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September 12, 2013 @ 9:25 am
Current rating: 3.00 Stars/2 Votes

Bucs Are Still Working On Getting Offense "Squared Away"

Written by Gil
Gil Arcia


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The Buccaneers had all offseason and preseason to get the offensive kinks out of their system and get ready for the season. After Week 1, there were still some visible issues that surrounded the unit. Offensive coordinator addressed those concerns when he spoke to the media and said they are still working to correct the problems.
However you look at it, there is a quarterback problem in Tampa Bay that is affecting the offense in some way. PewterReport.com reported Wednesday evening that Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman missed the team photo, adding more fuel to an already growing fire out of One Buc Place that surrounds the 25-year old signal caller.

But offensively, there are issues that need to be addressed as a unit. 

Speaking to the media, offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said that his disappointment is not just on Freeman.

"I think the disappointment, it's hard to really put a finger, and there's a lot of disappointment,” Sullivan said. “We didn't execute the way we're capable of, we didn't perform the way we're capable of, we didn't coach the way we're capable of. It's something that you come off of a day like today where there is a similar scheme; there is a similar type of opponent - a division opponent at that - we're very excited about this challenge. We're not rushing the time away, we never want to do that, we had a lot of good work today and now we look forward to getting into the meetings and stuff. But I don't think you can put a finger on or single out any particular thing. There's just a lot of things that weren't what we want, what the organization wants, what our fans want. So we're excited and ready for Sunday."

And ready they have to be. After their 18-17 loss to New York Sunday, there were lots of offensive problems that started out with communication issues in the beginning of that game. If they have any problems remotely close to communication issues at any level, the New Orleans Saints will march right in and march right out with a victory. But the communication errors are something the Buccaneers have worked on to correct so that it does not happen again. 

"We'll have opportunities within our system where we're looking at running a play or a pass play if we don't have the type of numbers,” Sullivan said. “We'll give parameters - you don't want to have somebody up there having to think about so many different options. Typically it's something where we would package a play and again, having the latitude with regards to the contingency plan where it all breaks down, there are those opportunities as well."

In order to execute any plan whatsoever, the offense has to work together and it starts up front. Tampa Bay’s second year offensive coordinator touched on the status of the offensive line. 

"You look at the situation with [guard] Carl [Nicks] and the injuries and him coming back and with [guard] Davin Joseph who - it's a lot of football that he played,” Sullivan said. “[It's] the first amount of football in a long period of time, to having sat out the entire year and then having very limited opportunities in the preseason. I think continuity is so critical to that unit as a whole and those are two very, very good players up front. To not have them in there, that doesn't give us any excuses, the guys have to step up and we've got to make sure that we do the things to keep moving forward. But there's no question that that consistency, getting the same group, the communication, the calls, that's what's going to help us be the type of offense, both in terms of running the ball and in pass protection that we want. 

“There's no easy answer, we've got to keep pushing, keep fighting, keep moving forward and whoever's in there, making sure we're doing all the things to put them in the best position. Hopefully we'll get Carl back in the right form and Davin continues to improve and come back. Again, that's a lot of football for him - more football that he's had in a long time. I'm excited to see about where he does - his continuing to get better. Certainly not the game that [Joseph] is accustomed to that any of us are accustomed to but first time out the gate we've got something to build upon."

Once the offensive line does its job, the quarterback has to complete passes from there. In Freeman’s first season under Mike Sullivan’s offense, the fifth-year quarterback had a completion percentage of 54.8 percent in 2012 and he started 2013 with a 48.4 percent completion rate last week against the Jets. Sullivan says that stat line is a result of many factors.

“I think there's a number of reasons, I can't pin it on one particular facet,” Sullivan said. “I think if we were to look at every single pass and the ones that are incomplete, I think anyone can look at and say that's a good ball, that's a drop, or okay that was not a great throw, or gosh they had a great defense, that's a good call it wasn't open, or it was protection. So to answer your question there's no specific ‘We're not winning, we're not throwing it accurately, we're not protecting.’ Sometimes it's a combination of some various factors and sometimes at the most inopportune moments, because you get some of those big completions and we're doing some good things on third-and-4, third-and-6, third-and-9, but some of the results that you get it's hard, you're not real thrilled making a play-call on third-and-35. We earned the third-and-35, so we've got to do a better job as some of the other questions that have been asked as far as how we can address all of that and we're working on it to make sure we get it squared away.”

