Buccaneers Round Table: Which Bucs team is the real one?
So after the total destruction of the Chicago Bears at home in week 2 the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looked like they were going to be the team that everyone thought they were (Dennis Green moment), but then a slight reality check occurred when in week three they traveled up to Minnesota to take on the Vikings and the Buccaneers were on the receiving end of a dominating performance so which team is the real Buccaneers?
Would it be too corny if I thought both week performances were the “Real Buccaneers”? Not a cop out answer but truly some parts of both games are who the Buccaneers are. In most games when you are ahead you run the ball to burn out the clock and try to wear out the other team, and when you are behind you have to basically abandon the run and go to the pass.
Which is what the Buccaneers did in week two against the Bears and what got done to them in week three against the Vikings, but let’s look and see why the Buccaneers got dominated in week three.
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Every team deals with injuries but when you are hit by a flu bug the week before a game you are not going to be 100% by that week’s game, and if you get hit by it late in the week like Chris Baker, Jacquies Smith, and a couple other players you will miss the game altogether. When starters miss games not due to injury it doesn’t give the second string enough time to get acclimated to start that week.
Then with Kwon Alexander out with a hamstring injury and Baker out that takes away your strength in the middle of your defense, and then Brent Grimes missed the game with a shoulder injury so your top corner is now off the field. Allowing the Vikings to do something that the Bears could not and that is rush up the middle with Dalvin Cook and also have a great day by the Viking receivers.
Then during the game you lose several other key players to injury either for all the game or key parts of the game like Gerald McCoy (twice), Lavonte David, and Noah Spence that limits you even more.
Now I am not saying that Buccaneers lost because of injuries on the contrary I am saying that the week three performance is not the “Real Buccaneers” due to all the players that were injured during the game.
The Buccaneers secondary did not play that well against the Vikings without Grimes and were eaten alive by Stephon Diggs and Adam Theilen and with no pass rush Case Keenum was given plenty of time to find the open man and get it to him.
Mike Glennon and the Bears were also able to carve up the Buccaneers secondary a little bit in week two completing 69% of his passes for 301 yards, but the defense was able to come through when it matter and force him to throw two interceptions including a pick-six.
No pass rush is going to give any competent quarterback plenty of time to find the open receiver as Keenum did in the Vikings game while in the Bears game Glennon was sacked once by Spence for a forced fumble.
On the offensive side of the ball, Winston did not have to do much in the passing game against the Bears and thus did not make any desperation throws, but in the Vikings game being down 28-3 he felt that he had to carry the team on his back and made more desperate throws hoping for the big payoff instead of settling the dump off passes to open receivers. Which in the end caused him to take more chances that the Vikings defenders capitalized on with three interceptions.
In desperate times Winston needs to settle for the check down receiver and not try to go for six on every throw, but being the classic “Gunslinger” quarterback he will continue to take the big risks but he needs to be patient and find the open man.
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So back to the original question of “Which Buccaneers team is the real Buccaneers” and as I wrote before in a way both of them are, but obviously the defense did not play as well due to injuries causing any good coach to capitalize on the week as Zimmer the Vikings did. The defense will improve with health so I think the defense is closer to the week two defense that played against the Bears.
Also I think the offense will be guided by if they are desperate to catch up to a team and how much risks then that Winston will have to take, or if they are in the lead and in control in that case less risks will be needed making them a more conservative playing safer team.
With my analysis I think that they are closer to Buccaneers from week two who beat up on the Bears, but the defense still gave up plenty of chances to the Bears offense and capitalized on Bears mistakes and less like the Buccaneers team that played the Vikings. With players becoming healthy and the offense and defense getting in a groove I think that they will be just fine and we as Buccaneers fans will be happy with the season.