The Bucs were one of the most undisciplined teams in the league when head coach Bruce Arians came to Tampa Bay in 2019. With a decade-long history of beating themselves with penalties and turnovers, the Bucs appeared to kick that habit last year after a 20-19 loss at Chicago in Week 5.
Tampa Bay was flagged 11 times for 109 yards in that game and started the season with 42 penalties for 410 yards in the first five games – an average of 8.4 penalties for 82 yards per contest. The next week against the Packers, the Bucs played penalty-free for the first time in franchise history in a 35-10 victory.
Over the last 11 games of the regular season, Tampa Bay only registered 42 penalties for 305 yards – an average of 3.8 penalties for 27.7 yards per game.
While old habits die hard, the Bucs’ bad habit of committing penalties has resurfaced in 2021. Tampa Bay has once again reclaimed the top spot as the most penalized team in the league after Week 3.
Tampa Bay has a league-high 27 penalties for 230 yards. That’s an average of nine penalties for 76.7 yards per game.
Just how disappointed is Arians in Tampa Bay’s resurgence of penalties?
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“Very,” Arians said. “When you get 30 guys back and you’ve already corrected it for one year, you would anticipate it being corrected the second year, but it hasn’t. One of the things we’ve really talked about a lot in our team meetings is why. We’ve got to get it stopped. The only people who are going to get it stopped, especially the pre-snap penalties, are us.”
Eleven of the Bucs’ 27 penalties this year have been pre-snap infractions. The Bucs have had six false starts, three offsides calls, one neutral zone infraction and one delay of game.
Tampa Bay committed seven penalties for 41 yards in Sunday’s 34-24 loss to the Rams in Los Angeles. Last week in a 48-25 win against the Falcons, the Bucs had nine penalties for 83 yards. Tampa Bay opened the season against Dallas with a season-high 11 penalties for 106 yards in a 31-29 victory.
The Bucs have been flagged 30 times this year, second-most in the league behind the Chargers (32). Tampa Bay has had two penalties declined and one penalty offset.
CBs Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean and TE Rob Gronkowski each have three penalties this year to lead the team. Davis has accumulated a team-high 37 penalty yards on a facemask, an unnecessary roughness call and pass interference. Dean has been flagged for defensive holding, pass interference and a facemask. Gronkowski has been penalized three times – once for holding, a false start and offensive pass interference.
Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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