Besides the game, one of the best (or worst) parts of the football season are Monday mornings.
Any football fan will tell you, whether it’s at school, in the workplace, or turning on your favorite sports talk show— Monday mornings are for bragging rights, armchair quarterbacks, and “Did you see when?!” This Monday morning, Bucs fans—
Will be excited to bring up— Tampa Bay certainly did not come out flat.
The Bucs entered their game against the Houston Texans riding a three-game losing streak. Three consecutive losses, out of a bye week, can be disheartening. The sentiment of that demoralization has shown up for the Bucs in recent weeks. The team’s slow starts combined with their inability to grind through the middling portions of games and the lack finish they down the stretch— is indicative of a team with waiting to quit. In Houston, Tampa Bay started fast. Forced a turnover on the first drive of the game and put 10 points up in the first quarter. Unfortunately, while the team did not come out flat, they did flatten as the game progressed.
Tampa Bay’s offensive line.
Against the Houston Texans, the Bucs offensive line was far from perfect. Relative to the performances they been associated with, this was a great outing. When you have a unit as maligned as the Buccaneer’s offensive line has been over the last year and a half, it would be very easy for them to tuck their tails between their legs and throw in the towel. The way the group played in week nine, shows at the very least, the competitive fervor to continue trying to improve as a collective unit. Houston tallied only two sacks and the Bucs’ rushing offense, which has been as reliable as a creaky bridge over a canyon got Rachaad White to 73 yards rushing and two scores. A large and underrated portion of Tampa Bay’s offensive dominance, during the Tom Brady era of Buccaneer football, was the consistency of the team’s offensive front five. A return to something near that level of play can only lead to good things in Tampa.
Are going to be worried about— The Mike Evans experience.
The Bucs (under Todd Bowles) have been a talented underachieving team. The talent, has been able to overcome Bowles— sometimes. Most of the time, the team’s coaching staff has held down their talent. Tampa’s coaches have gone out of their way to handcuff the roster through passive play calling and scheming ways to put the game in the hands of their least effective players. Offensively, the Bucs’ unwillingness to target Mike Evans is dead and beaten horse, but let’s get our clubs.
When the team targets Evans it is a shot in the arm, but when the shot only comes once a game (pun intended) that jolt just isn’t enough. The Bucs treat Mike Evans like he is the best receiver on a team playing in 2004. It’s jaw-dropping that the Bucs have a player as established as Evans and refuse to realize what he is capable of. Offenses around the league feature players significantly less talented than Evans each NFL Sunday. The Bucs use the distraction of drawing double coverage that Evans provides in order to feature other players. That logic, is the opposite of the rest of the league. Sometimes it’s good to zag when everybody is zigging, but the Bucs operation is not ahead of the trend, they are about 15-20 years behind. For the archaism Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Baker Mayfield and co. pay the price.
Won’t be able to let it go— Ponce de León wasn’t as lucky, but Lavonte David may have found the Fountain of Youth.
Tom Brady is the face of NFL longevity, but If Brady is Batman then Lavonte David might be the Robin. David is 33 years old, playing on a one year deal, and he’s playing like he may still be the best player on Tampa’s defense, despite being the unit’s oldest current starter. David’s 2022 was a 124-tackle campaign, his personal best since 2015. David has followed up his three sack season last year, with two sacks already in 2023. Tampa Bay’s linebacker had accumulated 67 tackles, before suiting up for his team-leading tackle performance against Houston. The Bucs’ legend also added a forced fumble on the Texan’s opening drive just to remind Bucs’ fans how good he truly is.
3-5. The NFC South lead is far away, a distant dot on the horizon. Tampa Bay is much closer to a reset than a rebirth.