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October 22, 2013 @ 6:24 pm
Current rating: 5.00 Stars/1 Votes

Coaches Trying To Find Ways To Get Offense Productive

Written by Gil
Arcia
Gil Arcia

Gil
Arcia

Beat Writer E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Tampa Bay's offense has been struggling to get things going consistently. Penalties have been a huge reason for that but now with Doug Martin gone, consistency on offense may be a lot tougher to achieve. Both head coach Greg Schiano and offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan talked about the offensive problems on Tuesday.
The Buccaneers offense has been struggling through the first six games of the season and they have yet to get some kind of rhythm going. With running back Doug Martin likely missing some significant time, the process of getting anything going will be tough.

When head coach Greg Schiano was first hired he emphasized how important the running game is. He has yet to waver from that philosophy and since Martin will be missing from the backfield, Schiano says that opposing defenses may or may not load the box against them – which will actually make the decision more difficult for the opposing defenses and not the Bucs.

"'Load the box' is for the run, it's not for the pass,” Schiano said. “When you load the box, you're doing it to take away the run and then the quarterback need to be able to beat single coverage. So, when you bring an extra guy in to the box - if you just start on the premise that you just have two safeties covering the field, and then when you load the box, one goes to the middle and one goes down. That's the most common way, and you've got eight guys versus the box or seven guys versus one back-box. When they go single-high [safety], it puts corners one-on-one, in some form or fashion. What the quarterback needs to do, and what you need to be able to do is, when they go single-high, be able to throw the football. Then you throw the football, then they say, after a while, 'let's go back to two-high' and whether its quarters or half or whatever the coverage is.

“When you're talking about loading the box, that's to stop the run, so with Doug gone, you wonder will they not load the box as much? Do they respect our back-up two running backs and our run game or are they going to lie back more in two safety high and make you beat them with the run? I don't know. You've got a rookie tailback and a rookie quarterback so let them pick. We'll just react to it."

Although defenses have loaded the box against Tampa Bay, Martin ranks in the top 10 of the league with 456 yards rushing. Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan touched on how they will attempt to replace the guy who just a year ago gained 1,454 yards on the ground while scoring 11 touchdowns on his way to the Pro Bowl.

"Mike James did a great job stepping in last Sunday, both [in] execution in the run game as well as pass protection,” Sullivan said. “We don't get that long touchdown pass to [wide receiver] Vincent [Jackson] if not for him picking up the corner blitz. He's been able to catch the ball well, very versatile, works extremely hard. We're pleased with where he's at. I think a combination between he and [running back] Brian Leonard is something that, moving forward, if [running back] Doug [Martin] is not available for us, those two guys will have to step up."

Turning an offense ranked 31st in the league without the leagues ninth ranked runner is easier said than done. Tampa Bay’s offense has been unable to react or adapt to anything the defenses they face throw at them. Each week it appears they go up against different looks that they are never prepared for. That may not be on the Bucs, but the ability to play around it falls squarely on the coaches and Sullivan hints that balance may be what finally gets them through their struggles.

"In a perfect world, you'd love to be right around 50-50 in terms of the number of runs, that you're keeping the defense honest with regard to not being able to - they're trying to protect your threats outside, they don't want to give up the big passes - so you're able to establish the run and all the good things that come with that,” Sullivan said. "Unfortunately, there's some times when they're having added defenders down in there. You've got to try to make them pay for it as far as throwing the football. I think situations, sometimes, can dictate if we're able to run the ball, if we're in a situation where the score is still relatively close and we can maintain that balance. That's always going to be good for us, that's always the goal, but I think the situation dictates that, sometimes, you may end up running a little bit more. Sometimes you may end up - this is what's happened recently - we're throwing a little bit more where you get into those end-of-half, end-of-first-half, end-of-the-game situations where we're trying to put some points on the board. That might skew the numbers a little bit. 

“You talked about Mike James earlier and some of the opportunities that he's had, even in the previous game [against Philadelphia] to this most recent one versus Atlanta, where a couple runs were negated with penalties. He's shown the ability to be productive, so, I think - it's been mentioned time and again about complements to Doug and other guys that can carry the load - and I think we're fortunate with [guys] like Mike and Brian that can be guys that can handle the run game responsibilities if Doug's not able to make it there for us.” 

Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon would also play a huge role in a balanced offensive attack. In Week's 4 and 6, Glennon had issues with Martin on getting a clean exchange on the handoff but even with those issues, Glennon wouldn't know what it would be like not having Martin in the backfield full-time.

"I'm not exactly sure, because we haven't had to experience that, but with that being said I think [running backs] Mike James and Brian Leonard show that they're able to play well also," Glennon said. "Obviously, we would love to have Doug because Doug is a great player, but I think as an offense and as a team we feel really confident in Mike and Brian to really step up. I think Mike really looked good yesterday and Brian as well."

Ultimately, the staff has to put the players in better positions to win. There has not been enough of that on Sundays. From miscues on both sides of the ball to penalties that have put them in bad spots, Sullivan – like Schiano – points those issues right back to the coaches and away from the players.

"Everything starts with, "It's on the coaches,” Sullivan said. “I've said it before, I'll say it again: Everything that this group does not accomplish, any shortcomings, I put it right here [on himself] and I'll continue to do that. Obviously, I have not gotten that point across as well as I should. I think that, as competitors - I'm a competitor, the assistant coaches are competitors, the players are competitors and they want to win; no one likes this bad, nasty taste in our mouth with how we're playing and where we're at with our record. You have enough of that and you decide we're going to do something different, with penalties being a part of that, that's something that we've got to reinforce. The group has been solid and there's been no finger-pointing despite the disappointment and frustration. The resolve, hopefully, will be there on Thursday night and, moving forward, we can make those things an issue of the past."

In order to get those things behind them, they have to get through Carolina in just a couple days. The Panthers have been playing good football as of late so while the players have to account for everything on the field, the coaching staff has to figure it all out – in less than 48 hours.
Last modified on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 08:53
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COMMENTS

  • avatar


    I swear I've never seen so many fairweather fans in my entire football-following life. What ever happened to supporting your team, win or lose. Many of you deserve exactly what you're getting - you don't support the team unless they're winning. Anyone can do that. I'll be damn if I go to the games and boo the team like a lot of you dilwads.
  • avatar

    like horse said, winnable. Open up the offense (spreading the D, putting more than 3 WR on field; Bunch formations, with crossing or layered routes), more man to man coverage on Defense and yeah, bucs got a chance.. But lead by Dumb and Dumber (^^) this doesn´t look too good..
  • avatar


    Get ready for a slaughter tomorrow night on national TV. Carolina has been improving while the retarded Coaching tandem of Schiano and Sullivan, Dumb and Dumber, are regressing us back to the Perkins era. The Glazers have made a Capital Mistake letting this devalue all the money they have thrown away putting all kinds of talent here for these Coaches to squander. If they tried to sell this team right now they'd lose their investment. This is horrible. They could have already turned this around if they had read PR and listened instead of blindly trusting this duo to save their bacon. Decorate your bags to wear tomorrow night and make some banners to roll up in your clear bag and pull them out for the cameras.
  • avatar


    I hope we do exactly what the Falcons did to us and that was to pass the ball. We know that the Panthers have a good defense, but their weakness is the CB's. I believe that this is a winnable game if we pass more often. We need 22 points and I think we win; Glennon is capable.
  • avatar


    A lot of times you hear coaches put the blame on themselves. And oftentimes, they do that to take the pressure and focus off of the players to themselves. But in this case, I'm not so sure Sullivan should be doing that with all the media negativity against the Buc coaches these days. Start holding the players more accountable.
  • avatar


    I'll be pulling for the entire team, Bucs and their coaches....Hate the Panthers. Can't believe that so-called Buc fans are rooting for the Bucs to lose in order to get a better draft choice and get the HC fired. These aren't true Buc fans imo.
  • avatar


