Buccaneers Offense Anemic, Ranked Last In NFL
While Greg Schiano spent the bulk of his time with the defense in training camp, everyone on the outside felt pretty good about the prospects for the offense. After all, Josh Freeman was entering his fourth season and there was Mike Sullivan from the Giants, Eli Manning’s coach, to polish him and install an offense that would take advantage of some new weapons in Buccaneerland.
The team spent an armored car full of money to bring in Vincent Jackson to be a difference-maker at the wide receiver position and surely that would make life easier for Mike Williams, not to mention Freeman.
Add a snazzy, shifty, darting runner from Boise State named Doug Martin, throw in the beast that is Carl Nicks at left guard to play alongside Donald Penn and no doubt, this offense would blossom.
Through the first three games, it is wilting.
It is anemic and it ranks dead-last, yes 32nd in a field of 32 NFL teams in total offense.
It is a predictable offense. Run on first down and don’t do anything fancy, send Martin crashing between the tackles.
Note to Schiano: when NFL defenses know you’re going to run, they can stop you.
Opposing defenses don’t have to be Rhodes Scholars to figure out the Buccaneers. There’s nothing imaginative, there’s no motion, no deception, no element of surprise.
Which leads us to the question: Does the run set up the passing game or does the passing game set up the running game?
This is sort of the old “chicken or the egg” when it comes to this Buccaneer offense.
Martin has 214 yards after 63 carries and LeGarrette Blount has touched the ball just seven times in three games and churned out a whopping 27 yards. It seems Blount is about as popular with Schiano as a bottle of whiskey at an AA meeting. He’s simply persona-non-grata in Schiano’s world.
The lack of splash running plays has put Freeman in a bad situation on third downs.
Note to Schiano: when NFL defenses know you’re going to pass, they’ll stop you more often than not.
That’s been the case with the Bucs, they’ve converted only 10 of 39 third down situations through the first three games.
They’re averaging a meager 243.7 yards per game, and one problem is they are third from the bottom in the number of offensive plays run with 169. Only Jacksonville (167) and Tennessee (162) are worse.
What this fourth-class offense does is put extreme pressure on the defense, which has now had a key ingredient taken away with Adrian Clayborn’s season-ending knee injury. What the low-octane offense means is that the Bucs need to play a nearly perfect game without penalities and they cannot afford even one turnover.
How’s that for pressure?
Put this one on Schiano. He’s the boss, he’s the one who wants it this way.
This isn’t the leather-helmet era of football and this ain’t Rutgers.
Note to Schiano: you’re not going to line up, run it up the middle and blow the others guys off the line of scrimmage.
Schiano needs to take the handcuffs off Freeman and let him be the play-making, athletic quarterback of 2010.
You want athletic? Take a look at Robert Griffin III and the Redskins when they invade Raymond James on Sunday.
The Redskins rank sixth in overall offense and Griffin III ranks first in creating excitement.
Fact is the Bucs need to get rid of their “predictablity” factor of this season is going to be light in the win column.