The Buccaneers were reportedly one of the favorites to land running back Ben Tate off of waivers after being released on Tuesday by the Cleveland Browns. But Tampa Bay didn't put a claim in for him as he was awarded to the Minnesota Vikings who were 10th on the waiver priority list.
While Tate may not have been an option, the Bucs are not giving up on their 28th ranked running game.
“We’re not going to stop trying to build that foundation, we’re going to continue to try and do it," acting offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo said about the running game. "The passes and rushes were pretty balanced in the game, you saw that. They may not be five, eight, 10-yard rushes, but there are some plays in there also that could have been [big plays]. A couple of times where it gets close and we trip over our own guy – it’s getting there, it’s getting close. All of a sudden if it goes from a 2.0 average to a 4.1 average, then we’re all saying ‘Ok, there’s the efficiency that you need.’ A four-yard run on first down and you’re going to be effective. There’s all those things, you can’t stop doing it, we’re not going to stop doing it or stop trying to find a way to get the crew in the back there with the crew in the front within the scheme and do things that are going to help evolve our run game because being one-dimensional is not going to be what we’re interested in.”
Head coach Lovie Smith said during his introductory press conference that they would be running the football often and that it would be a staple of the offense. Well lots of things have changed since like the loss of their offensive coordinator, their starting running back hasn't been healthy, and the offensive line has been unable to open running lanes.
Smith is singing a different tune now, not so much saying they will lean heavily on the running game but just emphasizing getting production out of the offense./p>
“I can’t say it caught me as a surprise. I think you just have to stay with it. You have to keep the commitment to the run and eventually, if you continue to do well – see, for me, when I say we like to run the football, we would, but we would like to move the ball down the field, we would like to score any way," Smith said. "If we got production and threw the ball every snap, I’d be OK with that. So we’re just trying to have production on the offensive side in any way.”
Tampa Bay has faced a good amount of scrutiny for the lack of production out of their backfield yet they are determined to making it work. It's a big reason why they are 2-8. A running game could have certainly changed some games around this season. We'll see if it factors into games down the stretch.
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