Better Preparation

July 18th, 2017

Starts need to improve. (Photo courtesy of

Joe used to catch so much flak from Bucs fans.

Back when Raheem Morris was head coach, the team always seemed woefully ill-prepared, especially Morris’ defenses. They almost always seemed to be trailing by two scores headed into halftime. To Morris’ credit, the team always bounced back, especially in 2010 (the last time the Bucs won 10 games) and had strong second halves — until the 10-game losing streak hit in 2011, ending Morris’ days with the Bucs.

Well, Joe has to be fair. If he was going to call out Morris for the Bucs having horrible starts to their games, then Joe must point out that if winning Bucs coach Dirk Koetter’s first season is a window into the future, he or his staff needs to either be better prepared or develop better gameplans.

In a breakdown of hidden treasures with each team, Aaron Schatz of, typing for BSPN, gives the Bucs props for having strong second halves (at the expense of poor starts to games).

Tampa Bay’s offense last year ranked 28th for the first half of games, but improved to sixth in the second half of games, including fifth in “late and close” situations (second half or overtime, score within eight points).

Joe will give Koetter some slack here. The Bucs had no running game to speak of last season and the team had Mike Evans at wide receiver and virtually no one else to keep opposing defensive coaches awake at night.

That stuff has to stop this season. By adding DeSean Jackson, O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin, there is simply no excuse for the Bucs to be ranked in the bottom rungs of the NFL for first-half offense. For this team to be in the playoffs, this must be resolved.

Whether that is better gameplans by Koetter or better preparation, Joe isn’t sure. At least, whatever is going wrong early in games, Koetter and his coaches did a nice job figuring things out on the fly and rallying.

13 Responses to “Better Preparation”

  1. Buccfan37 Says:

    The additions will erase the early fall behind problem. That will be made clearly evident right out the gate. Go Bucs!

  2. Jim Says:

    Didn’t Cam Brate lead the NFL last year in touchdowns for a tight end? No mention? And Ira has already explained why the Bucs’ offense too often got off to a bad start…

  3. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Jim – Joe mentioned Brate leading the league in TDs for a TE multiple times. It’s why they didn’t understand fans who wanted another TE like Howard but they’ve come around.

    We need to start better for sure. A lot is on Winston for his slow starts but I love that we are a top 5 offense in late and close situations. Those are the types of situations in which playoff games are typically won

  4. Jim Says:

    LC, that’s the point: Joe talks up Brate, but then forgets him when it’s convenient for his argument. Let’s just say the truth: Winston had two quality targets last year, not one.


    The team has definitely been refined this offseason with the slow start issues in mind. The new weapons on offense should make a huge difference in quarter one.

    The real linchpin in this whole year being better starts and ends with the o-line period! We have made changes to who lines up where and we are counting on last years signee to finally step up and contribute.

    All things considered we are definitely trending up coming out of the gate in 2017!!!


    GO BUCS!!

  6. Phil Says:

    Plus it was Koetter first year as head coach. I assume he has learned something and will do better in his second year.

  7. Bucnjim Says:

    First half of NFL games are tough on most teams. Unless you have Brady or Manning changing every play at the line of scrimmage teams scheme all week to stop their opponent out of the gate. Good teams will make adjustments throughout the entire game as to what the other team is trying to do on D.

  8. SOEbuc Says:

    Was Dirk’s rookie year with pretty much only Evans and Brate. Now he has a year under his belt with what could be considered one of the top receiving corps in the league. Also has a very good defensive veteran head coach running the D to hopefully get more defensive points and give the offense many more opportunities on the field. #10 DAYS!!! GO BUCS!!!

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Does anyone know the Jameis completion percentage in the first half vs the 2nd half……It seems to me that Jameis often is erratic to start the game.

  10. JimmyJack Says:

    A lot of it has to do with the running game. You have to try and establish a run early…….. No run game was a big reason for slow starts. If it gets better this year well score more in 1st halves.

    Another factor is Winston. In a previsous article Joe highlighted the 1st eight games as our worst 1st half efforts. Well gurss what? In four of those games Jamies was awful. Slow starts wont improve if your QB lays a egg.

  11. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Joe will give Koetter some slack here

    Amen Joe. And while like everybody I’m concerned about our starts I’m not terribly impressed with our finishes yet either.

    I’m getting old and senile and so I’ll let the junkies here who watch all of last year’s 16 games repeatedly report the specifics…but if I haven’t totally forgotten the season there were times last year when all we needed to do was burn some clock…much less kick a field goal or score a game clinching TD.

    I hope to have both in our quiver this year….fast starts and the ability to protect leads late and come back when called upon. We are simply a much better team.

  12. Lamarcus Says:

    It always helps when defenses can set the tone early

  13. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    The QB bears some responsibility as well.