It’s Execution

December 23rd, 2020

Bucs coach Bucco Bruce Arians.

A lot of folks, Joe included, have written a lot about the Bucs’ painfully slow starts that have tripped the team up and likely will doom them in the playoffs if they continue.

The impotent offense in the first quarter is downright embarrassing compared to some teams.

So yesterday, Bucs coach Bucco Bruce Arians was asked about the slow starts. Since the beginning of November, the Bucs have only scored one touchdown in the first quarter. That’s a seven-game stretch.

Arians said it’s the entire offense that is out of whack to start games, not just one or two guys.

“It’s just flat execution – all 11 guys,” Arians said. “If it was just one guy, we’d bench him, but it’s different guys at different times on different drives. Whether it’s the middle of the second quarter – where we’ve had some great second quarters – when everybody gets going, for me it’s just about winning. Yeah, I’d love to start faster, but as long as we win, I’m good.”

Of course, Bucs fans should have fun with that quote. It springs to mind the famous John McKay quote when the original Bucs coach was asked about the execution of his team after yet another loss. McKay, quicker than Scotty Miller, shot back, “I’m in favor of it.”

So by Arians’ count, team Glazer would have to hire a lot of executioners like Boris in “Blazing Saddles.”

Yeah, the wins are coming off teams that are either losers (Dixie Chicks) or are fighting for their playoff lives (Vikings). Against good teams (Saints, Rams, Chiefs), those slow starts bite the Bucs in the arse.

What makes Arians think his Bucs are going to play lousy teams in the playoffs?

But Arians sort of reinforces what Joe likes to say: “Winning is the greatest perfume.”

Joe has concluded this is what the 2020 Bucs are. Playing lights out in the second half after another listless first half saves the team from the jaws of defeat. Can they do that in January? Only time will tell.

32 Responses to “It’s Execution”

  1. Leighroy Says:

    It could be worse…. Steelers have the exact same issue and are loosing to the likes of the Bungles and “The Football Team.” Remember 3 weeks ago when they seemed like a juggernaut? At least the Bucs are completing their comebacks as you note Joe.

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I’ve been posting for weeks about this…..most are blaming play calls & coaching….but it’s been Brady’s shaky starts coupled with drops from backs….

    I do believe that there have been some faulty defensive gameplans….

    One positive note and you can credit coaching for this….Bucs have successfully cleaned up their propensity for penalties on both sides of the ball.

  3. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    That sounds like putting lipstick on a pig, is still a pig and ugly. If they could win ugly against God teams then it would be palatable, but they’ve flat out came out looking like pee wee football players against even bad teams. That statement by coach Arrogance shows he takes no responsibility for the teams short comings because the eye test shows it’s just not the players but also the one script he and Bowels use against every team we play whether good or bad then they wait an entire half in order to correct that script. You all derided Lovie Smith for his coach my scheme mentality well coach Arrigance is the same, his only saving grace is he has a much better roster and the GOAT and Loveless Lovie didn’t

  4. Tampabucfan88 Says:

    Lol I I love that movie I always wondered why are they hanging the horse

  5. lambeau Says:

    I disagree–unimaginative play-calling can look like poor execution.
    There are no surprises or creative scheming like KC does–defenses are ready.
    Imagine Andy Reid with the Bucs’ taent–they’d have the bye.
    BA is not putting guys in the best position to succede.

  6. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    good point TBBF about cleaning up penalties. And yes, when you go look at recent games, its everyone. But Brady is a contributor every game with an over throw or an errant one. So bad that you watch it go go WTF was that?! The GOAT threw that? Was he hit? Did he step in a hole as he threw?

    BUT, it is ALSO the play calling. Rarely is one person the problem. Our play calling is predictable at times, IMO. I guess you could say the same about the defensive play calling in the beginning of games. Things sure change in the second half.

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    How do overthrows of wide open receivers and multiple drops of screen passes from RBs get blamed on the play call?

  8. Acyrocks Says:

    In a work place, if everyone in a group underperforming, then the leader of the group will be fired. If every player is flat, then clearly to me it is couch’s fault. If both offense and defense are bad then it’s head coach’s fault.

