Three ingredients for the Buccaneers' three-game turnaround

Leon Halip

Over the past month the Tampa Bay Buccaneers managed to turn an 0-8 team into a 3-0 squad. There are numerous reasons for that turnaround, but different coaching decisions have played a massive role. Three ingredients in the Bucs' rise.

1. Scheme and personnel changes in the running game

This was the most high-profile move in the Bucs' turnaround. They inserted Jamon Meredith at left guard with Carl Nicks still out with an injury, and he turned out to be a massive improvement in the running game over Gabe Carimi and Ted Larsen. But personnel wasn't everything: the Bucs also started to change the types of runs they called. No more Outside Zone and more Iso Lead, Counter and Power O. That's been a huge factor in the success of Mike James and Bobby Rainey.

2. Turning Gerald McCoy loose

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the best three-technique defensive tackle in the NFL, and yet for most of the season they used him as if he was any other defensive lineman. That changed the past four games, although last week looked like a bit of a step back. The Bucs significantly reduced the number of stunts which took McCoy out of the play, and allowed him instead to humiliate guards over and over again. The result: four sacks and a heap of pressures in three wins and one close loss.

3. Mike Glennon

Not so much a coaching issue as the continued development of a young quarterback. Mike Glennon has improved significantly over the past two weeks, although he's still not at the level some of us would like to see. His improvement has been a major factor in the past two weeks, and less so in the first of the three wins. He has gotten much better at throwing a catchable deep ball, has done well to avoid turnovers while still taking some intermediate shots and moving the chains. It's not perfect, but it's promising and it has helped the Bucs win the past three games.

The Bucs could win a few more games with those ingredients, and you could say that that would be due to some flexible coaching changes. Of course, the fact that those changes were necessary in the first place says something else entirely about the coaches -- but it's still a promising change.

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