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September 9, 2012 @ 10:28 pm
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PR Analysis: Tampa Bay's Offensive Game Grades vs. Carolina

Written by Mark
Cook
Jackson led Tampa Bay receivers with four receptions Sunday
Jackson led Tampa Bay receivers with four receptions Sunday Mark Lomoglio/PR
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Mark Cook

Mark
Cook

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Which Buccaneers offensive unit received the highest grade for its performance from Pewter Report in Tampa Bay's 16-10 victory over Carolina in the 2012 season opener? Find out in this Pewter Report article.
Pewter Report's Mark Cook offers up his analysis on how Tampa Bay's offense played against Carolina in the Buccaneers' 16-10 over the
Panthers in the 2012 season opener, and dishes out the game grades for
each offensive unit.

BUCCANEERS QUARTERBACKS
Josh Freeman started the game on fire going 7-of-7 for 52 yards, scoring on the opening touchdown drive, something accomplished just once in 2011. While Freeman’s stats weren’t gaudy by any stretch (16-of-24, 138 yards and one TD) the fourth-year pro managed the game to perfection for the most part.

Freeman looked very comfortable and his decision-making was much improved, rarely forcing throws, and scrambling when necessary.

2012 is an important year for Freeman and so far so good under the tutelage of quarterback coach Ron Turner and offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan.
GAME GRADE= B+

BUCCANEERS RUNNING BACKS
Doug Martin earned the starting nod with a solid training camp and preseason, and was the Buccaneers’ primary workhorse Sunday carrying the football 24 times for 95 yards (4.0 average) with a long of 15 yards that took place in the fourth quarter, icing the win for Tampa Bay.

In addition, Martin caught four Freeman passes for 23 yards including a great leaping catch over a linebacker in the first quarter.

Martin ran hard and physical and while he didn’t break off any highlight reel runs, the former Boise State star showcased his versatility with his running, receiving and pass blocking.

LeGarrette Blount had just three touches and managed just eight yards. Blount did have one of his patented leaps over a Carolina defender but was shaken up later in the series and didn’t return, making some question the nature of the injury. After the game Blount was seen jogging out of the locker room and didn’t appear to be suffering any ill effects of an injury.

Newly signed running back rried the football two times for 14 yards, with a long of eight yards. Ware, signed earlier this week, is still getting up to speed on the playbook but may provide the team the typical third-down back role in the upcoming weeks.

FB Eric Lorig had four receptions for 21 yards on the afternoon, matching his total in 2011.
GAME GRADE = B

BUCCANEERS OFFENSIVE LINE
The offensive line wasn’t spectacular, but solid, and provided Freeman ample time in the pocket for the most part, except for a short span in the third quarter in which the offensive line gave up two sacks.

The dynamics of having Larsen replace Davin Joseph in the lineup was a big topic of conversation at One Buc this week and the results were mixed. Larsen was guilty of giving up on of the two sacks and also has a false start penalty plus a crucial holding call that negated a 31-yard Freeman-to-Vincent Jackson completion. But the Buccaneers were able to grind out a decent day on the ground and Larsen deserves some of that credit.

RT Jeremy Trueblood was solid for the most part expect for one play in the third quarter in which he was beaten on a speed outside rush by Charles Johnson which contributed to a sack of Freeman.

RT Donald Penn probably wouldn’t say he had his best games as a pro Sunday, but failed to give up a sack, although there were a few pressures coming from the left side.

The Panthers defensive line won’t be confused with the Giants defensive line any time soon, so this week was a good tune up. But for the Bucs offensive line they will need to play even better in order to leave the Meadowlands with a win next Sunday.
GAME GRADE = B-

BUCCANEERS TIGHT ENDS
If watched the Giants in 2011 you didn’t see a ton of tight end targets and it looks as if new Buccaneers Sunday, just Dallas Clark had a reception, but it was a big first half completion to Dallas Clark for 33 yards. Clark and Stocker both were used at times in short yardage and seemed to do a good job blocking.

