“I’m Not Going To Quit On The Run Game”

December 15th, 2023

Strong message.

For Bucs fans hoping offensive coordinator Dave Canales may see the light and start using his superior weapons in the pass game more, rather than pounding the ball between the tackles hoping Rachaad White turns into Marshawn Lynch, Canales had a simple yet strong statement.

Canales said, in a manner of words, folks better learn to love the run game because he ain’t changing.

When asked about his confidence in his running attack, it gave Canales a platform to defend his playcalling, gameplan choices and overall philosophy while cautioning folks not to expect him to put the ball in the air regularly.

“For me, looking at it, it was always that I wanted to build something that we could be proud of,” Canales said. “That’s been the conversation for the whole season, especially with our struggles early on. I wanted to just show the staff, I wanted to show this team, I wanted to show our group: I’m not going to quit on the run game. I’m not going to just fold it up, give up and start throwing the ball around the yard.

“That’s not who I am, that’s not where I come from. I want to continue to improve our pass game and get back on track just in our efficiency and all of that. Walking off the field at the half [last Sunday in Atlanta], ‘Goodie’ [run game coordinator Harold Goodwin] and I are walking together and we’re like, ‘Is he going to just keep doing this?’ And Goodie just told me, ‘Hey, believe in the right calls that are going to help us win the game. Don’t worry about me, don’t worry about all of us.’

“He wasn’t telling me, ‘Hey man, just run the ball,’ he was saying, ‘Trust what they’re giving us.’ That really did give me a lot of confidence to [think] if they’re playing the style of defense that they’re going to play, we’ve got to run them out of the stadium.”

So there you have it. The Bucs may have one of the best sets of triplets in the NFC in the passing game. Canales has no desire to get the most out of them.

Joe thinks Canales is looking at this fundamentally the wrong way. He said going to the pass is giving up. It’s nothing of the sort. It’s using your best players with their superior skillsets to give yourself a chance to score (more) points and win games.

Joe will never forget what Bobby Bowden said about offense: “It’s getting your best players the ball and trying to match them up against the weakest players of your opponent.” He won a few games in his days using this philosophy.

Canales seems to think he’s in a measuring stick contest with that line about giving up. It’s nothing of the sort.

Wasting your best players’ talents to Joe is more like giving up and quitting.

And as George C. Scott, portraying Gen. George Patton, said in the iconic opening monologue in the movie “Patton,” “The very thought of losing is hateful to Americans.”

It makes Joe sad to think Canales believes hitting Rachaad White in open space and allowing Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to clown secondaries is a form of surrender.

Joe has no problem with the Bucs pounding the ball, so long as they have the players to do so. Unfortunately, Joe doesn’t foresee Mike Alstott running out of the Bucs’ tunnel all geared up any time soon.

56 Responses to ““I’m Not Going To Quit On The Run Game””

  1. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I actually like Dave Canales as OC…but if Bowles gets fired, so will he, more than likely.

    The reason I like him?

    He came in as a rookie OC, and he started with the basics. He had a decimated OL, no running game, etc.

    I don’t know if he is determined to fix the run game, or if Bowles is insisting he stick with it…but the offense is improving overall.

    We have several OL guys playing better. We’re starting to see the development begin to show.

    I think R. White was ham-stringed with a developing OL and that affected his numbers, not to mention he was finally getting experience as a starter…and he HAS gotten better. That said, we need better I think.

    The young WRs are showing good signs. I hope at least two of them get time to develop.

    Those saying to draft a WR in the first round are bonkers. We have other priorities such as QB, Center, and RB.

    We need a solid pass rusher too.

    Dave Canales is doing much better than Leftwich did…I suspect he’ll become a very good OC within a few years.

    I just don’t think it will be for us.

    Unless…a miracle happens and we win at least 2 games in the playoffs, which is unlikely.

  2. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    If that miracle happens…Bowles will remain too.

  3. Buc4evr Says:

    I guess the guy will go down the hard way. I am not opposed to running the ball, but with the Bucs strengths, they should be passing to set up the run, not running on first and second downs only to be put in third and long situations constantly. There is such a mismatch between the players skill set and what Canales is trying to do, I can understand why the Bucs can’t score more points. Sad that Evan’s and Godwin are left out of the offense. Hopefully Canales and Bowles will be gone next month.

  4. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Buc4evr Says
    “Sad that Evan’s and Godwin are left out of the offense.”

    Godwin has been for sure, but Evans is on the verge of the best year of his career.

