Injuries, penalties biggest road blocks in Buccaneers’ quest to win another title

The Buccaneers enter the 2018 season with high expectations after winning their first ever Super Bowl in 2017. The team has lost two key pieces to injuries and penalties already, but hopes don’t appear too dim.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are riding high on the success of their first two games, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 70-14. The team has already seen some major injury setbacks with DeSean Jackson and Chris Conte among those who have had to miss time early in the season due to injuries.The “2020 bucs” is a blog that discusses the injuries, penalties and other problems that have been plaguing the Buccaneers in their quest to win another title.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were 7-4 coming out of their late-season bye last year, with their best chance — even with quarterback Tom Brady at the helm — being one of the last NFC wild-card berths. Then they went on an eight-game winning run that culminated in a Super Bowl victory.

They’re 6-2 coming off the bye at the NFL midway mark this season, and they’re leading the NFC South with a little lead due to the New Orleans Saints’ 27-25 defeat to the Atlanta Falcons.

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However, since the Bucs and the teams ahead of them play each other, there will be movement in the teams ahead of them and close behind them. On Nov. 28, the Rams travel to Green Bay, where quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is presently on the reserve/COVID-19 list, should be available. The Cowboys go to New Orleans on December 2nd. The Rams go to Arizona on December 13th. On December 19, New Orleans will visit Tampa. The Cardinals and Cowboys will face off on Jan. 2. The Rams are also playing the Ravens in Baltimore that day (6-2).

The Rams have the second-toughest schedule to finish the season, according to ESPN Football Power Index ratings, which are comprised of predicted offensive, defensive, and special teams efficiency as measured by expected points added per play, while the Bucs have the 28th-toughest, with only two of their remaining nine opponents (Saints and Buffalo Bills) above.500, and both of those opponents at home.

Team Rec. Opp. Rec.
Buccaneers 6-2 33-43
Cardinals 8-1 30-38
Packers 7-2 30-37
Cowboys 6-2 37-39
Saints 5-3 39-37
Rams 6-2 35-31

The Bucs have a 99.4% probability of making the playoffs and a 90.5 percent chance of winning their division, according to FPI. They also have the best probability of winning out in the NFL, with a 6.2 percent chance of winning out. With a 5.3 percent probability of winning out, the Cardinals are exactly behind them in this category. The Buccaneers have a 50.4 percent probability of reaching the NFC Championship game, while the Cardinals have a 55.7 percent chance.

“With the fans and the traveling and everything, having home-field advantage is going to be key,” center Ryan Jensen said. “Obviously, being on top of the NFC is something you desire.” You want to win your division and have home-field advantage throughout the postseason. We’ve been focused on it throughout the season, particularly with the tightness of the race in the final nine games. “It’s going to be enormous.”

The most pressing worry is one’s health.

Because the Bucs have been ravaged by injuries, they may have to pay the price for playing four more games in 2020, as many defending Super Bowl winners do. Sean Murphy-Bunting, their primary cornerback, has been sidelined since Week 2 and Carlton Davis, their other starter, has been out since Week 5. But, like wide receiver Scotty Miller (turf toe), Murphy-Bunting began his 21-day window to return from injured reserve last week, and he might play against the Washington Football Team (1 p.m. ET, Fox) on Sunday, depending on his degree of pain. After sustaining a hamstring injury in Week 6, Arians stated veteran cornerback Richard Sherman would be “fine to go.”

Rob Gronkowski, the tight end, is still a big question mark on offense. Gronkowski sustained shattered ribs and a partially punctured lung against the Rams in Week 3 after opening the season with an NFL-leading four touchdowns in the first two games. He returned in Week 8 against the Saints, originally with the idea of merely playing in the red zone, but was limited to only five plays due to back spasms caused by the rib injury. To make things worse, Antonio Brown, the wide receiver, is still in a walking boot.

“”You still have to be concerned about Gronk, and I’m not sure whether AB will make it back,” Arians added. “Carlton, on the other hand, will remain on injured reserve.” We’ll see how prepared [Murphy-Bunting and Miller] are for the game. It’s one thing to rehearse; it’s quite another to put them in a game situation.”

Penalties are still a major issue.

The Bucs are hoping that the 11-penalty game against the Saints, like their 11-penalty defeat to the Chicago Bears in Week 5 last year, would serve as a catalyst for change. Last season, the Buccaneers led the NFL with 48 penalties in Weeks 1-5. Then what? In Weeks 6-17, the Buccaneers had the fewest penalties in the league, with 48.

Inside linebacker Lavonte David stated, “It certainly leaves a nasty taste in our mouth when you lose a game like that because of those scenarios.” “We obviously have a bunch of mature guys who realize what it cost us, and we’re absolutely going to improve as a result.”

The Buccaneers have the second-most defensive pass interference penalties in the NFL with ten. Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

The penalties they’re facing this year, though, are different. They experienced a number of false starts last year throughout the early portion of the season, which may be ascribed to concentration lapses. They’ve had 10 defensive pass interference penalties this season, second most in the league, compared to seven last year. Last season, they only had four defensive holding calls, and they’ve already surpassed that amount in 2021. Getting more consistency back in their pass defense would assist, rather than bringing in new players every week and giving people less repetitions during their warm-up period.

It will also be up to players like inside linebacker Devin White, who was fined $25,750 against the Saints for taunting and unnecessary roughness, to keep their emotions in check. White and David have discussed the best approach to harness that energy, according to David.

“It’s simply a fundamental thing: No Bucs defeating Bucs,” David said. “It’s simply old junk.” We can’t allow it to creep back up if we want to be the team we want to be. When we go out there and play, we’re a terrific football team that can defeat a lot of opponents. At the end of the day, we can’t win if we’re out there averaging ten penalties a game and other nonsense.”

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