One of the biggest questions surrounding the Bucs’ backfield this season isn’t who will lead the team in carries or even who the best pass catcher is. Instead, how the group will perform in pass protection this season has easily been the biggest cause for concern when evaluating the group’s pre-2020 season body of work.

Nevertheless, head coach Bruce Arians’ began Monday’s availability with the media by praising the running backs’ pass protection work on the first day of full pads in training camp.

“It’s a tough defense to see right away with all the blitzes and the guys, but I think our backs are doing a heck of a job picking up the blitzes and blocking their guys,” Arians said. “We’ve been going against each other in shorts, first day in pads obviously and I like the effort. I thought the enthusiasm was good and the hitting, you could hear the practice.”

Pass protection hasn’t been a strong suit of Ronald Jones through the first two seasons of his career, but adding 7-8 pounds of muscle this offseason and the confidence that comes with experience could be crucial to the development of his all-around game.

Rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn wasn’t a standout in pass protection at Vanderbilt, and the lack of on-field reps he’s received this offseason isn’t likely to help him make a smooth transition to the pro level.

One would think that LeSean McCoy’s experience would make him an asset in pass protection, but it certainly wasn’t a role Kansas City entrusted to him last year. In fact, long-time backup and special teams ace Dare Ogunbowale entered training camp as by far the best Bucs’ back in pass protection, despite his minimal offensive usage.

Any improvements by the Bucs group as a whole is very encouraging, and as we get closer to the season, hopefully we can identify which individuals have made the biggest strides in pass protection.

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About the Author: Jon Ledyard

Jon Ledyard is's newest Bucs beat writer and has experience covering the Pittsburgh Steelers as a beat writer and analyzing the NFL Draft for several draft websites, including The Draft Network. Follow Ledyard on Twitter at @LedyardNFLDraft
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8 months ago

It is kind of funny. Normally you talk about running or receiving skill when you argue which RB should be on the field. But unless you are one of the best in one of the categories, the easiest way to be on the field could be to be a good pass protector

Captain Sly
8 months ago

Arians vertical offense with the QB holding on to the ball to allow the receivers time to get open is the Issue. Wideout is the Primary Target of this offense while TE’s and RB’s are used as decoys to keep the defense guessing…
Maybe with Brady having input on the play calling we will see more quick sets and less risky passes. Cheers!

8 months ago

They better work on their pass CATCHING skills, not their pass protection skills. Brady completes 150-180 passes per year to RBs.

Reply to  BigSombrero
8 months ago

Spreading false information is never the way to go. In Brady’s 20 year career, only 4 times, has he completed over 85 passes to RB’s. NOT ONCE has he completed 180 passes to RB’s. And NOT ONCE, has he completed even 150 passes to RB’s. In fact, his season high, was 121. His 3 highest seasons were 121, 120, 120. And those seasons all coincided with seasons where he had absolutely nobody else to throw to. Which isn’t the case here. Not like Brady passes up throws to elite WR’s, or stud TE’s to dump it off to the backs… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Dave
8 months ago

Still believe we need a RB who can get 1-2 yards on 3rd or 4th down.

Reply to  Horse
8 months ago

Vita Vea played RB in high school….

8 months ago

I’m rooting for RoJo. The guy works hard in the off season to get better. This needs to be his year to prove he can be an every down back by improving his pass protect and ability to catch the ball.He accomplishes that and he’s a 1,000 yd RB.

8 months ago

Pat’s fan checking in. So how’s it going Bucs with our old QB Brady. Tell you what, the pass protection will have to be good or you’re going to be seeing a lot of balls sailing out of bound. He threw away an entire games worth last year. No making something out of nothing like Winston could. Run the routes precisely, be where you’re supposed to be and all will be well. Another thing you are going to have to get used to in press man coverage. Corners and safeties locked in on receivers not having to look back worried… Read more »

Last edited 8 months ago by Spruce