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September 21, 2013 @ 7:20 am
Current rating: 3.00 Stars/2 Votes

SR's Pick 6: Bucs at Patriots

Written by Scott
Reynolds
Scott Reynolds

Scott
Reynolds

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What are the six things PewterReport.com publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds will be looking for in Tampa Bay’s trip to New England to face the Patriots? Find out in this edition of SR’s Pick 6.
The Buccaneers (0-2) travel to New England in search of its first win of the season and will face the injury-ravaged Patriots (2-0). What are the six things PewterReport.com publisher Scott Reynolds is looking for in Tampa Bay’s Week 3 game?

1. FREEMAN NEEDS TO THROW HIS WAY OFF THE HOT SEAT
Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman has joined head coach Greg Schiano on the hot seat in Tampa Bay after two very lackluster performances. Granted, Freeman had a crucial, 75-yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson negated due to a penalty last week against New Orleans, but the offense only generated seven points in the team’s 16-14 loss in Week 2.

Freeman has completed less than 50 percent of his passes to the start the season, and there were rumors that he might asked to be traded because he and Schiano don’t see eye-to-eye. With a 0-2 record and mediocre stats, some Bucs fans wouldn’t mind seeing Freeman depart. Tampa Bay’s starting quarterback is 1-7 in his last eight games despite the defense surrendering a couple of late fourth quarter leads in the final minute of the contest in games against Philadelphia last year and New York and New Orleans this season. It’s baffling to think that Freeman is playing so poorly in a contract year, but he is.

If he has any hopes in staying in Tampa Bay and the Bucs making a playoff push this season, Freeman has to start completing more than 50 percent of his passes, eliminate the turnovers and start throwing more touchdowns. Sunday in New England would be a good time to start.

2. LINEBACKERS NEED TO CONTINUE TO DOMINATE
Tampa Bay’s linebacker corps is the first in NFL history to have each one of its starters have a sack and an interception through the first two weeks of the NFL season. In fact, weakside linebacker Lavonte David leads the team with 2.5 sacks and middle linebacker Mason Foster is second with two QB captures.

New England head coach Bill Belichick, a future Hall of Famer, has a lot of respect for Tampa Bay’s linebacking crew, and the unit cannot disappoint on Sunday. David, Foster and strongside linebackers Dekoda Watson and Jonathan Casillas need to continue to be the heartbeat of the defense and get after Tom Brady from a pass rush and pass coverage standpoint.

3. BETTER FIELD POSITION FROM TAMPA BAY’S SPECIAL TEAMS
The Buccaneers offense still needs help in terms of field position, and has only scored one touchdown this season when it has started from its own side of the field. The special teams unit can help the struggling offense by generating good field position in a number of ways.

Eric Page and the return game can help the Bucs’ offense with good punt and kick returns in New England, and the punt rush team could put heat on new Patriots punter Ryan Allen. It’s time for Dekoda Watson or Jonathan Casillas to break through and block a punt. Tampa Bay’s field goal block unit also needs to get a good push and make Stephen Gostkowski miss to help generate better starting field position for the offense.

4. TAMPA BAY MUST STOP BEATING ITSELF WITH PENALTIES
The Buccaneers have been flagged for 23 penalties for over 200 yards in the first two games of the season. Tampa Bay’s defense is averaging three personal fouls per game, which has accounted for 45 penalty yards alone each week. Head coach Greg Schiano says that reducing penalties is being discussed at One Buc Place, but the players aren’t responding thus far.

The offense has been just as guilty with delay of game penalties, false starts and illegal formation penalties. A Bucs wide receiver lined up on the wrong side of the formation last week and it cost the team a 75-yard touchdown by Vincent Jackson. The first rule of football is to not beat yourself, and that’s exactly what the Bucs have done in their 0-2 start.

Quarterback Josh Freeman and the offensive line have also contributed to the mistakes. In Week 1, center Jeremy Zuttah snapped a ball into the end zone when Freeman wasn’t looking and it resulted in a costly safety at New York. Last week, Bucs left tackle Donald Penn, who has given up two sacks in as many games, was beaten and it resulted in a sack-fumble. Freeman has also thrown two drive-killing interceptions over the past two weeks.

5. BUCS NEED TO MAINTAIN MOMENTUM IN QUARTERS 2-3
Last year, the Buccaneers offense sputtered in the second and third quarter and that trend is continuing in 2013. After outscoring opponents 94-71 in the first quarter of games in 2012, the Bucs were outscored 127-77 in the second quarter. In the third quarter, the defense clamped down, but the offense didn’t come to life, either, as Tampa Bay outscored opponents 88-73. The Bucs offense scored the most points in the fourth quarter with 124, but the defense gave up the most points in a quarter with 123.

In 2013, the Bucs have outscored their opponents 14-12 in the first quarter and 10-9 in the fourth quarter, but seem to fall asleep in the middle of the game, especially on offense. Tampa Bay is being outscored 10-7 in the second quarter and 3-0 in the third quarter.

