Chasing Balance, Avoiding Chaos

September 29th, 2022

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It’s early, but a concerning trend is developing for the 2022 Buccaneers.

Throughout their 2-1 start, the Bucs are playing suffocating defense to compensate for a plodding attack. If you didn’t know better, you’d think it’s 1999 all over again.

A throwback feeling surrounds One Buc Palace, writes Ira Kaufman.

That was the season Tampa Bay finished 11-5, despite averaging 16.9 points per game, 27th in the league. Led by NFL Defensive Player of the Year Warren Sapp, the Bucs yielded only 14.7 points per game.

That was also the year when Buc defenders would routinely challenge Trent Dilfer and Shaun King, “Give us 17 points and we’ll take care of the rest.”

Not so fast.

In half of their 18 games that year, including the postseason, the 1999 Bucs couldn’t reach that rather modest threshold. Tight end Dave Moore, the team’s current savvy radio analyst, led the team with five TD catches.


So let’s enter the time machine and transport to 2022. After three weeks, these Bucs are averaging 17 points, 22nd in the league. They are 27th in total yards, despite Tom Brady taking every snap. Still say Bruce Arians isn’t missed?

Meanwhile, the defense has been downright sensational, allowing 27 points.

Unified Front

Todd Bowles didn’t bite when I asked whether the offense is feeling an extra burden heading into Sunday’s Week 4 matchup against K.C.

“I don’t think they are,” Bowles said. “We’ve got to straighten some things out and we’ve got to click. There’s a lot of football to be played. It’s early in the season. We want that trend to get better and I think it will get better.”

Getting Mike Evans back in Week 4 will surely help the cause. Chris Godwin and Julio Jones are close to returning and that’s comforting news for a frustrated Brady, who readily admits his unit isn’t holding up its end.

How bad has it been? Very bad.

Third down has been a disaster area, with a 28.6 percent conversion rate that ranks 28th. Here’s some perspective: while the Bucs have converted 12-of-42 opportunities on the money down, Washington is 20-for-42.

That’s correct, Carson Wentz’s group is out dueling Brady’s bunch when it counts.

Some of these numbers are crazy. For instance, the Bucs have managed 50 first downs — two less than Lovie Smith’s Texans. The running game has disappeared the past two games, averaging only 2.4 yards per carry in that span.

The Bucs are tied with the Broncos for fewest offensive touchdowns. At this point, Ryan Succop may be Tampa Bay’s most accomplished player who doesn’t play defense.

Ira Kaufman calls for changes from the guys running the offense.

Instead of throwing tablets, Brady needs to be throwing down with Byron Leftwich, forging a more creative game plan.

Brady’s history suggests this offense will come around, perhaps as early as Sunday. Complementary football figures to return to One Buc Place, but Derrick Brooks remembers a time when it didn’t. Those 1999 Bucs somehow remained tight through the tough times.

“It’s a dangerous territory,” Brooks said. “I was on a lot of teams where defensively we carried, but at the same time, we had to stay supportive because you can’t let that be divisive.”

Bowles has his antenna up. Any sign of finger pointing will be dealt with — swiftly and authoritatively.

Until balance is restored, mum’s the word.

Ira loves that lifetime warranty on new and used vehicles!

14 Responses to “Chasing Balance, Avoiding Chaos”

  1. Mike Says:

    Offensive game plan and offensive execution to this point. We need to be more unpredictable and execute better. Better scheming for our WR’s to get some easy yards.

  2. D-Rok Says:

    More “easy” yards like slants and screens, if you please.

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    It certainly looks like our kickers have been the most important part of our offense…..

    Succop has been solid……and Camarda has helped our defense by giving us great field position……wow….that dude can hang-em-high!!!

  4. zzbuc Says:

    Not so sure I agree with this Ira….

    When you have several injuries on the same position, you have a problem, that’s exactly what happened last year and DID NOT happen on the SB year.

    That being said the Bucs are 2/1,with several Injuries and most of Bucs fans were pretty happy two months ago with that record.

    I would be concerned if this offense does not change when ME13 CG14 Julio and donnie comes back, so we need a couple of more games to see where we stand when injured players are back.

    Don’t eat dinner before breakfast, let’s time do the speaking.

  5. geno711 Says:

    Coaching makes a difference. Bruce Arians offensive mind is missed IMO.

  6. Cobraboy Says:

    Shaun King. Trent Dilfer. Tom Brady.

    Incredibly, all three are mentioned in one article about offensive ineffectiveness.

    What if what we’ve seen that last three weeks IS the state of the Bucs offense? NOTHING about the Bucs O has been even marginally impressive or even adequate. Not even Brady.

    What if this is ’99 redux?

  7. gotbbucs Says:

    Brady will go rogue and call his own plays at the line before he sits and waits for the ship to sink with Leftwich at the wheel.

    We finally get the defense where it needs to be and now Mr. Sluggo Leftwich threatens to waste this opportunity. The daycare for wannabe NFL coaches that Arians was running needs to be thinned down into an actual functioning unit now. There’s no time for learning on the job anymore.

  8. Kentucky Buc Says:

    Pretty stupid to think there would be finger pointing after last years defensive debacles. The defense had a lot of injuries last year though. Hmmm imagine that.

  9. Dooley Says:

    Our offense is averaging 14 point per game, not 17ppg, they don’t get credit from that defensive score in New Orleans. 36 drives over 3 games, 3 TDs, 5 turnovers, and drive shortening/killing penalties. No play caller looks good when the on field product is performing at that level of execution.

  10. Captain Oblivious Says:

    Time for Brady to take over the offense from BL like he did during the bye week in 2020. I’ve got to believe that Brady has ideas on for more effective plays and play-calling.

  11. Sumosam Says:

    Take a deep breath and relax.
    The offence will be fine as the year progresses. Brady has looked like himself. The accuracy is there. All of this will settle down and we’ll be in a good position at the end of the year.

  12. OrlandoBucFan Says:

    I am not worried about our offense. Once we get healthy, I think the offense will rebound. For now, I am encouraged that our defense has kept us in games.

  13. Ufcguy32 Says:

    Well I’m gonna finger point. There’s no reason this team should be inept on offense. That’s on the coaches. More specifically Byron and yes Todd. All he had to do was do what we did last year and fix the defense. Instead it looks like fcking dungy ball 2.0 with tom brady. I’m pissed. And every fan should let it be known till we go back to what has worked for two years now.
    The biggest problem is the play calls and coaching. We do not schene our guys open, we do not block on screens. In fact where the literal fck are half of them on that play? It’s just mind boggling.

  14. JBBUCS_06 Says:

    Anyone check that the 3 defenses we’ve faced in weeks 1-3 are all top 10 thus far? Let’s cool out over the O. Combine that with injuries and new players on O and we’re good to be in this position.