Whether it’s through the air or on the ground, the Buccaneers offense has been attacking the middle of the field during training camp, something that was lacking from last season’s 30h ranked offense.
During Thursday’s practice nearly every pass in the 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 period was an inside cross, and on Friday the offense was seen running their red zone scheme out of the Power O formation, as running back’s took handoffs off-guard in two tight end sets.
After practice head coach Lovie Smith confirmed that this wasn’t just an illusion, but in fact a big part of the game plan heading into the season.
“I see it coming together, but in order for us to win games you have to have a philosophy on how you want to win games – and the run has to be a big part of that,” Smith said. “To be a tough, physical football team it has to be about the run. And not trick-em runs – you see us running ‘Power O’, leads – there’s no trick-em involved in that. We’re coming right at you.”
Doug Martin and Charles Sims have taken few outside pitches, or even gone off-tackle for that matter. Similar to the wide receivers and tight ends in the passing game, the running backs have also looked to expose linebackers. However, instead of using size to their advantage – like 6-foot-5 Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins – it’s about speed and power when carrying the rock.
Like Smith said, there are no “trick-em’s” in this strategy. An offense simply looking for matchup advantages, the Bucs are going to run the ball in the red zone, even if the defense expects it.
“Defense knows we’re running so you’re going to see that every time,” Smith said. “The only way you develop toughness is to keep doing that. They’re going to be times when the defense knows we’re going to run the football and we have to be able to do it.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
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Sounds good to me. It’s not like we were able to run effective on those pitches and off tackle last year. We didn’t have good perimeter blockers last year and we still don’t have the speed at RB to make that effective. D. Smith may develop into a good perimeter blocker, but until that happens and we get some speed at RB, let’s punche ’em right up the gut. Let’s see if we’re good enough to run it even when they know we’re coming.
“Alstott up the gut.” Ahhhhh, those were the days. I had a hunch about Dominique Brown possibly being that thumper; but so far he hasn’t had much of an opportunity at the two sessions I’ve observed. Doug Martin is looking much better than last season…..so far anyway.
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