Struggling To Convert

December 6th, 2023

Conversion percentages.

In theory, Joe guesses Todd Bowles and offensive coordinator Dave Canales are so headstrong about the Bucs running between the tackles even though they cannot run between the tackles because it is a way to eat clock and move the chains.

Theory is not reality. And in the Bucs’ case, this running philosophy is surreality.

The PFF tribe has a chart documenting each team’s ability to convert and move the chains on each down, first through fourth.

Would it shock you if Joe mentioned the Bucs offense, No. 22 in points per game at 19.4, is among the lesser teams in converting on every down?

Here is the breakdown (the PFF graphic is below):

First downs: 25th, converting 19 percent.
Second downs: 29th, converting 41 percent.
Third downs: 25th, converting 65 percent.
Fourth downs: 24th, converting 69 percent.

A big reason why the Bucs are so bad across the board at moving the chains is the runs between the tackles for two yards. Why throw to Mike Evans or Chris Godwin or Rachaad White for explosive plays when you can run up the middle for two yards?

(When it comes to explosive plays, you’re better off visiting one of the bathroom stalls at The Licht House for someone attempting a No. 2.)

Joe has heard former NFL suit Michael Lombardi say how the best offenses move the chains like a CFL team, converting on first and second downs and avoiding third downs.

With the Bucs, it’s almost like the goal of the offense is designed to set up third-and-longs.

34 Responses to “Struggling To Convert”

  1. Hodad Says:

    The Bucs set out to be a balanced offense that could run the ball when it wanted to, or had to. That goal has not been met. This offense was determined, is still determined to be that team. I don’t see that changing for the remaining games. Todd is the ant that will continue trying to move that rubber tree plant. He might have high hopes, but Joe doesn’t.

  2. SufferingSince76 Says:

    If you mean moving the chains by punting to the opponent, I would agree.

  3. Popcorn Mike Says:

    I am just confused with the entire Bucs team this year. As said Bowles continues to try to run up the middle and we all see how that ( haven’t worked). Mayfield only throw to 1/2 of his receivers each game. The defense has regress So where do we point the finger. Also, is Canales following what Bowles want on offense or is most of the offensive issues on him because he’s a first time OC and still learning on the job

  4. Jerseybuc Says:

    Sooo frustrating watching this poorly ran team what are these coaches doing man it’s insane for 2 years same trash over n over. 5 more weeks radio will be gone!! Can not wait

  5. Winny Testaverde Says:

    “Can do” Canales is who we thought he was…talking point guard offense and other nonsensical hyperbole in training camp.

    Evans is to Mayfield what he was to Manzel in college…an excellent cologne covering up a bit of stench with each acrobatic catch…not to mention the YAC he’s improved upon each year. Evans is impressive indeed.

  6. Bobby M. Says:

    The goal of the offense is to preserve the defense. Bowles isn’t trying to win games, he’s trying to not lose while making his defense look effective. His entire game management philosophy is completely flawed. He thinks with “perfect” execution from his defense we should win every game. Reality is his defense blows assignments repeatedly every game. It’s a fantasy….

  7. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Last 2 games Bucs have 240 yards rushing on 42 carries
    Bucs dropped 1 td pass opportunity vs Indy and missed a wide open Evans for a td vs Panthers because of a back foot throw.
    They need a Center with some push but offense is getting better if they take advantage of opportunities that are there.

  8. Onetrickpony Says:

    TB has to be calling the shots, because nothing changed from last year to this year, with the play calling.
    I belive Canales is doing what he is told, Mayfield too.

  9. Jack Clark Says:

    1. It’s kind of hard to convert on first down when you’re running the ball up the middle to no where
    2. It’s kind of hard to convert on second down when you’re running the ball up the middle to no where
    3. It’s kind of hard to convert on third long because you wasted the previous two plays running the ball up the middle to no where
    4. It’s kind of hard to convert on fourth down when you’re not able to do it by running the football

  10. realistic-optimistic Says:

    If Bowles had his way, the Bucs would only have 2 possessions per game. Each one lasting 29 minutes and ending with a 52 yard field goal.

