Bucs Running On First Down Close To Worthless

December 8th, 2023

Bucs coach Todd Bowles.

If you want to know why Chris Godwin is frustrated by being less involved in the offense yet he says it is not just about targets, all you need to know is below.

Yeah, Joe is a broken record about this and will continue to be until the powers at One Buc Palace either wake the hell up or someone with power high on top of One Buc Palace orders the blind to open their eyes.

The Bucs suck running the ball. You know it. Joe knows it. Yet people being paid in excess of $1 million a year can’t figure this out. A drunk in a bar knows better.

Quit running the ball, especially when you have three of the best pass weapons in the league on your team.

The Bucs have the worst run game in the league and the following damning stat will fry your mind, courtesy of Rich Hribar of Sharp Football Analysis.

The Buccaneers are averaging 3.2 yards per first down running play, the fewest in the league.

This is just outrageous to Joe. Coaches with the Bucs responsible for this are stealing money from Team Glazer. The Bucs could go out right now and pull offensive coaches off the staff of Clearwater Central Catholic and they’d know better not to run.

But dudes making major coin can’t figure this out. Absolutely irresponsible.

So you want to know why Godwin is frustrated? He sees a team being beyond stupid running the ball time after time after time through 12 games. Meanwhile, Godwin knows the Bucs are so much better off targeting him or Mike Evans or Rachaad White more and it’s likely costing the team wins.

It ain’t about winning the turnover battle, it’s about scoring more points than the other team. Say it with Joe: “Points!”

Yet it’s December and the team continues to do stupid sh!t like running between the tackles for nothing.


If the Bucs are trying to tank — the only logical explanation — they are doing a p!ss poor job doing so.

38 Responses to “Bucs Running On First Down Close To Worthless”

  1. David Says:

    It is not all on OL and coaches to open lanes for RB’s. The defenses stacking up the box due to Baker poor pass rating.

    Bucs were in tank mode whenever they hired a new OC with Baker and a losing coach. Baker can’t get the ball to Chris G. He locks on Mike E. and White as he first options and he is not elite enough to go to his second read Chris G. Baker can’t survey the field due to also being short with DL in his face on every throws.
    Panthers were familiar with Baker and forced him into the pocket which resulted Baker having his worst game of the season.

  2. beeej Says:

    Godwin has a catch rate of 62%, averages 7 yards per attempt his way. I can think of a LOT better use of first down

  3. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Joe: They’re obviously trying to tank by not starting Thee Great Kyle Trask. Has anyone been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame without starting a game? How about a 30% completion percentage? I’m just trying to get on board with all of the ex-Mike Glennon Mob members that get so excited about the thought of KT actually starting a game!

  4. beeej Says:

    Jesus MPTF give it a rest, Baker isn’t ‘poor’, he middling at worst

  5. Leopold Stotch Says:

    I just don’t get it. Is Bowles really that stupid/stubborn? I mean seriously I honestly don’t get it. It’s so frustrating to see the offense be so handcuffed

  6. David Says:

    OL has done good job on pass blocks but poor job on running plays. Yes, the running game can be a lot better but there is no supportive offensive pass plays to aid the running game either. Baker had two of the best RB’s in NFL in Cleveland and couldn’t win let alone now playing with one average RB.

  7. Cleanhouse Says:

    Godwin had 104 catches

    Needs 53 more to hit last years numbers
    Believe that’s 10.2 per game

    Let’s go!

    That would be a fun end to the season

  8. Anon Says:

    Defense stacks the box on 1st down because they know what’s coming. Up the gut without fail when neutral time and score. We run right into it for no gain every time. The coaches have to love the outcome, there’s no other explanation for why they keep doing it.

    It happened under Arians too, to a lesser degree. We just didn’t notice as much because we’d regularly connect on a chunk plays on 2nd and 10.

    I’m ready for a new coaching tree.

  9. Jack Clark Says:

    “Yet the team continues to do stupid sh!t like running between the tackles for nothing. After 12 games still! Enough!”