What’s the best way for Tampa Bay to stop close losses in the fourth quarter? Quit making the game close in the fourth quarter. Under head coach Greg Schiano, the Bucs have done a good job in the first quarter on offense, but they need to do a better job of maintaining momentum. That means better play-calling from offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan and better execution from the 11 players on offense.

6. TAMPA BAY’S DEFENSE NEEDS FASTER PLAY-CALLING, BETTER TWO-MINUTE PLAY-CALLING
The Buccaneers defense has been playing well the season – first the first 59 minutes of the game. In Tampa Bay’s two defeats, which have been by a combined three points, the team has seen its opponent start on its own side of the field and drive down for the game-winning field goal in less than a minute. During the two-minute defense Tampa Bay has not forced a sack or a turnover yet this season.

That has to change as a Buccaneers defender must step up and make a play, but defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan needs to scrap the two-minute, prevent defense because all that has done is prevent the Bucs from winning. Whether it’s mixing in a zone blitz or rushing four defenders rather than three, something has to be done because the prevent defense in Tampa Bay has not gotten the job done.

The defense is also going to need to get the play calls in quicker from Sheridan, as New England quarterback Tom Brady will undoubtedly and unexpectedly switch to an up-tempo offense to try to catch Tampa Bay’s defense out of position. That worked effectively for a couple of plays during the preseason as the Patriots picked up two “gimme” first downs by catching the Bucs off guard.

Last modified on Saturday, 21 September 2013 07:40
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COMMENTS

  • avatar


    There is no secret teams will attack the middle. PR What is your solution?
  • avatar


    We went into a prevent defense in both games and promptly gave up Chunks of yards.THERE'S A MESSAGE HERE SCHIANO -- KEEP ATTACKING!!
  • avatar


    If the Bucs have any intention of making the playoffs, then they cannot start off 0-3. Therefore I am in favor of benching Freeman if he continues to play so poorly. NFL Network did a piece on how the Bucs defense is so improved and also how many times Freeman is making the wrong decision. They showed plays where VJackson was standing wide open in the middle of the field and Freeman does not even see him.
  • avatar


    Lol Horse my feelings exactly.
  • avatar


    Owly... How is comparing a QB to a QB like comparing "apples to telephone poles?" But, since you brought it up, let's do just that, shall we? Tebow's best year was 2011 in Denver, right? That year, here was his stat line: 14 games played, 1729 yards passing, 660 yards rushing, 2389 total yards, 46.5% completion rate, 18 total TDs. Josh Freeman in 2001 (not even his best year): 15 games played, 3592 yards passing, 238 yards rushing, 3830 total yards, 20 total TDs, 62.8% completion rate. He had almost 1000 more yards in only one more game with a FAR inferior team than Tebow had that year. So, tell me again why the great and glorious Timothy Tebow should be our quarterback???
  • avatar


    Owlykat: It's TEBO...W! For crying out loud, at least learn to spell his name. I can't believe anyone would suggest this "One pass wonder." Notice how he is still sitting at home after being released by three teams already? The nice young man needs to find another career.
  • avatar


    Roypatrick you cannot compare apples and telephone poles. You can't compare yards Freeman got in a season to what Tebo got with a third string line just when he played in preseason. Compare how much yards on the ground Tebo got in Denver to how many Freeman got last year and the difference in leadership ability. Then tell me how many times Freeman has made the playoffs in the last four years to Tebo's in just his first year. Freeman inspires nobody; Tebo inspired a poor team to all play great in Denver! No comparison. But you see what Freeman does for you tomorrow and then try to tell me how great he is after the Bucs go 0-3!!!
  • avatar

    Pats have won by a field goal vs the Jets and the Bills. Bucs have lost to the Jets and the Saints by a field goal at the end of the game. See a trend? If the defense smashes the Pats running game and pushes Brady around, they will still have to score the points. Freeman hasn't been able to beat a 3-4 defense in the first two weeks. I wonder if supercoach of the millenia and defensive mastermind Bill Belichick noticed?
  • avatar


    Owl...you're joking, right????? Tebow?!?!?! Why in the world would we trade one inconsistent QB for another? Why would we trade a 4000 yard passer for a 400 yard one??? There's a very, very real reason Tebow is jobless right now.
  • avatar

    And Kudos to you Morgan...I'm glad someone else correctly cites the trend that's here and everywhere else.
  • avatar

    THANK YOU DBuc63...just trying to make REAL SENSE out of this media driven madness.
  • avatar

