Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bucs Films Review: New England Patriots Week 7

Yet another edition of The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly...

The Good

Defensive Line: You can read my critique here.

Interceptions: We had two big time interceptions by the secondary this week, one from Tanard Jackson and one from Aqib Talib. The offense wasn't able to capitalize this time but hopefully if we can keep creating turnovers we will eventually be able to turn them into points.

Sammie Stroughter: This kid just keeps making plays in the passing game as well as special teams returns.

The Bad

Josh Johnson/Play calling: Johnson had another poor day but not all of it was his fault. On his first interception which was returned for a touchdown by Brandon Merriweather the receiver, Stroughter, ran a stop route but when Johnson threw the ball inexplicably Stroughter started drifting to the outside. The ball was actually accurately thrown to the spot where Stroughter was supposed to be but when he vacated that area Merriweather swooped in and picked it off. Other throws of his were just off though, and although he did once again show some flashes, like in the touchdown throw at the end of the first half to Antonio Bryant, for most of the day he was just too inconsistent.

On the other hand I don't believe that the play calling helped him all that much. I am starting to be reminded of some years ago when Bruce Gradkowski was a rookie here who was pressed into action due to injuries at the quarterback position. At the time even though we had Cadillac Williams in the backfield, for whatever reason Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator Jon Gruden still continued to have a pass happy game plan. That in large part contributed to a miserable season and I am seeing the same mistake happening again now. I don't care if teams are crowding the line and I don't care if we are down a touchdown or two in the first half. Right now we need to over commit to the run and take some of the pressure off our young quarterback(s). Making teams play the run shortens the game and helps to cut down on turnovers for the most part and it helps get the offense into a rhythm. Lining up in shotgun on first down is not what we should be doing in my humble opinion.

Jeremy Zuttah: Zuttah had a stinker of a game this week. He was bad on backside cut blocks and he had several busts in pass protections. Even when he knew which guy he was supposed to block, several times he still got his ass handed to him. Hopefully this was just an aberration but Zuttah is going to have to pick it up if we are going to have success.

Giving up big plays on defense: We kind of regressed on defense this week and gave up several long touchdown plays. I understand that the Patriots have some really good weapons on offense but we hurt ourselves several times. There were missed tackles that led to long runs after the catch and there were also calls that put us in bad positions. I have no clue why we would be in man to man defense with one guy blitzing Brady on 1st down and 20 after a penalty on the Patriots. I can tell you however that the resulting bomb to Ben Watson over linebacker Geno Hayes was entirely predictable considering the the fact that Hayes was lined up basically in bump and run with only one deep safety in the middle.

The Ugly

Jerramy Stevens: Jerramy Stevens should be ashamed of some of the blocks he had in that game. Hell I am embarrased for him. And its a mystery to me how the coaches can see this guy whiff on blocks and get his ass handed to him week after week and yet he is still in the starting line up basically. Its not like he is catching a lot of passes to justify the playing time either. But for my money I would MUCH rather see John Gilmore out there in his place. Gilmore might not make every block but at least you can see that he is trying his ass off. Hell even Kellen Winslow Jr. who has never been accused of being a great blocker, actually tries to get in front of his guy and keep them from making the play. With Stevens its almost like he doesn't really give a damn one way or the other. I know one thing, if I was Josh Johnson, Caddy, or Derrick Ward I would be asking the coaches why they keep trying to get me killed by having that guy in the game. And here is the worst part, I have seen Stevens block a helluva lot better since he has been here playing for the Bucs. So it ain't a matter of whether he CAN do it or not, but moreso whether he WILL do this or not.

Loafs: If there is one thing that pisses me off watching a game it is guys showing a lack of effort. You don't have to be supremely talented to bust your ass, you just have to want it more than the next guy. Well in the first half when Patriots wide reciever Aiken caught a crossing route and took it to the house both Talib and Hayes straight up loafed after he broke away from Barrett Ruud. And what makes it so bad is the fact that Elbert Mack came from a long way behind both guys to pass them up and haul ass all the way to the endzone. That is what you call finishing the play. Who knows, what if the guy fumbled right before he got into the endzone? We are having a hard enough time winning games, we can't start having guys deciding that they are just going to give up on plays that are still live.

Short yardage/Goalline defense: I will issue the challenge again. I defy anyone be it player, coach, or fan, to show me how our defense can be successful with the alignment we are put in on short yardage and goalline plays. From where I am sitting and after watching the game 3 times, I am convinced that even if every guy does his job it would be close to impossible to stop a team from gaining a yard a two against that alignment.

If you can prove differently just drop me a line and if you can in fact show me how we can be successful with that defense then I will take it all back and never criticize it again. Until that happens I am labeling it straight garbage!

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