While the tight ends were rarely targeted it could have been just this week’s game plan, and it may take a few weeks to determine how the staff plan to use Clark and Stocker.
GAME GRADE =B

BUCCANEERS WIDE RECEIVERS
When a team throw for just 138 yards the wide receiving corps usually isn’t very involved, and while the numbers indicate just that, both Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams were key in the victory Sunday against Carolina.

Jackson was the team’s tops receiver nabbing four Freeman passes for 47 yards. But the veteran had at least two drops, something that plagued him during training camp. Jackson also had a 33-yard reception in the second half but it was wiped out due to a Larsen holding call.

Mike Williams was quiet for the most part but with Jackson being doubled-teamed in the redzone the former Syracuse receiver was able to settle down in the end zone for the Buccaneers only touchdown of the game, a six-yard strike from Freeman.

Preston Parker and Sammie Stroughter were both held without a reception Sunday.
GAME GRADE = B

Last modified on Monday, 10 September 2012 09:05
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COMMENTS

  • avatar

    grades a little high but who cares I just loved watching us win
  • avatar

    ehinote...I don't know what game you saw, but I saw Josh play a fine, undercontrol game throughout. And having Martz critique his changes between last year and this year were along those lines. His first drive was great. His first half was excellent. His second half was above average. And I would have taken Josh's QB performance was at least one or two levels above "superman Cam" this game.
  • avatar

    mark2001 - that's cool. I like your emotion and you being a fan. We need more of that in Tampa. I loved yesterday. Our team played great! As I said, Freeman did what he was asked to do. He looked great on the first drive, which he has done before and then tailed off. I hope he manages us the rest of the year like he did yesterday. As long as our defense and our running game plays like it did yesterday, Josh will be fine. Otherwise, I don't want to put our team on Josh's shoulders. Believe me, neither does Schiano or the rest of our staff.
  • avatar


    Among Freeman's 8 incompletions, by my count, 2 throws were blocked, 2 were dropped by Jackson, and of course the 31 yard completion to Jackson was nullified by Larsen's holding penalty. I'm not sure what happened on the other 4 incompletions, but I believe that he did exactly what the coaches wanted...play safe...take a sack if you have to...and live to play another down. I expect he will be allowed to open up as the season progresses.
  • avatar

    The offense was average, but did what they needed when the needed it. The defense won this game. Freeman looked great on the first drive and then fell back into a below average QB the rest of the way. He was smart with the ball tho and didn't have any turnovers. He is our new version of Trent Dilfer... "just don't lose the game for us." I thought the o-line looked pretty good. They opened up some holes in the 2nd half against a run heavy defense because the Panthers knew we'd rather put it in Martin's hands than Freeman's hands to finish it off. This will probably be our recipe for victory most of the year. Great defense and manageable offense. Go Bucs!
  • avatar


    I think your grades were a little high considering we had to settle for a field goal with 2nd and 2 to go and couldn't get it in, plus doing nothing with the two interceptions the defense got for the offense. I thought Larsen was the weak link and the TE's had to stay home and help the right and left side. Overall I would give the Offense a C+ and the Defense an A-. It was truely Buc Ball. I loved it. Oh by the way I would give the coaching an A.
  • avatar


    It is obvious that Freeman is in a well orchestrated plan that is not going to let him do too much too soon. Remember this was the same prescription that was ordered for Eli Manning until he got to the level he is today. I thought his decision-making was good and he managed the game as instructed. Be patient, Freeman can do more and more will come. I don’t have a problem with the run first, run often strategy. It requires that we get off to a good start and hopefully have the lead. I do hope they improve the points after turnover percentage. We left points on the field yesterday that we should have converted. If what we saw yesterday was any indication of the potential of this team, one could imagine what this team will be with another foray into FA and another good draft. We're not there yet, but this is going to be an awesome team!
  • avatar

    Heard Mike Martz on NFL Rewind this morning talking about Josh's game. He was very complemetary about his progress. Josh did miss stepping up into the pocket a few times, but overall looked much better than he did last year and the progress in his game was evident. He said that on the play made by Jackson on the fire route...last catch...he was actually the third read. And that they were working to stop all the head movement on Josh's part. I think he deserved a ton of credit. The second half wasn't as pretty, but really...how many bad passes did he have? Nothing that looked like it was risky pass. Great game, Josh.
  • avatar


