The Buccaneers have their bye this week, one of the last teams to get the bye in the NFL.
With 75 percent of the season gone, the Bucs find themselves at 7-5 and having lost three of their last four.
Overall the season has been disappointing due to the high expectations everyone had for this team.
When Tom Brady is your starting quarterback and your offensive supporting cast is above average, expectations are high.
The Bucs have two wins this season against teams with a winning record, the Packers 38-10 and the Raiders 45-20.
The Bucs are 1-3 in prime time games and could easily be 0-4 as the New York Giants gave the Bucs all they could handle.
The Bucs have games remaining against Minnesota, Detroit, and two against Atalanta. The Bucs should win three out of those four.
But this is the Buccaneers. It would not surprise me if the team split these last four games to finish 9-7.
The offense has been inconsistent. The Bucs offense does not have an identity. The Bucs will effectively run the ball in the first half, and Ronald Jones will get three touches in the second half. It makes no sense.
If you’re down by 30 like the Bucs were in the Saints game, you can’t run the ball, or you will never catch up.
The play calling has been head-scratching at times. Tony Romo talked about the lack of motion in the Bucs offense on the Chief’s telecast.
“Where’s the play-action stuff to give him time? Everything’s a drop back. The screen game hasn’t been great. It’s like all this stuff that’s easy for quarterbacks. They don’t have much of it.”
You can count on both hands the number of plays where the Bucs have used some motion. This offense is straight vanilla. Too many balls are being forced to Antonio Brown downfield.
Since Brown came into the locker room, the Bucs are 1-3, and wide receiver Scotty Miller has been MIA. Arians said that Miller has been injured. I don’t buy it.
Brady wanted Brown, and the Bucs got him. But this offense is out of rhythm since the signing of Antonio Brown. It could be a case of too many weapons. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, Scotty Miller, Cameron Brate.
You can’t continue to use the excuse that Brady had no training camp and no off-season workouts to get acclimated to the new offense. We are 12 games into the season. Brady has taken almost every snap this season.
If Brady hasn’t learned the offense by now, he never will.
This offense is different from the one that he ran in New England. I don’t think that Brady has confidence in the receivers like he did in New England with Edelman and Walker.
The Bucs have to start quicker on both sides of the ball like they were doing earlier in the season.
The Bucs have been outscored 52-7 in the first quarter of the last four games. That can’t continue if this team has aspirations of a deep playoff run.
The Bucs got down early to the Saints and never recovered as they trailed 31-0 at halftime. The Bucs trailed the Rams 14-7 early on and got behind the Chiefs 17-0 before coming back to make that game competitive.
The Bucs trailed the Carolina Panthers 14-7 before coming back to beat the Panthers 46-23, their only win in the last four weeks.
The defense has not been good these last four games. They have had some good moments in the second half of games against the Packers and the Panthers where they allowed those teams under 70 yards of offense.
Overall the defense has started games slowly and has not been playing good football.
The secondary started the season playing well, but lately have taken a step back. No one is effective covering an opposing receiver one on one.
The zone that Todd Bowles has implemented has cost the Bucs more games than it has won them. When there is no pressure on the quarterback, the secondary gets picked apart.
That is a concern as the season winds down, and the Bucs have expectations of a deep playoff run.
Arians said there would be no extra work this week as the focus is on rest, staying healthy, and getting ready for the final quarter of the season.
Arians said the coaches will be doing self-scouting and will look to fix the issues plaguing this team.
On a bright note, this team is 7-5 despite underachieving and are on pace to make their first playoff appearance in 13 years.