    For the life of me, I cannot understand how people want to blame Schiano "dense" "hard headed" (insert ur insult here) etc...Oh yeah and Mark Dominik was really going to trade for a veteran QB right OWL?? Although if you would THINK, who was it that openly stated he wanted "COMPETITION" at the QB position and wanted to bring in an already established QB like the aforementioned Alex Smith...oh yeah...it WAS SCHIANO....but of course that FACT doesn't fit in to your ridiculing does it?? MAYBE it was because SCIANO recognized MR. CONSISTENTLY INCONSISTENT for who he is. Honestly, HAVE THESE PEOPLE REALLY FORGOTTEN WHAT A TEAM THAT ACTUALLY GIVES UP ON THEIR HC LOOKS LIKE AFTER ONLY 2 YEARS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? OR HOW BOUT 3 YEARS BEFORE THAT WHEN THE BUCS BECAME THE ONLY 9-3 TEAM TO NOT MAKE THE PLAYOFF'S BECAUSE THE DEFENSE GAVE UP ON THE HC AND OFFENSE, AND LOST ALL THEIR FINAL GAMES?!?!?!?!?!?!? The only person on either side of the ball that looks lost or looks to have "given up" is FREEMAN. So many people have correctly cited how the defense is looking to be the best defense that we have seen IN YEARS, which by the way WOULD NOT happen if the players had been "lost" by their HC. But alas, people love to sling mud, love to get down on other people to make themselves feel better, love to ridicule, love to bandwagon off of other people that can do their thinking for them despite the obvious right in front of their face...I can understand why now the Bucs have been making that list of "potential teams" that might be relocated for the past 3 years or so...with fans like this, who in their right mind would want to stick around??
  • avatar


    I have no earthly idea who will win this game, but I don't think it will be close. I think we'll beat them by 17 or vice-versa. I doubt both teams will get their passing game in order in a week, I just don't know who it will be. I do know that two rookie WR's have got to be at least a little scared of facing this defense.
  • avatar


    I'm sticking with my theory that the Bucs play up/down to the level of the competition. If that holds true...as it did against the Jets & the Saints, the Patriots will have their hands full...big time. Go Bucs...start to turn this season around!
  • avatar


    Scott your points are great as always. I don't see any sign that hard headed Schiano has learned anything about how to be a champion NFL Coach. He is as dense as they come! He has earned all the bad media he has been getting. Lets look at how a smart NFL Coach just turned the doormat Chiefs into an NFL Contender overnight. No he didn't waste a third round pick on a Rookie Beanpole. He traded for a Veteran QB who was a mobile QB in college and trained by Urban Meyer. Could Schiano found such a QB on the waiver wire? You bet! TEBO. He will lose this game and the next one with Freeman, then promote Glennon, and waste this season and get fired. Don't say I didn't tell you
  • avatar

    I'm sorry but how is it that last season all the players were on board with Sciano "the sooner we buy in the sooner we start winning" and just a week or so ago I am reading interviews posted here on Pewter Report about players citing how Schiano is a "players coach" and "his door is always open to talk about anything" and "we really are like a family here" But now somehow Schiano is on the hot seat more than Mr. below 50% completion percentage Freeman??? And the threat of a mutiny against Schiano is negated "for now." As far as I'm concerned if any players want to "mutiny" then SEE YA! If Bellicheck had Freeman as a QB, I guess their would be stories about how he was on the hot seat right now, and how his disciplinarian style doesn't go very far with his players right?? What a bunch of crap. Bottom line is if the media doesn't have mud to sling, then they lack relevance. Which is the same reason why the media always dumps on Tebow. The guy is clean, therefore the media hates him because he is the antithesis of what they go after. They can't write anything bad about him, so they go after him in any way they can and inflate their own BS stories...Same as the "Schiano Hotseat" BS being peddled here and everywhere else.
  • avatar


    Agree Buc4life79.
  • avatar


    PR reporting has been suspect.It's almost as if the magazine has a vendetta against the Bucs head coach while Dominik is blameless.
  • avatar

    I'm feeling a win.
  • avatar


    Wonder how many times Talib picked off Freeman in practice?
  • avatar


    LETS WIN NOW, IN FACT THE TEAM HAS TO STAND UP AND BE COUNTED. THERE GETTING PAID GOOD MONEY TO PLAY LETS BEAT NE ON SUNDAY
  • avatar


    I think its time to stop beating around the bush. I THINK ITS TIME THAT THE ENTIRED BUCS TEAM STAND UP AND BE COUNTED. FREEMAN IF HE WANTS A NEW CONTRACT PLAY LIKE THE CONTACT HAS ALREADY BEEN SIGN. I'VE BEEN LOOKING AT THE QB'S READT TO COME OUT IN 2014, AND THE FIRST 4 TOPS QB AVAILABLE WOULD FIT PERFECTLY IN A BUCS UNIFORM. REMEMBER FANS TAMPA DOESN'T HAVE A 3TH ROUND PICK NEXT YEAR. SO LETS PLAY HARD AND PUT TOGETHER A TWN GAMES WINNING STREAK. OUR DEFENSE IS TOPS-GO BUCS. LETS BEAT NE TOMORROW.GO BUCS
  • avatar


    My heart says we win and my brain says we lose. I think many of us are in this battle. Go Bucs! Make this the Breakout!
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