Before turning to the Titans, it’s important to revisit what just got you beat. This game was summarized well, inadvertently by NFL Network Color Commentator (and afternoon ad-hoc Statistician), Richie Eisen, “Awww Man, Bobo with a big BooBoo!” There’s been a lot of hyperbole about the offensive linemen being problematic. There’s little evidence this was the case. Of the 68 offensive plays, 7 could actually be graded poorly. How the offensive line remains, scapegoats, while the bevy of scape-jackasses is so evident is remarkable.
In any loss, there always comparative negligence. If I had to rank the co-conspirators—Jameis Winston, Bruce Arians, Byron Leftwich, Ken Garver, & his receivers. Sure Jameis is holding the ball, but the receivers need to “show him your numbers” cleaner and sooner. Jameis is not a clinical short game passer. No one will mistake him for Fran Tarkenton. The receivers aren’t helping and that’s on Arians, Leftwich, and Garver. The offense is not coordinated. Arians is correct that Winston self-sacks, but his receivers ensure that “coverage sacks” are a staple of opponents.
Let’s take a look at the “Wrongfully Accused”—to borrow from Lieutenant Frank Drebin. Here are the plays verbal assailants are talking about regarding pass-pro:
10:17 mark of the 1st Quarter – Gerald McCoy beats Ali Marpet. Jameis couldn’t set his feet on a three-step. Just eat it—loss of 7 shouldn’t be bad if we had a punter.
9:59 mark of the 1st Quarter – Jameis has a good pocket. Runs up Watford’s back “butt-fumble” style of the pocket climb with open space to his left. It’s not a close-up, but it doesn’t appear his eyes are downfield. Self-sack.
14:55 mark of the 2nd quarter – Just has the ball too long and Michael Irvin just validates the observation. He pumps to the right at about 2.9, ambles to the left and Burns just tackles him because he’s close and huggable.
9:59 mark of the 2nd Quarter – Poor recognition by Arians, Leftwich, and Winston. If you’re not going to scheme better or be less deliberate in the clock, you just make the QB sackable. Godwin is head-up Javien Elliot but goes into the pattern anyway. An Arians’ staple. Elliot keeps the edge and flushes Jameis forward to an easy McCoy sack. Of course, now 3rd and 12, Winston tosses pick. Bruce Irvin may or may not have grazed Winston’s arm on the Javien Elliot pick, but the SNAFU was caused by questionable play-calling and Winston’s lack of recognition—or he recognized the Elliot rush and bet poorly he could get the ball out. Not all on Winston. Five in the pattern at all times is greedy, boneheaded football. If Arians and Leftwich can’t do better a 5th year QB must. Those two are not doing Winston any favors.
2:00 left in the 1st half – Richie Eisen, “What a disastrous snap of the football for Tampa Bay!” Basically, it’s a screen designed to Ronald Jones II and Kuechly & Mates smelled it before they left Charlotte. It’s a play where QB’s with good judgment eat the incompletion, but Jameis decides to pump fake and Vernon Butler sack-fumbles Winston. We recover going in reverse.
1:14 left in the half – 2nd and 19, Winston has the ball for 6.87 seconds buying time. Bad clock in his head—Vernon Butler hits him and the Sack-fumble sticks this time. This is forfeiting a red zone opportunity only down 17 – 7. Bad QB judgment and worse play-calling. Barber is tough between the tackles and Jones II is squirrelly. Just turn and stick the thing in their stomach. Calling screen passes in the red zone are an Arians’ staple. Stop putting the ball in the Air.
3rd and 2 at the 11:01 mark of the 3rd quarter – The Panthers send five. Bruce Irvin gets a “coverage sack”. The receivers do little to get open. Work back to the ball, even if it means abandoning the markers. The call made little sense again. 3rd and 2 against the Panthers, who are 2nd in football in sacks, seems like poor strategically. The Ravens ran into the same problem in Seattle. They just decided to run directly at the Seahawks. Take Winston out if you must. Go ‘Tackle Eligible—Wildcat’ or anything. Stop passing on 3rd and 2 against Mario Addison and Bruce Irvin. “Use Your Mass Against the Light in The Butt”. Arians and Leftwich are doing too much ‘Quarterback Whispering’. Football is less cerebral than they are making it.
The defense and special teams are making strides if you eliminate “Bobo with the BooBoo.” (They did). The defense gave up 268 yards and held the Panthers to 3 of 13 on 3rd down. You’re not recovering from 6 offensive and 1 special teams turnovers. Hopefully, Arians, Leftwich, Winston, Garver and the receivers can figure themselves out. That’s a tall order against that Titans defense. May we not ‘Remember the Titans’ and Never Jump Ship, even if we become ‘Titanic’. Go Bucs!!