It’s no secret the Bucs failed on offense last week against the Lions. The problem was none of their weapons were able to blossom and destroy. I stated in last week’s FFF, that if they all clicked, it would be death by numerous things for the Lions.
None of them clicked.
Josh Freeman was taken out of the game (both literally and at one point physically) by the lack of a run game. This then created a deadly reverse domino effect that undid the Bucs offense and could happen again. With the run game gone, Freeman had to pass, which was expected. He forced throws and was readable by the defense. This then took Kellen Winslow and Mike Williams out of the game which burdened the smaller time receivers with carrying a load they’re not designed to carry. This left it all back up to Freeman who couldn’t run himself.
The problem leaked all over the place offensively, ruining the equipment in all departments. After falling behind, the Bucs began running their two-minute offense, which doesn’t include LaGarrette Blount, one of the big guys that needs a big game for the Bucs to win. This caused the Bucs to rely on halfback Earnest Graham and also the passing game which at this point was shaken bad.
Call it a trickle down, call it a domino effect. Whatever it was the heading can be called failure to launch.
Having never gotten off the ground, the Bucs put too much pressure on a defense that actually played pretty well given the circumstances. This week Josh Freeman and Co. need to start where they should have started last week: establishing the run. The Vikings don’t have a prolific run defense and as long as you’re running away from Jared Allen, you will go for positive yards.
Linebackers E.J and Erin Henderson (yes, they’re brothers) are equipped to stop the run but can be worn down. Chad Greenway will most likely have double duties as run stopper and Kellen Winslow cover man. If Blount (and/or any other back) can establish a run presence and keep the Vikings linebackers on their heels, Josh Freeman will have a field day with their corners.
Antonie Winfield is their only shut-down corner and, despite his age, is still very good at it. He’s the closest thing the Vikings have to a Ronde Barber. Chris Cook is injury plagued as is Cedric Griffin; both have the misfortune of having bad hips and knees and also being cornerbacks in the NFL. Both were burned badly on Sunday against the Chargers, but lucky for them Phillip Rivers overthrew his receivers at the time. Mike Williams will draw Winfield which could take him out of the first part of the game, but use the smaller guys like Preston Parker and the Bucs will eat away at the Vikings like piranhas.