The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ starters took the field Saturday night already knowing they would see a large amount of playing time. On Sunday, the tape and film have been reviewed and coaches will begin to analyze what was good and bad and done right or wrong in last night’s 17-16 preseason victory over the Miami Dolphins.
Quarterback Josh Freeman saw his most action this preseason against Miami. He finished 6-for-16 for 59 yards and a rating of 48.7. Wide receiver Mike Williams was targeted seven times and caught just two passes for 33 yards. On the other side, veteran receiver Vincent Jackson was targeted four times but registered one catch for 13 yards.
During his day-after-game press conference, Schiano was asked what he thought about the offense’s struggles as a unit — particularly Freeman.
“I thought he actually saw things pretty [well],” Scahino said. “When you look at his progression, why he did what he did, he saw it pretty well. You sit there from the sideline and say, ‘What are we doing?’ but then when you look at what he saw… And there were a couple decisions I didn’t agree with, [quarterbacks coach] John [McNulty] didn’t agree on, [and] Sully [offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan], but you’re never going to agree on all the decisions. I’m not back there with madmen coming at me. It’s easy for me on a clicker to say, ‘I would have [gone] there.’ Protection breakdowns, [we] didn’t uncover sometimes – you know, we have to beat man coverage. Just because they’re playing man doesn’t mean that we’re covered – that’s one-on-one, that’s match-up football. And then, some of the things, technically, the ball that sailed on him, that one, you wish you had that back. Far too many drops, far too many drops, and that’s not just this week. So we have to get that cleaned up.
“As always, it’s not just one part of it. Receivers [have] to get open, we have to protect better at the running back position, the line has to block better. It’s a combination of things, but just to say it’s [the offensive line] – I think [quarterback] Josh [Freeman] has done a good job of moving up in the pocket. A couple times he moved right into the rush though, that’s the problem. If the middle isn’t firm, then the theory of sliding up in the pocket doesn’t work. We’ve got to firm up that middle, whether it be back protection, or center/guard/center protection.”
As for the protection, Schiano went on to talk about the state of the offensive line and the different personnel groupings they have used.
“I think by doing that, we have options,” Schiano said. “We don’t know what [guard] Carl [Nicks]’ situation is going to be, so we want to keep as many options available as possible. When we get into game week, we obviously will have to lock in exactly who those guys will be, what those combinations will be with the front five. Our goal is always to get the best five on the field. We’ll try to do that. The best-case scenario is Carl and [guard] Davin [Joseph] are in there and we have our starting five, but we’ve got to play that by ear.”
Schiano on the amount of dropped passes in the game.
“There were some. I’m not going to get into it. And I agree [that several of the drops should have been catches], and I think [the receivers] would agree,” Schiano said. “I don’t think, I know they would. Now, sometimes when a guy has a hand in there, that’s a different story. That’s a contested [catch]. You still have to win contested catches, though. But non-contested, what do they call it in tennis? Unforced errors?”
Schiano on how he feels with the way the offense is playing.
“A little disappointed, not discouraged, though,” Schiano said. “That’s the important thing. I wish we would have played better on offense, but I can see how we’re going to. The worst thing is when you’re looking at that vision and you say, ‘I don’t see how we’re going to do this.’ I do see how we’re going to do it. We just have to, like I said last night, we have to do it. The reality is, we may not get the chance to do it in a game now with that crew, that cast, until we get up to MetLife Stadium, and that’s the way it is. So a little bit of turning up the stakes a little bit and hopefully we’ll perform. That’s what we’re banking on.”