The Tampa Bay Buccaneers marched into Texas Sunday with the chance to beat the Dallas Cowboys and go 2-1. The offense though apparently didn’t get the message. Josh Freeman and the rest of the offense fumbled away a fantastic performance by the defense.
The problem wasn’t just Freeman though, as bad play calling plagued the Buccaneers again. Mike Sullivan has solved the issue of the previous two seasons about starting slow, having scored 20 points already through just three games.
While Sullivan has done a great job calling the first fifteen plays of the game, usually known as the scripted plays coming into a game, it seems like he panics after those and can’t seem to develop any kind of rhythm calling plays.
The play calling becomes very predictable, and allows the defenses to pin their ears back and not only get after Freeman, but starting running back Doug Martin has a pedestrian 3.4 yards per carry.
Not only did the play calling fail Freeman, but the offensive line didn’t do him any justice either. They missed their assignments allowing the Cowboys pass rushers to hit Freeman multiple times. Carl Nicks and the rest of the line missed a couple of blocks on runs as well, leaving Martin little room to work with.
The last problem was the wide receivers. This offseason it was a point to give Freeman some added weapons for him to succeed, and the Bucs went out and gave Vincent Jackson a 55 million dollar contract. When Freeman needed him the most, he didn’t show up.
Through 58 minutes he didn’t have a catch despite Freeman having attempted six passes his way. Some weren’t the most catchable passes, but were in his range and catches that he is expected to make. Jackson while getting separation from corners never capitalized on it throughout the game.
The rest of the receivers simply couldn’t even get off the line. Rookie Morris Claiborne effectively took Mike Williams out of the game. You could see the same problem as last year from him as he couldn’t get off the line of scrimmage, rendering him useless for Freeman.
The good news is that it looks to be easier from here on out. This week the Buccaneers play the Washington Redskins who are giving up the most fantasy points to quarterbacks this year. It’s still early, but for Freeman and the Buccaneers sake, they need to get it turned around fast.