Buccaneers biggest problem that isn’t related to offense

Mitch Trubisky, Pittsburgh Steelers , Antoine Winfield Jr., Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Mitch Trubisky, Pittsburgh Steelers , Antoine Winfield Jr., Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

The offense of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has been the subject of much scorn so far in 2022. However, there is an issue on the defensive side of the ball that the Buccaneers have to address quickly as well.

When it comes to the frustrating 2-3 start to the 2022 NFL season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the subject of the majority of the ire of Buccaneers fans is directed at the coaching staff, primarily head coach Todd Bowles and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich. On the part of Leftwich, the playcalling has left much to be desired in the eyes of many, and in the case of Bowles, he is in his first year replacing a former head coach who won the Bucs a Super Bowl. With that all being the case, it’s easy to see where some fans are coming from.

That being said, there is another HUGE issue this team has to address, which isn’t coming from the offense. That leaves Leftwich off the hook, but we can’t say the same for Bowles, a defensive head coach.

Simply put, the defense of the Buccaneers has a real problem with getting off the field on third down, and it’s flown under the radar this season for a variety of reasons. The biggest is the aforementioned woes of the offense, but another reason for this slept-on issue is the fact that the defense was humming pretty much up until the Kansas City Chiefs game. Now, the chickens have come home to roost.

Now some could chalk this up to a bad day, but there’s far more here than that. For starters, the Pittsburgh Steelers are perceived as a bad team, even if they are the cockroaches of the NFL, always hanging around.

The other thing is, this has become a season-long concern, and it’s only getting worse, with the loss to the Steelers being the breaking point. To this point in the season, the Bucs have allowed opposing offenses to convert on third down 42.7% of the time, ranked 22nd in the NFL. In the last three games though, opposing offenses have a 54.35% conversion rate against the Bucs, which ranks dead last in football.

At the end of the day, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a boatload of problems on the pirate ship, and it isn’t just with the offense. There’s no way to sugarcoat it, they haven’t been very good, like, at all so far. If they want to turn the season around, all three phases of the game have to improve, and fixing this third-down issue is step one for the defense.