs can’t even get out of the backfield. I would have expected Canales to see this and make adjustments. I know Gruden would have. And I don’t want to hear that Canales is a rookie OC. He is getting big Bucks to make smart decisions and all I hear from him is excuses and BS.

  17. unbelievable Says:

    Their 64.5% run block win rate is 30th in the league

    So they have the 3rd worst run blocking in the entire league, yet Joe continues to refuse to put any blame on the offensive line?

    What kind of dirt does the O-line have on you Joe? Be honest lol

  18. 1#bucsfan Says:

    Need better blocking to go along with a back who has good vision. White is lethal receiving out of the backfield. And there have bin plenty of other backs who have had a long career doing the same thing. Find a back to compliment him and get some road graders out front. I have seen to many times our backs being hit behind the LOS.

  19. caradoc Says:

    Actually this means the opposite, Joe. It means they think the problem is the backs and not the awful blocking and incredibly predictable play calling.

  20. Marine Buc Says:

    I agree with the above comments.

    This interior O-line needs to be rebuilt completely before we see any improvements in the run game.

    We have two bad starting guards paired with a bad center. The we have mental deficient coaches who think running up the gut is a great idea…

    R. White is fine as an RB2 but we also need to add a true RB1 either via the draft or free agency.

  21. captivajim Says:

    the O line was the problem last yr .. And , the O line is the problem This yr

  22. HC Grover Says:


  23. Rod Munch Says:

    Carter is better than Vaughn, would have been the 3rd or maybe 4th stringer. There isn’t much to read into that move.

    Plus the Bucs already got a RB win White.

    Short of Barry Sanders in his prime, there isn’t anyone in this offense, behind that line, who is going to have 4-yards per carry right now.

    With that said, the run game has looked better the last couple of games – which corresponded with Matt Feiler being benched because of injury. To my eye, no one has missed more blocks this year than Feiler, and getting him out of the line-up seems to be helping. The guy has no contract beyond this year, and is already 31, so I don’t know why you’d want to put him back out there unless Stinnie really starts to struggle.

  24. HC Grover Says:

    BAKERS HEROS ARE NOW BEHIND THE ENEMY SISSICO LINES AND MOVING FORWARD…General Bowlzo is yelling ‘Get me my uniform” The Gravediggers are trying to catch up.

  25. sasquatch Says:

    It’s hard to imagine a team that has been so consistently bad running the ball over the course of a few years. Even the Superbowl team wasn’t great at it, but they made some plays when they had to.

    Upgrade at LG and C are necessary. Mauch needs to get more stout in the offseason. Then they need to acquire 2 quality runners, at least one of whom is starting caliber. Ra White is the only back worth a crap. I’m willing to give Sean Tucker a chance in his second year, based on his college highlights.

  26. pewter941 Says:

    Draft and sign an olineman, Draft and sign a rb.

  27. Marine Buc Says:

    @ Rod

    One reason the Bucs run game has improved is due to the play calling.

    More runs around the edge and off tackle rather than the brain dead moronic zone run up the gut.

    But I also agree – Stinnie is an upgrade over Feiler…

  28. Beeej Says:

    I’m trying to understand Jensen’s contract on Spotrac. Looks like it will cost a LOT to retire him before next season

  29. Since76 Says:

    It’s a passing league. Let’s fix that first. Adequate pass blocking. 2 #1 receivers. Yet we can’t pass week in and week out. Wonder what it could be………

  30. Rod Munch Says:

    Marine Buc Says:

    I don’t disagree with any of that, but in any case it seems to be clicking a bit better. The end of the game numbers don’t show it – but in the last two games, before the Bucs got the lead and could sit on it, they were running the ball pretty well. Late game, where Bowles just demands to run out the clock with 14 mins left – that has tanked the full game average.

    In any case, if the team passes better, that will continue to open up the run — and if it doesn’t, who cares, it’s 2023, you win by passing the ball anyways.

  31. BuxfaninTX Says:

    Maybe one day we can actually draft a good RB. Licht has shot blanks on White, Vaughn, Jones, McNichol, Dan Vitale, Joe Iosefa.

  32. Rod Munch Says:

    Beeej Says:
    November 18th, 2023 at 4:05 pm
    I’m trying to understand Jensen’s contract on Spotrac. Looks like it will cost a LOT to retire him before next season


    The use of void years and not knowing the full structure can make these really difficult to figure out.

    But OTC notes, “Ryan Jensen signed a three year, $39 million contract with the Buccaneers with $23 million guaranteed” — so a general rule of thumb is take the $39m and divide by 3, and that would be the money he’s leaving on the table, regardless of how the cap portion is doled out for cap purposes.

    Sooo… I then went and asked the AI, and it backed up the general rule of thumb:

    If Ryan Jensen retires next year, he would be giving up:

    His base salary for 2024, which, as per his contract restructuring, is not guaranteed. This salary was slated to be $11 million.
    A $1.5 million roster bonus for 2024, which is also not guaranteed.
    In total, Jensen would be foregoing $12.5 million if he decides to retire next year​​.


    Here’s a full breakdown of the cap info according to the AI, take it for what it’s worth (which is probably a lot, but also could be completely made up)…

    Ryan Jensen’s financial situation in the event of retirement from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is influenced by his contract structure and the team’s salary cap management. Key points include:

    Contract Restructuring and 2023 Salary: Jensen’s contract was restructured for the 2023 season, resulting in a cap hit of $5,932,000 for the Buccaneers. His base salary is $1,165,000, fully guaranteed even in the event of injury. This implies that if Jensen retires, the Buccaneers still owe him this guaranteed base salary for 2023​​.

    Retirement Implications: If Jensen retires, he would forfeit his base salary for 2023. However, as he is currently on injured reserve, he will collect his salary for this season. There is no significant financial incentive for him to retire this year, as it would mean giving up over $1 million​​.

