Does the offense turn the corner?
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Scott Reynolds of Pewter Report answers your questions from the @PewterReport Twitter account every week in the Bucs Monday Mailbag. Submit your question via Twitter to the Bucs Monday Mailbag each week using the hashtag #PRMailbag. These are the questions we’ve chosen to answer for this week’s edition.
QUESTION: Do you think this is the start of the offensive explosion we’ve all been waiting for, or just enough to get us into the dance and return Byron Leftwich to the previous 15 games?
ANSWER: The Bucs showed what can possibly happen when things click offensively. They put up 30 points on the Panthers, but also faced a fumble from Chris Godwin and a Godwin holding penalty that nullified a 30-yard catch-and-run from Cade Otton. Then throw in a failed two-point conversion, a missed extra point, a missed 53-yard field goal, and a blocked 26-yard field goal and there were plenty of miscues that left points on the field instead of putting them on the scoreboard.
The reason why the Bucs attack broke out was twofold. Quarterback Tom Brady stayed longer in the pocket and got a few hits as he waited for a few passes downfield to Mike Evans to develop. And then Brady put the ball on the money to Evans, who racked up 10 catches for 207 yards and three touchdowns at 63, 57, and 30 yards. Brady was sacked three times and hit eight times by a fierce Carolina defensive front, but the difference was he was more willing to take those hits on Sunday.
Otherwise, Byron Leftwich’s attack was the same as usual, struggling in third place (4-of-15, 26.7%), struggling in the red zone (1-of-3, 33%) and struggling to to run the ball. with only 67 meters on the ground, with an average of 2.7 meters per wear. The successful on-field pass offense was the difference, and those big plays in the passing game – which were often missed this year, hence Evans’ three touchdowns in the Panthers game – made up for the strife in the aforementioned areas.
That’s not to say the Bucs can’t have a similar game with explosive plays on the field. But the Panthers played a lot of Cover 1 and Cover 3, allowing Evans to be included in cover. Tampa Bay’s downfield passing game wasn’t as successful this year as the team faced Cover 2 or Quarters coverage so we’ll see who the Bucs face in the playoffs and what the future for Leftwich’s offense.
ASK: Why haven’t the Bucs implemented more of an up-tempo, no-huddle attack when it looks like that’s what’s worked?
ANSWER: That’s a great question, and I wish I had a better answer for you. I used to buy into what head coach Todd Bowles was selling about why the Bucs don’t use the rushing, no-huddle offense as part of the team’s regular offensive offense rather than out of a need to catch up late in games. Bowles argued that if the offense went three-and-out even faster, his defense would be rushed onto the field too quickly and wear out more quickly over the course of the game.
But the reality is that the Tampa Bay offense only works consistently well in the two-minute offense. The risk may well be worth the reward and there’s a higher chance that the offense will continue drifting that way by applying an up-tempo attack. Using the no-huddle proactively rather than using it as a reaction can improve Tampa Bay’s point production and increase the odds of winning.
Offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich appears to be less involved when Tom Brady initiates the no-huddle offense and takes more control of the play-calling in those instances. And given Leftwich’s track record this year, that seems like a good thing.
ASK: With nothing really to play for next week, what are the chances that the Bucs will drop most of their starters, and we’ll see Kyle Trask at QB against the Falcons?
ANSWER: The problem with the idea of sitting a team’s starters is that the Bucs must have 47 active players on game days with six inactives. Taking the three special teams starters in kicker Ryan Succop, punter Jake Camarda and long snapper Zach Triner out of the mix leaves Tampa Bay with just 44 players to use. So it’s not like the preseason where the team has an extensive roster to form a backup offense or a backup defense. Some starters, especially along the offensive line, will have to play because there are not enough reserves to draw all the starters.
Quarterback Tom Brady said he would like to play against the Falcons in Week 18 because he hasn’t missed a game since being suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season. The bet here is that Brady will play at least half in Atlanta, and then we might see Blaine Gabbert or possibly Kyle Trask in his first NFL play.
The same can be said of players dealing with injuries. Cornerback Jamel Dean had a bad limp after Sunday’s win against Carolina due to a sprained toe that forced him to miss the game in Arizona. Left tackle Donovan Smith played through a foot injury and safety Antoine Winfield Jr. struggled through an ankle injury. Receiver Julio Jones is battling a knee injury this year that has forced him to miss some time, but he may want to play against his former team this week in Atlanta.
