2015 Bucs: Just How Good Can This Group Be?Matt SteinOct 12, 2015 4:53pm(Photos courtesy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers)The Buccaneers entered the 2015 season with high hopes that they could turn around a 2-14 record from a year ago into a playoff berth, but five weeks in it is still unclear just how good this group can be.Tampa Bay is 2-3 in their first five games, and just snapped what was an 11-game losing streak at Raymond James Stadium with a 38-31 victory over Jacksonville Sunday. Out of their three losses, though, two of them are almost solely to blame on their own missed opportunities and mistakes.They simply looked underprepared in the season opener vs. Tennessee, but four missed kicks by Kyle Brindza and four interceptions thrown by Jameis Winston cost Lovie Smith's squad wins in Weeks 3 and 4, respectively, and from potentially being 4-1 heading into the bye week.This past Sunday, though, there was finally a clear glimpse of what this team can be when they're playing mostly sound fundamental football. They weren't without mistakes in the defensive backfield in the win, but special teams and the run game led the charge.Connor Barth was a pleasant surprise is his season debut back with the Bucs, as he finished 3-for-3 in field goal attempts, 3-for-3 in extra point attempts, and with five of his eight kickoffs resulting in touchbacks."It was exciting to watch, to say the least, to put it mildly," Smith said. "What a homecoming, a welcome back and all that. There's a lot on the kicker, to perform when his number is called. He stepped up to the plate big-time."All three running backs - Doug Martin, Charles Sims and Bobby Rainey - shined as well. Martin rushed for 123 yards (24 carries) and had 35 receiving yards (3 catches), Sims had 51 rushing yards (12 carries) and 85 receiving yards (4 catches) and Bobby Rainey had three punt returns for a total of 85 yards, including a 58-yard return early in the second quarter.Overall, the Bucs scored 38 points, their most since November 17, 2013 vs. Atlanta (41). The defense, despite giving up 31 points, wasn't slouching either, as they were able to keep the momentum on their side after forcing a three-and-out (one of four on the day) in Jacksonville's first series after taking a 3-0 lead five minutes into the first quarter.The fact that the Bucs were able to do all of this with Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans combining for just 55 receiving yards (4 catches) shows just how dangerous this offense can be.The offensive line has had a big part to do with this as well, as they've performed above the level many thought they would play at. The coaches have been surprised, though."They are meeting our expectations. I don't see how you can exceed expectations," Smith said. "They're meeting [them]. This is what we expected them to do. This is what their talent says they should do."Tampa Bay should only get better in time as well as key players start to return from injury, including Demar Dotson, Akeem Spence and Austin Seferian-Jenkins.Some critics might think that the performance against the Jaguars Sunday was a fluke - which we'll have to wait two more weeks to find out when they head to square off with Washington - but, more likely than that, it was a snapshot of how good this team can be when they're not beating themselves up and falling behind early.One of the key elements, of course, is going to be the continued developement of Winston in his rookie season, but there's probably not a guy in the Bucs locker room that works harder than him to try and get better each and every week.link
“They are meeting our expectations. I don’t see how you can exceed expectations,” Smith said. “They’re meeting [them]. This is what we expected them to do. This is what their talent says they should do.”... Just How Good Can This Group Be? We will never find out under Lovie Smith.
Viewing 1 reply thread
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
PewterReport.com prides itself on being the most complete, comprehensive news source covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and delivering inside scoop on the team found nowhere else.