Whether it’s meeting up with buddies at school, the casual workplace conversation among friends, or the Monday morning talking heads who cannot believe the headlines generated from another week of football— Monday mornings are for bragging rights, armchair quarterbacks, and “Did you see when?!” This Monday morning, Bucs fans—
Will be excited about— Bucco Bruce’s is back.
It has been a long time coming, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ throwbacks have returned. Bucco Bruce and the iconic ‘Creamsicle’ jerseys made their return to Raymond James Stadium today. The Buccaneers decked out Ray Jay in orange, while the players donned Bucco Bruce on their helmets.
The ageless one— Lavonte David is a 33 year-old linebacker, relatively unheard of. Not only has David been a model representative for Tampa Bay since he was drafted in 2012, but he continues to play at a level above his peers. David has been excellent for Tampa and continues to be. Sometimes, it’s more about the timing of the plays being made, than the plays themselves. David’s sack to end the first half was crucial in keeping Detroit from extending their lead to two possessions. Coverage ability from the linebacker position is a rare asset, it allows the Buccaneers to have the advantage in one-on-one matchups that would normally favor an offense. Offensively, coaching staffs stay up at night sculpting a game plan that schemes defenses into disadvantageous matchups (Linebackers on running backs in space, linebackers forced out wide to cover tight ends, etc.) Lavonte David is one of the few linebackers in the league that evens the playing field on matchups of the like. The 33 year-old defender is still a very versatile chess piece for Todd Bowles to move around. Against the Detroit Lions, David finished the game with a team-leading nine tackles and his aforementioned sack.
Are going to be worried about— Tampa’s lethargic offense.
Detroit is a tough opponent. The expectation was not for the Buccaneers to light up the scoreboard with a 40-point outing, but Tampa Bay’s offense was sluggish from the start. Six points is not enough to beat bad teams, let alone one of the NFC’s best. Optimists can chalk it up to rust off the bye week, a pessimist may point to the offense’s performance against the Philadelphia Eagles and say this is becoming a trend.
Baker Mayfield’s deep balls.
Baker Mayfield did not have the prettiest stat line Sunday. He finished with 19 completions for just a shade over 200 yards and an interception (Not all Mayfield’s fault). Two of Baker Mayfield’s incompletions were game-changing misses, rather they were game-changing opportunities missed. On third and short, Dave Canales was not afraid to dial up deep shots. Bucs fans saw two separate occasions, where Canales called on his quarterback to lay a deep pass out for a wide open Trey Palmer to run underneath. Both instances ended the same way, incomplete, overthrown, passes. In nip and tuck games, two deep ball touchdowns have the ability to split the game wide open. Even if Mayfield had just delivered catchable passes, that didn’t score, the yards gained alone would have altered the outcome of the game.
Won’t be able to let it go— Tampa Bay has yet to define themselves.
The Buccaneers have to decide if they are going to be a team that beats up on weaker teams, but shrivels against legitimate opponents, or a consistent combatant. Through five games, that decision has yet to be made. Next week is a new week and the Buccaneers will have plenty of tough opponents coming down the stretch to show their mettle.
This is the second time this season the Buccaneers have been up against a team that is favored to finish their season punching a playoff ticket. Take two was eerily similarly to take one. Six weeks into the season, Tampa’s record is still better than where the expectation would have slotted them, but the team will need to start stacking wins against playoff caliber opponents for this season to have the finish the organization would like. The Buccaneers are lucky that the rest of the NFC South played about as poorly as they did Sunday. Next week, Tampa takes on one of those NFC South rivals when the Atlanta Falcons come to Tampa Bay.
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