Thursday, June 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs offense tries fans' patience

TAMPA

No offense, but so far, there is no offense.

Are you concerned yet?

And if not, why not?

• Two games, and the starting offense of the Tampa Bay Bucs has all of three points.

• There have been four drives, and there have been four sacks.

• It has run 22 plays and gained all of 75 yards, including 76 of them during one drive. That means on the other three drives, the Bucs piled up a whopping minus-1.

Whee!

Yeah, yeah. It is only preseason, and yeah, yeah, there have been a limited number of snaps, and yeah, yeah, their huddle is still incomplete. Still, preseason football is all about performance, especially those of the starters. So far, that performance has been, shall we say, lacking.

• Against New England on Friday, the Bucs' starters had 8 yards on eight plays, which means an 80-yard drive is going to take, oh, 80 plays or so.

• Out of seven running plays, the Bucs have gained 2 yards or fewer on four of them.

• Out of 10 passing plays, Josh Freeman has completed six but only for 42 yards.

Yippee!

Again, this is the calm season, the analytical season, when fans are supposed to watch football as if it were a science experi­ment and, therefore, keep their passion in check. On the other hand, no one is griping about the results. Just the performance.

When a team is not sharp, it is never good. By now, you would have hoped to have seen flashes of the skill level the Bucs have on the offensive side of the ball. A long touchdown drive or two. An edge-of-your-seat play or two. Something to remind you of why this offense was ninth in the NFL last season. But in two dress rehearsals, that hasn't happened.

"I'm not concerned," coach Greg Schiano said Saturday. "I believe in the guys who are there. It's just some things have happened that didn't allow us to do what we're capable of doing.

"Those things can't continue to happen. Otherwise, the result will be the same. You can't judge anything by its intention. You have to judge it by its actions and its results. But am I concerned? No, I believe these guys are going to do it the way we expect."

Well, maybe not these guys. Maybe those guys on the sideline and those not in the plans.

Yes, you can argue that the Bucs should have been better in the four drives by the starters. But the greatest strength of this offense, the way it has been built, is to have its best talent at running back, at wide receiver and in the interior of its offensive line.

But not so far. The Bucs have limited Doug Martin's touches (three carries for 4 yards). You haven't seen much of the wide receivers (one catch for Mike Williams, none for Vincent Jackson). And neither of their guards, Carl Nicks nor Davin Joseph, have played a down.

Perhaps that is wise, and perhaps that is overly cautious, but it has an effect. The result has been four series of ragged football. Take the Bucs' first series against the Patriots, one that came after the Patriots' efficient 15-play, 80-yard drive.

On first down, Martin and Freeman ran into each other. Freeman was sacked on the play.

On second down, Martin ran for 4 yards.

On third down, Freeman's pass to Kevin Ogletree was dropped.

Punt.

"I don't like to see that as a coach," Schiano said. "It's not like, 'Let's go see if we can be sloppy and (mess) our first drive up.' That's not our plan. We'll get it right. I'm confident of that."

On the second Bucs drive, the offense suffered two sacks and had a holding call (declined). That isn't exactly the kind of sizzle the rest of us — including potential ticket buyers — are looking for.

To be fair, Schiano isn't trying to light up the scoreboard in preseason games. He's trying to prepare for a season and keep his weapons healthy. But the byproduct of playing without Martin and Williams and Jackson and Nicks and Joseph has sapped some of the voltage from his offense. Drops have increased. And sacks. And sputtering.

Perhaps this week, when the starters likely will play more against the Dolphins in Saturday night's third preseason game, that will change. Perhaps the quarterback will be coolly efficient. Perhaps the offensive line will be strong and dominant. Perhaps the wide receivers will remind the rest of us how dangerous they can be.

Or perhaps the offense will plod once again.

Look at it this way. At this rate, the Jets are bound to be overconfident for the opener.

Comments
Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

The NFL will suspend Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston three games without pay to start the regular season for violating the league's personal conduct policy. The suspension could be increased if he fails to meet certain undisclosed requirements expect...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

TAMPA — The news of Jameis Winston's suspension to start this season likely means the Bucs will have veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick stepping in at quarterback for the first three games of the regular season.Fitzpatrick took over as the starter for th...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Next move is simple for the Bucs: Get rid of Jameis Winston

Next move is simple for the Bucs: Get rid of Jameis Winston

Trade him. Waive him. Cut him.Whatever.Just get rid of him.Jameis Winston should never play another game for the Tampa Bay Bucs.Plain and simple, he's a bad guy and the Bucs should have nothing more to do with him.He already will miss the first three...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Three-game suspension looms for Bucs QB Jameis Winston

Three-game suspension looms for Bucs QB Jameis Winston

TAMPA — The Bucs will open the upcoming season without the face of their franchise, as quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended three games by the NFL for violating the league's personal conduct policy.Winston, 24, was accused of groping a ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rick Stroud weighs in on report about possible Jameis Winston suspension

Rick Stroud weighs in on report about possible Jameis Winston suspension

Tampa Bay Times beat reporter Rick Stroud isn't buying an ESPN radio report that any suspension levied against Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston by the NFL would stem from Winston's failure to report an alleged incident between him and a female Ub...
Published: 06/21/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: When will we know about possible Jameis Winston suspension?

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: When will we know about possible Jameis Winston suspension?

Rick Stroud talks about when we will know about a possible Jameis Winston suspension and why DeSean Jackson hasn't been more productive with the Bucs on today's podcast.Plus, who might the Rays trade next? Will the Lightning make any b...
Published: 06/21/18
Report: Bucs QB Jameis Winston bracing for suspension from NFL

Report: Bucs QB Jameis Winston bracing for suspension from NFL

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston could be suspended for up to three games  next season following the league's investigation into allegations he groped a female Uber driver in Arizona in 2016, a Tallahassee radio station reported.Jeff Cameron, a&#...
Published: 06/20/18
Zero Bucs players on NFL top 100 list for 2018

Zero Bucs players on NFL top 100 list for 2018

Just to preface this, the NFL Network's annual countdown of the league's top 100 players is a made-for-TV deal, good for summer offseason conversation but not carrying any huge amount of real significance.Having said that, it's worth noting that for ...
Published: 06/19/18
Bucs defensive end Will Gholston says ‘no excuse’ for disappointing 2017 season

Bucs defensive end Will Gholston says ‘no excuse’ for disappointing 2017 season

Will Gholston is painfully honest about a 2017 season that wasn't anything close to what he wanted it to be. Ask him about last year, and there are no parentheses in his world to soften what he remembers here."I just played (crappy), completely. That...
Published: 06/18/18
Ex-Bucs WR Lawrence Dawsey worked with team during OTAs

Ex-Bucs WR Lawrence Dawsey worked with team during OTAs

The Bucs had four extra coaches during organized team activities last month as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, including former Tampa Bay receiver Lawrence Dawsey.Dawsey, 50, played for the Bucs from 1991-95, finishing his time ...
Published: 06/18/18