The Buccaneers have an issue with their rushing attack.
The Buccaneers have been, and always should be in the modern era, a pass-first team. This strategy took Tampa to their Super Bowl victory last season, and a departure from the pass this season has hurt the offense.
Many fans have clamored for a more run-heavy attack at previous points this season, and with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin out, they got it.
Ronald Jones and Ke’Shawn Vaughn carried the attack on the ground in the first half, and while there were some great moments, there were also some questionable decisions.
The obvious high was a 55-yard touchdown by Ke’Shawn Vaughn. Vaughn had been relegated to a role of obscurity for most of the season, and it was nice to see him contribute when it mattered most. The burst of speed and the ability to make a man miss inspired some confidence that he could actually get more touches over the rest of the season.
The lows were associated with both backs. The play-calling has become predictable. Running out of heavy sets and into heavy boxes rarely works well for this offense, and Ronald Jones’ 3.5 yards per carry isn’t what the Bucs need to find success in this facet.
There are also some serious questions about RoJo’s abilities to shoulder a full starter’s load as well. Jones is a great runner, but he can’t block or catch with suitable consistency. Jones missed a key block on a passing down and has a pair of drops that hurt his chances of staying on the field longer in the second half.
It is a difficult situation to figure out, but it is becoming clearer by the day that Jones is not the guy, even if his abilities as a runner are great. Perhaps it is time for Ke’Shawn Vaughn to shoulder a larger portion of the reps over the next three games so they Bucs can see what they have in their only back on the roster for 2022.
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