There is a lot that can be said about the Buccaneers and their offensive shortcomings, but none of it should be about the run and setting up play action.
The Buccaneers being one of the worst offenses in the NFL in 2022 should come as a surprise to everyone. Sure, there was a coaching change, plenty of injuries, and several key departures, but the Bucs sinking to this level with a quarterback like Tom Brady and his weapons should be impossible.
There was a ton to critique in Tampa’s offense. The run game was one of the worst ever. The offensive scheme was horrifically predictable. Several key players took steps back. There is a long laundry list of issues as to why this offense underachieved so much in such a pivotal year, but one issue that should never be mentioned is the Buccaneer play action attack.
That is partially what makes it so surprising that former player and media personality Louis Riddick was so confidently wrong on the subject on Twitter.
Riddick is right earlier in the thread on separation, line play, and the running backs, but he starts to destroy his argument when he falsely states that Tampa had a play-action attack worth laughing over.
The run does not set up play action. This is a simple fact in the modern game that tons of former players and fans miss on. daily basis.
The numbers make it relatively easy to see that the Bucs still had a great play action game while struggling with the run:
For context (not that this needs to be said) the Bucs had the worst rushing attack in the NFL in 2022.
Buccaneers yards per play action pass attempt: 7.6
Here is the same stat for five of the best rushing teams in the league:
The Buccaneers sit squarely in the middle.
Again, the modern NFL has changed. Guys like Riddick seem to miss this simple fact, and they also prove clearly why we should use numbers and not just our eyes/guy because he then goes on to praise the Giants for their play action success despite the above numbers.
The Buccaneers sat right where they should in terms of play action success because the overall concept still works in a pass-first league. In this situation, the pass then sets up the run.
It didn’t matter that guys like Riddick sat back and laughed at these attempts by the Bucs because they weren’t worried about the run. They still had to adjust and eat the yards, just like nearly every other team in the league that took a step forward while using play action.
There were a lot of problems with the Buccaneers this season. Failing to run to set up play action was not one of them.
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