2017 Buccaneers offensive problems are now obvious, could be cured in one year.

Mike Evans never got in the grove in 2017 with 117 Targets so far (2 games remaining); He had 173 last year.

Dont despair Bucs fans, as Jon Gruden once said after a disappointing loss in 2006 “Futures so bright, you gotta wear shades”!  Well   Dirk Koetter should say the same thing, IF he’s allowed to hang around until then that is.

For starters, and for a future article, the 2011 CBA was a disaster for football. It was great for the players who no longer have to deal with 2 a day practices in pads. In fact, the CBA has practically made padded practices disappear; and I fear thats why you see so many injuries. NFL players need that contact during practice to stay in  game shape all year. But thats not the reason the Bucs offense hasn’t been able to get going on offense.

Winston and many other Bucs on offense fell victim to the injury bug.

We’ve spent so many draft picks acquiring talent on offense, when the defense is where the Bucs need to go with badly. You’ve heard of complimentary football, where the Defense helps the Offense score, and the offense helps the defense by keeping the ball and letting the D rest, and special teams helps both out by giving Offense the Ball in short field (from good returns), or taking the other team out of scoring range (with good punts). But the offense needs to  sue the defense in 2017 for non support, and here is why; The Bucs have too many weapons now on offense for the limited amount of snaps the team has with the ball.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2017 have one of the worst 3rd down defense in the NFL. Opponents convert more 3rd down opportunities, keeping the ball longer, PREVENTING the BUCS offense from doing the same.

It took most of the year, but Howard and Brate have now emerged as dual threats; each with 6TDs

Last night vs the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football, TE OJ Howard and WR DeSean Jackson went down and out with  injuries, leaving the offense to its 2016 form more or less: Winston, an RB (Peyton Barber instead of  Doug Martin) , Mike Evans and Cameron Brate.

The offense looked like last year again, Jameis Winston to Mike Evans. Winston to Brate; and it was clicking again because these three players got into a groove. But the Bucs added another WR and TE to improve but they dont have anywhere NEAR enough snaps to develop any kind of groove with these extra weapons.

Last year, the Bucs were 94/214 or 44% on 3rd down conversions by the offense.  This year? Not so hot people.. 66/167  or 39.5%   a far cry from last year.    Thats when the Bucs DO have the ball, when they dont have the ball the defense cant get it back for them, so they dont get the reps needed with more stars on the field.

This year opponents are 94/191 or just under 50%. Last year? 67 out of 195; 34.3%, which explains why the Bucs offense was so good last year compared to this year; they simply have less plays in a game than they did a year ago.

With less plays in the game, and the Bucs not keeping the ball when they DO get it back, but instead punt it right back to the other team, they are in essence playing complimentary football….for the OTHER TEAM.

Next year, the Bucs front office MUST put defensive talent on the field; specifically defensive line talent.

In 1979 A coach took over the San Francisco 49ers and improved their offense immensely, but they had the worst secondary in football. They were bringing players in off the street in 1980 to try to improve the secondary. The answer was obvious, the 49ers drafted 4 DBs in the 1981 draft;

  • 1st Round Ronnie Lott DB USC
  • 2nd Round Eric Wright DB Missori
  • 3rd Round Carlton Williamson DV Pitt
  • 5th Round Lynn Thomas DB Pitt

When the 1981 49ers came out of the Tunnel in the Pontiac, MI  Silverdome for week 1 meeting with the Detroit  Lions, they started 3 rookies in the secondary, and 3rd year Free Safety Dwight Hicks.

There was trial, there was error, but at the end of the year, the same 49ers came out of the Pontiac Silverdome tunnel one more time that year. The Super Bowl was played in the Silverdome in 1981, and the 15-3 49ers beat the bengals.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers should trade, maneuver any way possible to get pressure on QBs next year, to get other team off the field on 3rd downs (like they did in the last minute last night), to give Jameis Winston and the Bucs offensive weapons more reps to get into some kind of rythym so OJ Howard and DeSean Jackson AND Brate and Mike Evans can get some more balls thrown their way, and work off the rust!

More talent must be added on Defense before Mike Smith can be judged

Can we get a clever saying for why Chris Conte isnt playing?

We often mis-use clever descriptive words, like “Caught between a rock and a hard place” is supposed to describe having two poor choices confronting you, but people will always mess it up and say it in the wrong context. Catch 22 is another one, the true nature of a Catch 22 is a conundrum, a ‘no way out’ cycle of logic.

Military wont let you fly combat missions if your insane, but applying for insanity to avoid a combat mission means you are fit for duty because anyone who would do that to get out of going on deadly mission has his wits! (That by definition is Joseph Heller’s Catch 22).

So here’s the Bucs versions of those two:

CATCH 22

Julio Jones rips us a new one two weeks ago, would he do it to Minnesota too? Read this excerpt from Chris Wesseling on NFL.com:

After watching Atlanta’s All-Pro receiver explode for 253 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 12 receptions last week, Zimmer told FOX’s broadcast crew, “We are aware of how great Julio Jones is, and I think we’ll cover him a little bit differently than Tampa Bay did.” Pro Bowl cornerback Xavier Rhodes joked that he would shadow Jones to the point of aligning at linebacker if Jones were to moonlight in the backfield. With help from Minnesota’s safeties, Rhodes limited Jones to a negligible 24 yards on two catches and six targets.

Is it that Bucs Defensive coordinator Mike Smith stopped knowing anything about defense? Or is it the Bucs dont have a Xavier Rhodes on the team to shadow a star like Julio? Brent Grimes is a great DB, but we played zone and Jones just stayed  on the  other side most of the time.

Even Rhodes wouldn’t be able to cover Jones if the Vikings couldn’t get to the Falcons QB! Tampa Bay has no pass rush to speak of, a familiar statement on Bucs articles since 2006.

Tampa Bay found ANOTHER great linebacker in rookie Kendall Beckwith, to add to the FIND of Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David. Maybe the best linebacker trio in the  NFL, the Bucs need to focus on Secondary and pass rush before they can compete on defense, or offense for that matter. If the defense doesn’t get the stop on 3rd down, the offense losses another potential possession.

The most compelling CON view of Bucs coaching staff is a simple one; Mike Smith was Julio Jones Head Coach, he drafted him. Julio’s offensive Coordinator at the time? That would be Dirk Koetter, current Bucs head coach. Its not that Julio had a good game, he destroyed you, and you two coaches should have no only been able to prevent a slaughter by him, but at least come up with half time adjustments to prevent it from getting worse?

Why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going the wrong way in 2017

Lets begin with a preface:

  • This season is over, the Bucs are not making the playoffs. However, that doesn’t mean tune out. There is a lot at stake.
  • I’m a Bucs historian, Ive studied, followed the Tampa Bay  Buccaneers since week 2 of 1979; There are people who know more about the Bucs locker room than I do, but there is only a handful who know the BUCS ORGANIZATION’s history like I do, and so that is the basis of this article.
  • It wont be short, so cop a squat and get your read on!

RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW

Without a shadow of a doubt, Jameis Winston is the leader of these Bucs. Dirk Koetter is not with some exceptions.

The concept that Dirk Koetter was the driving force behind the Bucs turning the corner, winning 5 games in a row, is pure fantasy. Jameis Winston started to take over this team right about the same time, and it’s not obvious this team ebbs and flows as Winston does. For all the good Dirk Koetter did as Offensive Coordinator in 2015 setting Bucs records, when he became the Head Coach he added on a world of responsibility he has never had to accept before and the offense hasn’t been the same since.

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