Opening Slide

November 2nd, 2023

Bucs playcaller Dave Canales.

Fast starts can be game changers. Playing with a lead usually opens a team’s playbook on both sides of the ball.

The 2023 Bucs average 1.86 points in the first quarters of games.

That’s the definition of starting slow.

One reason that stat is troubling is because opening drives for offenses typically are scripted early in a game week. Coaches and quarterbacks put their heads together to craft the best approach after studying their opponent.

The Bucs, obviously, have stalled on opening drives — and early in games.

Baker Mayfield chimed in on that yesterday.

“You’ve got to – even more so – be on the same page on the first drive – go out there, execute, let our defense pin their ears back and go hunt,” Mayfield said.

So what’s the fix? Joe’s not sure.

Last season, the Bucs averaged 3.16 points in the first quarters of games. Not good, but signficantly better than this season.

19 Responses to “Opening Slide”

  1. power sweep Says:

    “The 2023 Bucs average 1.86 points in the first quarters of games.”

    So, every now and then the defense gets a safety in the first quarter!

  2. Bucfan37 Says:

    I don’t know what to say. Dismal, sloppy, crappy, under achieving, woeful, distracted. Our lovable Bucs put it all together into one bewildering package.

  3. Doughboy Says:

    Waiting for the trigger to reload this team.Fans are not happy with a low scoring team. Throw to set up the run. Remember Arians motto,it worked.

  4. realistic-optimistic Says:

    When was the last Bucs team that started games fast? Not Bowles, Not Arians, Not Koetter, Not Lovie, not Schiano. Was it Ra-Ra?

  5. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    Mayfield is the issue early in games. He is very unsettled, nervous maybe. You can see it in his body language. He gets a lot of praise for having quick feet; well deserved for avoiding sacks. However, his feet are in a different place every time he throws the ball. In other words, his fundamentals are lacking. I ask the question again, what do they do at practice? It is obvious that they don’t practice running the ball. Now it looks like they don’t practice the QBs footwork. Evans does not practice catching the ball. Practice determines success and, so far, Bowles and Canales do not appear to know how to run a practice.

  6. Mostly Peaceful Trask Fan Says:

    Jack Canales was big on footwork, but it doesn’t matter we’re stuck with Mayfield no matter how much th Bucs lose

  7. TonySoprano Says:

    Agreed Jack. The flat, disinterested, unprepared, unmotivated way this team comes out every Sunday points to soft, disorganized, directionless practices.

    I question their film study too. They come out with the same stale schemes every week. It doesn’t appear they ever game plan for specific opponents or players. Never any adjustments, just ‘the Bucs doing what the Bucs do.’

  8. Tbbucs3 Says:


    Not surprised at all the offense is terrible, again, the personel issues were evident last year at Oline, Running Back, Tight end and WR depth but everyone just immediately balmed Lefty cause we had an aging superstar who didn’t want to get hit last year.

    Arians really did get out at the right time. The firm of Licht/Bowels has been completely inept at putting a complete offensive roster together that is quarterback friendly.

  9. Tbbucs3 Says:


  10. Proudbucsfan Says:

    Tbbucs3 that is where you’re wrong. Arians system was discarded when he left and Bowles immediately put his stamp on the team. Hence our mediocrity ever since. Arians held players accountable and loafers were cut. Arians made the players practice, much harder, and their attention for detail was greater.

  11. Tbbucs3 Says:


    You can’t lose Gronk, AB, Ali Marpet, Jenson, Cappa, and players like Fournette who were in their final years of their prime and not expect a significant dropoff in the production from the offense.

    While coaching matters, it’s WAY more about the “Jimmies and the Joes” rather than the X’s and O’s. The Bucs from an offensive roster dropped off heavily from 2021 to 2022/Present.

    Your kidding yourself if you think Arians could fix some of the issues going on with the Bucs roster right now. Reminder that from 2016-2019 Arians had 3 seasons where he finish with a losing record….then what happened? Then he gets prime Tom Brady and a LOADED offensive roster.

    Arians can’t fix everything but same fans seriously think he can cause of a 2 year run with an all star cast.

  12. BringBucsBack Says:

    Joe, please don’t write an article about the “D’s” 1st drive “success rate”, it’s as bad or worse than the “O’s”.

