When Running On First Down, Bucs Offensive Production Was Sad

June 16th, 2024

Can be better.

Joe is actually excited about the possibilities after reading this ugly stat.

We all know former Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales liked to run the ball. And Joe is guessing, so too did opposing defensive coordinators like when the Bucs ran the ball.

Noted handicapper turned stathead Warren Sharp revealed a stat about last year’s Bucs offense that is disturbing on face value. But it gives Joe hope upon further reflection.

When the Bucs decided to run on first downs, the Bucs offense was not very productive. In fact, the offense was downright sad.

Would you believe the turrible Dixie Chicks had (slightly) better offensive production when running on first down than the Bucs? Or even the Will Levis-led Titans?

Per Sharp, when the Bucs began an offensive drive running on first down, their chances of converting a first down to continue the drive came in at a 67 percent clip. That was tied with the awful Commandos, the Raiders and the slimy Saints, and barely better than the bungling Bears, the Vikings and — egads! — the Stinking Panthers, the worst team in the NFL.

So why does this give Joe reason for hope, even though that is a terrible word? Well, the guy who loved to pound the ball with the league’s worst rushing offense is gone. Canales is the Carolina head coach.

With a former Sean McVay disciple, Liam Coen, now running the Bucs’ show on offense, Joe has hope the offense will at least be more diverse.

Imagine what the offense could be like by opening it up more and better featuring the superior Bucs weapons?

23 Responses to “When Running On First Down, Bucs Offensive Production Was Sad”

  1. unbelievable Says:

    Why are you surprised?

    We lost our entire starting interior o-line in 2022 and neither Leftwich nor Canales knew how to devise a scheme that ran more deception / outside vs going up the gut behind center / guard over and over.

    We’ve now strengthened the interior AND, HOPEFULLY, Coen is better at running what works vs consistently calling poor plays simply because you feel you have to run it up the gut every game.

  2. Gipper Says:

    David Canales is intelligent and very verbal but was completely wrongheaded about running the ball up the gut on 1st and 2nd down behind an ineffective interior O line. Not even sure Cody Mauch should be back in 2024 unless he is heavier and stronger in the upper body. Have a feeling new OC will be more imaginative. This involves using the passing game to help establish the running game. This is completely opposite of the Canales approach. In the modern NFL it is important to run the ball and control the clock AFTER a solid lead has been built. With Mayfield and outstanding receivers, build a solid lead and then try to pound the running game.

  3. Pickgrin Says:

    Tied for 20th!

    That has to be our most positive run stat from 2023… LOL

    Seriously though – the ‘running problem’ the last 2 years has been primarily the loss of our entire Super Bowl interior Oline almost simultaneously – and Licht’s inability to catch up to that unexpected problem without paying a fortune we didn’t have for 3 solid free agents.

    So we rode with constantly overmatched Hainsey at Center for 2 years – and surrounded him with dreadful rookie Goedeke, Over the hill and never that great Fieler, Stinnie who we dumped as soon as we got to see him in extended action and promising yet very inconsistent rookie Mauch.

    Secondarily – both Leftwich and Canales were incapable of creating or calling run plays that caught defenses offguard. Defenders knew what was coming almost every time vs our runs in 2023. Few wrinkles, little or no mis-direction, not enough pulling of the Guards to the outside, not enough runs outside the Tackles period…. Just line up and run it right into your weakness 15-20 times a game and claim you tried……

    I blame the ‘run game coordinator’ as well for these coaching deficiencies and am very glad we have new coaches for the OLine this year.

    Joe or at least one of them loves to constantly harp about what a terrible RB White is…. “Great receiver” goes the backhanded ‘complement’, but bad runner….

    That false narrative is going to die this season – but unfortunately we still have to read about it another 37 times between now and when real games start…..

    White was never the problem – neither was Fournette

  4. garro Says:


    Go Bucs!

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    Pickgrin … Love your positivity that we’ll still ‘have to read about it another 37 times between now and when real games start’. With 85 days to go until Game 1 against the Commanders, I would’ve guessed closer to 85 times.

    Your analysis is spot on, and so is your bottom line … ‘White was never the problem – neither was Fournette’. You’ll never convince Joe of that because Rachaad’s only been a Buc (for 2 years with bad OCs & bad OLines), but look at Chase Edmonds who’s played for 3 other teams.

    Edmonds spent 4 years with Arizona, a half year with Denver & a half year with Miami, averaging 4.5 YPC (401 rushes for 1796 yards). Came here in 2023 & averaged 3.6 YPC (49 rushes for 176 yards), almost 1 YPC LOWER than what he averaged over his 5-years with 3 other teams. Coincidence? Sure.

  6. Hodad Says:

    This is the deadest time for NFL football yet Joe manages to entertain every day. Keep up the good work Joe.