  9. 813bucboi Says:

    Tampabaybucfan Says:
    December 23rd, 2020 at 8:08 am
    I’ve been posting for weeks about this…..most are blaming play calls & coaching….but it’s been Brady’s shaky starts coupled with drops from backs….


    Like you TBBF, i’ve been saying the same thing….its execution NOT playcalling….

    but watch the clueless still blame the wrong person in their search for a scapegoat….

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  10. AlteredEgo Say: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Channeling Tony Dungy ?

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    Yes ‘time will tell’ Joe, but time isn’t on the side of Bruce Arians’ offense. He’s been HC for 4 playoff games: 1 win & 3 losses.

    o 2012 Colts: Lost to the Ravens 24-9 in their Wildcard game. Ravens scored first; Colts scored 3 FGs total.

    o 2014 Cards: Lost to the Panthers 27-16 in their Wildcard game. Panthers were ahead 10-0 at end of 1st qtr … lost by 9 pts.

    o 2015 Cards: Beat the Packers 26-20 in their Wildcard game. Cards were ahead 7-0 at end of 1st qtr. Game tied 20-20 at end-of-regulation but Cards won in OT with a Palmer TD pass to Fitzgerald.

    o 2015 Cards: Lost to the Panthers again 49-15 in their Conference Championship game. Cards were behind 17-0 at the end of the 1st qtr … never caught up obviously.

    In all 4 of those playoff games, team that scored first won. BA’s offense scored a total of 66 pts in 4 games … 16.5 PPG average. Slow starts and low point production pretty much doom you in most playoff games. But of course it’ll be different this year.

  12. Jaymiss Pick6 Again Says:

    Nice Boris reference!

  13. Alanbucsfan Says:

    OLine production = running game production which leads to passing game efficiency
    DLine pressure leads to more effective secondary – White sitting in zone doesn’t work.
    If Brady starts slow, then run the ball effectively – when Bucs don’t run ball in 1st half , 3 and out.

  14. Bobby M. Says:

    I think they all know to win in the playoffs you have to be consistently playing well for all 4 qtrs. Most of our players view probably view getting in the playoffs a big victory in itself…..I’m sure they would like to go deep but we play more like a team just happy to get in vs a team contending for a championship.

    As a bucs fan….its progress and i’ll take it, especially with the offseason and year we’ve had. My expectations were never about winning the SB. For me it was about giving ourselves a chance at one which starts with making the playoffs. Once in, anything can happen but i think this team will be better positioned to make a push next year. There’s just been too many Covid hurdles to contend with this year for a team needed to build chemistry.

  15. Casual Observer Says:

    Some good points made here. Like the reduction of flags. We need less predictability on O and D schemes. Probably need to blitz more. Hope some of the coaches read this blog.

  16. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Sure, the coaches are to blame for some of this….but certainly, they have tried everything to fix it to no avail….except for going out on the field to play instead of the players…

    Missed tackles, blocks….overthrows……drops……that’s poor execution….

  17. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    Tampabaybucfan Says:

    “How do overthrows of wide open receivers and multiple drops of screen passes from RBs get blamed on the play call?”

    didn’t say that. Those things are separate from play calling. IMO, play calling is a contributing factor, just as dropped passes are and overthrows. I like to use the Rams game as an example. How do the Rams fly down the field vs our defense on every possession and the Bucs offense goes 3 and out every possession in the first half? Play calling contributes.

    As an example, the right play calling could possibly get Brady in a rhythum, maybe using shorter passes, and reduce the overthrows (I do not think play calling can help Rojo catch the ball…). Better run design could free Rojo. Look at the 49ers. They have no QB and the are very difficult to stop on the run.

  18. Defense Rules Says:

    TBBF & 813bucboi … I’m still of the opinion that it’s BOTH, play-calling AND execution (and not JUST on Brady’s part), that’s hurting us early in games. Our running game has far too many minimal gains on 1st down, setting us up for a 2nd down pass that oftentimes leaves us with a 3rd-and-long … almost always a pass. Brady has been terrible in the 1st half passing for 1st downs IMO, largely because guys aren’t getting open fast enough AND the opposing DLine is teeing off in those situations.