    So then it was not Super Bowl winning offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich fault we kept running between the tackles to no where on first down last year? Our new OC is doing the same thing. The only common denominator between last year and this year is our stubborn head coach. Todd Bowles should go back to being a defensive coordinator so the only offense he’ll ruin is the other teams 😂

  10. I remember 21 Says:

    I’ll say it with Joe, POINTS! Now say it with me: bowles would rather lose playing his style of ball than try anything else to win. That all there is to it. He stubbornly refuses to do what works if it’s outside his idea of how the game should be played (like it’s 1970 btw). My name, remember 21, ALL WEEK leading up to the Rams game EVERY SINGLE talking head was saying “Stafford is the best in the league against the blitz. I wonder if bowles is gonna adjust his blitz heavy strategy?” And guess what? bowles did adjust! We had the highest blitz percentage in the league in the regular season, so we blitzed *EVEN MORE* AGAINST THE BEST QB IN THE LEAGUE AGAINST THE BLITZ!!!! You can’t make this stuff up. And on the last, fateful, soul crushing, repeat championship denying play HE CALLED A ZERO BLITZ!! One of the riskiest blitzes in the game! I can’t with this idiot. That there’s even debate about firing this guy is laughable. According to CBS he’s not even in the top 5 of hottest seats. Give me a break. “Cannot coach with ‘em. Cannot win with ‘em!”

    As far as the running game, we have a little scat back WR3 masquerading as a bellcow RB1 and we insist on running him right up inside the middle of the line (where it’s weakest) instead of sweeps or tosses that would allow him to use his speed and shiftiness in space. Just more galaxy brain coaching right there. And as far as targets in the passing game (ala the Godwin drama), we have no cohesive plan that takes into account the players and their skill levels. Remember the first game where Ko got like 3 targets on the first drive? What? Or that critical series later in the season where we gave no-sneak Vaughn two runs and a pass to kill the drive? Who does these things? One of the things that really stood out to me was the 49ers game. They targeted 5 players in the passing game. We targeted 9. Please tell me which team has more good skill players on offense? We have 1 great and 1.5 pretty good offensive skill players, maybe 2 other mid level ones, and the rest are frankly JAGs (at least at this point). They have 4 great skill players. Why on earth did 9 people get targets?? I’m sorry there’s no excuse for it. We have terrible coaching, period.

    #FIREbowlesNOW #NOconfidence

  11. MadMax Says:

    Fire Bowles, draft Nix and resign Baker to a cheap deal if he’s willing…then draft the next best WR we can….I want Harrison but he’s going top 3.

  12. Dave Pear Says:

    Todd. Bowles.

    Say it!

  13. Tye Says:

    Worthless is Bowels as HC!

  14. garro Says:

    This is beyond old folks.

    Canales/Bowles is not gonna let Baker throw the ball unless it is a safe pass to avoid INTs. I believe this is coming from his HC Bowles. Run plays are getting better yards of late.

    Running into a stacked box is never gonna work consistently for any team. So that is when you check to a high percentage pass play (play action works well here). You keep doing that until they stop stacking the box! Apparently Canales does not trust Baker to do that, doesn’t believe in it, or more likely, has told not to. We pass on 1st only when it is too late and we are down by 2 scores in the 4th.

    Go Bucs!

    Bowles/Canales gotta go.

    Go Bucs!

  15. Proudbucsfan Says:

    I remember 21, every word you said was exactly right. It’s almost as if Bowles really doesn’t care if the team wins. It’s so obvious it’s bizarre.

  16. Defense Rules Says:

    Bucs are sitting at 5-7 right now (meh). We could potentially finish 10-7, but 7-10 (or 6-11) is more likely. Chances are we won’t make it to the playoffs, and IF by some stroke of luck we did, chances are we’d be eliminated in Rnd 1. Chances are also excellent IMO that Bowles & the rest of this coaching staff will be fired at the end of this season. Given our salary CAP situation, we’ll almost surely lose several veterans next season & have a considerably different team roster. We currently have SIX picks in the coming 2024 draft (no 5th round pick), but might end up with a couple of compensatory draft picks.

    So where does that leave us? Well for one, I’m can’t root against the Bucs, but every win from here on out puts us further down the draft pecking order, and makes it more likely we’ll end up with a JTS or Hall as opposed to a true franchise QB or a franchise DE/OLB. Maybe THAT’S why ending up 6-11 or even 7-10 doesn’t bother me anymore.

    Just as importantly, we COULD be using these last games to evaluate our young talent. IF they perform well in games, we’ve got something to build on. IF they perform poorly, at least we’ll know what our NEEDS are in the next draft & free agency.