  7. KABucs Says:

    And I’ll add a little bit more to Pick and DR’s thought train…

    I think taking the stat out of context that White was terrible after initial contact is the thing that drives the opinion that makes him a bad running back. I would love to see a stat that breaks that down even and says how much of that was either behind the line of scrimmage and/or how many seconds after hand off that occurred. White was getting hit so early after handoff so deep in the backfield so often that it made that stat look pretty bad. It’s possible he could break more tackles when he’s running in the open field and he should probably make somebody miss more often as he’s crossing the line of scrimmage more, but the thing that pained me so much is him getting a hand off and being tackled almost immediately with no chance of getting any speed going or a chance to break a tackle anyhow. And he was frequently being hit by more than one guy. This happened to Edmonds and Tucker as well, probably worse for them being smaller guys. I don’t have the stats for that but still points to offensive line problems!

  8. Bucfan Says:


  9. Boss Says:

    Until they throw it on 1st you can expect more of the same. They should be able to rip up the middle of the field if bake could hit the wr and not the OL

  10. Boss Says:

    Play action, misdirection, slants and crossing routes might be options. You can’t tell me two OCs did the exact same and it did not come from Todd.

  11. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Water is wet.

  12. teacherman1983 Says:

    I still want a first round LG next year.

    Klein can be a career OG backup for Mauch and our new LG next year.

    Sua and Brederson are here for 1 year.

    We still need a first round LG who can backup Barton at Center.

  13. bucnjim Says:

    Going to agree with both Pickgrin & Defense Rules. It seemed like a two fold problem. #1 we didn’t have the power or talent to just line up and move the opponent and #2 when the other team KNOWS the play before the snap you have no chance. More power and better scheme is definitely needed.

  14. Curse of Gruden Says:

    Doesn’t matter how much deception the run game has if the OL can’t make a block.

  15. D Cone Says:

    When passing on 1st down which the Bucs did more the results were not as good as some of these same teams mentioned also.

    21st in passing yards on 1st down and 18th in percentage. One out of every three 1st down plays where the Bucs passed ended in 2nd and 10.

    Bucs averaged 3.3 per rush on 1st down when teams were expecting run.
    Zero yards on a third of pass plays when teams are expecting run is just as bad.

    Really need to spread it evenly.

  16. Senor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    “…the guy who loved to pound the ball with the league’s worst rushing offense is gone. Canales is with Carolina now.”.

    Every time I read something like this, I go WOW. How on earth does a NFL OC with a 20 something ranked offense get a HC position??? I do not wish Canales ill will. He did pretty good here. But I think Baker deserves more of the credit for that than Canales. This is good drama. I predict the Bucs continue to do well with Baker and Canales maybe makes it to year 2. Panthers are so talent poor, Canales might be canned next year, especially with crazy, impatient, knows everything, drink throwing owner Dave Pepper

  17. realistic-optimistic Says:

    We haven’t had a rushing attack finish higher than 24th in YPG since 2015. 2019-2023 is the Harold Goodwin era.

    2023: 88.8 (32)
    2022: 76.9 (32)
    2021: 98.4 (26)
    2020: 94.9 (28t)
    2019: 95.1 (24)
    2018: 95.2 (29)
    2017: 90.5 (27t)
    2016: 101.0 (24)
    2015: 135.1 (5)

    Our rushing woes are not on RWhite (mostly). Unfortunately, this Joe enjoys trolling his readers. It’s all part of the JBF experience!

    In all honesty, I don’t mind your troll articles. I love your site, and I read just about every article you post. Thanks for keeping us entertained during the dark times.

  18. heyjude Says:

    It is going to be interesting to see how Canales is with the Panthers. He was only with us one season. Agreed, Coen will bring us a varied change.

    Similar to other compliments to Joe. Thank you for bringing positivity along with stats and sport media takes.

  19. KABucs Says:

    realistic-optimistic… Yep… very sad!

    I was watching every Bucs game back in the golden years of Bucs rushing w/ Alstott and Dunn. WD40! Thunder and lightning! Man, I miss those guys! At this point, I even miss Cadillac and the Muscle Hamster. At least we could run block/scheme back then.

  20. Joe Says:

    I go WOW. How on earth does a NFL OC with a 20 something ranked offense get a HC position???

    The NFL is all about the quarterback. And investment. Which leads back to the quarterback.

    David Tepper has a massive investment in Bryce Young. It goes way beyond the numbers on Young’s contract. Canales has a history of working magic with quarterbacks. That’s all you need to know.

    Canales also has the perfect corporate image. More and more the NFL is going corporate. The suits don’t work well nor tolerate the Bill Parcells-type, old school, feisty, in-your-face football coach demeanor any longer.

    Joe sort of called this Canales-Panthers marriage last winter. Go ahead and check the (free) archives. It all added up.

    If you can work with quarterbacks, you will always have a solid job in the NFL. It’s a quarterback league. And investment league. Which means it’s a quarterback league.

  21. Joe Says:

    We haven’t had a rushing attack finish higher than 24th in YPG since 2015.

    Joe was a fan of Dirk Koetter but left to his devices, he was not good developing a run game. When he was forced to (Lovie made him in 2015), Koetter showed he could craft a run game. Koetter was much more comfortable throwing the rock.

  22. Crickett Baker Says:

    I do not wish Canals good luck with the Stinking Panties. He is a greedy traitor and has no loyalty. He never even gave a good “goodbye” speech.

  23. Cobraboy Says:

    I’d like to see the “average yards gained running the ball on first down”

    2nd & long is the killer down & distance