If you just looked at the final score, 38-33 seems promising. But, if you actually watched the Bucs rematch out west versus the Arizona Cardinals, you’d know that that final score did not paint the entire picture – or even half the picture.
These were out most disappointing Bucs in the road loss.
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Last week I caught a bit of flack from some of you for not calling out the Bucs head coach, Dirk Koetter, by name, instead just calling out the play calling. Well, here you go.
Dirk Koetter was awful today – and apparently getting his team ready in the days prior.
I get that mindset and execution come down to the players (who are their own human beings), but if they cannot get pumped up, focused and in-rhythm at kickoff, ultimately that has to fall on the guy leading them – the voice they all are suppose to look to.
I have no idea what goes on in the Bucs locker room privately before games, after games and even during the week behind closed doors, but, for the second week in a row, the Bucs offense had nothing during the first half. This cannot continue.
The play calling, the fire in these players, the confidence, none of it was there in the first half. From the moment the ball was kicked off, heck, from the moment they got off the plane, apparently, the Bucs offense was playing tight as could be.
I’m tired of it.
You have Jameis Winston. You have Mike Evans. You have DeSean Jackson. You have Cameron Brate. You have Doug Martin. You have talent on the offensive line.
You’re paid to figure it out, and set the tone before it sets you.
Koetter hardly has this season.
Three drives, three touchdowns – four drives and four sets of points given up. That’s the result of this team off a mini-Bye Week?
We’ve talked about the Bucs defense making adjustment, or lack thereof, and for most of the contest, defensive coordinator Mike Smith did not adjust. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter where the Buccaneer defense started playing press coverage instead of off coverage that we saw an elevation of urgency and play.
In the first three quarters of the game, players just looked lost. They were gashed by Adrian Peterson early, and looked shellshocked until the game was out of reach. The Cardinals knew exactly what to call, and every play for the first 30 minutes of the game worked without hesitation. That’s on the coach.
As a rookie last year, Hargreaves was the most targeted secondary player in all of football. So, as a result, he gave up the most yards and the most catches.
During the first four games of the 2017 season, he was also the most targeted player in the league. A big reason for that is because of how soft he plays in coverage. He plays far back because he doesn’t want to get beat deep – partially because of how the Bucs use their safeties, which don’t really help him.
In the Cardinals game, he was getting torched again, and the fans were pissed. In that scheme, Hargreaves was and has been a sitting duck; he gave up catches to Fitzgerald and runs by Peterson in the process.
The saving grace for him is that when the Bucs started to play him in press late in the game, he wasn’t targeted as heavily, and looked better. Hopefully the Bucs see this and make the adjustment moving forward. They can’t keep playing him off like that have been. It’s time to play man on both sides for both corners.
After two shaky seasons, Donovan Smith was showing some progress this year by not committing penalties at the rate he previously was, and by having consistent play overall.
However, against the Cardinals, he struggled. He had two costly holding penalties that hurt Bucs drives, and was a tough assignment all game against Chandler Jones.
Evans ended the game with 95 yards and a touchdown on three catches, but they weren’t when Patrick Peterson was guarding him.
Evans said earlier this week that Peterson was the toughest cornerback he faced last year. Before Peterson went out of this game without a quad injury, Evans was held without a catch.
This one isn’t too hard of a negative because Evans didn’t have his starting quarterback throwing to him for the entire game, but even when Winston was in, things weren’t in sync. Evans was locked down today, really for the first time this year.
There are other players we could put on this list, but those are our most disappointing. Who are yours?
Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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