  5. Tony marks Says:

    Well it clears up one thing

    The narrative that even I bought into that Bowles was the one putting Canales on a leash is over. You don’t say all of that if its not your own core nobody made you do it philosophy” ( but you coudl have been hired because of it so Bowles aint entirely off the hook))

    I gave him credit this week with the run game because it HAS impoved but seriously

    “run them out of the stadium”

    We, even with improvements, are a loooooooooooong way from that and frankly he will get fired by theGlazers eventually – you better be 14-3 running teams out the stadium because its boring foottbal and a lesser product to sell for entertainment.

  6. SufferingSince76 Says:

    Hardheaded and stupid. Just like his boss. He, also, sounds like a guy who knows he isn’t going to be looking for a new job next year. Otherwise, something’s in the water at OBP.

  7. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    Joe I must be missing something here.
    The way I read canales comments were to paraphrase:
    If the falcons are going to stack 5 in the box, instead of 6,7, or 8; we are going to tote that rock down their throats. Which to me is kinda what the Bucs did in the second half of that game.
    You know, take what the Defense gives ya, despite having Superman at the wideouts.

  8. Bobby M. Says:

    Canales has no idea of what he’s doing, the offense ranks 22nd in the league, which is 3rd in our weak division. He, like Bowles, has stubbornness that will ultimately get them canned. He’s no different than Leftwich, he knows ONE system and he’s going to make it fit regardless.

  9. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    Now, if we could only find a pair of cornerbacks that want to do their job according to the job description this defense would be formidable imo.

  10. Not Says:

    F …..DC
    And TB
    Two premier WRs getting paid as they should and TB and DC letting them act as decoys so we can run the ball all day.
    Nice message DC sends to ME and CG about his philosophy. How absurd .
    Why the Glazers tolerate this nonsense .

  11. realistic-optimistic Says:

    That’s how I read it too @lawn chairs. ATL was committing a lot of effort to blanketing our passing game. Both Evans and Godwin had bad catch percentages in the game. Canales was simply saying, if that’s what they want to keep doing, then we’ll take what they’re giving us.

  12. bob in valrico Says:

    ” Is He going to keep doing this ?” Who is “He”, Bowles or White? If Canales has not seen the
    that running the ball up the middle on first and second down repeatedly has run nobody out of the stadium yet, then I think he needs to do some soul searching, because it seems like the only one he is fooling is himself. No deception, of course,
    when defenses know what you are going to do presnap they only have to defend the run on first and second down.

  13. BucU Says:

    Canales is delusional. No wonder Bowles hired him. I won’t shed a tear if the whole coaching staff gets fired in 4 games.

  14. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    @ realistic, to me sometimes football is like one great big chess match where coordinators are trying to out smart their counterparts on the field.

  15. bob in valrico Says:

    Developing a run game at the expense of a diverse offense. This just seems like
    football version of Custer’s last stand at the Little Bighorn to me.

  16. Defense Rules Says:

    Bring back the lawn chairs. … ‘sometimes football is like one great big chess match where coordinators are trying to out smart their counterparts on the field.’


  17. Alanbucsfan Says:

    The Falcons’ linebackers were focusing on pass coverage- that’s why Canales went with the run in the 2nd half and it was effective because the OLine and RB’s were executing.
    Joe is correct that there are opportunities to be had in the passing game – especially if Mayfield’s reads and accuracy improve. But Canales is also correct to run the ball when the opponents’ D is playing the pass. The plays where linemen and TE pulled were especially effective.

  18. Baking with Canales Says:

    Just Win Baby!!!

    Looking forward to the last stretch of the season.

    Please somebody remind Bowles we need all 11 guys on defense.


  19. VATom Says:

    It just doesn’t matter. Baker doesn’t lock in anyway. If Canales called 65% passing plays in the first 3/4 of the game when we are continuously loosing the other team would feast on three and outs. Then, the defense would be smoked and gag away the run defense in addition to eating a facedul of 23yd passes.

    Best thing Canales can do is let White get 4 yds on 2 carries and see if Baker can find someone for 7yds on 3rd and 6. Hell, the wasted time at least lets Winfield and David rest a little.

    And lets just say Canales succesfully goes all Air Coreyell. Then what? The other QB is just going to pass for 500yds. The pass defense/scheme is the weakest link on this team. Opposing QBs EAT this scheme. Theres little meaningful pressure and the 23rd pass is ALWAYS available. At least running White I get to watch Evans run routes in a TB uni for the last time in his career.

    This season has been a waste. I really like Canales. He os like the Zyon McCollum of coaches. Comes in as a top athlete, has great swagger, susceptibke to veteran tricks from the other side, still makes great plays on instinct and ability, appears to be growing and getting better every week, but takes season(s) to make the big leaps.

