While fans are still celebrating the Tom Brady comeback against the Saints, a deep dive into this team shows that there are still many flaws on this Buccaneer team. And as the playoffs are fast approaching, I don’t see many of these issues getting fixed this season.
The Buccaneers have had thirteen weeks, including the bye week, to correct the issues; in some cases, they are getting worse instead of better.
The playcalling is the worst it has been in years. As a result, an offense with three future Hall of Famers on its roster Tom Brady, Julio Jones, and Mike Evans, is averaging just a shade over 17 points a game.
That is pathetic.
Todd Bowles tried to explain it away when asked about it in his weekly press conference. “In the NFL, you’re not going to blow a lot of people out. We won a lot of close games when we won the Super Bowl, as well. Every year, it’s going to come down to a score or two. You’ve just got to pay attention to the details and win the ballgame.”
Most good teams will win some close games during the season. But in 2020, the Bucs won seven of their nine games by two touchdowns or more. This season the only game the Bucs won by 14 points or more, was the season opener in Dallas.
This season, the Bucs’ margin of victory has been by 16, 10, 6, 3, 5, and 1.
But that seems to be the best that Byron Leftwich and this offensive staff can do. The offense is at its best when Tom Brady calls the plays in the two-minute offense. I understand you can’t run the two-minute drill all the time, but indeed, there are some components that you could incorporate into the game plan.
The Buccaneers still can’t run the ball with any consistency. The games against Dallas and Seattle were mirages. The Buccaneers fooled us into thinking they had the run game figured out. Wrong. The Buccaneers remain last in the NFL, averaging 73 yards a game.
Rachaad White has added a spark to the Bucs’ rushing game since he has been used more often and leads the Bucs with 3.8 yards per carry.
Too many times, Mike Evans has gone missing from the game plan. Monday night against New Orleans, Evans had zero targets in the first half. Against a banged-up Saints secondary that did not include Marshon Lattimore, who was out with an abdomen injury.
Evans ended up with four catches, but he has not been the target nearly enough this season.
For a team that talked about creating turnovers, there has been very few this season. The Buccaneers have two turnovers in their last six games.
The defense has forced 11 turnovers this season, seven interceptions, and four fumble recoveries. However, they sit at zero in turnover differential.
The defense will have to create some turnovers down the stretch to take some pressure off the offense. Turnovers create momentum swings and can help flip the field.
The Buccaneers have to get better play from Tom Brady. His overall numbers are good, but he is missing too many passes. In addition, he locks into his first and second receivers too quickly instead of scanning the field for the open receiver.
He is forcing the ball more than he did in the past. As a result, he has missed more long balls and receivers than he did in his first two years with the Bucs.
Tom Brady must improve his game if the Buccaneers want to be playing football in late January.
Without Brady, the Bucs would be lucky to have two wins this season. If Brady had been playing like we saw his first two years, the Bucs could have nine or ten wins and be in the driver’s seat for another Super Bowl.