While the Bucs clinched a playoff spot by winning the NFC South and can’t affect their post-season seeding with a win or a loss in Atlanta, Tampa Bay wants to finish with a winning record. Posting a 9-8 record lends the Bucs division title a bit more legitimacy when it’s all said and done, and the team would rather ride into the playoffs on a three-game winning streak than the regular season finishing with an 8-9 record.
ASK: Thoughts on who will start QB for next year, and specifically on Jimmy Garoppolo coming to Tampa?
ANSWER: I believe the odds are better than 50-50 that Tom Brady will want to play a 24th season and return to the Bucs in 2023. Football is Brady’s life and he still wants to participate as long as he is physically able. While he hasn’t had nearly as productive a season as the previous two years in Tampa Bay with 40 touchdowns in 2020 and 43 TDs last year, Brady has still thrown 24 touchdowns this year with only nine interceptions, that’s three fewer. than a year ago.
In addition, Brady is an icon, whose celebrity and popularity make it difficult to function as an everyday person in public. But in the locker room, Brady is one of the guys he loves. That is a very important part of his life. The soccer field is Brady’s haven. It’s a place where the outside world doesn’t exist and it’s a place where he’s in complete control.
Without seeing his ex-wife’s permission to play moving forward, I think Brady is more inclined to continue playing football. And because of the relationships he has in Tampa Bay, particularly with owner Joel Glazer, general manager Jason Licht and his teammates, I have a strong feeling that if Brady returns, he wants to do it with the Bucs because of the comfort level he has here established. .
I don’t think Jimmy Garoppolo will come to Tampa Bay. I’m not sure the team wants him because he’s so prone to injury and more of a game manager than a prolific passer. We’ll take a deep dive into QB options for Tampa Bay in the 2023 offseason, but I do know that keeping Brady is at the top of the Bucs’ wish list.
ASK: What are the chances of Tom Brady staying with us next year and getting Sean Payton as head coach?
ANSWER: I’ve already given my opinion on Tom Brady possibly staying in Tampa Bay. But as for former New Orleans coach Sean Payton coming to the Bucs? Forget it, because it’s not happening.
Payton will return to coaching in 2023 after taking a year off from football outside of his Fox gig as an analyst. But the Saints still own Payton’s rights because he’s still technically under contract and any team that wants Payton would have to trade for him. New Orleans certainly won’t trade Payton for a divisional rival like Tampa Bay to meet him only twice a year. I think there’s a better chance that Payton will return to New Orleans next year and Dennis Allen will be the defensive coordinator again, or that the Saints will trade Payton for an AFC team.
The fact that the Bucs won the NFC South division with at least a 4-1 record is certainly enough to keep head coach Todd Bowles around. The Bucs’ 2022 season was not as good as expected, but the team has stayed together all season and is currently playing better football. A new offensive coordinator in 2023 should help the Bucs become more consistent in point scoring as well.
QUESTION: Will – and should – the Bucs sign Gerald McCoy to a one-day contract so he can retire as a Buc? His Twitter during game day looks like he really likes the Bucs and his old teammates.
ANSWER: Yes, I think they should. Gerald McCoy, who turns 35 in February, is done playing football. His body has broken down in the last two seasons he played – in Dallas in 2020 and in Las Vegas in 2021. Both seasons ended early due to an injured reserve, and McCoy was out of football this year.
McCoy grew up with a love for the Bucs as a kid in Oklahoma, idolizing defensive tackle Warren Sapp. It was a dream come true for McCoy to be drafted by the Bucs with the third overall pick in 2010. He played nine seasons in Tampa Bay from 2010-18 where he was one of the better players on the team before being released and signed a contract. year contract with Carolina in 2019. Although he never made the postseason, McCoy did earn six Pro Bowl appearances and did much for the Tampa Bay community.
Whether he’s done enough in his career to warrant a Ring of Honor induction is debatable. But he certainly deserves the chance to retire as a Buccaneer. I hope the team can live up to that sometime in the off-season. McCoy only played with a few surviving Bucs from his era, including linebacker Lavonte David and defensive lineman Will Gholston, wide receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, quarterback Ryan Griffin, center Ryan Jensen, and left tackle Donovan Smith, among others. But McCoy is still active for the team, especially on his Twitter page on game days.
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