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Bucs' offense embarrasses itself again

Josh McCown was sacked six times and was hit hard so many times that he must have felt like a bumper car. [Getty Images]
Josh McCown was sacked six times and was hit hard so many times that he must have felt like a bumper car. [Getty Images]
Published Dec. 8, 2014

Biggest boneheads

Each week the Bucs offense finds a new way to embarrass itself.

Last week it was the 12-men-on-the-field penalty that wiped out any chance for a winning field goal in the final seconds against the Bengals.

Sunday's play in the 34-17 loss to the Lions didn't cost the Bucs the game, but it was just about as embarrassing: They needed to call timeout before the first play from scrimmage in the second half. Seriously, how does that happen? After a halftime to get ready, how can you be so unprepared and confused that you have to burn a timeout before you even run a play?

There's no telling if the blame can be put on offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo or QB Josh McCown, but regardless, we can all agree that neither has worked out.

It's not Arroyo's fault that he had no experience calling NFL plays and was forced to take over when Jeff Tedford had health issues. And we were foolish to think a quarterback who came into the season with a lifetime record of 16-22 was going to be the Bucs' savior.

It's hard to predict success for next season if Arroyo is still the offensive coordinator and McCown is still the starting quarterback. Now, if Arroyo is the quarterbacks coach and McCown is the backup, the Bucs might have something. But if they are running the show again, the Bucs might be forced to call plenty of timeouts.

Worst position group

No one should have a big issue with the Bucs deciding to revamp their offensive line from a year ago. It was time to move on from Donald Penn, Davin Joseph and Jeremy Zuttah. Last year's offense was ineffective, and a big reason why was that the line was not very good.

The major problem with the Bucs this season is a horrible offensive line. But it's not that the team let go of good players; it simply replaced them with bad ones. Anthony Collins, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Logan Mankins and the rest just haven't panned out. Blame GM Jason Licht and coach Lovie Smith for that.

On Sunday, the Bucs rushed for only 26 yards on 14 carries. That's 57 yards below their game average, which already was 29th in the 32-team league. Meantime, McCown was sacked six times and was hit hard so many other times that he must have felt like a bumper car.

After the game, Fox announcer Michael Strahan said, "He got hit, and (fellow Fox analyst Terry) Bradshaw said, 'Oh, he's going to feel that tomorrow.' No, he's going to feel that now.''

For the second consecutive offseason, the Bucs' focus seems to be on the same: fix the quarterback position, but only after they repair a leaky offensive line.

Three things that popped into my head

1. Looks like Bucs LB Lavonte David took a pretty good ding when he was accidentally kneed in the back of the head by Lions WR Calvin Johnson. Regardless of how that injury turns out, it might not be a bad idea to shut David down for the final three games. He is one of the few really good players the team has and just means too much to this organization for him to play in meaningless games.

2. I'd still rather have Bucs DT Gerald McCoy, who was the third pick in the 2010 draft, than Lions DT Ndamukong Suh, the second pick that year. Then again, if you need a player who is better at late hits and cheap shots, Suh is your man.

3. He might have been a below-average NFL quarterback, but Brady Quinn, who called Sunday's game for Fox, is a pretty decent announcer. If he is interested in playing (he's only 30), I know a team that is used to playing below-average quarterbacks.

Good things?

The Bucs were blown out by 17. They are 2-11 on their way to, I'm predicting, 2-14. There isn't a whole lot to hang your helmet on. But there are a few things to like. Mike Evans caught two more touchdown passes and is showing he was worth being the seventh overall pick in this year's draft. Vincent Jackson still can be a dominating receiver, as proven by his 10 catches for 159 yards. And K Patrick Murray has turned out to be a pretty good bargain for his $420,000 salary. Partly to save money, the team cut ties with K Connor Barth, who was due more than $3 million, and picked up Murray, a rookie free agent from Fordham. For the season, Murray is 15-for-19, and he kicked a 54-yarder Sunday, his fourth from at least 50 yards.

Final thought

Maybe the Bucs need to start running more of those plays with 12 guys on the field.