Yardbarker Horiz

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Buccaneers Strong Out Of The Gate

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers did all the things their Head Coach Raheem Morris and General Manager Mark Dominik have wanted in winning 17-14 over the Cleveland Browns to open the 2010 Season with a 1-0 record.

Lots of good things showed up in the statistics pointing toward a team built as promised:
- Tampa Bay outgained the Browns on the ground 119yds to 104yds, with a solid 4.0 yards per carry.
- The strong ground performance showed in time of possession, with the Bucs owning the ball for 32m 21sec of game time compared to 27m 39sec for Cleveland
- Tampa also rushed 30 times and passed 28, showing the slight run-edge offense that started last year with the win in Green Bay.  We discussed the need for a slight overbalance to the running game just before the Bucs won two of three to closeout the 2009 season.  It appears the formula continues to be effetive.
- Tampa also won the all-important turnover margin with one more in their favor (+1) for the game

What is great for a young team is to win, and to win ugly.  A win gives confidence, and confidence is like a nuclear reactor on a young team.  The ugly part gives the coaches a clear view of what needs to be fine tuned.  For instance, Josh Freeman's 88.7 QB rating could be better.  The Buccaneers gave up three sacks to a statistical cellar-dweller in Cleveland.  Six penalties for 55 yards, while not a complete killer, can nonetheless turn field position against you.  And giving up two 40+ yard passing plays plus a 39-yard run can also quickly turn a game against you.

Such will be the roller-coaster of the second youngest team in the NFL in 2010 (yes, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are even younger this year than last!!).  This week, the Buccaneers will challenge the NFL's youngest team, the Carolina Panthers, in their first road game.  Another solid effort should produce the same results.  Cleaning up some of the rough spots will certainly help, too!

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