Deep Shots May Be The Only Shot

December 17th, 2022

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Here’s the long and the short of it in a nutshell — this new passing game ain’t working.

Admit it, shrinkage is a problem.

Without the constant presence of Bruce Arians in his ear or on his ass, Tom Brady hardly looks like the same quarterback. This Buc offense has taken a major step back from the dynamic units Arians fashioned during his three years as head coach.

These Bucs don’t visit the end zone very often and you can point directly to a lack of big plays in the passing game. Brady is on pace to set an NFL record for most single-season throws, but relatively few are heading downfield.

Longball is long overdue, explains Ira Kaufman.

And on those rare occasions when Brady does attempt a long pass, the ball ends up on the ground instead of his target’s hands. The numbers tell the sad tale all too well.

Through 13 games, Brady has only 38 completions of at least 20 yards. That’s one more than Davis Mills of the Texans, who are on the hunt for a new quarterback. Tampa Bay has only five completions of 40 yards or more, with Brady ranking 16th in that category despite throwing more balls than anyone in the league.

It’s been a huge dropoff for No. 12.

Last season, Brady completed 75 passes of at least 20 yards. In 2020, his first year playing for Arians, Brady had 63 completions of 20 yards or more.

When Arians arrived in 2019, Jameis Winston completed 75 passes of at least 20 yards. This passing game plods along, marked by quick screens to Chris Godwin and flares to Leonard Fournette. The Bucs are trying to string together 14-play drives instead of challenging defenses deep.

The long pass has virtually vanished after three years of startling productivity. Brady had 10 completions of at least 40 yards last year and 12 during the championship season. Winston hit it big 13 times in 2019, when the Bucs averaged 29 points per game … despite leading the NFL in giveaways.

This team averages 17.2 points. That’s fewer than the Pittsburgh Steelers, whose quarterbacks have combined for 8 TD passes in 13 games. Part of the problem is a grounded ground game that doesn’t generate much respect for play-action. Linebackers and defensive backs drop

deeper because Tampa Bay has failed to establish a credible running threat.

Again, look at the numbers.

Brady averages only 9.4 yards per completion, well off his averages for 2021 (11.0) and 2020 (11.6). Godwin is gobbling up receptions every week, but his 9.6 yards per catch is far below his averages for 2021 (11.3) and 2020 (12.9)

You shouldn’t underestimate the impact of Rob Gronkowski’s retirement in the diminishment of this passing attack. Gronk averaged 14.6 yards per catch last season — rookie Cade Otton averages 9.4.

“You’re right, Ira.”

Buc fans don’t care whether it’s Byron Leftwich or Brady himself dialing up these plays. All Buc Nation cares about is fixing a drab, unimaginative passing game.

My answer: trust Mike Evans to make some plays deep. Utilize the middle of the field more. Take some shots. The notion that Brady lacks the time to let plays develop is rubbish.

This quick passing game has been a colossal failure, so things have to change. Brady still has the arm to launch accurate balls downfield. Take some chances, draw some flags.

A 45-year-old quarterback is averaging 45 throws per game, with little to show for it. Last we looked, Evans was still on this team. Get him involved, early and often. Given the chance, he’ll find his way to the end zone.

Take the long way home.

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Ira Kaufman Dives Deep Into The Bucs’ Finish, Coaching And Tom Brady Futures, Bengals Thoughts, And Much More

28 Responses to “Deep Shots May Be The Only Shot”

  1. Darin Says:

    Don’t hold your breath. She be who she be

  2. Kentucky Buc Says:

    Nice job of dodging around Bowles there Irv.

  3. Cobraboy Says:

    It ain’t Brady. It’s the numbnutz coaches.

    We should have listened between the lines when Brainiac Bowles said “I’m not Bruce Arians.”

    Truer words were never spoken.

    Bowles and his incompetent toady Leftwich wouldn’t know a Risk It Biskit if it landed on their plate.

    This is the WORST Bucs season I have ever witnessed. It makes me pine for Richard Williamson and Radio Morris.

    Or even Ray Perkins.

    At least we knew those teams had little talent.

  4. HC Grover Says:

    Brady is trying to get out of here unhurt. He will beat feet as fast as he can to escape the Bowzo and Lefty Clown Show when this mess ends in 4 weeks, survival is on his mind. Prepare for a drubbing by the Bengals.

  5. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Someone has turned the no risk it no biscuit offense into a poor version of a west coast offense. This is not who we are!
    To make matters even worse, our short passing game is poorly conceived. How many short wide receiver screens have we seen to Chris Godwin, with no blockers for him ?
    Brady reminds me of a spooked Snook lately. He seems to be playing scared.
    Sunday may literally be a massacre, because Cincinnati can really bring the heat.

  6. AmauryGuzman Says:

    If they get embarrassed once again tomorrow someone needs to be fired .

  7. unbelievable Says:

    @cobraboy – disagree.

    It’s Brady AND the coaches. Leftwichs terrible playcalling and predictable unimaginatively scheme is well known. Heck- I’ve been harping on this since 2019, even though we were scoring points and racking up yards. But Mike has been open on plenty of plays, Brady isn’t looking / throwing his way bc he is rushing throws and taking the quick dump off.

