About the author

Trevor Sikkema

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: [email protected]

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45 Comments

  1. 1

    IanKC

    “The Bucs finished the 2017 season as the league’s ninth best offensive in terms of moving the ball”

    Shouldn’t that say offense? I don’t think the Bucs offended very many people in 2017, finishing 5-11.

    1. 1.1

      Trevor Sikkema

      Well, they probably did offend a lot of people by going 5-11. But I fixed the typ-o!

      1. 1.1.1

        76Buc

        Yes, both their offense and defense were offensive. However, I didn’t mean to offend so don’t be defensive:)

  2. 2

    RootsCrew

    Great Cover 3 per usual. I think it ultimately boils down to having a competent OL in front of Jameis and our running backs. Every GIF you posted of the Eagles & Saints shows Wentz and Brees with time to throw and let the play develop. Also, those teams had a solid run game the defense had to respect inside the red zone. Yes, Jameis needs to be a bit more on the money with some throws, but the route combinations, pre snap movement, personnel combinations all need to improve as well. Evans with only 5 catches and 3 touchdowns in the red zone is a crime. Dirk’s offense, or how he calls it, in compressed areas has been a struggle during his career. This is the most talent he’s ever had on offense. Gotta make it work this year.

    1. 2.1

      EastEndBoy

      Couldn’t have said it better @rootscrew – Winston’s stats are relatively (versus other QBs) very good under pressure (2nd in the league last year), but the difference between throwing under pressure and throwing with a clean pocket are hard to ignore. It’s one thing to say that Winston needs get faster – sure – but our OLine has been awful. Let’s hope the offseason changes will be enough.,..

    2. 2.2
  3. 3

    Hank Scorpio

    The Eagles and Patriots are the 2 offenses that would make the most sense for us to emulate in terms of play calls. The Eagles spread the ball around so well last year, which I want to see Winston do more of. It seems like game after game he just ignores what the defense gives him and locks on to Evans or Brate, and completely ignores the guy running wide open.

    Then I just love the Patriots route concepts. There’s at least 1 guy running wide open on every play and Brady always finds them. We’ve got the perfect personnel to match what they do. To me it all comes back to the plays that are called and Winston correctly identifying (and throwing to) the open receiver.

  4. 4

    Nobody

    I reviewed several Eagles games for their Red Zone possessions and play-calling. Bajakian is 100 % correct. They aren’t doing anything different than we are (I didn’t see a single RPO in the 4 games I evaluated). The playbook is basically the same. Enormous overlap in concepts, formations, and calls. In fact, I didn’t see Pederson scheming/calling plays that led to as many wins in the passing game and as many box advantages in the running game (or Center > over play-side advantages) as DK did. In fact *2, he called large number of box disadvantage (“predictable”) runs that would make Bucs’ fans heads scream for his head.

    The difference is:

    a) Execution at the QB position (missing a wide open Evans on a pivot at the GL, misreading coverage or prioritizing reads on a double Slant-Sit and Hump underneath on a pick/Flat route…who was wide ass open…but the throw goes to a covered Slant-Sit to Evans and ends in a PBU)

    b) Execution at (primarily) interior OL positions (almost exclusively Guard)…too many to even count.

    c) Some stray poor reads by RBs (one Zone run by Barber and one Godwin drop on a Spacing concept from Bunch comes to mind ) or dropped.

    Its execution for us at key positions and at key moments. You just don’t see those kinds of execution errors on good RZ teams. The QBs know what coverage they’re up against, they make the correct read prioritization, and they have good ball placement. And when it gets there, their teammates catch it. When you have a box advantage or play-side advantage (or even box neutral), YOU HAVE TO WIN IN THE RUNNING GAME. This was schemed over and over and over in 2017. The amount of errors or losses (even in situations where the particular player began the play with leverage due to front/tech) by our OL in the run game in the RZ was truly ridiculous. Warhop’s anger is warranted.

    And finally, Mike absolutely has PTSD when faced with Press coverage now. This is especially bad for us in the RZ (which is one of the primary reasons he never wins on Fades anymore). He has been Held so often in the course of his career and called for OPI when he tries to extricate himself from this illegal defense, that he just doesn’t play physical in return anymore. Its a travesty that he’s been conditioned this way because NFL referees have ZERO idea how to officiate legitimate disruption/reroute/jam vs what a Defensive Holding penalty looks like. And just like Shaq had to deal with, a big, physical player like Mike who gets physical in return draws the eyes (the perception bias) of the officials and a flag when he responds in kind.

