Realbucstalk has added to their team, here is an article written by our newest member Douglas O’Connor, you can follow him on twitter as well: @Ren_Daxt
The pieces are in place for the Buccaneers to become a perennial playoff team. Though young the Bucs have top tier NFL talent throughout their organization. General Manager, Jason Licht, who understands player contracts and how to work the draft. Experienced coordinators on both sides of the ball and Pro Bowlers dot the roster at key positions. Then why is Tampa Bay 1-3 and in danger of falling 3 games out of first place just after passing the quarter pole of the season? There are many reasons for the disappointing start but all can fall under the umbrella of growing pains.
I will start at the top. Jason Licht has proven to understand the draft process and find ways to get the players he covets. His free agent acquisitions however have largely been busts his first two years. This off seasons signings is a mixed bag, mostly to to injuries but all in all his best group yet. Buc fans hope Jason has figured out the difference between contract year performers and solid contributors.
Coaches: One of Head Coach Dirk Koetter’s biggest worries about becoming the big man on campus was his ability to manage the clock late in games. So much so he assigned Assistant Wide Receivers Coach Andrew Weidinger as a Game Management Coach to help him in such occasions. Fast forward to week 3 against the Rams. The Bucs were driving for the winning touchdown with under 2 minutes to go when coach Koetter didn’t call a time out hoping to catch a tired Rams with a winning TD pass. Weidinger was telling Koetter to call a time out but he ignored the plea and took the shot into the end zone. The pass was overthrown and over 40 seconds had ticked off the clock. Fans can debate if that was the way to go or not, but the fact of the matter is that the Buccaneers ran out of time before they ran out of downs and lost the game.
Offense: This analysis, as it always will, begins and ends with number 3 Jameis Winston. Having a young quarterback lead your team and the phrase, growing pains, being thrown around is about as common as Doug Martins name showing up on the injury report. I can’t tell fans anything about Jameis that they don’t already know but here is my two cents anyway. Jameis is putting his football team in bad situations by making bad decisions with the football. There is no 10 point play in football. Sometimes a sack is better than forcing the ball into a tight window. Going 3 and out and punting isn’t the end of the world. Take what the defense gives you and move the chains. All fans love his competitive nature but when two defensive linemen are hanging off of you, it’s time to take the sack and get’em on the next play.
Defense: Not surprisingly the defense is going through the biggest pains. Having to learn a new scheme and language is no small task, but NFL teams do it every year and aren’t last in the league in points given up. Which the Bucs are. Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith has stated that it takes four weeks to learn his defense, react on the field instead of thinking. He has also talked about how Chris Conte and Bradley McDougald, the Bucs starting safeties that have been in fans cross hairs, are communicating much better. Well coach it’s week 5, time to show how much the guys on your side of the ball have grown in your system.
Special Teams: To be perfectly honest I really don’t even want to do this one. Did you hear that the Buccaneers traded up back into the second round and selected a kicker and said kicker is struggling on his extra points as well as field goal attempts? Yay, so did everyone else in the NFL fandom kingdom. Look Roberto Aguayo is going to be the Bucs kicker this year and next year no matter what happens. It is what it is and I totally understand the frustration. When points are at stake almost every time you touch the ball going through growing pains can be soul crushing for the invested fan. Bright side, the punter is really good.