Why Fundamentals Are Killing The Bucs

October 29th, 2023

Buds coach Todd Bowles

Joe was unnerved Thursday when Bucs coach Todd Bowles said the Bucs couldn’t kick the offense into high gear against the Bills not because they don’t have the talent to do so, but they lack the common sense or discipline to do so.

Bowles said when the offense attempted to run up-tempo on Thursday night, here came the flags. Seven games into the season and the Bucs can’t run a fast-paced offense when needed because dudes lost focus and started playing sloppy?

What on earth has this team been doing in practices since July?

The sad thing is the Bucs have the talent to go fast. They have the pass blocking. They have the receivers. And they have the hands.

The Twitter handle @NFL_Stats, while not an official NFL vehicle, keeps all sorts of stats as the name suggests. And while dropped passes is not an official stat, the guy(s) running this believes Bucs receivers have some of the best hands in the game — tied for the league lead in fewest dropped passes with just four.

Yes, yes. Joe understands. Dropped passes are way subjective. One man’s dropped pass is the next guy’s uncatchable ball. What is a dropped pass (other than an obvious one) and what isn’t? Feel free to define it.

But thi stat was encouraging. However, disciplined football is equally important. It’s great the Bucs catch so many balls. But if the passes can’t get to the receiver or plays are nullified because of penalties, it doesn’t matter.

50 Responses to “Why Fundamentals Are Killing The Bucs”

  1. Jack Clark Says:

    Can we start calling Dave Canales a failed offensive coordinator? Or do we just save that moniker for Super Bowl winning offensive coordinators?

  2. Mostly Peaceful Trask Fan Says:

    Hate to beat a dead horse here, but the QB needs to take some blame.

  3. Thisisouryear!! Says:

    I can’t imagine how they pull 4 drops from our season. Baker needs a running game and a true number 3 receiver. Our 3 headed rookie 3rd receiver had 3 drops Thursday night.

  4. Fred McNeil Says:

    I’m not sure I’m buying that. I’m a little less forgiving of drops than most I guess. Let’s just take the first game against Minnesota. Kieft alone had three drops. ME 13 has had at least 3 or 4. Ant time the ball hits you square in the palms of your hands should be a catch. These guys ain’t making minimum wage. They get paid many hundreds of thousands or even 20-30 million to catch that ball. It doesn’t make you a bad person if you can’t catch. The world needs burger flippers too.

  5. Thisisouryear!! Says:

    And I know several will disagree with this but IMO Durham is baby Gronk. Otten is cam Brate the 2nd. I know Durham had a bad drop Thurs but he needs to be in there full time. He’s the run blocking tight end you want to clear the lane plus he has soft hands.

  6. HC Grover Says:

    Help Wanted…NFL Head Coach

    Apply to 1 Buc Place
    Tampa Floeida

  7. garro Says:

    How is it we could run up tempo last year with no problems. Now we cant?

    Rookie Mauch is the only guy who is truly new to the O line. Penalties are a big problem but I submit that about half of them have been BS calls! Defenders are being blocked and once they reallize they have been beat they are falling down…Flag! Holding number##!

    Meanwhile Mike gets mugged Sunday and …No call!

    This has been going on all year! Other teams scout it and I would be willing to bet that guys are being told to fall down if you get beat on a block! It’s beyond rediculous and it is costing us wins!

    Go Bucs!

  8. garro Says:

    BTW apparently the definition of drops has changed drastically! I have seen Mike drop 2 passes all year. the others would have been circus catches that are being called drops now. Very disappointed to see Durham drop, yes drop, one Thursday.

    Baker needs to realize he is throwing to a TE and put a bit less on some of his shorter throws. Yes you are allowed to make it easier on your receivers.


    Go Bucs!

  9. ErikTheViking Says:

    Somewhere a guy named Byron is laughing his ass off.

    Thanks Licht. You have killed the franchise.

  10. Anon Says:

    It’s not even possible for a football team to go 8 weeks with only 4 drops. Disregard whatever that account says.

  11. garro Says:

    I give Baker credit on those “moxie” plays.

    But I would rather he just hit the open receivers and get first downs on the way to TDs in the Red Zone. Ya know?

    Todd’s great D gave us the ball twice in the third quarter. 2 drives in the third quarter Thursday. 3 and out and 4 and out.

    Less moxie and more consistency please.

    Go Bucs!

  12. Joe Says:

    And I know several will disagree with this but IMO Durham is baby Gronk. Otten is cam Brate the 2nd. I know Durham had a bad drop Thurs but he needs to be in there full time. He’s the run blocking tight end you want to clear the lane plus he has soft hands.