    I canxt not like Canales and appreciate he wants a balanced offense. He doesn’t have the horses at QB to really lean on the pass game. I think he’s got to work in a bellyful of running just to keep time of posession reasonable.

  20. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    Mayfield is going to make a nfl team very happy they got him one day.
    I just hope it’s still us.
    20-8 is whole lot better that 30 td’s-30 ints, a la crableggs.

  21. Colonel Angus Says:

    I want a coordinator that attacks an opponent’s weakness. If they can’t stop the run, pound it all day. If they can’t stop the pass, throw it all day. If they can’t cover TE’s, give the TE double digit targets. Exploit an opponents weakness, not just “we do what we do”. Only identify I care about on offense is scoring points.

  22. Fansince76 Says:

    With Bowles and Canales were Fuked this year with the run at all cost philosophy and no bell cow back. It sucks but i think Bucs are not going to make the playoffs and we will have new coaching staff next year.

  23. Conner50 Says:

    Wish Todd Monken would have came to Tampa instead of Canales. He will be gone with Bowles or at least Bowles will be gone hopefully after this season is over. Then Tampa can immediately get better

  24. Beeej Says:

    Bring back the lawn chairs has it right:– last week Atlanta’s plan was press coverage on Godwin and Evans with high safeties on top (apparently they figured whoever #3 was could be singled) Really few opportunities to throw… So we ran against the easier option. If we can’t pull that off we’re screwed.

    (Unless of course we’re playing San Diego)

  25. Popcorn Mike Says:

    That run run work well and burns clock but, when you have a lead. When you keep pounding the ball for 2 or 3 yards and you’re down 14 or more points is the same crap that along with not getting your best players the ball will get Bowles fired. I do like Canales and I can see his point, he’s following what his HC wants and this is the guy who gave you the opportunity to be a OC. Nevertheless, when Bowles get run off he’s done as a HC. I think Canales will get another chance and just might be a decent OC

  26. Jack Clark Says:

    Canales didn’t say he was gonna keep running the ball between the tackles and he said he was gonna keep working on improving our passing game. So far Canales hasn’t built anything for us to be proud of. Albert Einstein said if you keep doing the same thing and expect different results then you’re insane and Dave Canales is clinically insane for wasting our first and second downs by running between the tackles to nowhere to setup third and longs. Byron Leftwich did the same thing so it has to be because Todd Bowles is the common denominator forcing our OCs to run between the tackles to nowhere.

  27. Larrd Says:

    Anyone notice the run game has been pretty decent the last few weeks? That’s good news!

    The Bucs’ group of receivers hasn’t been one of the best groups in the league for a couple years, now. Since Godwin got hurt, AB freaked out, and Gronk retired. Evans is still very good.

  28. DungyDance Says:

    “‘For me, looking at it, it was always that I wanted to build something that we could be proud of,’ Canales said.”

    You don’t need to hear anything more beyond this opening remark. He prioritizes pride (i.e., vanity) over results. Pride doesn’t win football games. Obviously you should instead use what you have and take what they give you. He’s telling us that if the team’s identity (unique player strengths) stands in the way of his own, then to hell with the former.

    Pride and an empty sack is worth the sack.

  29. Kalind Says:

    Well there’s gonna be quitting. Either he quits on the run. Or we and the team will quit on him. His choice.

  30. Show Me the TDs Says:

    I always thought that the objective was to win the game?!?! Not try to prove your way of doing things is “The Way”. I thought Canales was better than this. He seems like a man-child.

  31. Nayrb Says:

    I think the quote is just mind games to mess with opposing defenses. Make them think we are going to pound the ball ONLY. I cannot imagine a Bucs executive would be OK with letting high paid wide receivers be ignored. The quote has got to be a smoke screen.

  32. Andrew Fish Says:

    I wish the mindset was not to keep it 3rd and manageable. As joe has written about many times in the modern NFL you need to avoid 3rd downs all together. First down needs to be at least 65% pass. Second down needs to be when we run the most after a completed pass.

    Also I have put stats out before. We run way better running at a tackle or outside a tackle. Please do it more.

  33. Tony Marks Says:

    Bring back the lawn chairs Says:
    December 15th, 2023 at 6:13 am

    You know, take what the Defense gives ya, despite having Superman at the wideouts.

    That would be fine BBL but then theres this

    ” I wanted to just show the staff, I wanted to show this team, I wanted to show our group: I’m not going to quit on the run game. I’m not going to just fold it up, give up and start throwing the ball around the yard.”

