The real issue with the run game for the Buccaneers

Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Leonard Fournette, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Buccaneers have one of the worst run games in the NFL. They could help themselves by making a few simple changes to the scheme.

The Buccaneers run the football far too much on early downs.

This shouldn’t be news to anyone. Watching even the first quarter of a game would show you that the Bucs are almost insane with the way that they keep the ball out of Brady’s hands at the worst times, and this has killed what was one of the best offenses in the entire NFL.

The issue with the Bucs certainly isn’t the quantity of run-Tampa usually has to abandon the run by half time or earlier. The issue with Tampa’s run game is that it doesn’t happen in the right place on most drives.

Assuming the Buccaneers aren’t playing from behind (which is a big ask after the start to the season we have seen), the best time to run the football is after a gain through the air. Yes, the pass sets up the run and not the other way around.

Tampa’s issue, as everyone has seen this season, is that it tries to run on first and second and then make up for lost yards on third down. This becomes stale and predictable quickly, and defenses have been able to shut this down with ease.

Instead, if the Buccaneers pass on first or second too if the first pass is incomplete, the run game is then in a much better position with a second or third and short. This would actually then let the Bucs run the ball more overall in a game if the team would just be smarter about the way that it makes this call.

The issue isn’t volume. The issue here is quality. The Buccaneers need quality runs. That comes with being smarter in the run game rather than more hard-headed.

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