As much as Todd Bowles and Byron Leftwich want the Buccaneers to run the ball, they have to fight this tradition against the Panthers.
The Buccaneers built their Super Bowl identity by throwing the football. They have killed this identity by running the football poorly and failing to get much going through the air when it matters.
Box scores would show you that the Bucs do end up throwing plenty over the course of total games, especially when you see that Tom Brady is on pace to throw for the most attempts of his career, but the issue is not total volume of passing attempts but when they come.
The Bucs run early and in neutral situations, get behind the sticks or behind in the game, and then they are forced to abandon the run completely once they get into a sticky situations.
There have been far too many times this season where the Buccaneers get so far behind that they have to give up the run entirely just to stay within range of a comeback.
The Bucs don’t run the ball too much, they just run the ball in the wrong situations. Tampa is still stuck in a provably-false tradition of the NFL that you need to run to set up the pass. In reality, you have to pass to set up the run.
The Panthers will be a great time for the Bucs to finally start the transition back into the modern era of the sport. If they can figure out how to throw the ball early again, avoid first down, and open up boxes, the run will thrive again and the offense will be back on track for a great run in the playoffs.
This change doesn’t happen if the Bucs keep running on first down.
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