    1. 4.1

      scubog

      Nice comments Nobody. Very insightful. All valid explanations. Me, I think the absence of any sort of running threat due to the RB position and/or OG weakness made it much easier for defenders.

      I wonder if I could ask you if you really know the trouble I’ve seen? Like the song says, “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen.”

      1. 4.1.1

        Nobody

        So my thoughts are pretty simple scubog, and they come off of these lines of evidence:

        1) We were extremely balanced in our RZ Playcalling (72 Pass vs 68 Run) with no discernible tendencies that led to players jumping cues immediately post-snap (eg, we weren’t “predictable” – whatever the hell that means – according to those playing D against us).

        2) We has a ridiculous number of schemed wins on a per play basis (box/play-side advantaged on runs or a Cover 3 Zone Beater from the 18 yard line when they were playing C3Z) in the RZ; more than I saw in reviewing 4 Eagles games.

        So what’s the problem?

        It’s not a playcalling problem. Not remotely. The problem is execution errors primarily at QB and Guard, secondarily a few Drops, a few misreads by a RB on a Zone run, and a few egregious penalties by an OL. You can’t run the ball in RedZone Tight in the NFL without good Guard play. Our Guard play was very, very poor in the running game last year (with EDS being by far our best).

        The interior OL should be improved. Now we need JW to consistently make the right play in the RZ, slightly improve his ball placement, and be more willing (as he was in 2015 and somewhat in 16) to make more plays with his feet down there. And we can’t have the other silly crap (eg a lazy Hands to the Face on a TD).

  5. 5

    Oberlon

    The completion percentages in the first table don’t agree with the cmp/att. For example: Jameis Winston, (22/44)*100 = 50% and (5/14)*100=35.7%. Similarly, all percentages are lower than the cmp/att given. The receiver percentages, however, are correct.

  6. 6

    Nobody

    Or against the Pats (after scoring in their lone RZ attempt earlier):

    – Trips Left winner vs Man. Brate runs a Bow and wins. JW reads it, ball placement perfect (low and away from defender).
    THUNK. Brate drops a crucial TD.

    Later in that same attempt.

    – JW scrambles for a 3 yard TD. NOPE. DSmith with a lazy Hands to the Face penalty negates the TD.

    Then we miss the chippy FG.

    THIS is how we were a bad RZ team last year. Not playcalling. Not gameplanning. We won CONSTANTLY in terms of playcall vs defense. Our execution in the RZ (typically just one guy) was horrific.

    As Monken says “bad football loses before good football wins.”

  7. 7

    Charlie

    This actually is a very well observed thought process as to why to why we aren’t having success. And no doubt I get on Jameis alot, but this is more coaching than it is on the players. And I say that really going to the fact that Dirk Koetter doesn’t have physical training camps. We’re fuckin soft when we need to be tough and we’re not playing to the essence of the game, or “staying true to the game” as coach Buck recently said. We need to be more physical at the point of attack on both sides of the ball, forget this finesse, precision type offense. It’s all bullshit.

  8. 8

    Horse

    Defense will be the difference I hope.
    Good analysis Trevor.

  9. 9

    surferdudes

    When the play caller is more concerned with securing three points instead of scoring six, you’re going to struggle in the red zone. Dirk was sooo predictable with his play selection down there it’s a wonder we scored any T.D.’s at all. Let’s see what Monken can up with, Dirks been rolling snake eyes.

      1. 9.1.1

        XpfcWintergreen2

        Koetter has said that he will continue to call the plays.

        A question is will he be better focused? Also, will he improve on other aspects of game management?

        A possible implication is that he found that he had “bitten off more than he could chew”. I have watched recent press conferences with Koetter and several of his coaches. I note that Monken as OC has taken some of the other responsibilities off Koetter’s plate. For instance, Todd will now do most of the “scripting” duties. He only generalized and said he would do whatever Koetter asked of him when he was asked whether he would have any responsibilities.

        Any other thoughts, anybody?
        _______________
        Go Bucs!!!!

        1. 9.1.1.1

          XpfcWintergreen2

          Meant to say “He only generalized and said he would do whatever Koetter asked of him when he was asked whether he would have any responsibilities regarding play calling.”

          Any other thoughts, anybody?

  10. 10

    Freeman Strickland

    You should run the numbers on TDs per RZ pass attempt. For TD per RZ pass attempt, Winston was among the best.

    But,his RZ pass attempt numbers were pretty low.

    As the Bucs were good at getting to the RZ, does that mean they ran too much in the RZ?

