Changing of the guard: Air Biscuit to three runs and a cloud of dust
I can’t tell you how many times over the last few years that I have found myself wishing the Bucs would run the ball more at times — careful of what you wish. When it was announced that Todd Bowles would be taking over for Bruce Arians this season, I thought about the fact that teams tend to take on the persona/philosophy of their head coach. I also wondered how the fact that Leftwich is a constant between both coaches would affect things. Now, let me interject here that the injury situation for the Bucs’ wide receivers has played a part in this young season’s game plan. Honestly, I think most believe it has a lot to do with it, but for me, not so much.
Defense and its evolving role
Bear with me now. It has been that over Arians’ time as head coach that the defense has been very good. We all know this. Even with that strong defense in place, it was still the offense with Tom Brady and the surrounding talent that led this team. It was the passing game and plenty of it that was the M.O. of the Buccaneers, plain and simple. With Bowles taking over as the man in charge, it just feels different. It seems to me that now the defense is the focal point and the identity of this year’s version. There’s nothing wrong with that, either. The Bucs have always been known for our defense. As talented as our defense is this season. It has not yet evolved into the type of force that can dictate the game to their choosing. During the last part of the 2020 season and into the playoffs and the Super Bowl win, the Bucs were that type of defense. Yet even then, it was still the offense that drove the ship, if you follow what I’m saying. It’s why I wrote a preseason article about this schedule being one “Extremely Tough Row To Hoe“. It’s why I took the Green Bay loss so hard because I knew another loss was probably coming right behind it from the Chiefs. It’s why this team absolutely has to win the games it should win. Green Bay was one of those games. The Buccaneers don’t have the luxury of being able to lose those games and still be in the thick of things (home field advantage, etc.). There are going to be more losses to very good teams on the schedule if things don’t get turned around.
Wide Receiver injuries have wreaked havoc on the offense
As much as Bruce Arians was an air attack fanatic, I believe that Bowles is that way about the running game and solid defense. Much lower scores, better control of the game clock through the rushing game, and a superior defense seem to be Bowles’ preferences. With our lead receivers being injured, it seemed to cater to Bowles’ liking. Getting Mike Evans back in the game tonight (Godwin and Jones as well) opened things back up for Brady to sling away! The problem is; for whatever reason (defensive game plan), the defense just had no control of the game whatsoever. They barely slowed down Mahomes at all. The Chiefs dictated gameplay with their offense. They did whatever they wanted to, to put it simply. All the Bucs offense could do was desperately try and keep up. Had the defense done their job and at least caused a few hiccups (punts), the Bucs could have stood a chance of coming back to win this Sunday Night display. Unfortunately, the defense was a turn style most of the night, offering not much more resistance than a tackling dummy. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have impressive defensive players loaded with talent, but they found no answer to the Chiefs 5 alarm offense; why? The truth in all of this is that the defense needs to step up and lead this season. They have to be the light this season. They need to control games. Is it going to be like this against the Rams, Bengals, Ravens, Cardinals, and Browns? Because right now, I don’t see but two wins out of those five teams. A tough row to hoe indeed. Go Bucs!!
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