About Those Short Third Down PassesDecember 18th, 2013
It drive fans up a tree and Joe is no different than those fans in this case. It was never more evident for the Bucs than last Sunday, when time and again Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon would throw to receivers well short of the first down markers.
Almost always, that’s a dead play waiting to happen. With smallish receivers like Tiquan Underwood and Chris Owusu, expecting them to break two or three tackles just to get to the first down marker is a virtual pipedream and, frankly, hangs receivers out to dry.
Today, Bucs commander Greg Schiano was asked about the short third down passes to nowhere in the 49ers loss, especially in the fourth quarter when the Bucs had a grand total of 105 seconds of possession, which is simply unacceptable for any football team on any level.
“Initial read of receivers not getting open is some of it,” Schiano explained of Glennon throwing short of the first down marker so often. “The initial read on a third-and-eight is going to be for more than eight and sometimes considerably more than eight. And usually the second read is going to be for the first down. So when you are throwing the ball to check downs or routes beneath the stick … that means everything was taken away above the stick or at the stick. [Throwing short] you give it a shot at least. It’s better than taking a sack or [throwing ball away] for no gain.”
How Schiano explained the short throws makes all the sense in the world and Joe doesn’t disagree with any of that. But here’s a novel concept for Bucs offensive coaches when they are devising game plans:
Don’t run any routes that are short of the first down! It’s really no more complex than that.
Joe can understand if the Bucs had (more) big receivers like Vincent Jackson or Anquan Boldin, Joe wouldn’t be so agitated with the short routes because guys that size can break a few tackles and fight for a first down.
This just in: The Bucs, aside from Jackson, would be hard-pressed to break a tackle if their careers depended upon it. Underwood and Owusu are smallish guys. Linebackers can snap these guys in half.