So I’ve been out of the blogging mix for a couple of weeks. Blame it on Las Vegas. When Vegas comes calling, I have to defer to my favorite vacation destination.
But I’ve been keeping an eye on what the Buccaneers have been doing. And it hasn’t been pretty.
I was watching from a distance inside one of the casinos in Vegas when the Bucs let the Raiders beat them in overtime, despite Oakland committing a record number of penalties. And I was watching from my living room on Thursday night, when the Buccaneers got blown out at home by the Falcons.
We are halfway through the season, and Tampa Bay has a 3-5 record. All of its wins have come on the road. The ghost of Ray-Jay continues.
There is plenty of blame to go around, as you would expect. But the biggest problem – and biggest disappointment – has to be the play of the defense. Despite the moves the Bucs made in the offseason, this defense looks identical to the one that cost Lovie Smith his job. They can’t cover. They can’t tackle. They commit penalties at the worst possible times; the one that comes to mind immediately is the one on 4th down that would’ve won the game against Oakland. The defense has given up 1,087 yards over the past two games, and allowed Derek Carr and Matt Ryan to complete nearly 70 percent of their passes (thanks to ESPN staff writer Jenna Laine for those tidbits.)
Head coach Dirk Koetter looks like he’s over his head. I cannot figure out some of his decisions. Why is he afraid to get points on the board at the end of a half when he’s got timeouts in his pocket? And here’s an idea: when the opposition is flagged for a personal foul, don’t be afraid to push them back and not basically concede three points. That was a key moment in Thursday night’s abysmal effort against Atlanta.
Mike Evans is really the only thing the Bucs have going for them right now. The guy is a beast. They really, really need Doug Martin to get back on the field. Still, it may be too little, too late.
Or maybe it isn’t. There are a lot of “meh” teams out there this year. Tampa Bay is one of them. But they have to start winning at home. They have another chance next Sunday when the Bears come to town.
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