    And yes, seeing what we’ve got in Kyle Trask is a huge part of that evaluation IMO. Baker Mayfield is NOT our future; he’s just been auditioning for his next gig, and it won’t be with us. But Kyle Trask MIGHT be, we simply don’t know. And yes, John Wolford MIGHT be too; again, we simply don’t know. But for heaven’s sake, let’s stop screwing around and find out.

  17. Defense Rules Says:

    And garro, you’re 100% spot on … ‘This is beyond old folks.’

  18. Crazyhorse54 Says:

    After Sunday’s loss in Atlanta the Glazers have to step in and pull the plug on Bowles. He is not a coach who will win games. His record and history as a HC is clear and unmistakable. There are internal rumblings that spilled over a bit this week. Where there’s smoke there is fire. Bowles is destroying this team. He must be shown the door.

  19. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I have no way to prove this, and I admit, my assumptions could be wrong, but:

    I believe Bowles wanted an OC who would do what Bowles wanted. Dave Canalis may, one day, prove himself to be an offensive mastermind, but right now, he is a rookie OC doing what he was hired to do.

    Honestly, last off season, there were lots here (and there still are) who claim all you need anything is a good run game and a good game manager QB. They say you do not need a great QB to win games.

    This is the exact attitude of Todd Bowles.

    Both he, and those people, are being proven wrong.

    Yes, I believe it was true ten or more years ago…and yes…there will always be a rare exception to every scenario, but the facts are the facts…it’s a passing league now.

    Even in regard to QB mobility, it is useful, but passing is more important. That means arm strength, accuracy, good pocket presence, the ability to read defenses quickly, the ability to reacte quickly and smartly, and be a proven winner so the team buys in.

    Grade Mayfield on those (fairly):

    arm strength: A
    accuracy: C+
    good pocket presence: B-
    ability to read defenses quickly: C-
    ability to reacte quickly: B
    and smartly: D
    Proven Winner: F

  20. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    The evaluation of a rookie QB would differ a little, but that’s the gist.

  21. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Nothing will change as long is Bowles is coach.

  22. A Bucs Fan Says:

    Godwin is suffering from an inaccurate QB. 85 Targets 53 receptions and only 2 drops on the season. That’s 31 uncatchable targets thrown his way.

    In fact when you adjust for uncatchable targets Baker is 20th in the league for completion %. That’s not me making this stat. That’s someone who is paid to watch and analyze the Bucs. But I can’t write their name here.

  23. Salary Cap Hell Says:

    I put it all on Bowles….. even if we were not in salary cap hell, the outcome would be the same. He is who he is…. stubborn to a fault . He is a defensive cordinator . Not a head coach.

  24. WillieG Says:

    “It ain’t about winning the turnover battle, it’s about having a well rested defense when the playoffs start.” – Bowles

  25. realistic-optimistic Says:

    The Bucs are 5-3 when Baker has fewer than 35 passing attempts. When Baker has 35+ attempts the Bucs are 0-4.

    Baker’s career record when he attempts 35+ passes is 6-24.

    You don’t want him throwing more passes, Joe. I don’t care how good our WRs are. This guy cannot win when he has to shoulder the load.

  26. realistic-optimistic Says:

    More fun numbers from Baker’s career.

    Games with 300+ passing yards: 11

    Games with fewer than 200 passing yards: 32

  27. bob in valrico Says:

    Agree with Bucs fan
    With that formula Mike would also have 34 questionable targets. It also seems
    like Bakers passes are inaccurate in the first half when they are laser focused on running on 1 st and 2 nd and down.

  28. HC Grover Says:

    Passing more on first down might help the 1st down running game.

  29. larrd Says:

    They keep stats on qbs. Bakers are middle of the pack in a poorly designed and poorly coached offense.

    He had a good offensive line and great running backs in Cleveland. No receivers, and a coach who prefers to run out of two and three TE formations most of the time.

    Hue Jackson
    Freddie Kitchens
    Todd Bowles

    Who knows what he’d do with a good head coach and quarterback-friendly offensive system?

  30. 1#bucsfan Says:

    BRING BACK BA. MAKE BUCS OFFENSE GREAT AGAIN lol. BA handed the keys from a well oiled ferrari and Bowles turned it into a Buick.