    2024 Cap Hit: Jensen’s cap hit for 2024 is $17,267,000, with most of this being non-guaranteed money. The guaranteed portion includes prorated bonuses amounting to $4,767,000. If the Buccaneers release him in the 2024 offseason, they would only save a net of $699,000, as they would still need to account for the prorated bonuses they have paid but not yet accounted for against the salary cap​​.

    Releasing Jensen After June 1, 2024: Another option for the Buccaneers is to release Jensen after June 1, 2024. This would allow them to account for only the season’s prorated dead money and push the remaining amount onto 2025’s salary cap. This would result in $12,500,000 in savings for 2024, but the Buccaneers seem reluctant to push dead money forward for players no longer on the roster​​.

  33. AKicknTheBucNuts Says:

    Run Game Likely Won’t Be Fixed Until 2318.

    There, I fixed it.

  34. Joe Says:

    There, I fixed it.


  35. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    Bucs run-game:

    Dominant o-line that ain’t good at blocking.
    Confidence in an RB group, that ain’t good at running.

  36. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    If the Bucs are lucky, the Saints will poach Canales and make him their Head Coach.

  37. Obvious Says:

    Apparently the 49’s AREN’T all that. We actually match up pretty well against them. I think A LOT of “people’ are living off a reputation THAT IS NOT CURRENTLY VERY IMPRESSIVE…. HMMMMMMMM INTERESTING!

  38. Obvious Says:

    Maybe read up on them a little bit and you’ll see what I mean.. 🤔

  39. Obvious Says:

    In fact, their o l8ne SUCKS! Coverage has been suspect. Run game? NOT what you would think and it seems they plan to use McCaffrey EXACTLY like we use White. In other words…. run game = NOT SO GREAT…. And MORE…

    They actually might have a similar type of impact full bite as us. Slightly better but NOT Unsurmountable.. (sp)


    Sounds “almost” like a toothless boogeyman. I’m NOT impressed…

  40. Defense Rules Says:

    Something’s wrong. The Bucs’ offense is currently ranked #22, scoring a smidgeon less than 20 PPG. The Bears’ offense is outscoring us with 20.4 PPG, and so are the Saints (21.4 PPG), two teams that we beat. We SHOULD be doing better than we’re doing. And yet, we’re not.

    Our offense is tied for 2nd in the NFL for the least giveaways (only 8), so we’re doing good in terms of ball security. Beyond that, we’re struggling.

    o We rank #25 in Total Yardage with only 2760 yds.
    o We rank #29 in Total First Downs with only 159 of them (99 by passing, 37 by rushing and 23 by opponents’ penalties).
    o We rank #25 in Total Plays with only 552 (a tad over 61 plays/game average). Kinda what happens when you only convert 39.5% of your 3rd downs, but allow your opponents to convert 47.2% of theirs (worst in the league BTW).

    Obviously the running game stats make all those total stats look even worse. Fact is though that our passing game isn’t really all that much better (we rank #32 in terms of Rushing 1st Downs, but only #21 in Passing 1st Downs). Still think a lot of that falls on coaching because we’re wasting far too many 1st & 2nd downs, leaving us too many 3rd & longs.

  41. donuts Says:

    Please add Bo Nix to the QB watch list for next seasons draft. Thanks Joe!

  42. Ed McSherry Says:

    It is frustrating having an insane head coach where a run up the middle is like Moby Dick to him.

  43. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    There isn’t just one issue with the team.

    Bowles is an issue.
    Mayfield is an issue.
    The oline is an issue.
    Canalas is an issue.

    But let’s be honest…

    …we knew going into this year all of those areas would be big issues.

    We knew Bowles would be a lame duck coach.

    We knew Mayfield had a career winnibg record of less than 40%.

    We knew all along the quarterback competition was fake.

    We knew the offensive line would take at least 2 full years to be fixed, and that the most important spot would be center.

    And we knew Canalas was a rookie OC, in a job that no one else wanted, and that he would have little to work with.

    We knew this year would be doomed before the season started. But we all…or most of us…were willing to accept a bad year to get it fixed next year.

    The only thing is that Bowles is going to cost us a chance at a true franchise quarterback.

    We’ll lose tomorrow…because Mayfield is not the leader some believe he is. We’ll lose because he cannot carry this team. We’ll lose because we can’t beat good teams.

    Dungy didn’t have agreat first season…but by this time in the season, fans felt something great was coming.

    Bowles is in his second year…and NOTHING great is coming.

    We need…absolutely need a top pick. We need to free up some money. We need a proven head coach who can, and is willing to develop a young QB.

    I said the other day that Bill Bellichek (sp) would probably be our next head coach. I was not saying that because I want him…I was saying it because there are ducks falling in line to make it happen.

    If it does happen, he won’t be willing to develop a young QB. He’ll want an established veteran, just like Arians did.

    That’s why I do not want him.

    But…I don’t make those decisions. I’m not saying it’s a sure thing….but it is a possibility that is growing stronger with time.

  44. Baking with Canales Says:

    Vita Vea will run against the 49ers.
    We got this!

  45. orlbucfan Says:

    How come the “experts” on here aren’t asking about drafting a fullback? Bucs could use one.

  46. Wild Bill Says:

    White is not a power back, but in the open field after catching passes he does have a very good burst of speed and shiftiness. That catch and run for a long td last game was a beauty. Use the guy that way more often. The Bucs line is decent at pass blocking. Why the Bucs are so reluctant to give up the run play up the middle over and over again is mind boggling. The Bucs pass game is their strength. Add White to the pass game will put him against linebackers instead of 300lb line men. The kid showed what he can do in catch and run ! Repeatable running up th gut with mediocre blocking is a wast of time.