Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mr. Schiano's Offense Has Square Pegs in Round Holes
Welcome back to Mr. Schiano's neighborhood.
Yesterday, we visited his defense after four games. Today, we're going offense.
It's an "iffy" day in the neighborhood.
It's "iffy" because after four games, it's looking like square pegs being forced into round holes.
You have two nice running backs who can't get nice yardage because there is no blocking or any plays to take advantage of their respective styles.
Doug Martin mostly goes inside, but there are no holes.
LeGarrette Blount? Well, he's simply not going anywhere because he's a good solid square peg stuck in a round hole and that round hole is the bench.
The offensive line? That was supposed to be a major strength. But with the losses of Davin Joseph and the exile of Jeremy Trueblood, you have half of a good offensive line.
The left side is great, the right side is mush. You have Ted Larsen at guard and about a half-dozen skill levels below Joseph. You have Demar Dotson, who is still learning the position and is getting schooled. He was devoured by the Washington Redskins' Ryan Kerrigan last Sunday. Kerrigan would love to go against Dotson every Sunday. Hello Pro Bowl!
This simply doesn't bode well for running the football, and it shows.
Martin has 71 carries for 247 yards, and that's not going to scare anyone. Blount has all of 13 touches, 44 yards and that is scary. It wasn't supposed to be that way, it's not what Schiano promised and we got duped on this.
Why is there no running game?
Problem with no running threat is that everyone can force you to pass.
That's where Josh Freeman comes in and with mush on the right side of the line, there's going to be pressure—more than there was supposed to be.
Freeman has a hard bit in his mouth. He's limited and he can't audible out of a lot of plays. Schiano put a cumbersome brace on Freeman's left knee against his will, and you wonder to yourself how that affects his ability to run.
When he runs, they insist he slides and he's not a slider. This big boy is a punisher. We've seen him do it, we want him to do it, Schiano doesn't. Round peg, square hole.
Do you start to see the theme here? Nothing fits properly and it shows.
You have a great wide receiver in Vincent Jackson, a pretty good one in Mike Williams and that's it. Until last Sunday, no third receiver bothered to help until Tiquan Underwood made some nice late-game catches.
Here's where it gets even more interesting: tight ends. To accommodate the running game, you have to have tight ends who can block. Luke Stocker and Dallas Clark? These guys aren't scaring anyone, they're not blocking anyone and they're not catching enough footballs to matter.
Square pegs, round holes.
Why is there no effective passing game?
What all of this adds up to is the league's 30th-ranked offense that goes with the 30th-ranked defense. When you consider that, it's a miracle this team has won one game and it's a miracle that all three losses have been closely contested games that went down to the wire.
The good news is that this square-peg-in-the-round-hole coaching staff has two weeks to try and figure it out. It's not like they have to prepare for a juggernaut on October 14. It's the Kansas City Chiefs coming to town. And if you think you're upset at Freeman, try and imagine Brady Quinn as your starter.
Try that on for size.
This has been an interesting first quarter and it's laden with the "could-haves" and "should-haves" but it's also been a bad news four weeks. It was bad news before it started when Joseph went down and it was bad news in game three when Adrian Clayborn was lost for the year.
All things considered, it isn't all that bad.
Just remember, things are never as good as they seem or as bad as they appear to be.
And that goes for Mr. Schiano's neighborhood, too.
It's an "iffy" day in the neighborhood.
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