  31. Leopold Stotch Says:

    What I don’t understand is how he’s no risk it no biscuit for defense… At least as a DC and as a HC he’s the exact opposite.

  32. Colonel Angus Says:

    Teams that win the turnover battle win 80% of the time. Thats been a consistent stat throughout the history of the NFL. The 20% that lose, when winning the turnover battle, are the teams who fail to score off of said turnovers. Failing to score off a turnover is no better than forcing a punt.

  33. Defense Rules Says:

    realistic-optimistic … ‘Baker’s career record when he attempts 35+ passes is 6-24. You don’t want him throwing more passes, Joe.’

    Very telling stat. Mayfield’s lost 80% of the games that he’s had to throw 35 or more passes. He’s played in 84 games, started 81 of those, has a 36-45 W-L record, for a 44.4% career W-L rate. He sports a career completion percentage of 61.7%, with 120 TDs against 72 INTs for an INT rate of 2.7%. Baker also has SEVEN 4th quarter comebacks to his credit. That’s 1 out of every 12 games that he’s played in.

    Compare those stats to Jameis Winston’s career stats. Jameis has played in 91 games, started 80 of those, sports a 34-46 W-L record, for a 42.5% career W-L rate. He sports a career completion percentage of 61.2%, with 141 TDs against 99 INTs for an INT rate of 3.4%. Jameis also has EIGHT 4th quarter comebacks to his credit. That’s roughly 1 out of every 12 games that he’s played in.

    They were both #1 draft picks, and they both went to teams that were marginal at the time they were drafted (I’m trying to be kind). But if you look at their STATS, they’re eerily similar in most aspects. Does that mean that they were both ‘a reach’ when rafted, or that their respective teams were equally bad? Personally I think the answer to that question is YES.

  34. Ed Says:

    I believe that the Glazers will be all in on getting the Bucs to push into the future with offensive coaches who are younger and are coming from organizations like Phila, Cinn, KC, Dallas, Minn, Green Bay, SF, Miami and Baltimore.

    Those teams score points and are national media darlings. Don’t care if their coaches are position coaches, coordinators or ballboys, just get as many of them as you can and make sure they are younger guys. The new coach at Houston is a younger guy.

    Hire an offensive coach that will let the staff draw up good plays and coach the hell out of the Buc’s offense. This and last season, many of us have wasted our Sunday’s watching garbage game plans with unmotivated loafing players.

    Big changes should be in store and getting the right people in the organization is needed right away. This staff has rotted away since Arians left.

  35. D Cone Says:

    Bucs pass 59.75 of the time. 9th Most in NFL this season.

    Eagles 54.41 (28th) SF 49.65 (31st) BALT 48.75 (32nd) W/L 28-8.
    Add in the records or the 2 other teams that throw the least and it’s 38-22.

    Teams that pass the most are Commanders, Bengals, Jets, Panthers, and Vikings. These teams have a combined W/L of 21-40.

    If Joe thinks that the Bucs should pass more then Let Baker Bake.

    What can a few more WR screens for -1 and quick outs thrown 2 yards too far in front hurt? It’s only 1st down. Take three cracks at it.

    Second thought drop back and throw long 50/50 balls. Evans is more like a 60/40 and worse case is 4 INC, 4INT, or a combination of both.

    Go to the Well too often with the quick outs and there will be Pick 6’s for sure.

    Don’t have to Run but if you can’t you’re Done.

  36. Erik The Viking Says:

    Bowles is like Aunt Edna in the movie National Lampoons Vacation.

    When the dog pees on the picnic basket and everyone starts throwing up.

    But Aunt Edna is like, fine with me, and keeps right om eating.

    I hope we get embarrassed on Sunday and the stench goes all the way to the top.

  37. Joshua porter Says:

    I get he is a rookie play caller but damn if we find that have never called plays in a football game can see you need to pass more on first down how the hell can Canales not see the same thing…

  38. infomeplease Says:

    This is the 2nd season with TB leading the charge. After the first 3 or 4 th games the season reverses!!!! Real coaches get their teams playing better not worse as the season progresses. TB has no clue how to accomplish this. He has very few players wanting to play for him. Not even his most worshipped DW. Sad, very sad for this team, for the fans, for the league, and especially for the ownership (unless they are behind this downward spin).