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Buccaneers offensive line struggles because of communication, not talent

Before the season started, the supposed biggest issue for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be the lack of talent on the offensive line. Instead, they simply looked like they didn't have a clue as to what they were doing against the Atlanta Falcons.

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Kevin C. Cox

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were awful against the Atlanta Falcons. They were awful in every aspect, but one thing consistently stood out to me: no one looked like they knew what they were doing. It wasn't (just) that the Bucs looked less talented, it's that they looked completely uncomfortable being on the field. They looked like a junior varsity team.

I've highlighted how this was the case on defense, where the scheme wasn't really the problem, but the player's inability to just do what they're asked to do. But it wasn't just the defense: the offense has the same problem, and specifically the offensive line.

That's to be expected when the five starters hadn't played a single snap together before the start of the season, with the trade for Logan Mankins happening at the eleventh hour. Any offensive line needs time to become comfortable. But this does mean that while the pure physical talent problem has largely been solved, a new issue is now communication issues. Throughout the first three games, communication mistakes have repeatedly created free rushers.


This doesn't absolve Josh McCown, who was simply late and inaccurate on this throw. But it's emblematic of the kinds of problems the Bucs had on Thursday, across the board: simple communication errors, and a lack of understanding of what to do within the scheme. Not a lack of talent, really, but a lack of awareness and confidence in the system.

Perhaps that kind of thing was to be expected with an entirely new coaching staff, a significant number of new starters and entirely new schemes. The players simply aren't comfortable in the systems. If we're very lucky, this will change relatively quickly and the Bucs will start to play to their potential. It's more likely they're stuck with this kind of breakdown for the rest of the season, however.

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