    Thats not a guy saying he will go with what’s working. Thats a guy saying he is going to stick with it even if its NOT working.

  34. orlbucfan Says:

    First of all, this team won’t quit. That postgame video of Bowles and Wirfs proves it. If Canales wants to run, fine. GET CREATIVE with it, and call a balanced game that DR has been writing about all season. That’s precisely how you win games. It sure ain’t rocket science!

  35. unbelievable Says:

    Another example of why Bowles and Canales need to go.

    This boneheaded stance of “we’re just gonna keep running up the gut for no gain until eventually we break one open” only works when you’re playing terrible teams and the score is close.

    What has happened every time we’ve faced a team with a winning record? We’ve been blown out by half time. And then you literally can’t run the ball anymore.

    But hey just keep wasting most of our 1st and 2nd down plays every drive, Mr. Canales. It will only lead to you and Toilet Bowls being fired sooner.

  36. teacherman777 Says:

    We should have run even more against Atlanta.

    They had two backup DT’s in the game.

    We were moving people around.

    We actually had holes to run through.

    Mauch and Goedeke need reps to improve.

    We have a solid defense. But last year they were winded from all the 3 and outs.

    Im a 90’s kid. A 90’s Bucs fan. So we used to get more excited to see the defense play than the offense.

    And we won that super Bowl in 2002 because we “pounded the rock!”

    Played great defense and Brad Johnson was smart with the ball.

    Im 100% on board with Baker and building a strong running game.

    Baker. 5 years. 50 million. Fully guaranteed.

    And we will have enough money to build an elite defense and offensive line over the next 5 years.

    I say stick with Baker.

    He’s an Underdogg like the real Bucs and Bucs fans.

  37. D-Rok Says:

    Actually, I don’t have an issue with the stated philosophy. Pounding the rock, even with a low YPC, provides several obvious benefits team-wide.

    I would just like to see a more diverse run game. Our O-line seems better suited for quickness, not power. If the plan was to rush 30x a game, so be it – but please include at least 10-12 wide runs like sweeps and even a few bubbles.

    What Dave gotta do is diversify wit his run portfolio.

    In 2-3 years when they draft true run-game road-gradin’ maulers on the OL, then they can play smash mouth. Until then, use our available talent more wisely and creatively. Keep defenders guessing, not locked in, and our offense will be respectable.

    Go Bucs ! ! !

  38. unbelievable Says:

    @D-rok – yes if they mixed it up in the run game more (like we finally saw in the 2nd half last week) I would have no problem with the continued run efforts. It’s calling the same run up the middle behind the weakest part of our o-line for no gain over and over that is frustrating.

    @teacherman – “We have a solid defense. But last year they were winded from all the 3 and outs.”

    We went 3 and out on 5 straight drives last week against Atlanta. And have done similarly against almost every team we’ve played this year. And then even when we finally sustain a Long drive and score, the Defense comes back out and continues to give up a huge plays.

  39. Lakeland Steve Says:

    As a famous coach once said, “you play to win the game”. Seems like that is a given, right? If not what are they doing out there if not playing every single play to win the game. I’m sorry but this type of 1960’s 3 yards and a cloud of dust philosophy does not fit in today’s game. Defenses are too good and can shut you down in one aspect of the game if they desire. Most offenses strive to have a semblance of balance so the other team can not just load up and stop them. Everyone except the Bucs play this way. Our offensive philosophy is to play it safe, don’t turn the ball over and lose the game because of Interceptions or fumbles. Let the other team do that. That philosophy is playing not to lose, which inevitably is a losing formula.

  40. Buckeyebuckchuck Says:

    Welcome to the NFL 2023. Scoring is down because the defenses adjusted and are playing 2 high safeties. You aint going anywhere without a strong running game and a mobile QB. And defense never goes out of style. Good to see 100+ yard games on the ground for the Bucs, Canales is doing some good work. Now they need a pass rush to unlock the D. Anybody who doesn’t see progress into a hard-nosed offense needs to give up eating those paint chips

  41. Davenport Says:

    Might as well have traded Godwin at the deadline, they weren’t using him anyway.

    The run game is not good and even if it improved, the improvement was minimal.

    Who knows what box Bowles put Canales in, but its obvious that he got the job by promising to run and keep running no matter how it goes.

    Bowles leaves a negative mark on everything and the Bucs dont have the guts that Spanos has in LA.

    Here’s to limping into the playoffs, getting blown out, keeping Bowles, and a repeat of this year in 2024.

