Buccaneers Look To Get Healthy In The Second Half Of The Season

November 6, 2021

The bye week has come at just the right time for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs had six players miss the game on Sunday against the Saints, and the bye week will allow them to get healthy for the second half of the season.

Defensive back Sean Murphy-Bunting has missed most of the season after injuring his elbow in the season opener against Dallas. Carlton Davis has missed some time with a quad injury, and newly acquired Richard Sherman has missed three games with a hamstring injury.

Tight End Rob Gronkowski has been out with broken ribs the last few weeks. He tried to go against New Orleans but suffered a back injury related to the rib injury and couldn’t finish the game.

Jason Pierre-Paul has been playing with a torn rotator cuff. Carlton Davis, Dee Delaney, and Antonio Brown also missed Sunday’s game with various injuries.

Brown has an ankle injury has been riding the bike, but he is still in a walking boot.

Sean Murphy-Bunting and wide receiver Scotty Miller have both begun light workouts in the 21-day window. What that means is that both players can practice with the team without counting against the 53-man roster. There is also a possibility that both players will be on the active roster for the Bucs’ next game against Washington on November 14.

The Bucs have 21 days to put them on the roster, or they will need to miss the rest of the season.

Bruce Arians sounded optimistic about Carlton Davis, Sean Murphy-Bunting, and Scotty Miller possibly being ready to play against Washington.

Indeed, some time off should help get some of these injured players back on the field when the Bucs resume play on November 13.

The Bucs have the same record as last season after six games, 6-2. But this year feels a bit different.

The Buccaneer’s offense has been better than expected the first half of the season. The offense ranks number one at 423 yards per game. The Bucs also have the best passing attack led by the 44-year-old Tom Brady.

Brady has thrown for 2,650 yards with 25 touchdowns and five interceptions. Tampa’s passing attack is averaging 327 yards in the air.

The run game continues to struggle as they rank 23rd in the league averaging 95 yards a game.

Defensively, this Bucs team has been a disappointment. I Know I was expecting better, and I’m sure many Bucs fans were as well. The injuries have impacted the team’s performance, no question.

Defense wins championships. In last year’s Super Bowl, we saw that with the defensive effort against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. The Bucs are nowhere near the level of defensive play this season that they were last season.

The defense ranks eighth in yards allowed at 335 yards per game. The pass defense is 19th in the league giving up 258 yards a game through the air. The run defense remains number one, giving just 79 yards a game. Although the last two games, the Bucs run defense has not been good as they have given up over 100 yards per game.

The Bucs are in the middle of the pack in points allowed giving up 23 per game.

The defense is plus-four in takeaways.

The Bucs are also not getting to the quarterback. The pass rush has been a disappointment. They are getting good pressure but can’t seem to bring the quarterback to the ground. We have seen this scenario play out in almost every game this season.

Bruce Arians addressed the lack of sacks in his press conference. “We just have to do a better job of finishing, especially when we’re blitzing. The back end has to hold up just a little bit longer, too, and don’t let those quick throws come out. So it’s a combination of the coverage because we’re getting guys free, and we’re getting pressure, but we’re not finishing the job.”

The Bucs currently have 17 sacks which rank 26th in the league.

The one ugly stat that jumps out at you is the penalties. The Buccaneers are second in the NFL with 59 and lead the league with 560 penalty yards.

You cannot make a deep playoff run and expect to contend for a Super Bowl playing this kind of undisciplined football. The majority of these penalties have been on defense.

The game against New Orleans was the first game this season where the penalties hurt this team and affected the game’s outcome. The Bucs were penalized 11 times, six of those penalties resulting in first downs for New Orleans.

I know this will be an area of focus for the team during the bye week.

Playing disciplined football is part of the recipe for winning football games. The Bucs are coming up short right now in playing with discipline.

With the second half of the season about to commence here are two areas the Bucs must improve on to have a chance at getting back to the Super Bowl.

–The pass rush must improve. Get to the quarterback and get the quarterback on the ground. Good pressure up front will also help improve the performance in the secondary.

-Play disciplined football. Sorry to beat this dead horse, but there is no excuse for this many penalties. Championship teams play with discipline. The Bucs need to get back to playing the game with focus and with discipline. If not, they will be watching Super Bowl 56 with you and me from the comfort of our living room.