    Thus far, not sure what kind of blocker Durham is. Do know he has hands of stone. Nobody put the ball on the ground more than Durham in training camp. Well, except for Cade Otton.

    Otton is OK down the seam. Sort of like Cam Brate even though Otton is a bigger body. But Otton is not physical whatsoever. His catch of a two-point conversion may have been the first time Joe saw him out physical someone.

    Bucs really need to draft a tight end next spring no later than the second day of the draft.

    Durham is big, slow, and is lucky to catch a cold.

  13. Big Wally Says:

    The bucs were only in this game because the bills took their foot off the gas and decided to play prevent defense at the start of the 4th quarter. The bucs first touchdown was a 20 yard drive off of a turnover and their second was agaist the prevent. They did nothing all night and somehow ended up a hail mary away from embarassing the bills. Mayfield and the offense gets their stats boosted playing against a prevent defense. How many times did Winston put up 200 yards in the 4th quarter against the prevent.

  14. D1 Says:

    Is our 4th receiver better at catching than our first, second or third TE?

    If yes, then why not add a receiver and eliminate a catching deficiency?

  15. Nope Says:

    You guys should pick up Kapernick in the off season. He’d fit right in.

  16. adam from ny Says:


    not too much fun

    & we are getting killed by da-mentals

  17. Defense Rules Says:

    The big question on offense to me is ‘Why can’t we sustain drives and score?’ As one might expect, there doesn’t seem to be any simple answer; we’ve managed to screw the pooch 100 different ways.

    Penalties have certainly been an issue (leading the league with 7 penalties average per game is nothing to write home to mama about). Dropped passes certainly haven’t helped (and I agree with Anon that 4 isn’t even in the ballpark). Sacks have taken their toll (11 sacks in 7 games isn’t bad, but 9 of them have come in our 4 losses). The running game sucks as we’ve all seen, and that surely has an impact on not being able to sustain drives.

    But the 2 biggest culprits IMO are (1) poor play-calling; and (2) either poor throws or short throws that result in us not being able to convert the 3rd downs. Some of the questionable play-calls have been on 3rd down (we’ve gone deep on several 3rd-and-2 and missed each time), but very often we’ve ended up with 3rd-and-longs because we wasted plays on 1st or 2nd down. Hard to see much of a strategy there. And I gave up counting how many times Baker’s thrown the ball well short of what was necessary to get the 1st down & we ended up punting.

  18. Since76 Says:

    The players don’t know how to play up tempo this late in the season. Hmmm is it all the players or the coaches. Guess actually playing starters in the preseason wouldn’t be a bad idea. Especially when you have a new offense to learn. But I guess you don’t have to worry about game speed.

  19. Onetrickpony Says:

    It’s always somebody else’s fault, right coach?

  20. Bucsalltheway Says:

    Idk.what games yall be watching but me13 has more than 3 to 4 drops lol FYI in case yall didn’t know

  21. Lt. Dan Says:

    Maybe Bowles wants the Bucs to save their energy so they won’t be tired when they get to the Superbowl. Wasn’t that his logic when he replaced Arians as HC?

  22. Boomer Says:

    2 points:

    Joe says: Otton is not physical.
    Gotta agree – not physical. Can’t seal an edge. Seems he has zero upper body strength and no leg drive to hold a block. Also misreads the defense on ‘who’ he is supposed to block.

    Play calls- running against 8 in the box is not a recipe for success WHEN you can’t open up a gap and when your running backs have little to no vision.
    Penalties – offensive penalties are killing us. It’s all fundamentals and
    that’s coaching coaching coaching.

  23. Bucsalltheway Says:

    And a drop isn’t always on the receiver sometimes the ball is there before they break from a route and sometimes Mayfield is skittish like kirk cousins when making window throws Mayfield would be nice if he threw it sometimes on his first reaction he’s killed about 7 tds this year doing that

  24. bob in valrico Says:

    I am not sold on the pass blocking being that stellar. It seems like Baker prevents
    one -two sacks a game with sheer determination and scrambling. Another reason
    that I think the pass blocking gets a bit more credit than it deserves is the 2.7 second that Canales wants to get the ball thrown by. The end result has been a
    some rushed passes and a lot of passes thrown short of the sticks resulting in failed first down.

