Defenses Laughed At Bucs Running Game

June 4th, 2024

You could whine about the Bucs offensive line if you wish — and so many do. Habitually. Constantly.

But Joe is one to look at the main culprit: That would be the guy toting the rock. The same guy ranked No. 41 in yards after contact per attempt. That would be Rachaad White.

So handicapper turned stathead Warren Sharp did the film work to document each team’s runs against stacked boxes and light boxes, meaning defenses that had eight or more defenders in the box — or less in the box.

Only one team ran into more defensive fronts with fewer defenders in the box than the Bucs, and that was the Super Bowl-champion Chiefs. You could probably point to the fact the Chiefs have the best quarterback in the league as to why. And, Isiah “Ferdie” Pacheco is a damn fine runner.

The NFL has been so watered down under the boot of Roger Goodell, but the last Joe checked, running backs are still allowed to dodge tacklers. Running backs are still allowed to make defenders miss.

And incredibly, running backs are still allowed to run through tackles. Can you imagine?

Does anyone wonder why the Bucs drafted Bucky Irving? You know, a guy known to make defenders miss? Joe doesn’t need to wonder.

And if defenses start to grow scared of a run game, that just may open up the passing game for Baker Mayfield with all the receivers the Bucs have, including White who is a lethal weapon when catching a pass?

24 Responses to “Defenses Laughed At Bucs Running Game”

  1. LouisFriend Says:

    I’m not sure how many ways it can be said that the Bucs run game was horrible in 2023. Yeah okay, they sucked. Got it. Anything else going on?

  2. BillyBucco Says:

    Inside runs when you have lighter more nimble Interior O Lineman will always remain a mystery to me. How about you actually do what they are good at? And if they aren’t good, you suck at drafting!!!!
    I understand you can’t draft a Graham Barton every year, but at least MOLD your offense in the meantime TOWARDS their actual strengths.
    That line just COULDN’T block at the point of attack. PERIOD.
    It’s amazing we threw effectively with those stats.
    It’s really a glass half full situation if you think about it.

  3. Tbbucs3 Says:

    “ you think that just may open up the passing game for Baker Mayfield with all the receivers the Bucs have”

    Who are all these WRs the Bucs have? Far as im concerned the Bucs have 2 proven guys and thats it…..Palmer and McMilan could very easily turn out to be duds…..not to mention the Bucs still have scraps at tight end behind Cade Otten…..

    And now with David Moore and even Thompkins gone, the Bucs still have little depth at WR.

  4. Capt.Tim Says:

    Awww, somebody is stil mad the The Bucs drafted an Center with their first pick!

    Yeah, White has been horrible running the Ball! Last in the league TWO YEARS IN A ROW!!!

    What, wait? This doesnt make any sense. White wasnt our starting Rb two years ago. It was Super Bowl winning pro bowler LEORNARD FOURNETTE!

    But, but, how could it be that it was FOURNETTE’s fault one year, Then White’s fault the next?

    And does the fact that we lost our starting left Guard( Marpet), Right Guard(Cappa), and Center(Jensen) preseason two years ago HAVE ANY POSSIBLE EFFECT ON THE RUNNING GAME?

    Nah, gotta be a coincidence. Its White’s fault. Im sure Bucky will save us.

    Otherwise, we wouldnt be on year 3, and still not have addressed the 3 vacant spots. To date, only addressed 2- Right Guard(Mauch) and Center(Barton).

    If the Oline had any affect on the running game- why would wait so long to to Address it?
    Lets just keep drafting Rbs.

  5. Bring back the lawn chairs Says:

    This nfl disrespects power running backs for the most part as evidenced by no interest for playoff Lenny. Why’s that?
    It will remain a complete mystery to me why the old school power running backs continue to get no respect in this league.
    Personally I think everyone is completely off their collective rockers and sooner than later some team will figure this out and exploit this.
    Its like analysis has taken over common sense.
    Great rushing attacks take extreme heat off ones passing attack imo.

  6. Obvious Says:

    Throw in the Fact that we had an OC that Clearly had NO CLUE as to how to construct a proper running attack other than the CONTINUOUS “run up the middle”, well WHAT DO YOU EXPECT? Was it White’s decision to continue to run it up the middle??? No? Huh…
    A middle with “no ability” to hold it’s own backside up much less force open holes to run through! Hard to do when you’re peddling backwards MOST OF THE TIME….


    Carolina must be delusional hiring Canales as the HC! DELUSIONAL…. Well, unless they of course INSISTED on hiring a proper OC because Canales barely has a clue as to what he’s doing calling the shots as the OC! And I DO MEAN barely!

