Here we go again. This is another article I dread writing. I will warn you that I didn't watch the game. I was driving back from Virginia with my wife, however, she was gracious enough to allow me to listen to it on Sirius. I had the
pleasure of listening to the Philthy broadcast of the game. It was torture. Merrill Reese and Mike Quick had no clue how to describe a play, what they had just seen. They also failed to do extensive research on the Bucs, therefor made uninformed commentary about Morris, Jim Bates and the team. Gene Deckerhoff spoils us Bucs fans. I was tempted several times to turn off the game to prevent road rage on I-81. So, with that said all I have seen is the highlights and listened to the entire game. I also will warn you that I often refer to Philly as Philthy and I have a deep disdain for the Eagles, as any Bucs fan should.
Buc Wild wrote an article on it and I have harped on it in these Game Re-Caps, but the Bucs have no identity. It's not only their defense who doesn't know what to do, but there offense clearly has no direction. Did they move the ball yesterday? Yes. They had 22 first downs (5 thanks to penalties) and 300 yards of offense. They chewed up a ton of clock but at the end of the game they only had two TD's. Why? Look at these numbers...
Designed Pass Plays (this includes Sacks/Fumbles and Scrambles) - 56
Designed Run Plays - 17
That's a pass play 76% of the time. Why did we bring in Derrick Ward? He had 6 Carries and 37 Yards. That's over 6 YPC. Yes, we were playing from behind in the 2nd half. However for much of the game we were only down by a Touchdown or Two. That does not call for panic. Johnson played alright, but if we want to win it will be done on the ground. No successful team is that one-dimensional.
On the positive side we greatly increased our 3rd Down % to 50%. Thats tremendous and it is what the best offenses do. Want to know why we can't do it consistently? We averaged a 3rd and 8.9. No team can consistently be asked to do that. Josh Johnson played well and they gave us several First Downs because of unforced and forced penalties.
I don't have a problem with Morris going for it on 4th downs. In fact, I'm in favor. Read this Advanced Football Statiscs series on the strategy of going for it. It's a Belicheck school of thought and has been implemented by some of the most elite coaches in both college and pro football. I want Morris to be aggressive and fight for wins instead of to keep it close. As the article suggests, coaches that think more about winning and less about job security will go for it.
Winslow had a nice game. Michael Clayton did not. The thing that stood out to me as I was listening to the game was how many drops they had to due 'hard hits.' It was sickening that we hang our hats on being a "Physical" football team, yet we can't take hits from NFL Cornerbacks.
Greg Olsen doesn't seem to understand the concept of a running back having the "hot-hand." After Week 1 when Carnell Williams had the hot-hand he asked Earnest Graham if he wanted to go in. Graham declined, apparently understanding this strategy. Olsen has given up on what this offense is designed to do. I won't continue to harp on this because somebody (Niko or BucWild) is about to do an article on the absurdity that is the imbalance of our offense. Keep an eye out for it.
While McNabb only had 21 throws, he had his 2nd highest passing rating ever (157.2). The Troubadour (Falcons blogger who commented on the Game-Day predictions) noted that teams that have bye-weeks win 60% of the time. It was clear McNabb was on the same page with his WR and Tampa couldn't do much. A lot will be said about Mack getting beat deap, but what concerned me more was Will Allen not being able to cover a TE. Wilkerson had a beautiful day against Winston Justice, but the pass-rush was invisible outside of his 3 sacks. McNabb had plenty of time to go through his progressions and find the open WR.
Honestly, the defensive numbers aren't terrible outside of McNabbs QB Rating. There is not a single number that stands out to me outside of allowing 9 Yards/Pass Play (including Sacks and incompletions) and giving up 149 (of the 260) yards on 4 plays.