Bucs desire to go deep to Jackson made for messy game
Faith was not fragile at One Buc Place a day after the 30-7 preseason loss to the Tennessee Titans.
The Bucs plan for quarterback Josh Freeman to throw deep to receiver Vincent Jackson went awry when the Titans played two deep safeties. The starting defense performed well for about five series. But overall, coach Greg Schiano didn't see enough physical play on either side of the ball.
"We were a little out of sorts because we were trying to press the ball a bit down the field to Vincent and they were playing two deep, so they kind of took that away,'' Schiano said Saturday. "Then there was a little bit of preseason, "we're going to do this no matter what,' mentality.
"Not show him off, just make sure (Vincent) and Josh do it together. That's one thing, you come out of the game, you wish you could've put the ball down the field more. But they're playing two safeties high and just cushioning them back, so you've got to take what's there. Not what we wanted, but overall, just a lot of mistakes. And we didn't play physically enough on either side. If you could say anywhere, it would be the early part of the defense. But after that, I didn't we played as physical even as we did the week before.''
The Bucs were soundly and roundly beaten on both sides of the football statistically by the Titans Friday. Tampa Bay had only 81 total yards on offense while allowing 341. They trailed in first downs 20-6.
Freeman and backup Dan Orlovsky rarely had time to step into any throws. Freeman finished 4-of-10 passing for 21 yards, including a 8-yarder to Jackson, his only reception of the preseason. Orlovsky was 1-of-5 for 6 yards, was sacked four times, lost a fumble and threw an interception.
The lack of execution on both sides of the ball might be partly due to fatigue, Schiano said.
"As you watch the tape, as a head coach, you say why is that happening? Some of it is fatigue,'' Schiano said. "No doubt. That will get better because we'll get them feeling better. But the execution part, you've got to be able to fight through that and execute.
Much of the defensive pressure came from inside. Center Jeremy Zuttah had a holding penalty and appeared to get beat on the sack-fumble by Orlovsky. But Schiano said Zuttah wasn't the only culprit.
"To put it on Jeremy solely, that would not be right,'' Schiano said. "That's not accurate. But I think he played better in game one then he did in game two, which we can't have that, we've got to continue that climb and getting better consistently. I wouldn't say the interior issues was a one man issue, if that makes sense. There was more to it than that. But again, I felt our whole offensive line played just a little bit too high. If that makes sense. We need to get our pad level down a bit. Low man wins, that's as old as football and we need to do a better job of that.
Overall, I think if you look at our operation, we need to trust our training more. And we work very hard at all these fundamentals, we need to trust these fundamentals. You can't get in a game and some things go awry, whatever it is,whether it's forcing play selection, then all of a sudden abandon. You've got to stick to the plan.''