    Bowles MUST HAVE shoved some “lucky horse shoes” up his backside to still have a job because it’s TRULY a miracle that we won any game under the circumstances. It was a gritty QB and a Very Experienced, Super Bowl Winning, Offense that pulled it off. NOT THE OC… We had some Very Serious Luck on our side! And I Do mean “Homer Simpson Luck”! Just kinda stumbling through a crappy season and SOME HOW came out smelling like a rose. “Homer Simpson Luck”

    We might actually have a realistic chance this year since the new OC isn’t a COMPLETE ROOKIE. And seemingly we may have actually fixed the Destroyed offensive line. Still not sure about that left guard situation. Or the center for that Matter. But the parts are there to actually make it work and work VERY WELL.

    We also seemingly had another Strong draft. THAT’S going to be the final deciding factor as to how far we go this year. I know the pundits aren’t impressed enough but our CORE IS our key to success. The missing parts of the puzzle are the unknown. We got the new pieces, but do they fit? ESPECIALLY the new QB hunter!

    I’d feel ALOT BETTER about our chances if we brought in a PROVEN QB Head Hunter. I’m not sure why we haven’t but “THAT” is what we’re REALLY MISSING. HOPEFULLY Licht has a plan and we are going to end up with one as a pleasant surprise. He has found them before. We Really Need Licht to Do It Again! SOON……

  7. Obvious Says:

    Sorry, I have to adjust my last write up.

    It Was the Offense and ESPECIALLY THE DEFENSIVE, SUPER BOWL WINNING CORE of the team that held us together enough to get us as far as we got last year.

    I foolishly left the defense out of my soap box appearance.

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    Obvious … ‘It Was the Offense and ESPECIALLY THE DEFENSIVE, SUPER BOWL WINNING CORE of the team that held us together enough to get us as far as we got last year.’

    Glad you added the DEFENSE to your analysis Obvious, and I agree with you 100%. Joe continues to harangue Rachaad for being a poor runner, but in this situation he’s the end of the spear not the tip of the spear. Play design IMO starts it off, followed by the play calling. If either of those suck, the play’s chances of succeeding go way down. Next in line would be OLine execution, and if they can’t consistently open holes the play’s chances of succeeding are further limited.

    Our RBs have limited chance of getting reasonable gains if none of that’s clicking. Being bad at running the ball isn’t something that just popped up yesterday; we’ve sucked at it for a long time actually. We’ve only topped 4.0 Yards per Carry Rushing 3 times in the past 10 years …

    o 2023: 3.4 YPC (OC Canales; QB Mayfield; RB White)
    o 2022: 3.4 YPC (OC Leftwich; QB Brady; RB Fournette/White)
    o 2021: 4.3 YPC (OC Leftwich; QB Brady; RB Fournette/RoJo)
    o 2020: 4.1 YPC (OC Leftwich; QB Brady; RB RoJo/Fournette)
    o 2019: 3.7 YPC (OC Leftwich; QB Winston; RB RoJo/Barber)
    o 2018: 3.7 YPC (OC Koetter; QB Winston; RB Barber)
    o 2017: 3.7 YPC (OC Koetter; QB Winston; RB Martin/Barber)
    o 2016: 3.6 YPC (OC Koetter; QB Winston; RB Rodgers/Martin)
    o 2015: 4.8 YPC (OC Koetter; QB Winston; RB Martin/Sims)
    o 2014: 3.9 YPC (OC Arroyo; QB McCown; RB Martin/Rainey)

    Interestingly Bucs ran the ball a BUNCH in our best running year (2015 – 4.8 YPC with 2162 total running yards & we ranked #5 rushing) … with Lovie Smith as our HC & Dirk Koetter (an air attack guy?) as our OC. Still, we finished 6-10 so that sucked. The only other 2 years when we topped 4.0 YPC were 2020 & 2021 … with Tom Brady as our QB & a very strong OLine. Got a hunch that everything has to fit well together to have a strong running game. Just a hunch though.

  9. heyjude Says:

    Love the Goodfellows pic!

    This season could be Rachaad’s year. Looking forward in seeing what Bucky does too!

  10. Fan of the South Says:

    If a team showed no ability in 2022 why would defenses stack the box to stop the run in 2023? Hang back and take chances on Mayfirld beating you. Worked out gif the Bucs 9 of 17 times. Look at the best at rushing in 2022 and those are the teams that f aced stacked boxes.
    If Bucs fail to run the ball again in 2024 defenses now have tendencies on the QB and will make adjustments to him. Will be a disaster.
    Only people that really benefited from the lack of a running game was Mayfield and his agent.

