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Bucs face some unusual challenges

 
Ten days after watching the Bucs get blown out by the Atlanta Falcons 56-14 Sept. 18, Leslie Frazier, right, decided to leave the playing field for the coaches' box to get a better look at the opponent's offensive personnel groupings.
Ten days after watching the Bucs get blown out by the Atlanta Falcons 56-14 Sept. 18, Leslie Frazier, right, decided to leave the playing field for the coaches' box to get a better look at the opponent's offensive personnel groupings.
Published Oct. 12, 2014

TAMPA — Bucs offensive players failing to line up properly, delay of game penalties, defensive calls coming in too late. These are the silent assassins that can wipe out a season and such has been the case lately with the Bucs.

Some of the miscommunication certainly can be attributed to playing in loud, hostile environments such as Heinz Field and the Superdome the past two weeks.

But the loss of offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford and a change of vantage point for defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier also have been a factors.

In fact, 10 days after watching the Bucs get blown out by the Atlanta Falcons 56-14 Sept. 18, Frazier decided to leave the playing field for the coaches' box to get a better look at the opponent's offensive personnel groupings.

"We were talking a little bit about the personnel and just trying to make sure that we got the right personnel," Frazier said. "That's important when you're calling (plays). … It's worked out pretty good. … It really helped to be able to get the calls in a lot sooner."

The Bucs did sack Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger five times and produced a huge turnover to start the game in their 27-24 win at Pittsburgh. And the defense forced Saints quarterback Drew Brees to throw three interceptions before collapsing down the stretch and losing in OT.

But with middle linebacker Mason Foster still out with a dislocated shoulder and Lavonte David calling signals, the Bucs had several instances last Sunday where they weren't lined up when the ball was snapped.

"Our guys take accountability for it," coach Lovie Smith said. "We've made some mistakes that we have to clean up and we'll clean up more of those. That's part of becoming a good football team. The truth of the matter is when you go into a dome, you have more of those types of penalties."

With Tedford out, the playcalling responsibility has fallen to 34-year-old quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo, who has done an admirable job despite a few costly hiccups. In one series that led to a safety in the fourth quarter against the Saints, the Bucs had a holding penalty, a fumbled shotgun snap that hit a receiver in motion, a delay of game and a false start.

"We had nine penalties (on offense)," Arroyo said. "Five of them were mental and four physical. Those things can't happen. You end up losing over 100 yards of offense."

McCoy profiled on E:60: Bucs All Pro DT Gerald McCoy is profiled by Lisa Salters on the next edition of the ESPN's news magazine E:60 at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The network shadowed McCoy for nearly a year and he is described as one of the NFL's gentle giants despite his dominance on the field.

Quotable: "You don't let someone come into your house and take your remote and if you're watching SportsCenter, you don't let them turn on Lifetime." — McCoy on the Bucs' need to win their home games.