How much the Bucs’ offensive staff has worked to rectify the problems will be on display Sunday when they face the Saints.
Last modified on Thursday, 12 September 2013 11:57

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  • avatar

    Over the years I learned to put the game behind me on Wednesday and start looking ahead to the next one with an open and hopeful mind. Some are still fretting because we think we lost to the "lowly" Jets. I learned a long time ago that all NFL teams are capable of defeating another. Those same Jets gave that vaunted Flying Elvises team all it could handle. Let's don't be so quick to give up after game 1.
  • avatar

    @ kram...."intellectually oriented"...? Not what comes to mind with this years performances. I know what you meant, but don't agree. Why can't we just call it what it is? Suckage - plain and simple. Let the players justify it if they feel like it, but we don't need to be enablers. Some of these guys are playing their butts off and performing well. Others are stinking the joint up & the Bucs Coordinators are not performing. Offensively, In the ring, you use what works until your opponent shows that he can stop it. If he can't - bad day for him. Play to your own strengths and if at all possible, don't let others dictate to you. On Defense, its the overall stats that matter. Points, 3rd down conversion rate, time of possession, takeaways, total yardage...etc. I think the defense will be fine moving forward, but I certainly can't get satisfaction out of cherry picking stats such as rushing yards when you clearly get dominated (last yr), or seeing a lesser offensive opponent with a rookie qb hang around (jets). BOTH Coordinators need to start tailoring their schemes to fit their personnel, learn how to make effective in-game adjustments, and quickly figure out how to win in a pass-happy NFL. I've gone on record as being happy with changes Coach Schiano has brought to the team, but he and his staff also have to learn & progress. They won't get 5 yrs like Josh.
  • avatar

    After listening to Sullivan's press conference this week, I've concluded that he's part of the problem w/ the offense. He's indirect, doesn't answer questions asked, and talks in circles. No wonder Freeman is having difficulties. Bring back Greg Olson.
  • avatar

    I don't know how you can get good offensive rythem in one week. If Joseph did not get enough playing time in preseason, whose fault was that---coaches.
  • avatar

    @buctebow: Josh is too restricted? I think you meant to say regressive. He was horrible as evidenced by his accuracy. It's not like they were throws over 20 yards the coaches were calling. They were slants, dump passes, and back shoulders that he was missing horribly. The guy is a backup.
  • avatar

    I stand by my statement, he is a statue in the pocket and needs to move around when his receivers are not immediately open instead of getting sacked and cause the defense to plan differently for him.
  • avatar

    Sullivan and others have been quoted they don't want to "rush the time away". What the hell are they talking about? THe more I read these comments and articles, I feel like I rushed my time away...into a toilet. The Bucs offensive coordinator needs all the time he can get. He had 6 months to prepare for opening day and the Jets attack(if you can call it that) and they could only muster 17 points. If he needs more time than that, we are in trouble.
  • avatar

    One thing I've concluded over the years is that the Bucs most often play to the level of their competition...more often than not, playing bad against bad teams and good against good teams. NO is a good team, and I expect the Bucs will give the Saints a fit. A win could make all of us naysayers (including me) back off and have hope of a successful season. Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    OK I have whined enough about the horrible Jets loss, Schiano, the coaching, the scheme, Josh being too restricted and scripted to be natural and instinctive, the Oline being ineffective with Joseph not being ready and Carimi playing out of position, etc. Go Bucs! Win Sunday! Believe in yourselves and that you are winners. Lets see the swagger. Beat those Saints.
  • avatar

    Josh is too restricted? I think you meant to say regressive. He was horrible as evidenced by his accuracy. It's not like they were throws over 20 yards the coaches were calling. They were slants, dump passes, and back shoulders that he was missing horribly. The guy is a backup.
  • avatar

    Finger-pointing. Again finger-pointing and players only meetings are for losers. How about a coach coming out and saying "That embarrassing loss was my fault"? You don't blame injuries, blame your QB to the media? What is going on down there in Tampa? This instills zero confidence in the TB coaching staff.
  • avatar

    Hey ArizonaJoe: Last I checked, Freeman was the one completing less than 50% of his passes. Inaccuracy is not a coachable trait. He couldn't hit Martin on a swing pass 5 yards away. LITERALLY!
  • avatar

    As much as everyone was embarrassed to lose to the Jets, the real tests to this team has been and always will be the best teams on the schedule. The Saints, Falcons, Patriots, 49ers, Rams, Eagles and Seahawks. If Freeman, Schiano and the rest of the team can't beat them, it doesn't matter if they beat the Jets and Panthers. Winning the Super Bowl, be it this year or the immediate future means being good enough to beat the best NFL teams. If we come in every season and mark games agains the Saints and Falcons as losses...what else matters? If we put all emotions aside we will see that the outlook of our season will be decided this Sunday and the one after, not last Sunday.
  • avatar

    @pinkstob Well put. The Jets is not a division rival which means we can still win our division. Yes, we all witnessed terrible play during that game but the Pats didn't run the Jets out of town either. Maybe the Jets were under estimated. At any rate, the season is just getting underway. Our FANS are not ready to throw in the towel just yet.
  • avatar

    Maybe the scheme is too intellectually oriented and saps the aggressiveness out of the players. In short they are thinking too much and hitting too little.
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