Football ThinkTank Guru: Bucs Can’t Run The Ball

December 17th, 2023

Overrated as a runner?

Few football wonks Joe respects more than Aaron Schatz. And he has a very unpopular opinion — based on data — that won’t go over well at One Buc Palace.

Joe has been suspicious of the suddenly OK running game of the Bucs the past three weeks. Joe mainly bases this on the Bucs looking OK running the ball on bad run defenses.

This despite folks at One Buc Palace crowing like they discovered a young Tony Dorsett to tote the rock.

Schatz, the creator of the superior but now dead stat outfit Football Outsiders, is not buying (yet) the Bucs can run the ball. This is not good for a team that thinks it can run the ball and will run the ball, no matter the circumstances.

Schatz, typing for BSPN, thinks the Bucs just don’t have the horses to run, both backs and linemen. And that is the Bucs’ biggest weakness in his eyes.

As a runner, though, White has left yardage on the field. Tampa Bay ranks 26th in run offense DVOA as a team, and NFL Next Gen Stats lists White with a minus-0.44 yards over expected per carry, tied for fourth lowest in the NFL.

Schatz then uses statistical mumbo jumbo with a weird baseball-like acronym to point out that the Bucs cannot run block — and he even called out Tristan Wirfs (!) for being a below-average run blocker.

Joe has been screaming since Week 1 in Minnesota that White, for whatever reason, either has no vision or rarely sees holes — he only has to adjust to run to his left or right to take advantage of green grass.

Only until very recently has White shown any ability this season to recognize holes and attack them.

Joe still maintains this Bucs offense is a passing offense, not a running offense. They are built to throw, despite Baker Mayfield’s drawbacks.

To Joe, trying to fit a square peg in a round hole is poor coaching. Good coaches see the talent on their roster and adjust accordingly, even if that is doing something “that’s not who I am.”

19 Responses to “Football ThinkTank Guru: Bucs Can’t Run The Ball”

  1. Thisisouryear!! Says:

    Last week in Atlanta they didn’t start running effectively until the defensive lineman went down, then we looked okay. Our decent run games have been against subpar defenses.

  2. Proudbucsfan Says:

    I absolutely agree Joe, Great article. I have been screaming this for two seasons now and I love my Bucs as do you so I can relate how frustrating this is.

  3. garro Says:

    Wow! Now thas some Thinkin right there! I tell you what!

    Go Bucs!

  4. Hodad Says:

    He’s full of Schatz!

  5. Fansince76 Says:

    The Buc’s offense sucks. I give them about 30% chance to beat Green Bay today.

  6. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Everyone can see the Bucs can’t run. And they can’t pass very well, either.

  7. Not Says:

    But Canales says it’s just a matter of time until the players learn his system then they will be running all over everyone. Give them a few more games !

  8. Drunk Bucs Fan Says:

    It’s a contrary opinion but Canales did say it would take a while. It’s been a while and they are better. Not great, but at least it’s a miserable failure each time. I know, low bar but better is better.

    For this game specifically if the Packers were the worst pass defense in the league and we ran the ball all day it would be coaching malpractice. We’ll, the cheese turds are horrendous at stopping the run so R. White with timely use of play action should be today’s plan. Then if we can’t run today, the answer will be written in stone.

  9. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    Hard to have a bad run defense if they are going to stack the box with 8.

  10. realistic-optimistic Says:

    Let me get this straight, Joe. First you say:

    Joe is actually pro-stats. Joe just doesn’t swallow the mathematical gymnastics whole.

    Any stat that uses the words “expected” or “adjusted” are two such examples. Whose expectations? Why are you adjusting numbers? That’s playing games with stats and reinforces something Joe learned from a high school teacher.

    “You can always twist numbers any way you like to prove a point.”

    Then you hold up DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) as the crucial example?

    Twin-headed Joe is confusing (and confused) sometimes.

  11. Buddha Says:

    Schatz also has the Buccaneers as most likely to win the South.

  12. Billy Says:

    I remember watching the great Barry Sanders run all over us (and everyone else) at the Big Sombrero back in the day, how nice it would be to have a running back who could see holes and cut the way Sanders did.

  13. Joe Says:


    Thank you!


    Joe holds Schatz up. Feel free to detail what DVOA means. It is proprietary and Schatz owns it. However, Joe knows Schatz personally and how objective he is. He even openly questions his own stats sometimes because they don’t make sense (sometimes). So yeah, Joe trusts his reasoned analysis.

    As Joe has said often, he is pro-stats but not when they use the word “expected” or “adjusted.” That’s playing games with numbers and reinforces what a teacher Joe had in high school said about stats, “You can twist numbers any way you want to prove a point.”

  14. realistic-optimistic Says:

    White, for whatever. reason, either has no vision or never sees holes that are there, he only has to adjust to run to his left or right to take advantage of green grass

    This is an exaggeration. There’s nothing in your view from the press box that can’t be seen with the all-22 footage. White has definitely missed a hole or two, as every RB does. But if he had endless green grass as often as you claim, he would have been benched.

  15. realistic-optimistic Says:

    I’m actually surprised that you don’t pay for all-22, Joe. As a media outlet, I’d expect something like that to be automatic.
    Who said Joe doesn’t have all-22? Have been watching it weekly for years. –Joe

  16. realistic-optimistic Says:

    Apologies, Joe. Thought I said as recently as this season that you don’t have it.

  17. realistic-optimistic Says:

    *Thought YOU said*

  18. ChrisBuc23 Says:

    White is a good Pass catcher out of the backfield at best and is more of a 3rd down back we need a bruiser that can run with authority on this team and spice up that running game 💯

  19. Buckeyebuckchuck Says:

    The problem with stats is they usually look at the full year. This offense has evolved a lot since then. I didn’t see a lot of linemen climbing into the 2nd level earlier, seeing a lot more of it on all 22 as the season goes on