  11. Conner50 Says:

    Get Jim Harbough for Christmas

  12. Mark Says:

    Bucs are the lowest ranked team that still has its original starting quarterback, other than the Panthers, who are starting a microscopically small rookie, and who have no receiving talent other than a washed up Adam Theilen.

    We are punching in the same weight class as some of the most ghastly, unwatchable offenses in recent NFL history, like the Patriots, the Jets, and the Steelers. What talent we have is obviously being wasted, down after down.

    All this courtesy of Todd Bowles and his “philosophy”. Any wonder Bucs fans are borderline insane?

  13. Bobby Says:

    Yet we are probably Going to the playoffs and then stuck with this staff again next season.

  14. D Cone Says:

    Problem is if you run on 1st and get stuffed or are 0-1 passing it is still second and long.

    On 2nd an 10 is Canales more confident that he can run the ball to 3rd and short or does he lack confidence Mayfield can get a pass in a place or manner where it can be caught? It’s either location or drops and if everybody has the drops you have to look at what’s common and it’s not the ball wet or dry.

  15. stpetebucfan Says:

    I’m agreeing with most observations here. Where I struggle is with the conclusions. Mayfield sucks? He’s the problem?

    Here is what I find illogical. Folks here repeatedly call Bowles (pick whichever insult you wish)! He’s the worst coach ever and the Bucs can never win with him.

    So IF you believe that why the rush to throw the rest of the guys under the bus?

    The Bucs Defense is currently ranked 27th..behind the 12th ranked Saints…10th ranked Falcons and yep even behind the 7th ranked Panthers!

    The Offense is ranked 23rd behind the 11th ranked Saints 18th ranked Falcons and only ahead of the 30th Panthers.

    The offense is ranked HIGHER than the defense which admittedly isn’t saying much. So how much has Baker contributed to that Offensive ranking despite playing for a team handicapped by offensive strategy and play calling and the 27th ranked D to support his Offense.

    Baker is currently ranked 17th ahead of all the other Division QB’s. How can this be? Perhaps it’s not really Mayfields fault but the overall play of the team around him…horrid defense that gave away one win at Houston that would have been Baker’s 4th Q comeback? As well documented here at JBF what some have referred to as insane offensive strategy and playcalling.

    This is not to say Baker is the next coming of Brady/Mahomes or any of the top 10 guys right now. It is simply to point out neither he nor Trask are the major problems!!!! The team could have and should have a winning record right now.

    So AGAIN…If you all believe Bowles is a total disaster why take it out on ALL of the players. Some players have had less than stellar seasons and not lived up to their past play…DW45..#7…even the guys who have been the very BEST on the team…ME13 have had critical drops that cost Mayfield some TD’s…Otton and other including CG14 have had drops.

    Do NOT blow this team up for a poor strategy by the coach.

    Simply replace the coach!!!

  16. realistic-optimistic Says:

    @stpetebuc, there are many different ways to rank a QB. Which one are you using for your analysis? QBR?

    He doesn’t pass the eyeball test at all. There are definitely worse QBs in the league, but that doesn’t make him palatable.

  17. Capt.Tim Says:

    This offense is a a collection of bad coaching decisions.
    We have a guard(stennie) and Center(hainsey) who should never start on a pro football team.
    Our Running game has been bottom of the league for the last decade.
    Our Star WRs hung it up after week 3, and avoid running Crossing routes and slants. No gonna get hurt for a lame duck coach.

    Its amazing weve won any games

  18. Beeej Says:

    Stinnie is heads and shoulders better than his predecessor

  19. 808bucfan Says:

    Guy is clueless, just like he looks in the picture

  20. D-Rok Says:

    realistic-optimistic Says:
    December 6th, 2023 at 10:34 am
    “If Bowles had his way, the Bucs would only have 2 possessions per game. Each one lasting 29 minutes and ending with a 52 yard field goal.”

    We’d lose every game 6-14. But hey, at least his beloved defense would be funky fresh all season long. LOL.