  25. #99 the big fella Says:

    I was behind Bowles all the way, He picked his own coaches and he was given a clean slate..This is crazy to see all the penalties, can’t run the ball, bad route running, blown assignments. I can know longer support Bowles anymore.the glaziers will not put up with home losses and empty seats. A change has to be made . The league is a offensive league. Bowles idea would work perfectly in the 70’s 80’s ..I cannot believe Bowles will suddenly change.. time for change sooner than later.

  26. Jeff Says:

    Clueless is Todd’s fundamental quality.

  27. bob in valrico Says:

    The threat of a rush is affecting Baker in some of the same ways as it did Brady last year. The yards gained per pass is practically the same at 6.4 and 6.5 yards
    and the struggle to score points is similar. there is a time and a place for short passes and 3rd and two is an excellent opportunity, but little used play in our offense.

  28. power sweep Says:

    My head is spinning. All I’ve been reading here lately is that Baker’s failures are due to dropped passes and yet here the stats say we are tied for fewest drops in the NFL. LOL. The Bakettes need to regroup and come up with another excuse, fast!

  29. power sweep Says:

    garro Says: “How is it we could run up tempo last year with no problems. Now we can’t?”


    garro Says: “Meanwhile Mike gets mugged Sunday and no call!”

    Hail Mary passes are considered free-for-alls by the refs and PI is never called. CBS Sports says PI has been called on a Hail Mary only 2 times in the last 15 years. Let’s stop the whining. Good teams don’t rely on 2 penalties to get into Hail Mary range in garbage time to win a game.

  30. power sweep Says:

    Big Wally Says: “Mayfield and the offense gets their stats boosted playing against a prevent defense.”

    Every game. Gives Bowles something to point to when starting Mayfield the next week and gives Joe something to hype for the next week. It’s a win-win.

  31. adam from ny Says:

    what if the OC is doing just what bowles wants him to do…

    seems pretty much the same as last year…all the same results…yards per pass, scoring points per game, how much you can spend at the canteen on candy, like charleston chews…all the same as last year…

    what if he neutered lefty last year…

    but this year he figured to do something slightly different, and would castrate canales…

    actually that last one for canales would make a hell of a hashtag 🙂

  32. DBS Says:

    power sweep back under another new name.

  33. Texasbucsfan Says:

    Recipes for failures. Poor coaching at all levels. Stats are really not that important. Win & losses are the only thing that counts. Stats are only important to get into the HOF.

  34. Glass Half Full Guy Says:

    Timing is everything. Drop a 3 yard pass over the middle in 1st & 10, you can recover. Drop a 3 yard pass over the middle on 3rd & 2, punt. It’s never just about the number of drops or bad throws. It’s the “when” and being “clutch”. It’s never a “good time” for drops or penalties but the timing of both can be either bad or horrific. Timing.

    As for the list above, some pretty good offenses in the “Most Drops” category and some lousy offenses in the “Fewest Drops” category so even though I may think their numbers aren’t an exact science, it really doesn’t seem to matter, does it?

    Discipline and fundamentals always start with coaching. Period. You drill that into them like it’s boot camp at Parris Island.

  35. power sweep Says:

    @adam from ny

    Good point. Very possible Bowles hamstrung Leftwich and is doing the same to Canales.

  36. Beej Says:

    There was an out pattern to Jarret, Mayfield threw it low and inside. Guy has both hands on it about a foot off the ground, didn’t come up with it. I wonder if THAT counted as a drop?

  37. D Cone Says:

    In the NFL there are no shortcuts to success. Great teams can bring in a Proven Veteran QB like Brady and Manning and go on to win a Super Bowl with that team. Others bring in Good but unproven. QB’s like Mariota (ATL), Carr (NO) and Mayfield (TB). Some bring in a Proven QB to a bad team and get a Russell Wilson situation. Some bring in a Good QB to a situation like the Rams and without a blown coverage would have fell short also.

    Atlanta replaced Mariota after Game 15 in 2022 with their 3rd round pick. Ridder went 2-2 and was set for the starting role in 2023. Ridder is learning the NFL and ATL offense thru game play and is taking his lumps but each game he is getting better. Making mistakes like all new QB’s do but playing good football and making plays. Falcons only regret is they didn’t start Ridder sooner and get him more prepared for this season. Improvement is something that Bucs have been saying their offense was going to do yet it has not materialized.

    Fingers are being pointed at a lot of reasons that the Bucs have not gotten better. New OC is going to take lumps just like a Young QB. Has watched it being done with success but has never actually done it in game situations. New QB of the MariotaCarrMayfield variety that have skills but are limited and unless in a perfect situation are going to lose games. Running Backs behind a Younger OLine that are a far cry from Jensen and the Gang of 2020. Defensive Head Coach who is dealing with a Younger Defense also and a New OC with limited resources or Money.