  11. bob in valrico Says:

    One takeaway from DR’s stats, if memory serves. Having two backs that their skillset complements each other is a big plus. In 2015 both Martin and Sims were effective at catching passes out of the backfield. If defenses can’t predict what the backs will do on any given play, the offense should produce at a high level. That
    said ,I like the RB tandem possibilities for the Bucs this year. Bell Cow backs take too much punishment that often shortens their career unnecessarily.

  12. Jmarkbuc Says:

    I laughed too.. until I cried.

  13. Pewter Power Says:

    Allowed to dodge tackles and also allowed to draft running backs. It was more about chase Edmonds than white. Don’t know what you mean by being laughed. The bad is we still couldn’t run the ball but The positive is they still couldn’t stop Mike Evans

  14. It’s brutal out here Says:

    How is Irving at picking up free rushers? You can maybe convince me his size isn’t a liability when he is moving forward low to the ground with momentum initiating contact, but can he hold up when a blitzer outweighing him is coming after Baker and he has no such forward momentum? Just thinking through all of the back and forth about White catching passes out of then backfield and what sets we will use to prevent defenses from anticipating the run when Irving is in the backfield, etc.

  15. Dude Says:

    “How is Irving at picking up free rushers?”

    Love the kids’ game, but there’s a reason you don’t hear about passpro when his strengths are being talked about. It wasn’t something he was asked to do alot less at Oregon than the little time he spent with the Golden Gophers. Only thing that might save him as a pro is that he’s a pretty dense to to be just over 200lbs and he’s got the leverage game sewn up just being in pads. Another player who should make the Bucs preseason games entertaining.

  16. First Name Greatest Says:

    When your run game is as imaginative as a Byron Leftwich press conference response is anyone surprised by this?

    The Bucs run game has been pathetic since Koetter’s first year as play caller. Watch the 49ers run game scheme, they not only move people but they also move and pull their linemen and have a TE that can block.

    Bucs don’t have a TE that can block and Canales and Leftwich were more devoted to running up the middle than Canales was to his wife. In this league you gotta create advantages in scheme, and the Bucs coaching on offense is not good at scheming a run game

    Heck even the big runs Lenny had in that 2020 season were busted blocking that he bounced outside

  17. DFW Buc Says:

    I know that early in last season I screamed at the predictability of our offense. And I saw similar comments on this site. I just hope that this year we have a less predictable play selection. Let’s get the running game going so the play action and motion work together to open up the game.

  18. Mike Johnson Says:

    Quite the opposite. Offenses laughed at our Pass Rush.

  19. Henry Says:

    You could whine about the Bucs running game if you wish — and Joe does. Habitually. Constantly.

  20. Joe Says:

    “How is Irving at picking up free rushers?”

    Love the kids’ game, but there’s a reason you don’t hear about passpro when his strengths are being talked about.

    Reason it’s not talked about is reporters can’t comment on something that doesn’t exist. No hitting in underwear football.

  21. Dude Says:

    Joe, I’m not talking about what Bucs reporters are saying or have said, I’m talking about what coaches are saying and what I’ve seen of Irving playing at Oregon. As I said, it’s not hard to fine all you have to do is watch Bo Nix tape and you’ll see a few attempts of Bucky in passpro but he was mostly sent out on routes. Film exists.

    Also, coaches aren’t going to just up and give you their players weaknesses right off the bat because these are the pieces they gameplan with it wouldn’t be smart, but passpro is the only “?” I personally have about Bucky outside of that I think he can have the most immediate impact of all the rookies in our ’24 class.

  22. ATLBUC Says:

    When you really think about it, Canales wasn’t much better than Leftwich. When it came to the running game it was almost equal to the year before. And there wasn’t a lot of difference in the passing game either. The main reason for Canales getting accolades is that Baker had what was perceived by many to have had a great year. Summing it up I will say the qb played better but the offense was basically the same

  23. LANshark Says:

    Yes, White was horrible at yards after contact, and missed tackles. But there is a difference between a running back with a full head of steam, who then get’s hit, and makes the guy bounce off, and a rb standing still, just got the ball, and getting hit while not moving. Too often last year, White was hit as or before he got the ball.

    Did he hesitate to hit the hole? Yes, especially in the first 6 or so games. But the problem is NOT the RB, no matter how much Joe want’s to make it so. The problem was a center getting manhandled, and a left guard getting manhandled, and a right guard who was sometimes getting manhandled. You cannot blame White for that.

  24. Dude Says:

    “The problem was a center getting manhandled, and a left guard getting manhandled, and a right guard who was sometimes getting manhandled.”

    this problem even showed up in blitz pickup between the IOLmen. I’ve been watching JT O’Sullivans’ YT cannel for the last few year and he pointed that out breaking down the Green Bay game where Hainesy & Stinnie passed off the blitzer in their shared A-gap and gave him a free run into the backfield, that type of stuff cannot happen at the pro level.