  42. sasquatch Says:

    While I’m a bit more inclined to being aggressive in the passing game, I don’t think Canales is completely wrong. He has a vision for the running game. The Seahawks didn’t have Mike Alstott either. The vision for the offense is being able to control the ball and the clock and take advantage of big plays in the passing game that result from teams loading up to stop the run. They’re not there yet, obviously… but “giving up” on his vision for the offense would be to stop trying to build that running game. That is taking time and we’ve begun to see some improvement there. He’s gonna keep working on it. He’s not giving up.

    I don’t agree with the emphasis on building the offense around the running game when you have Evans and Godwin, but this is what Todd wants and Canales is doing his best to implement it. I think a little more emphasis on low risk ball-control passing mixed in with runs can serve the same purpose of ball-control and clock-control, while making the run game less predictable.

  43. Rod Munch Says:

    I have no idea if Canales actually believes that or not, because he’s just a lackey for Bowles, who thinks it’s 1970, and you win by running the ball and stopping the run.

    Remember, ten other coordinators turned down Bowles before Canales, his 11th pick, finally took the job. Also, Canales had been demoted the year before taking this job. Canales is going to do whatever he’s told to do, and we all know that Bowles thinks the role of the offense is to protect the ball, not score points.

    As for the run game, it’s been better as of late – but the offense has been held by very poor QB play. Baker has guys running open all over the field, and he’s either not throwing it or just flat out missing guys if they’re more than 5 yards downfield.

  44. RustyRhinos Says:

    Maybe I missed somethings in the 2nd half. Nearly every 1st and 10 run we got 5+ yards… {{{{Rocket Science Alert!!!!}}}}

    Were they all beautiful wide open running lanes, NO yet very productive.

    Play to Win, be it with the run or pass. Win the NFC South again and set records within our Division. Records set that take Years in Making, Thanks Tom!!!

    200 yards rushing in GB 300 passing and a Win.

  45. Buc1987 Says:

    Bonzai up nice and early 4:00 to post and he’s talkin’ playoffs for our Bucs.

    Go back to bed Bonzai.

  46. gotbbucs Says:

    I’m fine with running the ball, I love running the ball, but stubbornly blasting up the A-gap’s religiously is lunacy.

  47. gotbbucs Says:

    This offense would be much better had they just added a bruiser to the running back room. Chase Edmonds is a nice player, but he’s not softening up the middle of the defense.

  48. Buc1987 Says:

    teacherman777 Says:

    “Baker. 5 years. 50 million. Fully guaranteed.”

    Get off the drugs man.

  49. Dave Pear Says:

    I’ve been a fan of this dude for his energy. I can’t believe he is doing anything other than showing ferocious loyalty to his Uber-stubborn failed loser of a head coach with these kinds of ignorant, senseless comments. Adios Dave, maybe Todd will let you coordinate the on-ramping of vehicles into the chain of car washes Todd will be operating in a few weeks.

    Jeemus Crust.

  50. Another J Says:

    That’s the attitude that’s going to get him fired.
    Square pegs don’t fit it round holes!

  51. Pelsbuc61 Says:

    Stubborn HC has a defense that can’t stop anyone and is allowing lots of points. Stubborn rookie OC has an offense that doesn’t score and insist on running even when it’s proven the only way they move the ball is through the air. Hopefully they’ll be an entire new coaching staff next year.

  52. Glass (almost) Half Full Guy Says:

    At least Sneak got waived today. No hard feelings but he just couldn’t contribute

  53. BUCS4LIFE Says:

    He’s one tenacious SOB , I’ll give him that. Smfh

  54. Ugotrobbed Says:

    Yep! Bowles got his man!

  55. Confido75 Says:

    You take what the defense gives you, so as long as DC’s play calling reflects this all is well. However, I wouldn’t get cocky because you had a 100+ rush yard game against ATL. Its ATL, not SF or Philly, which beat your arse, Dave.

  56. sasquatch Says:

    Rod Munch Says:
    December 15th, 2023 at 3:00 pm

    Remember, ten other coordinators turned down Bowles before Canales, his 11th pick, finally took the job. Also, Canales had been demoted the year before taking this job.

    Wrong and wrong. They interviewed about 10. No evidence that they offered the job to any of those guys. Maybe they were turned down by Monken, but they were in an interview process, which means you’re interviewing multiple candidates, not just handing out an offer to the every guy who walks in the building.

    Jeezus, you’re dumb.

    As for Canales being demoted… It’s only because the Seahawks brought back a more senior, veteran coach, Sanjay Lal, who had been with Seattle for a long time and is apparently one of the best WR coaches in the league, so he took over the passing game coordinator role from Canales. If you find some evidence that the demotion was performance-related, please do enlighten us.