For Tampa Bay to finish strong and have a chance at a .500 season, it must flip the trend in two key areas: penalties and takeaways.
In the past four games, a 1-3 stretch, the Bucs have been flagged 37 times for 284 yards compared to their opponents’ combined stat of 30 for 233. And of their league-leading 134 this season, 52 have come before the snap.
Bucs head coach Lovie Smith – Photo by Cliff Welch/PR
One way to show maturity in the final two weeks is by limiting the amount of pre- and post-snap penalties that have exposed a lack of composure at critical times this season.
“We have had too many penalties this year. Yes, that’s discipline, whatever you want to call it,” head coach Lovie Smith said Tuesday. “In order to become a championship team you have to take care of that.
“When I say penalties, I’ve kind of grouped those into types of penalties that we’re talking about. Post-play penalties, pre-snap – that’s not the hard part. The hard part should be after the ball is snapped. Those areas, yes, we would like to eliminate those completely as we go into 2016.”
After eliminating penalties and not beating themselves, the second goal is creating turnovers. It’s well-known how important taking the ball away is in Smith’s defense, so it comes as no surprise that there’s a strong correlation between the turnover margin and win and losses. In the Bucs six wins they’re 11:7 in the turnover edge, while their eight losses contain a 6:17 difference.
Over the last four games, Tampa Bay has taken the ball away just once. That came during their lone victory against Atlanta in Week 13 in the form of Lavonte David’s fourth-quarter interception to ice the game.
“You look at all the teams that are really doing something right now. Look at the last four games – we’ve had one,” Smith said. “It’s just not how it works, not how it works around any football team that I’ve been on.”
Smith’s Bears teams were known for defense and, in particular, their ability to create takeaways. In his nine years as head coach, Chicago finished the season top five in takeaways five times.
While no one is expecting that type of success for Tampa Bay just yet, a great time to shift the trend heading into the new year is this Sunday against none other than his former team.
“You need to finish strong, get more at the end and find a way to take the ball away,” Smith said. “You start checking off things to improve on in 2016, things we have to do a better job of in 2016 is that – taking the ball away.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Another Lovie trait….undisciplined team.
But we get another year of this. Oh joy!!
Pre snap penalties, dumb personal fouls, are a direct reflection of bad coaching. This is the end of Lovie’s second penalty filled seasons. I don’t see it changing now. We also probably lead the league in illegal contact with receivers past five yards. This I believe is a result of us not pressing at the line of scrimmage, but playing our backs 10 yards off the receiver most times. When you’re that far off, all you have to do touch the wideout as he’s running full speed, and it’s a flag. We need to get our licks in within 5 yards, but that’s hard to do when you’re playing 10 yards off.
Totally agree; one of my biggest issues besides no big pass rush.
I agree. Bad coaches teach their players to make penalties and mistakes. LOL.
Penalties are the result of not concentrating or bad technique. Both of those factors are on the player.
When you get better players, fewer penalties are one of the better players.
Sureferdude, illegal contact is a prime example of bad technique. Lovie has been trying to get his players to get closer to the WR’s all season or have u not been reading out here. That is why personnel keeps changing at the corners.
Take aberderjeemie’s penalty last week. That was a direct result of not only not concentrating but also bad technique.
You two guys should put your personal hatred aside and look at faults more analytically like PR does.
Pre snap penalties are the direct result of not concentrating. Illegal motion and formation calls are ridiculous and have no reflection on the coaching but on the players.
Do you really think you should have to teach a player how to line up right or not to move before the snap on the pro level.
Of course every coach teaches penalties.
so what you are really saying is Lovie can’t Coach because most of these CB’s weren’t doing that in college or they wouldn’t have been drafted? Oh wait, a lot of these guys weren’t drafted. Just messing wit you.
Neither Jude nor Moore were drafted…
Any person would agree that no coach is teaching players to move before the snap, line up offsides, create an illegal formation, take a swing or kick an opponent after the play, grab a face mask, or my favorite, block in the back. All of those infractions were stressed in Pee Wee football. But players keep ignoring the coach’s pleas. Why? No accountability, lack of focus and immaturity in my view.
When Lovie tries to accountability like sitting Dougie down for a series after he fumbles, everyone howls.
He took Spence out in the Giants game for his personal foul.
There is only so much you can do once the regular season starts.
Do yuu sit a starter down on the OL when he commits an illegal motion and put in the backup ewhen he is not as good.
Do you take out Mike Evans in the Giants game for dropping to many passes in ethe rain and replace him with Dontae Dye.
That’s like cutting off your nose to spite your face. Old Chinese proverb.
These players know they will eventually be held accountable for their performance.
See Mark Barron, Dashon Goldson, Michael Johnson and Anthony Carter.
Sorry Horse, my original posting was not intended towards you.
I was talking about easily avoidable penalties, not fumbles, dropped passes or missed assignments. And, no, I’m not saying Coach should jerk the player out of the game. But you have to agree that the staff has to do something to reduce a prime reason for losing these close games.
You really expect Lovie to change? Dream on!!
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