If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fix one issue, they could have a dominant defense. Through two games, the Buccaneers defense has a league-leading nine sacks, four turnovers, is allowing 16 points per game and 4.8 yards per play. They held Drew Brees to just one touchdown and harassed him all game long. This is the best defense the Buccaneers have fielded since Monte Kiffin left.
But they have one major problem: penalties. Through two games, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have 23 penalties for 220 yards. Against the New York Jets they managed a whopping 13 penalties for 102 yards, and it wasn't any better against the New Orleans Saints, with 10 penalties for 118 yards.
The most frustrating may be the procedural penalties. False starts, delays of game, illegal formations -- those are completely unnecessary, and evidence of a poorly coached and poorly prepared team. There is no reason to have them -- none. Sometimes those penalties happen. You can't avoid them. But the Bucs have had far too many of them, and it is a big reason this offense is struggling to move the ball.
The Bucs have also picked up another ugly habit: personal foul penalties. They had three personal foul and unnecessary roughness penalties against the New York Jets, and added another three against the New Orleans Saints. And while the penalty on Adrian Clayborn looked like nonsense to me, most of the other penalties were fair.
Dashon Goldson is the worst offender, regularly trying to hit receivers in the head. He has two penalties for that offense on the season, and is racking up fines. At some point those fines are going to turn into suspensions. Worse yet, Goldson has said that he does not think his hits are bad. This is unacceptable. You can disagree with the rules, but you had better follow them when you're on the field.
Ahmad Black's hit on Jimmy Graham was completely ridiculous, though. He lined up, had time to decide, and then launched himself head-first into Graham's helmet. That's dirty, and it is incredibly stupid. And it's stupid penalties like that that are stopping a defense that could be absolutely dominant. The lack of discipline in this area falls squarely on Greg Schiano's shoulders.
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