Before the Bucs finally beat another team, they've got to stop beating themselves with penalties.
Tampa Bay leads the league in penalty yards per game (86), and second in flags per game (9.0), with coach Greg Schiano saying it's an "evolving" problem that'll take a collective effort to solve.
"Part of it I really believe is we're trying too hard," Schiano said. "We're pressing a little bit. Why do you hold somebody? We have six holding penalties in two games. Early on, the penalties were those personal fouls that were aggressive plays. So it's kind of been an evolving penalty problem."
Schiano pointed out that last season, the Bucs were 11th in penalty yardage and are now dead-last, so "something has changed." He said if it were just one player, he could just make a move, but it's not. But Schiano planned to address the issue with the team at Monday's afternoon meeting.
Penalties played a big role in Sunday's 31-23 loss to the Falcons, with three of the 11 coming on their nine-minute fourth quarter drive that stalled with a field goal. The Bucs gave the Falcons offense gifts, including a DE Trevor Scott roughing the passer penalty turning a 3rd-and-long into a first down. Instead of punting, Atlanta drove down the field and scored it's second touchdown.
Tampa Bay ran 75 plays to the Falcons' 44, had 15 more minutes of time of possession, but those weren't the most telling statistic.
"We just need to make those (penalties) go away," Schiano said. "Because, right now, if you look six of them were in Atlanta territory, four in the red zone, three of them on third down. On defense, we gave them two first downs. So when you add all that up, as I said (Sunday) after the game, when you look at the final sheet, you look at a lot of the different things, 'What did we win by?' But you don't look at the column that says 'PEN,' because that's a big reason why we didn't win."