    We are now in the part of the season where things are either going to Gel or go to Hell. By week 15 changes might start getting made and next season will start and many will ask why didn’t they do something sooner.

    I would think the answer lies in the money the Buccaneers did not have to spend. Bucs took a shortcut to win the Super Bowl, got a Proven QB, and put future years at a disadvantage. Going into the season knowing that their team was going to rely on a lot of first year players it would not be wise to try and do it with a young QB too. I doubt that this team was ideal to Bowles going into the season and I doubt he will be fired because he has been limited because of the Super Bowl shortcut.

    I look for the Bucs to start getting better between now and the end of the season and Bowles will be back and the Bucs will be more competitive. Right now 6.5 Wins is not far off and if the Bucs can get 5 more and finish 8-9 will be a success based on the limitations that they had to deal with.

    I doubt Mayfield’s play will end up with Trask getting any play time at week 15 but Ridder’s play might. If Atlanta runs away with the NFC South and NO bombs with a So-So QB the Bucs might just want to see what they have in Trask going forward with the team or as a way to increase value in a trade for draft picks.

    Colts put up a ton of points on one of the best Defenses and will force Carr and the Saints to put up some points. Doubt that. Titans are getting a look at their new QB’s against the Falcons and might be the end of another So-So QB @ Tennessee. Could be a big dose of King Henry and an attempt to find a trade for him. Does the NFC South go 0-4 this week?

  38. power sweep Says:

    Beej Says: “There was an out pattern to Jarret, Mayfield threw it low and inside. Guy has both hands on it about a foot off the ground, didn’t come up with it. I wonder if THAT counted as a drop?”

    I know that under Major League Baseball rules a bad throw is scored as an error against the thrower if the first baseman fails to make the scoop, regardless that most of the time the first baseman make the scoop.

  39. Beej Says:

    The ball was thrown opposite side of the defender where it surely couldn’t be picked, (pattern was similar to the two picks/TD’s Brady threw to Justin Watson that first year) It’s always been my understanding that if you can touch it with both hands you should catch it, but that flies in the face of the stat geeks saying there’s only been 4 drops this year

  40. Jmarkbuc Says:

    We need a real GM, the rest will take care of itself.

  41. Alanbucsfan Says:

    I saw 4 drops just in the Bills’ game

  42. Pete Says:

    I don’t agree with that stat. The Buc receivers dropped 3 just the other night. MIke, as much as I like him, has dropped 4 himself.

  43. RuKa Says:

    Teams that lack fundamentals are usually teams badly coached. Let’s not beat around the bush, this is the harsh truth!

    Todd Bowles gives me the same feeling as Dirk Koetter. Both their teams were/are undisciplined, have difficulty to tackle, have a lot of pre-snap penalties at the worse possible moment and there is this constant feeling that they will never get it right!…. Ah, almost forgot, and the speech at the podium is similar, unwilling to say anything of substance and constantly promising that would be better, but never is…

  44. Duane in Sanford Says:

    Fundamentals and a young inexperienced line sounds about correct. They get no push. They really do not open any passing windows for Baker, and they let passes get batted down. Its a waste of time to talk about 4 dropped passes. If you want to improve the passing game, consider less timing routes for Godwin, and just have Baker throw him open. A good way to minimize those drops would also be to learn to run the ball better.

  45. Bucs13 Says:

    We don’t run uptempo because Baker lacks Brady’s football IQ. He can’t read and diagnose defense at a fast rate. Brady also took over and called plays. That seven minute drive from was unacceptable and wouldn’t happen under Brady because he has good situational awareness

  46. BucU Says:

    Garbage coaching = Garbage player execution.

  47. unbelievable Says:

    Dumbarse Bucs fans think every single ball that isn’t caught is a “drop” LMAO.

    “Doesn’t matter if it was 6 ft from the receiver or if a DB deflected it, it’s still a drop!” they scream, as drool and Cheetos fall from their mouth.

  48. Rod Munch Says:

    Yeah, but Evans dropped a 13 yard pass in the 1st quarter vs the Lions, and that basically cost the Bucs the game.

    You can’t blame Mayfield when the Bucs players are dropping stuff like that.

  49. Darin Says:

    We are talking about a head coach who guided Brady under 500. That’s not easy to do. This team has issues. With this HC none will get fixed. Let’s give em a chance glazers!

  50. Pirates Life Says: