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September 24, 2012 @ 8:22 am
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PR Analysis: Tampa Bay's Offensive Game Grades vs. Dallas

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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How did Tampa Bay's offense grade out in its performance against the Rob Ryan-led Cowboys defense? Did any offensive unit receive a passing grade? Get the answers in this Pewter Report analysis story.
Pewter Report's Mark Cook offers up his analysis on how Tampa Bay's offense played against Dallas in the Cowboys' 16-10 victory over the Bucs, and dishes out the game grades for each offensive unit.

Sunday’s game against the Cowboys was proof once again the Buccaneers will go as Josh Freeman goes. Despite an outstanding defensive effort, the Buccaneers were unable to muster up anything offensively, and Freeman was a big part of the problem.

What happened to Freeman extending plays with his legs? Who, if anyone, is telling Freeman not to run? It is puzzling to have one of the best overall athletes on the football team become a stay-in-the-pocket, feet-in-cement-type quarterback. Freeman continues to make rookie-type mistakes, such as staring down receivers and making indecisive throws, and he's in his fourth year.

Sunday Freeman had one of his worst statistical games of his career completing just 10-of-28 passes (35.7 percent) for 110 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Tampa Bay was terrible on third downs as the offense converted just 3-of-15 (20 percent) opportunities.

Freeman looks uncomfortable and lost at times. Maybe it is time that Freeman stops thinking so much and worrying about making mistakes. Head coach Greg Schiano and Mike Sullivan need to cut the strings and allow Freeman take control of the offense.

The coaches are willing to live and die with the blitz defensively, it is time to now have the same aggressive mentality on the other side of the ball.

PewterReport.com was a big supporter of the Buccaneers drafting Doug Martin. After three games no one is ready to give up on the former Boise State star, but there are a few concerns.

On Sunday Martin averaged 2.8 yards per carry (19 attempts for 58 yards), and while the running lanes were tighter than “Malfunction Junction” during Friday rush hour traffic, more is expected from someone drafted in the first round.

It is obvious Martin is nowhere ready to be compared to Ray Rice just yet. But even if Martin never becomes Ray Rice Jr. his less than four yards per carry average this season must improve significantly.

Tampa Bay did throw LeGarrette Blount a bone somewhat on Sunday, calling on him to rush four times for 19 yards (4.8 average) but quickly went away from the bruiser in favor of Martin against the stout Cowboys defense.

When you only complete 10 passes in a game there is plenty of blame to go around. While Freeman certainly deserves some of it, the Bucs receivers can’t be let off the hook.

When the quarterback goes into a three-step drop it is because a short route has been called and usually against single man coverage. More than once Freeman dropped back to strike quickly, only to find no one open. Two sacks and two fumbles courtesy of linebacker DeMarcus Ware were the result, plus many more where Freeman was forced to backpedal and make inaccurate throws.

The receivers can only blame the referees so much for illegal contact past the five-yard mark. If the rules with regards to hand-checking are relaxed then why aren’t Vincent Jackson, Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams taking advantage of it from an offensive standpoint?

Williams had two receptions for 33 yards (and two drops), Jackson managed just one 29-yard reception late and Benn caught one Freeman pass for eight yards. Terrible production from a good receiving corps.

The Buccaneers offensive staff came out with an excellent idea on the Bucs first drive – surprise Dallas by getting Luke Stocker involved in the game plan. It worked for a touchdown in the first quarter, but from then on it was easily defended by the Cowboys’ defense.

Stocker was targeted two more times but was unable to hook up with Freeman anymore on Sunday. Stocker was also a liability blocking on several plays allowing penetration in pass protection and when run blocking, and he also added a false start penalty.

Many thought Dallas Clark might be a bigger part of the game plan more after his fourth quarter success last week against New York, but Freeman was off target on several pass attempts including three out of four attempts to get Clark involved.

The offensive line, once thought to be huge strength of the Buccaneers’ offense, has yet to assert themselves so far in 2012. Overall the pass protection wasn’t terrible, only allowing two sacks and one of those was on tight end Danny Noble. However, the stat sheet doesn’t tell the whole story as the Cowboys were able to manhandle the offensive line for much of the game, creating collapsed throwing and running lanes for most of the day.

No one player has been terrible, yet no one player has dominated his position, including left guard Carl Nicks, who has not yet lived up to his Pro Bowl billing.

Many were high on offensive line coach Bob Bostad based on his success at Wisconsin. Sunday proved for Bostad – and several of the Bucs’ coaches – success in the NCAA ranks means little in the NFL. When an offense generates only 166 yards and scores just 10 pounts in an NFL game the offensive line deserves its share of the blame.

Last modified on Monday, 24 September 2012 08:34

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  • avatar

    My knowledge of football is very limited, but when your at the bottom of a league in offense, you have a problem. No amount of spin will fix that.
  • avatar

    The entire offesive scheme and philosopy is new to everyone except Ware. It takes time to learn a new scheme. It takes even more time to get to the point where the adjustments and reads are automatic and communication appears telepathic. It will come but it will take time. Stop asking the Bucs to pass the final exam in the first week of class.
  • avatar

    This is mostly coaching and play calling. All these weapons and looks like a high school game plan. Get Blount into the game or Martin will be done by game 8 with the pounding he's taking. Let Freeman play to win. He's done it before. When they gave him the ball, got him into a rhythm against Giants it looked like a 2010 styled 4th quarter comeback, He's got it in him. Let him play.
  • avatar

    After viewing both the dallas and giants game,i really did see the predictability of our playcalling and personel packages.One package i've never seen them run consists of almost all our playmakers at the same time.Jackson and williams at wideout.clark at end.and blount and martin in the backfield at the same time.I think we could run this group in multiple different sets and the defense wouldn't know whether we are strictly running or play action pass or straight drop back passing.This package can be run on 1,2,or 3 down.I beleive this would be perfect for about 12-15 plays a game.It would give josh and our running backs and receivers a better chance for splash plays because of the lack of predictability by the offense as well as our top playmakers always touching the ball.The beauty part of it is that any one of the backs can run or receive a pass or block totally for a shot downfield to jackson or williams.The linebackers and safty play would definatly have to respect everyone on the field.This would no doubt createt mismatches.I know other coaches couldn't figure out how to put multiple playmackers on the field at the same time,but i really believe this staff has the ability to do that.If not we will wear out martin and will kill freeman as well as blounts confidence.
  • avatar

    disagree with the receivers grade, coaches and qb need to trust the receivers to make a play even when covered, they have shown that ability, but when you don't even give them a chance, they can't make a play. do receiver's have to be wide open to get them the ball. let them make a play
  • avatar

    Remember when I said expect more losses than wins the first half of the year? We have a new offense that hasn't been mastered yet and we have been against exceptional defensive teams the last two weeks. Now, Freeman was awful this week and when he is that tentative, and inaccurate, and staring down receivers, he needs to be pulled and shown the bench. We have a very capable backup who looked better than Freeman all preseason. Put him in and let him show what he can do with the first string line. And, I, too, was uninspired by the lack of ability to adapt by our offensive coordinator, but then he is not experienced at calling plays and it showed. Sometimes on first down you need to throw a deep pass when they are expecting a run and have loaded the box. However I am thrilled with how our defense kept us competitive depite the appalling offensive showing, and we did better against the Cowboys than we did under the last two coaches because of our overachieving defense. Keep the Faith; Schiano can turn it around in time.
  • avatar

    Hope we draft Matt Barkley
  • avatar

    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." - Albert Einstein. Even Einstein with his limited knowledgable of football wouuld have been a better offensive coordinator Sunday. I'm not ready to completely give up on Freeman (he was pretty good in 2010...right?), but he better show vast improvement quickly. Yes, the offense was absolutely horrible, and the defense was good enough to win. The reverse was true the previous week. Such is the case with new coaches, new systems, and some new players. I wish the Bucs were 3 & 0 now...coulda, woulda, shoulda, but I expected their record to be 1 & 2 at this point. There are a number of winnable games on the schedule and 8 & 8 still looks attainable. Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    Hey Schiano.....instead of being so stubborn, try something different. It just isn't working! Running the ball up the middle every time on first down does not work, they load the box and know you are coming. I'm surprised Martin could even get 2 yards. Even as a college coach you have to know that...what is your deal? When the fans can predict the play, you don't think the defense can? Unbelievable! The whole game plan is predictable. You are playing against professionals. The biggest crime in the NFL is having tendencies and you are guilty and convicted. Reform already and maybe you will be paroled..
  • avatar

