When the 2022 season started, most folks thought the Bucs were a passing team that could run the ball.
In the season opener at Dallas, the Bucs looked more like a running team that couldn’t pass. The Bucs ran for 152 yards that night. Who knew that would be the second-most yards they would run for in the regular season?
The Bucs quickly morphed into a team that couldn’t run to save themselves. The Bucs actually ran for 162 yards against Seattle and once more broke the century mark with 112 in a dreadful win, saved by Tom Brady’s magic in Arizona on Christmas Night.
Yesterday, Bucs coach Todd Bowles said Dallas and his Bucs are different from when they played on the first Sunday night of the season.
“We [have] changed,” Bowles said. “We’re a different team. I can’t speak for them yet. I haven’t [dived] into the film, getting in and watching them, but they’re talented.
“They’ve got talent all over the field.”
Yes, the Bucs became a pass-happy team with 751 passing attempts, leading the NFL. To say the run game is poor and impotent is an understatement.
But, Bowles said, the Bucs are a much tougher team than back in early September.
“From our standpoint, I think we’re mentally tougher,” Bowles said. “We’re into the grind of the season, so to speak, and everybody kind of knows their roles have kind of panned out since Week One.”
The Bucs defense has been most effective when both Akiem Hicks and Vita Vea are both in the lineup. And, surprisingly, the Bucs pass defense has held up despite losing Bucs sack king Shaq Barrett with a blown Achilles in October.
Joe hears ex-Bucs are pining to run the ball down Dallas’ throats on Monday night. That would be cool, but there’s one big problem with that concept. The Bucs can’t run the ball. Not against bad teams and surely not good teams.
Put the ball in the hands of your best player who happens to live for January games (Brady) and let the chips fall where they may.
This content was originally published here.