  8. unbelievable Says:

    And then when Evans drops a wide open TD pass like the Carolina game, Brady doesn’t go back to him for 2 more quarters.

    Even last week against SF, they hit that bomb TD to Evans but it gets called back thanks to Durable Dumbass. Yet there were multiple opportunities for Evans going deep afterwards, and they just didn’t throw his way. Or when Brady did, it was off target. I also don’t understand why they only had Evans run routes on the right side over and over. Nothing to the middle or the left. That’s on Leftwich and Brady.

  9. darengibo Says:

    Going to the game Sunday with the family and I feel it will be a win/win opportunity. Either HUGE win for Bucs (WIN) OR they get destroyed and out coached again which may get someone fired (WIN)

    NEVER thought our tickets for last game of the year may mean playoffs or nothing…I honestly thought that game would be meaningless and a chance for my daughters to get autographs and photos!!

  10. Nick2 Says:

    Couldn’t agree more Ira. That’s why Bowles “let’s run it more when we are unable to” philosophy has hamstrung this offense to the bottom of the league numbers. Bowles wanted to put his stamp on the offense and as D Coordinators often do he’s mandated an ultra conservative approach when what we do well is throw deep. Now it’s so seldom done Brady looks out of practice. Bowles has doomed this team unless Arians can force him to wake up and do what got us to the Superbowl but like you I’m very pessimistic we even make the playoffs.

  11. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    Speaking of deep shots, anyone watching the Saturday Matt Ryan show in Minnesota?

    Any given Sunday (or Saturday)!

  12. ATLBucsFan Says:

    No time for deep throws. Protection not good enough. Run blocking not good enough. Weak trench work on both sides of the ball.

  13. pogonow Says:

    no chess moves,no run no throw,no block, no tackle, no take away, no touchdown, no win tomorrow

  14. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    Part of the problem is a grounded ground game that doesn’t generate much respect for play-action.

    First, it is well documented that play action doesn’t really depend on high success in the run game. Second, since we rarely use play action (I think I saw 3 such plays last week), of course the defense can cheat back knowing it won’t be used.

    Failure in the coordinator’s office. WHERE IS THE SAVIOR BRUCE ARROGANCE?

    Todd Monken for OC!

  15. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    Jeff Saturday + Matt Ryan = ❤️♥️

    All of those arrogant national hot-take equity pushers are real quiet right now after blasting the Saturday hire as some kind of affront to football-kind. Loooooooosers.

  16. Mike Johnson Says:


  17. Old School Bucs Says:

    First 12 plays all deep shots! Bengals will never see it coming!

  18. Chop block Says:

    Evans will get in the end zone.just like last week, oh yeah that’s right.

  19. Old School Bucs Says:

    First 12 plays medium to deep shots! Bengals will never see it coming!

  20. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Ira channeling some Supertramp

    So, you think you’re a Romeo
    Playing a part in a picture show
    Well, take the long way home
    Take the long way home
    ‘Cause you’re the joke of the neighborhood
    Why should you care if you’re feelin’ good?
    Well, take the long way home
    Take the long way home

  21. Old School Bucs Says:

    Hunters crack pie…..yes I just finished watching the greatest comeback in history. Matty Ice does it again!!! He is wll over the record books!!! 😭😂🤣😭🤣🤣😂🤣🤣😭🤣🤣🤣😭🤣😂🤣😂😭🤣🤣

    Vikings truly are this years’s cardiac kids!!!!! That is 7 game winning drives this year ror Cousins!!!

  22. Buccos Says:

    Exactly! Not to mention this short game is boring as hell

  23. Hunter's Crack Pipe Says:

    Old School Bucs Says:
    “I just finished watching the greatest comeback in history. Matty Ice does it again!!!”

    You got me! I quit watching. Damn. You’ll have to take my word for it, but I just ate my hat. Anyway, at least Saturday has them competitive. LOL

  24. Coburn Says:

    Middle of the field is my biggest thing we are lacking. Anytime we go deep around those hashes soemthing good happens. You can’t limit yourself to only sidelines or short… You need to use the whole field if you want to be a good offense. Make them have to cover every inch. Keep them honest and find their weak points

  25. ClwJB Says:

    I am not going to worry about the offense, I know the answer to that riddle and it is 17 points max – 7-10 is more likely

    My concern is who the hell is covering Chase and Higgins – Davis can’t keep up and Dean is down – are the S back yet? SMB? Ouch. Ryan and Neal are liabilities in coverage

    We have very, very little pash rush left and struggle covering the TE already – Joe cool might throw for 400

    Oh and Joe Mixon is playing too….Bengals 38-10

  26. orlbucfan Says:

    Screw Tom arthritic brained Brady,

  27. Destinjohnny Says:

    When u have the worst line in football (thanks Jason)
    It’s not happening

  28. Bobby Says:

    This season is over Ira, I listened to your recent podcast show. You believe it’s over too. This season is an epic failure. Jason is going to have to shed alot if salaries just to get under the cap this off-season. David, Dean, Hicks and Brady will be gone. Let’s do a rebuild, let’s be bold and make a trade for that number one pick and get that too QB. This team looks old and tired this season. Not enough speed out there on offense. Fire Bowles too