    The Atlanta game was a good example if you look at the box-score.

    o 1st Bucs drive (1st qtr – 2:53 TOP … 0 runs, 5 passes, 26 yds, PUNT). After the 1st 2 passes got a 1st down, Brady’s 3rd pass was incomplete, his 4th pass was MINUS 8 yds to Fournette then on the resultant 3rd-and-18 he threw complete to McCoy for 14 yds … PUNT.

    o 2nd Bucs drive (1st qtr – 3:29 TOP … 3 runs, 3 passes, 14 yds, PUNT). After the 1st 3 plays (Run, Pass, Run) got a 1st down, Fournette got 1 yd on a 1st down run, then Brady completed a 2-yd pass on 2nd down leaving a 3rd-and-7. Brady pass then was incomplete to Brown … PUNT.

    o 3rd Bucs drive (2nd qtr – 1:40 TOP … 3 passes, MINUS 1 yds, PUNT). Pass incomplete on 1st-and-10, then pass complete to ME13 for 7 yds. On 3rd-and-3 Brady dropped back to pass and was sacked … PUNT.

    o 4th Bucs drive (2nd qtr – 4:04 TOP … 2 runs, 7 passes, 24 yds, PUNT). Bucs got 3 first downs in succession (all by converting on 2nd down). Made it all the way to the Atlanta 44 then … Brady deep pass on 1st down was incomplete; on 2nd down they ran Vaughn over RG for 1 yd; then on 3rd-and-9 Brady was sacked again as he dropped back to pass … PUNT.

    o 5th Bucs drive (2nd qtr – 0:15 TOP … 1 run, aka kneeldown). End of half.

    So in that 1st half, Bucs had 24 plays plus 4 punts … 0 pts produced. Bucs’ offense ate up 12:21 TOP but netted only 61 yds of total offense and only got into Falcons’ territory once. We had 3rd-and-long 3 times and failed to convert on all 4 3rd down opportunities. Brady was sacked TWICE on those 3rd down opportunities, completed 1 pass for 14 yds (that wasn’t enough for a 1st down), and threw 1 incomplete.

    Defense for their part started off bad (1st drive TD), but then held for 2 series (forcing PUNTS), but then gave up 10 more pts in the 1st half on 2 LONG drives (10 plays & 13 plays) leaving us behind 17-0 at the end of the half. On those 2 LONG drives, Falcons had 4 runs for 9 yds total. Ryan was 14-for-16 passing (all but 1 short) UNTIL Bucs’ defense forced 2 incomplete short passes and the Falcons kicked a 32-yd FG. Saving those 4 pts proved to be quite important in the final score.

  19. Ftmyersbuc Says:

    To everyone blaming the coaching for the terrible 1st half, go to reddit r/buccaneers and you’ll see the post of the complete breakdown ofv every offensive play on all 22 with video. It’s titled oc leftwich unlocks offense. I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend taking 10 minutes and at least reading and watching the 1st half. You will not be disappointed. It’s not coaching or scripting. The play calling and route concepts were good against the falcons D. Execution by Brady, Wells, Jensen (twice), fournette, cappa. Yea BA is right you can’t bench all of them lol. The only real issue is coming out and running with 6 OL 2Te 1wr 1 rb sets. It condenses the defense into the box guaranteeing you get at least a 7 or 8 man box to run against with no fullback or lead blocker. Spoiler alert you get a 1 yd gain almost every time. However the do throw out of that formation as well and its very effective. Showing BA is kind of sacrificing the run for the pa pass to be more effective. Read his breakdown of each play vs the falcons D.

    HossYJuke is his username

  20. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    Thanks for your excellent detailed analysis…..

    When it comes to playcalling, it’s difficult to know if it’s the call or the execution…..
    For example…..our runs up the middle on first downs are usually stuffed no matter where we are on the field……likely because we are predictable and teams know we want to run.
    I’ve been advocating more play action on 1st downs to counter this…..but not deep pass play action…..shorter, more simple passes.
    We also rarely pass on 2nd & short and that is the perfect time to pass.

