Tendencies on offense matter, and you best believe that the head coach has a way of shaping their offense to fit whichever tendencies they want.
Bruce Arians wanted no risk it no biscuit, so Byron Leftwich tailored an offense to the wishes of his head coach. These tendencies led to early passes that came often and a high-powered offense.
Todd Bowles wants different tendencies on offense. The defensive head coach wants a run game that is reminiscent of the early 2000s and a defense to match. The Bucs have the defense, but the quality on offense just doesn’t cut it due to these very Bowles-specific offensive tweaks.
Even when the Bucs were healthy and started the Cowboys game with all of their players, they ran the ball far more than they passed. This split left points on the board, especially in the first half when the receivers were all good to go, and that is part of the reason why the injuries argument is generally baseless as the sole reason behind a lack of success.
A Ferrari can’t get to speed in the garage.
The Buccaneers chose to slow the game down and play conservative in the first two games during an era where the best teams play aggressive and try to score fast, and while it worked against the bad teams, the Bucs suffered a loss for this reason against the Packers.
The early runs only make converting drives all the more difficult. There is a place on drives for a run-heavy approach, but acting like it is on first down or second and long in a close game is silly.
Tampa’s offense is becoming predictable-as evidenced by the steep drop-off in Leonard Fournette’s production from Week 1 compared to Week 2 and Week 3. Teams that shut down the run for the Bucs are actually taking away Tampa’s abilities to control the clock, then they throw the ball more to score faster and chew more clock than Tampa’s dull, run-heavy approach.
The scheme is bad and ignores almost every modern convention of the game. It doesn’t have to be this way. There is a fix.