One area that has been an issue for the Bucs on both sides of the ball has been winning on first down. Bucs have to do a better job of being more efficient on first down to set them up in more favorable situations. If you are winning first down on both sides of the ball, your team is going to be successful most of the time. The Bucs defense has been winning first down at times but it needs to be more consistent so they can get opposing offenses into third down situations so this can happen more.
William Gholston is really improving with every game. He is a monster against the run but shows he can also get the edge here. pic.twitter.com/OeP0oBJJbX
— realbucstalk (@realbucstalk) October 4, 2016
This play was on second down but it allowed the defense to play in 3rd and long which allows the front four get after the qb and they almost got another sack on that following play. So forcing more passing situations will help the defense but they have to do better on first and second down. However, this post is more about the offense as they have been very ineffective on first down, and it must improve or else the offense will continue their inconsistent ways. Here is coach Koetter on the lack of production on first down via buccaneers.com.
“We talk about efficient plays, efficient plays on first down that’ll be four yards or more. When we say, ‘Staying ahead of the chains,’ we did a horrible job and I think somebody in here asked me, on the one good drive that we had, we had a lot of second-and-nines, but we did well on second-and-long. But the longer the down and distance, the more your percentages go down, if you’re playing percentage football. Whether we were running it or we were throwing it, we were not good enough on first down. We call those ‘run downs,’ first-and-10s and second-and-one-to-six and we’ve got to be more efficient.”
It’s all about execution and guys right now are not doing their job good enough and that’s got to change this Monday. Short passing and variation of runs needs to come alive again in this offense as it something that is missing right now. Former Bucs head coach Jon Gruden used to use the short passing game very well as an extension of the running game which is something the Bucs need to get going. Runs of 3 to 4 yards needs to be more consistent, but passes of 4 to 6 yards needs to be more regular as well. Overall, the Bucs have to start winning first down if they want to start winning games.