SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 09: Frank Gore #21 of the San Francisco 49ers carries the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the third quarter during an NFL football game at Candlestick Park on October 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California. The 49ers won the game 48-3. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
I have a number of quick thoughts which I couldn't really fit into separate articles, so I'm just going to throw them here.
- With Gerald McCoy likely out for Sunday, and maybe for longer, the Bucs are going to keep Brian Price at nose tackle. This is a terrible idea. Gerald McCoy was very important to this defensive front because he was the only one who consistently got penetration and disrupted plays in the backfield. The only defensive tackle on the roster capable of replicating that kind of explosion is Brian Price. But he can't do that at nose tackle, where he's going to be double teamed on every play. If the Bucs keep Brian Price at nose tackle with Gerald McCoy, they will have no one capable of penetrating the line of scrimmage quickly. And that will lead to poor run defenses and a lackluster pass rush.
- For that matter, the Bucs have said they want to now give Frank Okam the keys to the 3-technique position. I'm baffled by this. Mind you, I like Frank Okam. He's a big player who can be pretty stout in the run game, though he's largely useless as a pass rusher. But he is wasted at 3-technique, where he has shown nothing whatsoever this season. Rotate him with Roy Miller at nose tackle, and you have a pretty good nose tackle rotation. Keep him at 3-technique, and you're not just wasting his talents, you're also wasting Brian Price's at nose tackle, when the Bucs can play Roy Miller there as well.The one positive to come out of this: Da'Quan Bowers will get more playing time as they want to use him as a pass rusher at defensive tackle in the absence of McCoy. Bowers has been coming on strong
- Greg Olson's opening scripts are getting stale. Every first quarter we see three plays: a quick screen to Arrelious Benn, a deep shot to Arrelious Benn off play-action and a Josh Johnson option play which goes nowhere. The quick screen to Benn is generally somewhat productive, but the other two haven't worked in ages. In general the scripting has been pretty bad, as the Bucs haven't gotten off to a fast start under Olson's tenure, ever.
- For that matter, why is Dezmon Briscoe on the field on passing downs? I know Briscoe got some awesome offseason hype, but he's caught a grand total of 8 passes for 74 yards this season. That's worse than anyone except Stroughter or Spurlock, who have suffered from injuries and causing-an-interception-on-his-one-target respectively.
- Meanwhile, Arrelious Benn is the most explosive offensive weapon the Bucs have. He averages 13.3 yards per catch right now, and with 12 catches that makes for 160 yards. And that doesn't even include his spectacular catch-and-run against the Colts, which was annulled by a stupid penalty he himself caused. For comparison's sake, Mike Williams has 23 more yards than that, but it took him 19 catches to get there making for an abysmal 9.6 yards per catch. So can someone explain to me why Dezmon Briscoe is getting all the snaps on passing downs over Benn?
- One player who the stats say is more explosive than Benn? Preston Parker, with 13.9 yards per catch, mostly attributable to his excellent skills with the ball in his hands and some well-designed plays involving rub routes and downfield blocking. He's been a real revelation, and has likely played Sammie Stroughter out of a job.