Skip to main content

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs' Run Game Emphasis in Reimagined Offense  

Running back Rachaad White reflects on growth in 2023 and excitement for retooled run game under the tutelage of Liam Coen


Each NFL club undergoes change throughout the offseason, both schematically in installations and personnel-wise via the draft and free agency. For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the running back room will feature the same headliner in 2024 but the system will shift under the direction of new Offensive Coordinator Liam Coen.

Coen, a product of the Sean McVay coaching tree, will implement a system in Tampa Bay with similarities to the structure that benefited Todd Gurley. The Rams created a system based out of 11 personnel (90% in 2018) with an onslaught of motion and pre-snap movement to disorient defenses. Each skill player could line up at virtually every spot, including Gurley, whether out wide or in the backfield. By keeping all three receivers on the field in 11 personnel, defenses had to honor every blade of grass. Some teams would employ base personnel as opposed to a nickel package to try and prevent Gurley from gashing a lighter box. However, given the club's three speedy receivers, defenses were often left with no alternative. Having the same players on the field for nearly every play provided the Rams with an advantage in play-action (34.6% of Jared Goff's dropbacks in 2018), not tipping their hand by formations. Each play, defenses were forced to answer a myriad of questions: Downhill attempt? Sweep? Pass? Gurley barreling towards the perimeter?

While the Buccaneers' reimagined offense cannot adequately mirror the Rams' system that fueled a juggernaut featuring Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Todd Gurley and Sammy Watkins, the club's iteration will have similarities to maximize Rachaad White's prowess in space. Tampa Bay's new approach will include West Coast principles to get White, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin in different looks to create advantageous matchups.

Down the stretch of the 2023 season, White established himself as one of the best dual-threat backs in the NFL. He concluded the year with over 1,000 yards from scrimmage and fell 10 yards shy of surpassing the 1,000-yard rushing milestone. White accumulated 272 totes for 990 rushing yards, six rushing touchdowns and 3.6 yards per attempt. In addition, he showcased his pass-catching skills with 549 receiving yards on 70 catches for an average of 8.6 yards per reception.

"If you are a guy in this league, you want to be a guy that is scouted for and respected," said White. "I have seen that and people just leaving me out. I saw that and wanted to make the most and make people fear me, make people respect me and to say when I come in the game, 'It is not just 13, 14. [No. 1] you have to worry about too.'"

Whether being motioned out of the backfield or aligned in empty packages, White made defenders miss in space. He became a dynamic threat off screens and sweeps, displaying burst getting north post-jump step. White stacked cuts when maneuvering around linebackers and displayed balance/body control as a pass-catcher. He developed at finishing runs with a forward-charge mentality during the second-half stretch of last year's campaign and White will be a focal point in Tampa Bay's revamped offensive attack in 2024.

Latest Headlines