Improving The Passing GameJuly 1st, 2014
Joe gets a kick out of those who somehow embrace the corpse of Woody Hayes and have somehow convinced themselves that a team can win a Super Bowl with a lousy quarterback.
These people believe the Bucs could make the playoffs with the equivalent of Doug Martin starting at quarterback. How do people dream up this gibberish?
The naive and shallow thinkers point to the Seahawks and jump up and down screaming, “Defenses win championships!” Yet somehow they conveniently ignore the fact that without quarterback Russell Wilson, the Seahawks would never have made it to the Super Bowl; as if Wilson is somehow Kellen Clemens. Wilson is a damn fine quarterback.
Defensive teams with bad quarterbacks just don’t fare well in the playoffs, if they make the playoffs. Haven’t we learned that first-hand with Father Dungy?
Don’t believe Joe. Feel free to read the words from Buccaneers.com multimedia maven himself, Scott Smith, who types how the Bucs’ passing attack must turn things around for a postseason run this fall.
The Buccaneers ranked 29th in the NFL in completion percentage in 2013 (56.6 percent), ahead of only the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets. Of the bottom 15 teams in the NFL in that category last year, only one made the playoffs, and that was the San Francisco 49ers, a team that relied on great defense and a running threat at quarterback. That’s great work if you can get it, but for the most part you’re going to have to complete 60% of your passes to have a chance in the NFL.
Let’s be clear: This is not an indictment of Mike Glennon. Glennon completed 59.4% of his passes in his 13 starts, which isn’t great but is certainly respectable for a rookie thrown into a particularly difficult situation. Josh Freeman started the first three games and had a startling 45.7% completion rate, making it difficult for Glennon to get that team percentage up.
That said, 2013 was an extremely bad year for the Buccaneers in terms of completion percentage, when allowing for the ever-increasing prevalence of the passing game in the NFL. The Bucs’ 56.6% completion rate was the 14th best in team history, which doesn’t sound bad until one realizes that all 10 of the top spots on the list are occupied by teams since 1999. The game has changed significantly. In 1979, the Buccaneers won the NFC Central division and made it to the conference championship game while completing 42.2% of their passes. It’s true that this total was the league’s worst, but only 11 teams in the league completed even 55% of their passes that year. Only two of the top eight teams in completion percentage made the playoffs that year. Last year, the three top teams on that list made the playoffs.
And yes, the NFL is a different league than it was in 1979. A far cry in fact.
But Smith offered a salve to soothe the wounds of the miserable Bucs passing attack in 2013, and it’s the combination of Jeff Tedford and Josh McCown. Shoot, odds are good the Bucs improve at least a little in passing only because of so many upgrades in personnel and coaching (hopefully.) What we don’t know about Tedford is whether he can be the Bucs’ version of Marc Trestman, a quarterback/offensive guru, who brought a career best from McCown through five starts last year in Chicago.
The only thing we can pretend to know about the current Tedford offense is that it is supposed to be “up-tempo.” Only time will tell.