Many have noticed it since week one. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers run game is falling short of the lofty goals set prior to the start of the season. Now the offensive line is as much to blame as any other player. But at this time I feel it’s clear Rachaad White is not a fit for this scheme. He needs to attack downhill and hit the line quickly. He’s not. He’s dancing too much in the backfield. So here are some options for the team on players they could bring in.
The Trade Option
According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, ” [Jonathan] Taylor “still doesn’t want to play for the Colts,” and the team “still don’t want to give him a long-term contract.”
Could Jonathan Taylor still be a reasonable answer to the Buccaneers’ running woes? When the dispute was first in the news some fans wanted the trade. I wanted to wait and see. Now, now I agree with them. Last season Talyor posted better yards after contact than Rachaad White is this season (1.6 white/2.0 Taylor). Additionally, Taylor has a better rushing attempts per broken tackle with eight against White’s twelve runs between broken tackles.
After requesting a trade and then being placed on the PUP list you have to start questioning weather or not Taylor is going to see the field in a Colts uniform. This dispute, depending on how long it goes, could play to the Buccaneers’ favor assuming Jason Licht would pull the trigger.
There are two issues at hand. The first being, how much would it cost. I could see the Colts asking for a late day two pick. Though my desperation to fix the run game doesn’t have me leveraging the future. I could see an early day three pick at best. This would still allow the Buccaneers to continue to get younger. The second piece is how big is the contract Taylor is looking for. With 4.5 yards average per attempt last season, 5.0 for his career, he’s likely seeking a large sum. Especially after the running back market debacle this season. But for now we wait and see.
Under the Radar Option
Benny Snell, Jr the fourth round draft pick to the Steelers in 2019, is a free agent. Unfortunately, for Snell he’s been a victim of being a back up to a clear cut primary back. Behind James Connor from 2019-2020 and then first round pick Najee Harris in 2021 and 2022. Then after signing with the Lions this season Snell found himself without employment after being cut on the last possible day. There he fell behind Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery. He essentially was a too high priced for a third back.
Snell has shown some flashes and ability to be a bruising back. He has the size, 5’10” and around 225 pounds. He also has the experience and numbers. From 2019 to 2021, while averaging les than 1.6 yards before contact (White is averaging 1.6 yards) he had an average of 3.75 yards per carry when having over 100 touches. Solid numbers. In 2022 with minimal amount of touches (20) he averaged 4.5 yards an attempt. Yardage this offense could really use.
At this point he has little tread open the tires and could be a bruiser for this team. The front office should bring him in for a work out.
A Familiar Face
Could we see someone return to the Buccaneers? Leonard Fournette is still available. Now his desire to return to Tampa may not be there though. So a tempting offer would be required. Fournette is still a formidable bruising down field runner. Last season he average 3.5 yards per attempt with 2.0 yards before contact and 1.5 after. He could come back and team up with White for another season.
But at this point it feels unlikely.
Line or not this scheme seems to need a north south runner who seeks contact. White is a shifty back who is getting smothered in the middle of the line. Unless his usage and play calling around him change don’t expect much success in the un game. That is unless the line vastly improves.