The Biggest Early-Season Storylines for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Caleb AbnerContributor IIIMarch 25, 2017

The Biggest Early-Season Storylines for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    We're only two games into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2012 season, and already it's getting juicy. 

    The team has a record of 1-1, made up of a Week 1 win versus the Panthers and a Week 2 loss to the New York Giants.

    But as interesting as the team is, the individual part makes up some of the best storylines.

    These are the best early-season storylines for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Kneel-Gate

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    First things first:

    I absolutely refuse to put "Kneel-Gate" down on this list.

    "Kneel-Gate" is not a storyline.

    It is not a story.

    It is Tom Coughlin's crankiness blown out of proportion and Greg Schiano's tough-guy mentality getting blown out of proportion.

    The only part of "Kneel-Gate" that's relevant is examining how the post-Bountygate sports media reacts when player safety is brought into question.

    Fact: NFL games last 60 minutes.

    If Greg Schiano tells his team to play for 60 minutes and Eli Manning gets injured because his team was only prepared to play 59 minutes and 55 seconds, that is on the Giants, not the Bucs.

Where Is Adrian Clayborn?

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    Quick, how many tackles has Bucs DE Adrian Clayborn recorded so far this season?

    If you answered "one," congratulations for being aware of a terrifying statistical trend.

    In all seriousness, one tackle between two games isn't really that bad. But when you take into account that Clayborn has barely registered at all as a pass-rusher (only two pressures, no sacks against the Giants) you start to get worried about the sophomore's progress in the NFL.

    The Bucs are going to need Clayborn to put up some sacks if they want to limit the passing yards they are giving up (406.5/game). 

Um, Is Josh Freeman Going to Pass Anytime Soon?

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    Guess what?

    *What now* you say, scowling at a your computer screen. Not another pop quiz, you mutter.

    Pop quiz!

    Part One: How yards per pass have the Bucs averaged over the last two games?

    Part Two: How many yards per run have the Bucs averaged over the last two games?

    The answers are 7.33 and 3.6, respectively.

    And for those of you who struggle with multiplication, that means Tampa Bay averages twice as many yards throwing as it does rushing. 

    Yet still the team is at 58 rush attempts and 52 pass attempts. 

    So what's with all the rushing?

    Now, I love watching a ground-and-pound offense just as much as the next guy (if not more), but not if it hurts the team. Josh Freeman was at his best last week when he was throwing the ball down the field, as seen in the second-to-last drive of the New York game. 

    That's what wide receiver Vincent Jackson's here for, right? To catch the deep ball?

    Once offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan learns that he should just let Freeman run wild with the offense, I predict the Bucs will become an extremely-high scoring offense. And with the added pass threat, the rushing YPA will improve as well.

LeGarrette Blount?

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    You see, I didn't even really ask a question, because there is no question to ask.

    No one outside of One Buc Place seems to have any idea as to what the heck's going on with running back LeGarrette Blount. 

    Here's a report saying that he had an MRI after the Sept. 9 game, but there's not a whole lot of information beyond that the MRI will be on his neck and legs.

    Blount ended up being active for the Sept. 16 matchup, but did not play at all.

    Maybe the team was taking measures to prevent further injury, or maybe the coaching staff doesn't trust him as a running back, which would be a damn shame, as the third-year man is a fine power runner.

    Hopefully, we see Blount on the field versus the Cowboys in Week 3.

Vincent Jackson Is the Best

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    Vincent Jackson currently is among the Top 15 NFL receivers in each of the following categories:

    Total Receiving Yards (12th place, 175 yards)

    Yards Per Reception (6th place, 19.4 YPR)

    Number of Receptions of Over 20 yards (4th place, four)

    First Downs (12th place, nine)

    Vincent Jackson is the best.