  11. 11

    Nobody

    The Bucs didn’t run too much in the Red Zone in 2017. Despite an extremely large number of box/play-side # advantages (which means the play call was a win), they ran too poorly in the Red Zone because of execution errors by (primarily but not exclusively) interior OL players (a hefty chunk on Pamphile).

    Again, play-calling was not the issue with our 2017 Red Zone (lack of) performance. It was insidious execution errors at the QB and interior OL positions with stray mis-reads by RBs, dropped TD passes (Brate with a few, Godwin with one), and really inexcusable penalties by OL (sometimes negating TDs such as Hands to the Face by DSmith).

  12. 12

    Mike.Seven

    To most surprise, I actually played the defence line in HS and college, my memory of 35 years ago is, even being in great shape I use to get so tired and gasp for air to point I was miserable. This team has a fast score Offence and high amount of turnovers and chains not moving, The defence wears down every game the other team defence get to rest more.
    All the talk and actions this offseason has been on defence, the problem is the Offence has the poor ball and clock control, and Jason Licht for some reason like fat Defence lineman and like to feed them unhealthy fatty food in the Bucs own training camp I was appalled watching Jamies Winston take a youtube tour of the “Bucs /Lubys cafeteria” Barbeque fried chicken etc etc! Using the 12th pick on a player that is fatter than Baker does not help, sorry
    There are a couple good Offence players out there free agents Bucs not even thinking about them, Sorry to say Byant and Peterson will land somewhere else and haunt Bucs. Fix the Offence and the defence will get better with some extra rest.

    1. 12.1

      scubog

      Mike, you can’t even spell it. It’s D-E-F-E-N-S-E, not D-E-F-E-N-C-E. LOL

      1. 12.1.1

        Mike.Seven

        scubog a spelling mistake using google voice to write makes the reply not true, as you see it all is good with Bucs- Winston to be MVP Superbowl this year, JPP and Fat Veta will both go pro bowl, the running game will be huge with skinny Ronald Jones to light it up 1500 yards , Defence fixed and Jason Licht to be honored with manager of the year award, and all will talk about how great his draft was for years. Mike Seven was wrong again he cannot spell. Mike Seven is so stupid he did not see the brilliant moves by this club last few months he thinks Bucs are are going to have a hard time with this easy schedule of 11 playoff teams and improved 49ers and Chicago. Mike Seven makes spelling mistakes he must no nothing about football !!!!! English and grammar are huge in football every one knows that. That’s why the top scouts go to the spelling bee every year to find new talent among the dorks.

        1. 12.1.1.1

          Horse

          Mike.Seven,. Don’t take it personal, Scubog is trying to be cute; he means well.

        2. 12.1.1.2

          Buc-n-Philly Fan

          You are really a joke of a fan. Take it personal from me. I AM calling you out. You are a troll trying to get folks to respond to you. Your criticism of a player by making personal attacks makes you a poor human. I really wish there was a way for you to be banned from posting here!

          1. 12.1.1.2.1

            Buc-n-Philly Fan

            And this was not meant for you Horse…I hope you know that!

    2. 12.2

      Dave

      Mike. Seven. Once again, nobody cares. You look for any reason you can to throw it in your comment, even ones that have absolutely NOTHING to do with defense, how much you think Vea sucks. You’re so predictable. So because you were a lineman in High School, that means you think you know how to evaluate college defensive lineman? Lol that’s like saying that because I played pitcher in littl league, that gives me the knowledge to evaluate the pitching prospects in the draft. Nope! It definitely doesn’t. You know as much about DLine prospects as I do, and I never played football. Your comments are getting played out dude. Enough is enough already

  13. 13

    Darin

    The Bucs red zone offense is the same as their normal offense. There’s no slants, shallow crosses etc in the game plan. For some reason Dirk doesnt like the underneath middle of the field. No idea why. The few passes Ive seen there have succeeded for the most part. And run some more draw plays! Those work too when youre passing the ball so much. Quiz for 36 I think it was, then Dirk scrapped the play for the rest of the year it seemed. He must correct the offense as a whole before the red zone offense improves.
    And hard not to say emulate the Pats or Eagles. How could you not like Pedersons play calling? The guy is one hell of an offensive mind. Theres more of them out there. If Dirk doesnt fix it let someone else. Smitty too. This team is too talented to be so bad

  14. 14

    JJ

    Are the pictures supposed to be still? Typically they’re small looping clips.

