Buccaneers

Are The Tampa Bay Buccaneers In Trouble following week one loss?

  • Mike Evans
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Tom Brady
  • Vita Vea
By JT September 15, 2020 0 Comment

After a disappointing week one blowout, the Bucs need to regroup and get on track quickly. Can it be fixed or are the Buccaneers in trouble?

Sunday’s opening game against the New Orleans Saints was a disappointing one as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell 23-34. There were times when the Bucs seemed like the powerhouse team they looked like they would be during the off-season. There were other times where they looked as sloppy and dysfunctional as they did at their worst moments from last season. So which team are they and are the Buccaneers in trouble?

There is still plenty to be excited about for the Bucs, but this game should come as a wake up call to some. Some of these problems that can and will be fixed. Other issues may plague this team all season. Determining which is which will be critical for head coach Bruce Arians and his staff. Here are the week one issues that need to be evaluated.

Tom Brady

So much hype came with the greatest quarterback in NFL history. Many thought Tom Brady would have a record setting year with the weapons in Tampa Bay. However, it was a less than glamorous start for Brady who threw two ugly interceptions. Was Sunday a sign of things to come?

In short, yes and no. The first interception was a miscommunication between Brady and wide receiver Mike Evans on an option route. It was a particularly ugly pass that went right to the defender without a Bucs player anywhere near it. That is a familiar sight to Bucs fans who saw a lot of these plays with Jameis Winston last year. These kinds of plays will eventually fade out as Brady becomes more comfortable in this new offense, but there will be a few ugly turnovers like this early on.

The second interception was just a bad throw. It was late and behind the receiver on an out breaking route and was an easy touchdown for the defense. An optimist would like to believe that this was just an isolated play. However, with a 43 year old quarterback you have to wonder if this is a result of not being able to throw the ball with as much zip as he could five or ten years ago. If this becomes a trend then it’s a legitimate long term problem for the Bucs.

Donovan Smith

Donovan Smith was beat early and often on Sunday. He allowed several sacks and consistently struggled as a run blocker. Granted, the Saints have an excellent and one game doesn’t define a season. At the same time, rookie offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs played his first career NFL game on Sunday and looked to be much better than Smith.

For a left tackle that is already considered to be the weak link on the offensive line, Sunday was a microcosm of issues. Smith has to find a way to be better if the Buccaneers want to win a super bowl this year. Unfortunately, no one is sure that there is much to be done at this point. Smith is who he is and the Buccaneers will have to find a way to give him extra help and plan around his deficiencies.

Penalties

The Bucs committed nine penalties for 103 yards on Sunday. Not a good start for the most penalized team in the league in 2019. It seemed like everyone took a turn drawing a flag, from Tom Brady to Vita Vea. The lack of discipline made conversions longer and more difficult throughout the day.

While it’s fair to be skeptical of the Bucs discipline, this is a problem that is entirely correctable. There was no preseason this year, so these kinds of growing pains were expected to a degree. It is one this to do well in practice, but it is another to go against live competition at full speed. The Bucs will improve in this area. How much remains to be seen.

Special Teams

The Bucs had a field goal blocked, a turnover on a kickoff and did not do particularly well in returns or coverage. For a team that has struggled for years in the kicking game, many fans are saying “Here we go again”. However, it is again worth noting how the lack of preseason has an impact here.

It is a very new group of special teams players for the Bucs. They cut their special teams captain last week and this unit had no live drills to gel together. New kicker Ryan Succop did hit his other field goal attempt after the block and both extra point tries with no issues.

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