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Tempo Tempo Tempo: the Bucs are slow

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The Buccaneers are not a fast offense right now. They aren't fast in two senses of the word: they aren't scoring quickly, and they aren't moving quickly from play to play.

It's not on-field speed they lack, as Arrelious Benn has real deep speed, Mike Williams isn't a slow receiver either and Preston Parker has a real burst to him. But for some reason the Bucs haven't been able to create a lot of big plays. The Buccaneers have had very few explosive plays this year. They have only completed 10 of 23 passes that traveled 15 or more yards in the air, and three of those were nullified by penalties. The Bucs have instead had to rely on methodical drives, with frequent dumpoffs to Earnest Graham

That lack of explosion and that need to grind yards together is pretty different from last year, when this offense looked more explosive and exciting. That lack of explosive plays is in part a result of Freeman simply not throwing a lot of deep passes. Part of it is probably also a result of wide receiver play, but this is hard to analyse without access to coaches' tape. Whichever the reason, this lack of explosive play is troublesome. 

The Bucs can do one very simple thing to help create those plays, however. And that is play with a higher tempo. I talked about this before, and I'm going to keep talking about it as long as the Bucs continue to look sluggish. The Bucs are slow coming out of the huddle, they're slow to get to the line, and they're slow to snap the ball. In fact, they usually take a few timeouts during a game just to avoid delay of game penalties, which is caused by this sluggish pace. 

There are a lot of advantages to playing with a high tempo. You limit the time a defense has to react to your personnel packages. You limit the amount of substitutions they can make. And by playing at a high tempo you tire out the opposing defense, and there's no better catalyst for offensive success than a tired defense. 

You could see some of this at work in the Monday Night game, but on the wrong side of the line of scrimmage. The Colts came out of the locker room firing. Curtis Painter moved from snap to throw to the line to the next snap very quickly, and this allowed him to move his field down the field quickly, getting a field goal on the opening drive. 

There's no reason why the Bucs cannot play with that kind of tempo. Move from play to play faster. It doesn't need to restrict personnel packages or playcalling, although running a no-huddle offense with no substitutions does help, but getting to the line quickly and snapping the ball as quickly as possible will help this offense set the tone early in games.