  13. D1 Says:

    Mostly peaceful trask,

    I have a question for you about footwork. I am guessing you have been to a practice. If so,

    Did you notice any coaching changes trying to be made for trask or baker?
    Baker uses a classic technique with his feet constantly moving. Trask has the drop step and plant . Two entirely different techniques for the same position.

    Just seeing if you knew about it

  14. Tony Marks Says:

    “Mayfield is the issue early in games. He is very unsettled, nervous maybe. You can see it in his body language. He gets a lot of praise for having quick feet; well deserved for avoiding sacks. However, his feet are in a different place every time he throws the ball.”

    A lot of people who haven’t watched Baker’s film often think his tendency to bounce ( so called – happy feet) is nervousness. Its not. You can go back to college and look at you tube footage. He bounces when he’s up in game or down and whether theres a rusher around him or he has rolled out and is 15 yards away from a rusher. He bounces more when he thinks he may need to run but the bouncing is ALWAYS there even when not.

    IF you want a drop back stay in the pocket flat footed QB then your fault for signing him. Everyone who has followed Baker knows he is at his best – As the 2020 film will show – when the plays are called for the pocket to move. Its almost comical reading comments about him having a weak arm and how he can’t throw downfield as his highlights in CLeveland are filled with precisely a strong arm and chunk plays.

    Especially the last three games Baker is being used and being called to play as a game manager. He’s got a lot better at it than he was when the Panthers gave him the play book designed for Sam Darnold who is a drop and stay in the pocket passer but you won’t get the best he can provide playing him that way.

  15. ScottyMack Says:

    Joe says that the 3.16 points per 1st quarter last year is significantly better than this year. I guess we have two different definitions of the word “significantly”.

    I mean, that extra 1.5 points would have won us how many more games this year? None! If it would have won us another game or two, that would be significant. Otherwise, not so much.

  16. Buckeyebuckchuck Says:

    Not to hijack the thread…but im going to. Teams that panic are screwed. Most impressive part of this year is Licht bit the bullet and took the cap hit and tried to hang onto his core. (Lots of talent walked). Bowles is defending his players despite all the noise…he isn’t about to lose that locker room. The team is circling the wagons and fighting on despite all the horse crap they see from the talking heads and people posting crap here. This season isn’t over and this story hasn’t been written yet. Plenty of experts predicting 2-4 win season. Wrong. Clean up the penalties, this team can go places. Argue with me RodMuncher, you’re just not much of a fan

  17. BillyBucco Says:

    Rod Munch is a fan, that is out of place.
    Coming here to argue is ridiculous anyway.
    Everyone has their opinion, but name calling is juvenile.
    This team certainly still has a chance, but at this point in the season you should start seeing a resemblance of continuity and the Bucs have actually regressed.
    There is a handful of issues not just 1 or 2 to point to, so people start calling for the coaches heads.
    Winning solves a host of issues and we can actually POINT to what works.
    Right now, both sides of the ball are going to get people looking at OBVIOUS holes because we are losing and it looks terrible.
    People aren’t idiots or Gators fans because they call for Trask.
    People aren”t idiots for wanting another RB etc. It’s the same argument, we just want to get better.
    In both cases we don’t KNOW, because we didn’t get another RB or O LINE or TE or S, and we haven’t PLAYED Trask. I agree that at this point THEY don’t think Trask will be any better, but WHAT exactly have these coaches been RIGHT about? Do you HONESTLY, take their word for it?
    I DONT, because we are losing.
    I read every comment, and sometimes get ahead of myself with posts that ARE pretty exuberant.
    I have seen plenty of good posts from Rod Munch and I’m sure is just another FRUSTRATED fan.
    Now let’s see some change and actually GO WIN.

  18. D1 Says:

    Tony marks,

    I didn’t want to hit that point too hard , nervous feet in the pocket, body language, . You’re right , bake moves his feet and hips together and he uses the bounce at the top of his drop. People thinking it’s nerves can’t comprehend how many reps bake put in over the years to be able to do that in games. Remarkable to watch.

    Trask doesn’t have the same style, can’t get it at this stage. But it’s more pro style . Just wandering how canales coaches the two.

  19. garro Says:

    I put the slow starts squarely on the coaching staff. We often refuse to make any adjustments whatsoever until halftime! That in itself drives me nuts!

    Go Bucs!