Thursday, April 26, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Greg Schiano: Bucs have themselves to blame for first-half struggles

TAMPA — Much has been made over the struggles of Bucs QB Josh Freeman and the offense in the first half of Sunday's loss to the Eagles.

Freeman admitted they were "a little off," as he was 5-for-16 for 61 yards. Tampa Bay had zero points at halftime and was 1-for-8 on third downs.

Coach Greg Schiano said Monday the Bucs have themselves to blame for several "self-inflicted wounds." Three of their eight penalties came on offense in the first half, including two holding calls on RT Demar Dotson, who blamed lax technique.

"It's being sloppy," Dotson said. "I have to clean it up. One of them I question, but (the officials) probably miss one somewhere in the game that they should've called, so you can't worry about that. I have to clean up my technique."

His holding call in the first quarter contributed to a wasted opportunity. After the Bucs took possession at their 48-yard line, Dotson's penalty gave them first and 20; they wound up punting.

Dotson wasn't alone. In the first quarter, Tampa Bay had the ball at midfield, but LT Donald Penn's false start led to first and 15. They eventually punted again.

"We committed too many penalties, some in crucial situations," Schiano said.

The first offensive play set the tone, with RB Doug Martin and Freeman fumbling an exchange, putting Tampa Bay in second and 14.

"We got off schedule," Schiano said. "When you run your offense efficiently, you're on schedule, you're in manageable situations. It gives you run-pass chances, choices and checks if you want to do it at the line of scrimmage. You get behind in the series and it changes your playcalling mentality a little bit."

WR Vincent Jackson also credited the Eagles for making defensive adjustments they had not shown on film.

"They played us a little different than we expected," he said. "They were doing a lot more roll coverage, safeties over top, and they hadn't shown a lot of that in that format. There are just keys and things that they haven't shown before. Sometimes, it takes a drive or two to get it going, to break it down and we did that."

JUST FOR KICKS: One reason Schiano called a run up the middle on third and 8 with 2:55 left was his confidence in P Michael Koenen. With the Bucs at their 33, Schiano hoped to pin the Eagles deep and make rookie QB Nick Foles drive down the field with no timeouts.

But Koenen's punt went just 31 yards, 14 less than his season average, sailing out of bounds at the Eagles 36.

"I hit it a little square, and the wind was blowing that direction," Koenen said. "So it took it further than I wanted to take it."

Koenen has been one of the league's best on kickoffs, including a 69.7 touchback percentage (second to Denver's 70.5 percent). But Koenen is 27th in net punting average at 38.9.

"So far it's been a pretty good year," Koenen said. "There's been things, of course, you'd change and do better. But I feel like we've done pretty well."

INJURY REPORT: DT Roy Miller, who sat out with a concussion, said Monday he expects to be "good" to go for Sunday's game against the Saints.

HELPING HAND: LB Lavonte David, RB Doug Martin and the rookies will visit All Children's Hospital today. … S Mark Barron and some teammates will deliver sports equipment to the Family Enrichment Center of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's office this afternoon.

TRANSACTION: CB Myron Lewis was placed on injured reserve, and the team was awarded G Hayword Hicks off waivers from Kansas City.

Times staff writer Stephen Holder contributed to this report. Joe Smith can be reached at [email protected]

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