Recently there has been lots of debate around the NFL about Tampa Bay’s Greg Schiano sending his defense into intense attack mode against opposing offenses in the victory formation.
I have no problem with Schiano using this tactic, however my question is, where is this intensity during the rest of the game, especially on offense?
In my opinion Schiano is okay with his offense giving up until late in the fourth quarter, when all of the sudden he wants more intensity.
Tampa Bay’s first five quarters of the 2012 season went well on offense, however the last seven quarters have shown that Tampa Bay is still the same offensive team despite the offseason signings of Carl Nicks and Vincent Jackson.
In week two against the New York Giants, Tampa Bay’s offense did score 24 points, however, only one of those touchdowns was a passing touchdown from Josh Freeman, with an eight yard run and interception return provided the other two touchdowns.
Things did not get any better for Tampa Bay in the second half. The first drive of the second half saw Tampa Bay call two running plays, have two incomplete passes, and managed only a field goal.
On their next drive, Freeman did complete a pass for 31 yards, but the rest of the drive only saw five rushing plays and Tampa Bay ended up punting the ball. On the third drive of the second half, Freeman had one incomplete pass before his second pass of the drive was intercepted.
The next two drives for Tampa Bay saw Freeman completing two passes on four attempts, four run plays, before both drives ended with punts. On their sixth drive of the game, Tampa Bay was finally forced to take the ball down the field on four passes for 80 yards, however, that touchdown only tied the game. Then on their last possession of the game Freeman threw another interception, which set up a game winning touchdown for the Giants.
Freeman finished that game completing only 15 passes on 28 attempts, while throwing for 243 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw two interceptions.
Against Dallas, Tampa Bay’s offense did well in on their first drive, capitalizing on a Dallas turnover. However, things went downhill after that.
Tampa Bay had 11 drives in the game, with eight of those drives ending with a punt, two of those ending in a score, and one ending when Freeman threw an interception. Freeman completed only 10 passes on 28 attempts, throwing for only 110 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Additionally, Tampa Bay’s offense converted only three third downs on 15 attempts, and totaled 166 yards for the entire game.
Just as they did in the game against New York, Tampa Bay had an extremely questionable and awful offensive game plan in the second half of the game.
In the third quarter Tampa Bay had no spark with the running game getting eight carries and Freeman completing only one pass on eight attempts, with the drives gaining two yards, 39 yards, and -10 yards.
Dallas started off the fourth quarter with a field goal, but despite having not scored any points since the first drive of the game, and being down by six points, Tampa Bay still had no urgency in the way they ran their offense.
Tampa Bay’s first drive in the fourth quarter went, one rush for three yards, two incomplete passes and a punt. Tampa Bay’s second drive in the fourth quarter went, two runs for six yards, sack, offensive penalty and a punt.
Dallas would score again making the game 16-7 and Tampa Bay got the ball back with 2:43 left in the game, however, their first play of their third drive was a running play. Tampa Bay finally got a fire under their butts, moving from their own 20-yard line to Dallas’ 10-yard line, however it was a little late, and the drive only resulted in a field goal. Tampa Bay would attempt an onside kick, however, it was recovered by Dallas.
Then would come three more bull rushes from Tampa Bay’s defense with Dallas in the victory formation, with Dallas holding on to the ball each time while also holding on to the win.
Tampa Bay’s Problem
The problem for the offense in Tampa Bay is two-fold.
The first problem is the play calling by offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. The play calling is too conservative. Tampa Bay needs to try harder and sooner to air out the ball, and make Jackson and the other Tampa Bay receivers earn their money. Running back Doug Martin is a good player, but 2.8 yards a game like he had against Dallas is not going to win games.
The other problem for Tampa Bay’s offense is quarterback Josh Freeman. Many were wondering if Freeman would be able to bounce back this season and have a repeat of his impressive 2010 campaign. So far Freeman is showing that the 2010 season was the exception not the rule.
In three games this season Freeman has thrown only 41 completions on 80 attempts which is comes out to be a 51 percent completion rate. Additionally, he has only thrown for 491 yards, while already tossing three interceptions.
Tampa Bay needs to figure out a way to be more aggressive and intense with their offense and if their attempts to be more aggressive fail because of the Freeman, other players should get a shot at being Tampa Bay’s quarterback.