TAMPA — A day after his team’s comeback hopes essentially were dashed by a delay-of-game penalty, Bucs coach Todd Bowles said the team is examining a perceived play-clock disparity.
With plenty of self-examination thrown in.
The Bucs’ potential rally was hindered greatly Sunday when they were assessed a 5-yard delay-of-game penalty on the two-point try after Tom Brady’s 1-yard touchdown strike to Russell Gage with 14 seconds to play. After the penalty was walked off, Brady’s 7-yard rollout pass to Gage was deflected at the goal line, preserving Green Bay’s 14-12 win.
Replays showed, however, the play clock was set at 20 seconds before the initial two-point try and 25 seconds for the second one. NFL rules indicate the play clock is set to 25 seconds after certain administrative stoppages, including prior to a two-point try.
“One time it’s at 25 (seconds), the next time it’s at 20,” Bowles said. “We’re looking into it right now. We’ll send it in (to the NFL office), see what they say, but we’ve got to get the ball off,” Bowles said.
On the flip side, the Bucs appeared to catch a break on the Brady-to-Gage scoring pass, when the play clock was at double-zeros when the ball was snapped.
“We’ve got to be cognizant of that as a unit,” the coach added. “We’ve played enough ball to where we know we’ve got to get the ball snapped.”
Bowles wants more backs involved
As concerns mount over every-down back Leonard Fournette’s early-season workload, Bowles made it clear Monday he wants to see other Bucs tailbacks involved in the game plan.
Fournette, who ranked second in the NFL with 49 touches through two games, added 17 more (12 carries, five catches) on Sunday. Rookie Rachaad White had six snaps and no touches on offense, while third-year back Ke’Shawn Vaughn — the other tailback activated Sunday — didn’t play an offensive snap.
“We’ve got to play the other two more,” Bowles said.
“When Lenny gets in the flow, we’ve still got to play the other two more. We went in the game that way. We didn’t have a lot (of production) in the first half, but that still should not be a reason to not play the other guys, and we’ll make sure that gets done.”
With Mike Evans returning from his one-game suspension, the Bucs announced Monday they’ve waived rookie receiver Kaylon Geiger from the active roster and have released tight end David Wells from the practice squad.
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Geiger, of course, can return to the practice squad if he clears waivers. In his NFL debut Sunday, he logged 14 snaps, 10 of them on special teams.
Start must match the finish
Though performing at an elite level an overwhelming majority of the game, the Bucs defense still is struggling to emerge cleanly from the figurative gate.
Through three games, opponents have totaled 13 points (one touchdown, two field goals) on the opening possession. The Packers scored TDs on their first two drives before either punting (seven total attempts) or turning the ball over on their last nine full possessions.
“It’s not a lack of discipline or effort, we’ve just got to be smart and hone in on our fundamentals,” said Bowles, whose defense ranks first in the NFL in points allowed per game (9) and fourth in average yards allowed (289).
“Sometimes our eyes are in the wrong place, and (we’re) trying to do too much and trying to see things, and by the time we settle down, they’ve gone down the field. We’ve talked about that, we’re working on that and we’ll get better at that.”
“I’m not going to sit here and blame it on the rookies. They’re playing good football. They’re making a few mistakes, but they’re not to blame for everything that’s going on on offense. It’s the offense as a total.” — Bowles, when asked how much (or little) of what the Bucs are doing offensively is based on the youth of their offensive line
Contact Joey Knight at email@example.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.
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