Through the first three weeks of the season, the Bucs run game looked like a major disappointment. Tampa Bay wasn’t running the ball much, but when they were it was hardly efficient. Heading into Week 4 against the Patriots, the Bucs had yet to eclipse 85 yards rushing in a game. But over the past two contests, everything has changed. And it started with some new “full offense” Friday meetings the Bucs began a couple weeks ago.

“I think it’s just guys being on the same page,” right tackle Tristan Wirfs said. “Like having all 11 guys know where the MIKE point is and what our combinations are with the tight ends and where our receivers are going. We’ve been meeting with Tom [Brady] on Fridays with the offense. He’ll put up the runs for the week and we’ll just kind of go through it together.

“Because we’ll go out and practice, but we’re all meeting individually at the end of the day with position groups. Just having a time where we can all be together and know what [everybody] is doing is what I think is very beneficial. Just making sure everybody is on the same page.”

Bucs RT Tristan Wirfs and Falcons DE Dante Fowler

Bucs RT Tristan Wirfs and Falcons DE Dante Fowler – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

According to Wirfs, the recency of these new Friday meetings coincides with the Bucs run game turnaround. Over the past two games, the Bucs have piled up 240 yards on the ground. That’s a far cry from Week 3, when Tom Brady led the team in rushing with 14 yards.

Obviously there is still room for improvement, but the blocking up front is the best it has been under Bruce Arians. The Bucs will never rank high in overall rushing yards, because they are a pass-heavy offense. And they should be. But becoming more efficient in the run game forces opposing defenses to respect the box count when it isn’t to their advantage.

“We just started that a couple weeks ago, like two weeks ago,” Wirfs said. “And the past two weeks our run game has been better. It’s really good. It’s weird. It could be that small of a thing. Just making sure the wide receivers know what the o-line is doing, the running back knows what the o-line is doing. Just making sure everyone knows what each other is doing. So, yeah, it’s good.”

These Friday meetings are another testament to Brady’s leadership and communication skills. Having a quarterback who understands that all the details matter is a huge asset for the Bucs, especially with their running back struggles. Although Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones are clearly improving, weekly tape review reveals productive runs are being left on the table due to a lack of vision. Head coach Bruce Arians knows the run game hasn’t reached its’ peak yet.

“I think the blocking unit has been doing a very, very good job,” Arians said. “You’re not going to run the ball if your tight ends aren’t blocking. They did a heck of a job. Josh Wells comes in and plays tight end for us some, and that’s big. Again, it’s just the backs finding the holes – the holes are there. We actually left some runs out there that could’ve been bigger. But yeah, the running game is where it all starts for us. You have to keep them in two dimensions defensively, so that they can’t just tee off on the passer.”

On Thursday night, the Bucs will face the league’s 30th-ranked run defense in Philadelphia.

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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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10 days ago


Can’t say that I’m surprised at this at all, Tom Brady coaching up and leading his teammates to make the offense better. There aren’t many quarterbacks who know defenses and offenses as well as TB-12. While he has the necessary physical talent, especially in passing, his main asset is what’s above the top of the shoulders. If the rest of the team absorbs his knowledge throughout the season, we will get better.

10 days ago

Just can’t put a price on Brady’s leadership and knowledge. He’s constantly helping this team in ways we don’t even hear about. I hope we have this guy for another couple of years because he’s spoiling the hell out of us.

10 days ago

Brady is just awesome. I love this. The ultimate leader and football mind.

10 days ago

All I ask is do one night practice even if it’s a walk thru.

10 days ago

I don’t think most people realize how lucky the Bucs are to have Tom Brady and BA both.
A lot of coaches egos wouldn’t allow them to let Brady coach up RBs and WRs the way he does. I absolutely loved BA when he said he likes to just sit back and watch Brady coach.
Now there is a man secure in his role and job.

10 days ago

This is truly remarkable! Brady has taken the entire offense into a total offense meeting to give/show them the entire offensive scheme and how each individual’s job affects the man next to u or down the line from u. Simple, but amazing at the same time. These guys have been playing football since they were 6-7 years old. And yet still, Brady is giving them the awareness and understanding of all the offensive pieces movement on any given play. This is truly next level stuff. I guess this explains why Brady is the GOAT! Unparalleled football work ethic with attention… Read more »

10 days ago

Thats the kind of dedication we need. I also hope Gabbert, and especially Trask, are sitting in in these Full Offense meetings too. That kind of stuff will really help with the development of Trask.

Reply to  Spitfire
10 days ago

Amen. Trask – take notes, man, the leadership you have a chance to inherit, is big shoes to fill. You can do it – just keep taking notes…

10 days ago

Wow! Just, WOW! How fortunate we are to have Brady. I never appreciated how good the guy was when he was in New England. But seeing it firsthand – WOW! I heard that snippet from Wirfs last week (not knowing who said it), that Brady was meeting with the whole offense to go over the run fits for the week. Then I saw Harold Goodwin talking with him on the sideline toward the end of the game. I figured he was getting Brady’s take on how he thinks things were working in the run game. Refreshing to see Goody isn’t… Read more »