    Ratings O Line D- QB C TE F WR C.... because Mike W scares Nobody can single him with # 2 corner RB D say what you want Dougie has missed more holes than he has hit, not many there but I have seen many he has terribly missed, not an effective pass catcher DL D-.....Haven't checked but I bet spence has nearly the same tackles as GMC LB B David is a Stud DB C- 2nd , 3rd and 4th db's are F's.... Barron continues to underwhelm Now Please Explain How this Team is Gonna Win....... This is facts not Paper Only true performers are Jackson and L David........ That's IT.... Period !!
  • avatar

    Morgan, I´m sorry, but you can´t root for the team to win AND for the HC.. Root for the players, but in Shianos case, there is a nice line from a great band:"Holding on too long is just, the fear of letting go".
  • avatar


    "Rutgerneers.... Get those toes on the line" What a --cking Joke.... LMAO!
  • avatar


    The Tampa Bay Rutgerneers!!!!! 0-7..... & still counting.
  • avatar


    I'm with you there Sunshine. We've had some coaches in the past 38 years who weren't quite up to the task. At some point the previous ones realized it and knew their days were numbered. But this guy is still making comments like "We need to get back to playing "Buc football". Uhhhh, Greg, is the "Buc football" you are referencing the one that has lost 11 of the past 12? Oh, I get it, "Buc football" was that one measly game against the play-off bound Falcons last season.
  • avatar


    Yes ,I am a season tkt holder since john McKay was here. This is the worst coach ever with the talent on this team. I hope the owners fire the coach now since the season is gone anyway .I would also like to get a high draft pick to get a mobile qb. I am a big bucs fan (went to their sb game) but we have had enough ..... FIRE SCHIANO !!
  • avatar

    Firing Shiano might turn this offense and team around.
  • avatar

    Bucs Fans want a 180 turnaround? I truly hope Greg is our HC next season; Greg Roman OC 49ers. "Inovative" playcaller who is very well liked by his players. Now how does that sound? GoBucs!!
  • avatar


    "Do or do not, there is no try." Master Yoda
  • avatar


    I disagree, Schian Ofer6 does make adjustments, he rearranges his package (read junk) on the sideline.
  • avatar

    The Panthers Steve Smith has an attitude about aggressive DB's right now, so plan for him to be playing lights out.... Oh nevermind.....We'll "wait" for him to play lights out, then TRY to adjust to that. But when he rotates away from Revis, well, that adjustment just cant happen....
  • avatar

    Oh yeah, lets react to what they do, instead of playing our football and making the opposition adjust.... Sounds like a follower with a losing mentality. Good luck with that. My momma said if you aint laying the path then your always behind. CHUMP!
  • avatar


    @K-Swiss - Are they not already losing? What would you have them do, "stay the course" of trying to balance run and pass 50-50 no matter what?
  • avatar


    Now see, in there lies the problem. These coaches have lower level goals that by trying to reach them the team is losing. By saying they want to be around 50-50 between the run and pass they are missing the bigger picture. You play to win the game. You win the game by scoring as many points as possible and allowing as few points as possible. Having a balanced 50-50 may or may not give you that. If they're stopping the run, pass. If they're stopping the pass, run. If they stop both, throw some screens and short passes. Either the short or long passes have got to be there, they can't stop both. If nothing's working try a fake punt or an onside kick. Just take whatever they give you coach!
  • avatar

    Who else laughed at this quote: "You've got a rookie tailback and a rookie quarterback so let them pick. We'll just react to it." -Sorry but when have they "reacted" to anything the opposing team has done this season?
  • avatar


    Coach Schiano and Coach Sullivan; I don't know if you know this or not, but most teams throw first and run second when their top RB is out and the back ups are not that good. Maybe you might want to try throwing more passes to TE's. I said TE's, not a TE. That would mean you might have to take one of your injured players that should be on IR, so you can get some more TE's. Just a thought here Coach because I know you are so focused on the Bucs you don't have time to listen to anyone. Coach Sheridan, chirp, chirp, chirp.
  • avatar


    Oh I misread the headline.....I thought it said Coaches trying to find ways to get OFFENSIVE production!!! Can't get more OFFENSIVE than what they have done so far can it?????? Say it ain't so..... Go BUCS PLAYERS!!!!!!!!! Let's win!!!!! Go somewhere else BUCS Coaches!!!! We want to WIN!!!!!
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