  15. 15

    Charlie

    So after reading the whole article in its entirety, still gotta ask why isn’t there anything in it about running the ball?🙃

    1. 15.1

      scubog

      Exactly Charlie! The lack of a legitimate running threat and often a total abandonment of it, sure made it easier on the defenders and much more difficult for “the good guys”. Combine that with a pathetic place kicker and you end up “five dash eleven”.

    2. 15.2

      Mike.Seven

      Charlie, They feel they have it all under control Barber should get them 300 or a posible 400 hundred yards and if they can get the ball into 2 round draft pick Jones hands 100 -120 times he should get them 350 to 400 yards. No worries Charlie they have it all under control, If last years 1 st pick OJ the Juice can duplicate his powerhouse stats from last year 26 Rec for
      432 yards then all they need is for Evans to pick up the slack like last year. Why would they want upset that apple cart?

      1. 15.2.1

        chefboho

        It’s good that we always have you on here to help this squad out. I’ll talk to koetter later and make sure he listens to you since you obviously have it all figured out. As always thanks for the informative posts bud lol

        1. 15.2.1.1

          Mike.Seven

          Hey, its chefbohoho I know getting a real running back is a bad idea.
          Barber and Jones will be fantastic! Go Bucs

          1. 15.2.1.1.1

            makski

            We have a real RB. AP is all washed up and much older than when he was actually a good player. Also, why would you want Bryant? M Evans is better and younger than him anyway. If he was so good, he wouldn’t still be a free agent.

  16. 16

    kram0789

    It all starts with better practices. We hear how Brady demands that the ball never hit the dirt. We get that type of focus in practice and better execution will show up in games.

  17. 17

    Charlie

    Yeah we need to have contact in training camp, but since that’s not going to happen. I’m preparing myself for another crap year. That’s just embarrassing and astonishing at the same time.

  18. 18

    Dman

    In the passing game we just ned to be more creative. We don’t fool anybody and if the timing is off or a route goes sour the ball gets tossed out of bounds. In the running game, I’d love to line up Vita in the backfield. His high school video running the ball is awesome!!!!

  19. 19

    owlykat

    Charlie you are right that Koetter is making a big mistake not having more physical practices in training camp. However almost all the NFL Teams last year had a lot more injuries like we did, and we have more depth this year thanks to Licht, that we should be able compensate better than last year so I don’t expect 5-11 again despite the pansy practices except we could be in real trouble if PFF and Spense both go down.

  20. 20

    fredster

    I think it’s a mix of things that cause the red zone woes.

    In no particular order:

    Winston’s accuracy
    O line play overall
    Lack of run game ( o line and RB both to blame.)
    Play calling (too predictable at times which happens with lack of run game)
    Execution by whole team and WR too and penalties

  21. 22

    Mike.Seven

    ? for makski Who is the real Running Back this year? Who will gain 900 – 1200 yards on the ground this year if not one which 2 combined will run 1000 yards?

    1. 22.1

      Sneedy16

      Who know’s? Last year no one thought Kareem Hunt would get the rushing title or Alvin Kamara getting over 1,600 all purpose yards. Why would the Bucs sign wished up players like Dez Bryant who haven’t had a 1,000 yard season in 4 years or Adrian Peterson who haven’t last a full season in 2 years? Which one you wan’t to take up rosters space?

  22. 23

    bEubanks11

    Trevor, do you believe Winston has a quick enough release to be successful on the RZ zone beater, flood routes? Wentz’s looked to be throwing darts out there but Jamies has a bit of a wind up. I admit I haven’t watched much Wentz film but wow, there’s a little A-Rod in him.

  23. 24

    Lorenzo

    What stood out the most to me when watching your selected clips was the difference in how well covered the receivers were for the bucs vs the eagles and saints receivers. In all the clips you showed of Tampa every guy was smothered. If not for a great throw and catch there would not have been a TD. Compared to the Wentz throws where his receiver at least had a step. Still required a great read and react on his part but at least the guy was “open”. Same with the saints clip. This tells me the defense knows what’s coming. The bucs were either too predictable or were tipping. I’d lean toward blaming Koetter for this but it could very well be a function of him working with Winston’s limitations. In any case, getting in the end zone ultimately falls on Koetter. Not that I wanted him to be fired but I was shocked he wasn’t. This was the biggest let down from last season, failing to get six. Say what you want about the defense. Ya it sucked. But the offense had all the resources put into it. There was no excuse for them to underperfom as bad as they did. This HAS to get fixed or everyone is gonna get canned. Maybe even Licht which I think would be a shame. Other than the steaming pile that he produced heading into 2016 and the Lovie FA influence, he’s killed it.

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