  21. Tony marks Says:

    Joe says:

    even though they cannot run between the tackles because it is a way to eat clock and move the chains.


    almost but not quite. Yes running eats up clock but its not for the sake of offnse as much as it is having an offense that gives the defense rest

    Tod Bowles like many defensive coaches does not want an offense that over shadows the defense. AN explosive passing game the QB and THe OC get credit. Its human nature . We all want to see the organizations we work for excel because of our area of expertise.

  22. stpetebucfan Says:


    I got the ranking from an NFL site it is a composite that probably includes QBR.

    Honestly sorry I didn’t dive into their metric. It may have simply been total yards but since they listed Attempts/completions/TDs/Ints etc it probably included QBR.

    I would link to much of my “information” as a former journalist I appreciate sources. But as a former businessman I appreciate Joe’s liability and do not wish to be a headache for him. Links can cause problems.

  23. Since76 Says:

    Got a chuckle on the no.2. lol. Honestly I think Canales is getting the most out of the offense that he can. Bowles wants the runs so he has to. I believe licht promised Mayfield the starter position so he’s stuck with Mayfield who is giving everything he’s got but that just isn’t good enough. So the offense is tapped out due to philosophy and and QB talent. It’s a bucs life.

  24. Buckeyebuckchuck Says:

    Need to get a true center and move Hainsey into a role he will shine in, the 6th man. But all the chuckleheads who throw stones at a run first offense need to look at the success of the Ravens and the Titans over the past five years. Strong D and strong running game still works in the NFL. Another example, the Browns are still in the playoff hunt with atrocious play at QB and losing Nick Chubb. (But they’re gonna drop because Myles Garrett is hurt, goodbye shutdown D)

  25. Buckeyebuckchuck Says:

    Totally agree with 76. Struggling to convert No risk it No biscuit into Seahawks South is a monumental task. Starting to see better results out of the zone blocking scheme though..

  26. BucU Says:

    This offense is unwatchable 80% of the time. For 2 yrs running.
    F that. I’ll look at the YouTube highlights post games. You have to be a masochist to choose to sit and watch this garbage willingly week in / week out.

  27. Capt.Tim Says:

    But Stennie is so bad, he should NEVER be an NFL starter. He is a weak back up

  28. garro Says:

    Clear as mud Joe.
    Stats should be simpler to make a point to me than spending more than a minute to figure out that they make no sense. lol

    Go Bucs!

  29. BakerBucs Says:

    I curse u haters I am putting the hex on u haters cause u r the reason this team is 5&7 can u believe it they r 5&7that is so f***n bad chop all the players nuts off go get a hole line up 1st thing in the am i bet then with Caleb williams & 31 yr old ME this team will be 17 -0 just wait til next Sept.all u baker lovers will see how rite all us baker ,bowles,canales haters were the real problem in 1 season u r going to be the 2024 champs what a bunch of chumps u jokers r

  30. BakerBucs Says:

    It seems to me jbf daily writes things on this site just to stoke hate daily sometimes several times a day & u haters just r a total bore I for 1 am sick of u r borish bs why do u stay on this site this site is not for u r child like comments this is for adults only.u r like the democrats spew hate all day everyday HTF do u constantly tell a low paid QB how he is below average for a measley 4 mill.after tax 2 mill pay his agent 20% now he has1.6 mill has to have a pl. to live in Tampa ain’t cheap now he has a mill left to pay moving expenses,pay for old house til it sells airline tickets back forth to c wife & all other exspenses he even took offensive line to vac.last spring he paid all expenses nothing left bunch a bunch of winners talk garbage bout him day in day out I feel for the next QB sucker that ends up here if he is half smart he will never take that offer u people don’t deserve anyone they shud transfer out of Tampa & say FU

  31. BakerBucs Says:

    Bucu says exactly why r u on this site?

  32. BakerBucs Says:

    Buc people deserve Zack Wilson I doubt he wud even show up here

  33. BakerBucs Says:

    Oops just in the bucs just hired Zack Wilson

  34. BakerBucs Says:

    Zack Wilson is an upgrade over sad baker jokers