Preseason is meant to work on things. It’s there to allow players to make mistakes on the route to midseason form. But during the second preseason game, just before the half, we learned that coaches need to work out the kinks as well.
The clock read 0:12. The Buccaneers had the football at the New England 19. The Buccaneers have one timeout remaining. Glennon drops back, and slings a five yard pass over the middle to Kevin Ogletree. It’s incomplete. Buccaneers kick a field goal on the following play, and it is now halftime.
Seems rather harmless, but it is most certainly not.
With 12 seconds on the clock, there is plenty of time to do one of two things. First is get the ball into the end zone, take a shot. Second is to use the middle of the field to get the ball inside the five, with time, to get an attempt at a close range, quick play, in order to try and score.
The Buccaneers did neither. They threw a covered crossing pattern just on the other side of the defensive line. If Ogletree did haul it in, he would have been tacked immediately. A wasted play, and in turn, a wasted chance.
Scoring chances are limited in this league. Touchdowns don’t come around all the time. So when you get the ball close, you must take the shot. The play call should have gotten the ball either in, or incredibly close to the end zone. Make it safe, yes, but make it count.
There needed to be a shot at a touchdown there. Let someone make a big play. By simply mailing it in, you let the defense win. Even though the Buccaneers scored points, and moved the ball 41 yards in 15 seconds, the defense held. Just one chance could have changed that, and there was time to do it.
Hopefully Mike Sullivan learns from the mistake, because those potential points could mean the difference between a win and a loss. And with the way the NFC is set up, that could likely mean in or out of the postseason.