First Quarter Struggles

August 26th, 2016
Rash of first quarter struggles.

Rash of first quarter struggles.

For over a year, Joe has heard constantly from Bucs coaches that the team needs a fast start on offense.

Those fast starts rarely occurred under Dirk Koetter.

Now, through two preseason games, the phrase “fast starts” is almost as commonplace at One Buc Palace as Lovie Smith’s kvetching about takeaways (but not quite as repetitive and annoying as Lovie’s “simple as that” mantra).

Whether these slow starts — thus far, a trademark of offensive coordinator turned head coach Koetter — is because of bad gameplanning or the quarterback is unknown. But Woody Cummings of WDAE-AM 620 took a deep dive in the first quarter numbers of America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, and they are not pretty.

The greater concern, though, is with Winston. A year ago Winston never performed any worse during a game than he did during the first 15 minutes, when his 54.9 completion percentage and 79.6 passer rating were the worst he posted in any quarter.

Not surprisingly, it was his first 10 throws of a game that Winston struggled with most last year, making good on just 57.5-percent of them (92-160) while compiling an 88.2 passer rating.

Regular readers know Joe thinks quarterback ratings are pure garbage. But the completion percentage is key — an ugly key.

In this year’s preseason opener at Philadelphia, Jameis was strong but the fast start never developed because he fumbled. Last week at Jacksonville, Jameis was McCown-like starting 0-for-6.

Some point to Jameis’ college days and say he was always a slow-starter. That’s hardly accurate. In his very first college game, broadcast on national TV in prime time, Jameis nearly pitched a perfect game in a rout of Pitt. In that same season, at Clemson, he guided Florida State to a 27-0 halftime lead. Against North Carolina State a few weeks later, Jameis pushed Florida State to a 35-0 first quarter lead.

Jameis has had a pattern of slow starts with incredible finishes. But Jameis is not playing Auburn any longer, he’s in the NFL. Strong if not crazy fourth quarters are the exception. You can’t bank on a come-from-behind win each week.

13 Responses to “First Quarter Struggles”

  1. Jeagan1999 Says:

    I think the key is going to be calling a few high percentage passes Jameis can use to build off of for the rest of the game. We all know he is a great passer when the game is on the line, but a faster start…and an improved defense….this year might be just the ticket to put our Bucs in the hunt for some port-season action. So come on Coach Koetter, load those 1st quarter play calls up with lots of early screens and check downs….then turn Jameis loose and let’s win 10 games this year!

  2. Bird Says:


  3. Kobe Faker Says:

    Great posts above! We need quick slant rub routes, screens

    High probability success routes to get jaboo in rhythm

    Attack the weakest coverage defenders. Linebacker/safety

    Get sims in the slot and put pressure instantly and openings for the other recievers

  4. BuccoDav Says:

    What we need are takeaways early. That will provide us with a fast start. Simple as that.
    Johnthan Banks? Yeah, I think Jenkins will be real solid for us…

    LS press conference.

  5. phreakybucfan Says:

    Considering his baseball background, maybe he just needs more warm-up time. Do the equivalent of a bullpen session pregame?

  6. Bob in valrico Says:

    James’s early passes are often high.Try to work Evans,VJAX,and
    ASJ in on shorter slants and receiver screens and screens to Sims.Martin on short passes to Martin over the middle.Running
    most ly on first two downs has been too predictable.
    Still agree with Hawaiian,Jameis appears to be getting amped up in the pre game huddle.

  7. Buccfan37 Says:

    Anything to break the cycle of losing will be an upgrade. You can’t be a winner when you always trail in games. The Bucs ahead in a game is a rare thing.

  8. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I really think he is too hype before a game. I love his pre game speeches (what is better than his Jacksonville pre game speech where he said “momma made the grits, we have to eat!”?), but it might not be what is best for him at this point in his career. Hard part is, those speeches are who he is, and it’s awfully difficult to tell him to stop. I think it’s going to have to come from him, which is doubtful. I think as his career matures, he will learn how to control his emotions, but we all forget he’s only 22 years old.

  9. BringBucsBack Says:

    High percentage throws sound nice but, wasn’t his first NFL throw to the flat “high presentage”? … His first pass against Carolina?…a few other picks, short and/or in the flat? How about throwing to an open receiver, if one’s not there, run or eat it; it’s better than a turnover. An early sense of urgency might also help, no? Yes, even Jameis has to perform better!

  10. BringBucsBack Says:

    That’s high “percentage”. A presentage measures the likelihood, rate or proportion per hundred, of an individual to receive a present.

    There, I made a singlet, one of you old-schoolers call Rich Hall for me!

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    I wonder if opposing teams have figured out yet that Jameis starts slow. And have to wonder if they’ve figured out yet that ‘high percentage passes’ in his case aren’t 20-30 yds downfield … they’re slants and screens mostly. Might make it easier to come up with an INT early-on perhaps? Nothing wrong with running the ball early, as long as our OLine can actually run-block (gives Jameis time to settle in?). Once the tempo’s set and the ‘bad guys’ are off-balance, perfect time to open it up and take advantage. It’ll be interesting to see how Dirk Koetter play-calls to try to get Bucs into a groove earlier.

  12. feelthepewterpower Says:

    test – tried to initially post a comment (twice)…not going through…

  13. feelthepewterpower Says:

    have no idea why it’s being censored, Joe lol