    So, I agree…..the playcalling is lacking sometimes…..but I believe the overriding factor here is poor execution…….weak run blocking…..receivers not getting open early…..dropped passes….and Brady off target…

    The silver lining is the lack of turnovers and sacks with Brady’s game…..last year Winston had 41 turnovers (I believe) with 47 sacks…….This year Brady has had 12 turnovers (1 fumble fault shared with Rojo) with only 19 sacks.

  21. Will Says:

    I would say it more like slow starts for all of them offense, defense, special teams(except the punter) and the coaches. These coaches do a fantastic job at halftime adjustments can we get that quicker heck I’d settle for one side of the ball adjusting way before halftime at this point. This team is capable of great things if they put together 60mins we’re gonna embarrass someone.

  22. Robert Says:

    bench the OC

  23. Robert Says:

    straight up the middle beginning every early drive with 10 in the box….lol

    even a screen would get flattened. and yeah TB has been responsible for a couple overthrows…….but it’s more on the OC imo

    i.e. TB fault like 20%, play calling 80%

  24. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    My solution to the 10 man boxes on 1st down is play action….

    It seems we are dead set on running on 1st down even knowing it will get stuffed……we need to make defenses worry about the run & the pass…..ergo… action.

  25. Robert Says:

    I’m all for PA, but not with 20 yard routes……can’t get the ball out in time…..hence the sacks.

  26. unbelievable Says:

    Every game starts the same way:

    – Repeatedly running up the gut on every single first down for no gain.

    – Brady simply missing receivers and throwing bad passes to RBs

    Not sure why it takes them so long to get going.

  27. Defense Rules Says:

    Ftmyersbuc … Really appreciate that reddit r/buccaneers link & analysis. Outstanding breakdown of each series that changed my mind about a couple of things that I thought I saw in Sunday’s game.

    Seems like the author puts most of the ‘blame’ for the poor 1st half results on the OLine. Neither run blocking nor pass protection got many kudos. Interesting comment about the poor HB screens occurring throughout the season (Fournette’s 8-yard loss killed the 1st drive). Good coverage by the Falcons stopped the 2nd drive on 3rd down, and then the lousy pass protection that led to sacks killed the 3rd & 4th drives on 3rd downs.

    3rd-and-longs are hard to convert in any event IMO, since the offense tends to be more predictable in terms of run vs pass (and especially the Bucs). All the more reason though to do better on 1st & 2nd downs to keep 3rd downs workable. Oh well, maybe against Detroit we’ll see some improvement in the 1st half.

  28. Defense Rules Says:

    TBBF … I agree with you that “it’s difficult to know if it’s the call or the execution”. Also agree that “the overriding factor here is poor execution” BUT in some cases meh play-calls earlier in the series (like the HB screen that lost 8 yards on the 1st drive Sunday?) are leading to 3rd-and-longs that we don’t seem to be very good at converting. Somehow someway Bucs’ offense AND defense need to come out with a greater sense of urgency at game start.

  29. Ericb Says:

    I do not like the oc play calling…theres no creativity….hardly any motions and RUN the ball!!! My god we have running backs that are very good…running opens up the box creating spacing for passes all the mean while keeping the opponent defense guessing….get the run game going control the time of the game con trol the game period. Situational football…clock managment is crucial.. we would of won the KC game if they controlled the clock at the end with 159 left instead of throwing the long bomb and getting an INT even if it didnt get Intercepted..that woukd of left plenty of time for Patty Mahom boy to march it down the field for a field goal…look at ATL all they do is throw the ball and cant win a game…yes we have great talent at WR but also great talent at RB ..balance the game…but the game is also 4qrts…many of times the pats were down going into the 2nd half and Brady comes back. GO BUCS!!!! ON TO PLAYOFFS

  30. Coburn Says:

    Still feels like a struggle between two philosophies to me. Every game seems we are coming out looking deep down field and getting our qb nearly killed. Then when that doesn’t work we go back to shorter chain moving stuff and it works

  31. Sourbob Says:

    Arians ” if it was one guy we would bench him” then why haven’t you benched SMB?

  32. Coburn Says:

    Was thinking the same sourbob. On offense that may be the case but in defense it is one or two guys generally