Jameis Winston and the Bucs rebounded on Thursday – Photo: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
A day after coach Dirk Koetter described the Bucs offense as “sluggish” in its first joint practice against the Jaguars, the head coach on Thursday came away impressed by the way the unit responded in the second and final camp session in Jacksonville.
After the Bucs defense went 2-for-2 in keeping the Jaguars out of the end zone during the two-minute period, the Bucs offense drove down the field for its own score – exactly the kind of success you draw up for a real game.
“I thought our team had a much crisper approach than we did yesterday so I’m pleased with that,” Koetter said. “That was really good two-minute work, that we got four drives, two on each side.
“We got two stops there in two-minute. The best pass coverage is a good pass rush, and you see we have a little juice on that four-man rush and that helps your pass coverage. Our defense continues to build confidence and I was happy to see our first offense go down and get a score.”
Asked what could’ve contributed to the better performance offensively, Koetter said he had a “feeling there was some trash talking going on” Wednesday between the Bucs offense and the Jags defense that sparked a fire, though he couldn’t confirm it.
Ultimately, Koetter credited his players’ for acknowledging a less-than-acceptable effort and spending a little more time in the film room to come back stronger Thursday.
“When they watched the tape, they knew,” Koetter said. “Those guys did a good job. Offensively, they knew that wasn’t our best effort or the right kind of effort, but it was much better today.”
It has to be encouraging for a coach to see a young team take the initiative to correct mistakes – especially in practice situations – but their preparation wasn’t all self-motivated.
Added wide receiver Mike Evans, who connected twice with Jameis Winston on a two-minute drive: “Coach talked to us yesterday and said we had to pick our energy up and we responded well.”
Photo by: Mark Cook/PR
Winston, for his part, is never one to lack confidence, but even he on Thursday seemed more animated when talking about his receiving arsenal and the potential of the group in the red zone.
“You just have to throw them the football,” Winston said. “You think about Austin, Cam, Mike and Vincent – guys who are 6-foot-4-plus – I have to find a way to consistently get them the football and score more points. But Austin, man, when that guy is on, it’s hard to stop him – very hard to stop him.”
As for his success spreading the ball around in the two-minute drill, Winston said he tries “not to discriminate” in getting guys touches, but the main goal is to find any completion to “keep the chains moving” because “that’s the quickest way to get into the end zone.” Which therein lays Tampa Bay’s biggest need for offensive improvement in 2016.
While the Bucs’ offense ranked fifth in the league in total yards in 2015, the unit was the 20th ranked scoring-offense, averaging just over 21 points per 376 yards a game. Underscoring the lack of efficiency was its 22nd ranked red zone-offense – one that scored a touchdown in barely half its trips (53 percent) inside the 20-yard line. (Check out SR’s take on the Bucs need for red zone improvement in Fab 3 of the Fab 5 on July 22)
If the Bucs offense can take the next step in Year 2 and capitalize on trips inside the red zone with touchdowns, there’s no limit to its success. And Winston’s confident they’ll continue to move the ball and have those kind of scoring opportunities.
“There are always areas for improvement. I, myself, have to get better at the deep ball,” Winston said. “But I see our guys, they’re going to get it and I can see some bigger explosives (passing plays of 16-yards and over) in our offense this year.”
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: [email protected]
Look forward to seeing how our OL and DL respond to Jacksonville. My enthusiasm will start elevating if we provide consistent pressure and open holes for running game.
Good to hear some enthusiasm out there. Last year it seemed that we just loafing sometimes. ASJ is sounding better and better. Scoring on the Jags defense should give them some bounce. I think the Jags defense will be a pretty good unit. GO BUCS
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