    I feel like we should not be so brutal until after the Redskins game. Josh is going to have to do much better in this game; if not,then we can be critical. I think that most of were realistic that we needed another Free Agency and another draft before we raise our expectations. So far I believe we are in the games; that's all I asked at this point. We need a lot more quality players and Coach is getting as much as he is can for now. Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    You missed the grades for the play calling................. F............!
  • avatar

    Very good article on our offense here (http://www.joebucsfan.com/?p=74338) For some of you wondering if the problem comes from the playcalling / play design or Freeman, the answer is simple : BOTH !!!
  • avatar

    Freeman needs a good week for Bucs Fans to forget this week if he plays like this all yr the Buics will let him walk and draft a qb in next yrs draft
  • avatar

    I'd blame the new regime for Freeman's struggles if it wasn't for the fact he was doing the same things last year. He doesn't step up in the pocket and extend plays like the great ones do. He back peddles instead, then throws over the middle off his back foot, I doubt his coaches are telling him to do that. As for Martin you can't keep asking him to run up the middle and have success when everyone knows it's coming. One suggestion, put Sullivan in the booth, like Sheridan, he doesn't seem to see what's going on the field either. Two bench Freeman if he can't start making plays. Aikman said yesterday the Dallas coaches told him once Free looks to one side of the field they can roll the coverage that way, cause he never goes back to the other side. You won't be a successful NFL Q.B. if you can't move D.B.'s with your eyes, they're to good. No wonder it seems the receivers can't get seperation, Freeman can't help taht out with his staring down one side of the field.
  • avatar

    Everyone wants to crucify Freeman, but here are the facts: Freeman was pressured all day with very little time to make his throws; His receivers struggled to get separation and dropped several catchable passes; The supposed "bell-cow" running back averaged 2.8 yards per carry, making the play-action game much less effective; and the OC showed very little creativity with the play calling and made almost no changes even though the offense was sputtering for almost 4 quarters. When was the most productive time for the offense? At the end of the game when the OC put the trust in Freeman's hands and opened up the passing game. This whole "pounding the football and taking shots down the field" mantra is fine in theory, but when your running game isn't effective, then the shots down the field won't be either! Freeman is far from perfect and he needs to step up his game just like everyone else on our offense... But to put all the blame on his shoulders is simply ignorant.
  • avatar

    Wow, you are trying to spread the blame to Eli's qb coach, Pro Bowl V Jackson and a very steady target for Peyton. Yeah, those three guys decided to suck when they got here. It couldn't be simply that Freeman is exactly who most of us know he is, a mediocre caliber qb in the NFL.
  • avatar

    Who will pay to watch an inaccurate, incompetent QB who calls a run on 3rd and long, down 2 scores, in a 2 minute drill? 20 yards passing in 58 minutes is indescribably awful. Blackouts will continue until there is more hope than embarrassment. Try the backup sooner than later to see what you have....you might just salvage the season.
  • avatar

    It's an awful shame to waste a pretty good effort by the D, having to watch Freeman throw inaccurate passes. I guess he's solving the debate of whether he is the 2010 or 2011 qb that we saw in the previous couple years. And unfortunately it seems to be the indecisive, stare down receiver, qb that we saw last year.
  • avatar

    Too much too soon for Doug Martin. Schiano needs to shelve his pride and play Blount more, or this team is going to suffer double digit losses. Also, with a weak OL you HAVE to MOVE the pocket. Give Freeman the option to throw on the move or run himself. Rollouts are legal. People do it all the time.
  • avatar

    NFL is a QB driven league. When you go 3 for 20 on third downs against the Giants and then 3 for 15 against Dallas it means your QB isn't doing the job. No OC would look good with Freeman at the helm. He even handcuffs the gameplan, because they don't trust him. I'm still hearing it's the OCs fault. It's the WRs fault. They are all new. Freeman is the common thread. He wasn't running last year and he had his coach from the year he was moving around. Did Vincent Jackson just start sucking? No! I bet he wishes he still had P. Rivers throwing him the ball.
  • avatar

    Maybe Greg Olsen wasn't so bad after all.... Quite possibly he had to dumb down his playbook to fit Freeman, just like Sullivan is doing.
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