    How can you give the wide receivers a B? Isn't "B" above average? Dropped balls not getting open? Many of the sacks were Freeman's fault for holding the ball too long. Why did Freeman have to hold the ball so long? He didn't have any open receivers. I thought Vincent Jackson was going to be a "great addition", but if he keeps dropping the ball, I would change my thought to just "addition". If the WRs aren't going to get open or catch the ball, I would hope they are run blocking as well as Clayton or Keyshawn... Realistic WR grade D (below average).
  • avatar

    Please lets not start with the WRs not getting open. Only when Freeman is the QB do we hear that. WRs are never wide-open in the NFL. I think Freeman was just being very careful, because he wasn't sure where to go with the ball, and he didn't want to make a mistake. Good job Freeman for not throwing in INTs.
  • avatar


    I think the running backs deserve a slightly higer grade than a B, a B+ seems apjpropriate as they continually made plays, combined for more than 120 yards and had no fumbles. The big surprise was the use of Eric Lorig as a pass receiving threat. Eric had just six catches, all made last year, in his career. Who knew he was our secret weapon?
  • avatar


    @toofamiliar, I agree with you that the receiver selection appeared too timid. One thing we do not know is how Josh was told to manage the game. Schiano was very pleased with the no turn overs and Josh may have been told to play it safe. Maybe as Josh continues to show he can be trusted the deep balls will come. I would add that the play calling was at times too predictable. Like when we had two successful runs in a row and went to the well a third time and got stuffed. Given, that they tried a first down pass on next possession and it got dropped. This is our first game and the Bucs are still a work in process, but given the investment (value) we made at wide receiver, I would also give them a lower grade.
  • avatar


    Josh left some plays on the field, it looked like his main focus was not to make a mistake. He doesn't seem to have that pocket sense the great ones like Brady have. When the pocket moves he doesn't move with it, needs to have a better feel for where the pressure is coming from avoid it, and deliver the ball. At least he was able to scramble for some 1st downs.
  • avatar


    I agree. How can Freeman go from looking All-Pro in the 1st half, then look terrible in the 2nd half?? Where were all the other WR's in the game?? BUCs have to eventually learn to get some deep passes downfield or it will be a long year and Martin will get hurt running the ball for 20+ carries a game.
  • avatar


    Question. Who the heck is Ron Freeman? Don't see him listed on any coaching staff list. Way to fact check. Awesome game! Go Bucs!!!!
  • avatar


    Offense resembled Dungyball. If Jackson makes those catches Freemen would have had a really good day.
  • avatar


    A few thoughts...First, one play for Freeman stuck out for me as something odd. I forget when in the game it was, but i remember a play in which Vincent Jackson ran a pump and go. Freeman pumped, the corner bit hard, and Jackson was gone into open space. There was one safety deep, but he was towards the other side of the field. The opportunity for a relatively easy deep, deep shot was there, and instead Josh chose to check it down. I didn't like that at all. They drew the play up, got the corner to bite, and Josh bailed. Really don't get it. Second, the B for receivers is considerably too high. 2 dropped balls by your #1 guy and the reality that only one other WR caught a ball means to me that the grade should be significantly lower, around a C or C-, maybe. I don't really understand the rationale for such a high grade on a unit that should have been better across the board.
  • avatar


    I was satisfied with how Larsen played. Penalties aren't everything. Larsen did an excellent job in pass protection outside of that holding penalty, which was a drive killer. Freeman was either sitting in the pocket all day or stepping up in it, which you can't do if your center and guards aren't doing their jobs.
  • avatar


    I just don't understand the Josh Freeman reluctance to throw the deep ball or take shots at the end zone inside the 20. He looked better on his scrambles but there were no deep balls to speak of and there haven't been for quite some time. The roll out play near the end zone (second quarter I think) should have been called one play earlier as the Panther's were keying on Doug Martin. Josh looks like an All Pro for one quarter and then goes into a shell. Is Ted Larsen really the best option we have at guard?? Isn't there someone out there that can do a better job than this bumm?? (4) holding calls in the last two games.... Need more involvement from the TE. Lorig looked great!!!
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