The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are shaky at this time. This crew was once meant to be a bona fide Super Bowl contender, however the Bucs (3-3) glance identical to a normal NFL crew that’s attempting to steadiness out the highs and lows of a protracted season.
The offensive line is banged up, Tampa is too reliant on its protection and Tom Brady is if truth be told beginning to appear to be an ageing quarterback at age 45 (to say not anything of the rumors swirling about his private existence). On Monday, Brady vowed on Instagram to flip the season round:
Football is arduous.
We’re no longer taking part in like we’re succesful.
We’re in it in combination.
We’ll flip it round. #MoveBucs
That’s excellent, because Tampa Bay’s problems stem from Brady’s offense.
The Buccaneers simply misplaced to the Kenny Pickett- and Mitch Trubisky-led Pittsburgh Steelers, 20-18, on Sunday — the identical Steelers that didn’t belong on the similar box because the Buffalo Bills every week in the past.
Looking on the entirety of the Buccaneers’ season makes the loss to the Steelers a bit extra comprehensible, but in addition a bit extra jarring. They virtually allowed an Atlanta Falcons offense with no Kyle Pitts to come again from a 21-point, fourth-quarter deficit in Week 5. They scored handiest 12 issues of their house loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 3, and when the offense after all confirmed up towards the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4, their protection was once eviscerated by way of Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce. Putting in combination an entire efficiency has been tough for the Buccaneers this season and so they don’t glance just about as bold as they have been the previous two years.
“I think guys who are living off the Super Bowl are living in a fantasy land,” head trainer Todd Bowles stated after the loss to the Steelers. It’s unclear precisely who he was once speaking to with that line, however there’s one facet of the Buccaneers’ crew that has struggled to constantly hang up their finally end up the cut price this yr, and it’s no longer the protection.
On Monday, Bowles defended the crew’s dealing with of Brady, who neglected the crew’s walk-through Saturday to attend the marriage of his former boss, New England Patriots proprietor Robert Kraft.
“He works as hard as anybody,” Bowles stated. “Special treatment, there’s been a few guys that have missed some meetings and some practices for some special things. That just doesn’t get publicized because they’re not him.”
Brady is probably not that man who can raise an offense on his shoulders anymore, and the operating recreation definitely isn’t serving to. According to Ben Baldwin of The Athletic, the Buccaneers are lifeless ultimate in anticipated issues added in step with speeding play (-0.269). What used to be an efficient a part of the offense has develop into an anchor.
Bowles has the protection nonetheless functioning at a top stage, however the offense below coordinator Byron Leftwich has come to a standstill. There’s no juice and explosive performs had been arduous to in finding in recent times. Of path, accidents to Julio Jones and Chris Godwin haven’t helped — and neither did the one-game suspension for Mike Evans for his position in a brawl with the New Orleans Saints. Even with the ones caveats, the Buccaneers really feel slowed down on offense. Godwin and Evans performed during the last two weeks, when Tampa Bay struggled to constantly ranking towards two of the worst defenses within the league in Atlanta and Pittsburgh. A Brady-led offense, of all issues, is actually suffering to generate issues and constant yards.
Center Ryan Jensen being out for the season definitely isn’t serving to issues, whilst rookie left guard Luke Goedeke is being used to the NFL (to put it frivolously) and operating again Leonard Fournette hasn’t been ready to create performs by way of himself. Over the previous 5 video games, Fournette is averaging simply 2.9 yards in step with raise and has scored one speeding landing in that timespan. The Bucs are operating into brick partitions and hoping they may be able to discover a crevice to squeeze by way of on the finish.
Luckily for them, the NFC South isn’t the most powerful department within the league, in order that they nonetheless personal the news towards website hosting a playoff recreation in January. The Falcons (3-3) had been scrappy, however they’re dealing with a roster that has been handicapped with virtually $80 million in lifeless salary-cap cash. The Saints (2-4) are extraordinarily injured. The Carolina Panthers (1-5) belong within the SEC.
The department nonetheless belongs to the Buccaneers so far as this season is going, however their efficiency by way of six video games makes it look like adjustments are coming to this crew after the season. Their present mode of operation isn’t a sustainable trail towards profitable.