Coordinators search for answers with Bucs

by Gary Shelton on September 27, 2019 · 0 comments

in general

Friday, 4 a.m.

Winston has played two good games in a row./STEVEN MUNCIE

One coordinator scored three points in the second half.

The other one let an 18-point lead get away.

So, yeah, there have been better weeks to be either Todd Bowles or Byron Leftwich, both of whom were left scrambling for answers as the Bucs fell to 1-2 with a 32-31 loss to the New York Giants. Now the team is away from Raymond James Stadium until mid-November.

"Obviously, the game didn’t work right, and he scored. It’s really that simple,” defensive coordinator Bowles said of giving up the winning play on a Daniel Jones scramble.

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“We’ve just got to be better in that situation," said Leftwich, the offensive coordinator, of the team's late-game spike. "We as a whole (have) got to be better in that situation.”

Got it? The Bucs didn't do well. Their coordinators think they should do better.

“It’s a little bit of everything," Bowles said. "We didn’t make plays and they made plays. I’m not going to sit up here and make excuses for what we didn’t do. We’ve just got to play better. It’s tough every game. We lost the lead and we’ve got to learn to close out ballgames. Again, it’s Week 3 and we played well the first two weeks. We didn’t play as well finishing the game last week, so we’ve got to get back to it this week.”

Leftwich said he was happy with the growth of quarterback Jamies Winston.

“I love where we’re at from that aspect," Leftwich said. "Jameis – I’m just telling you – he’s playing good football. Unfortunately for us, we didn’t get the win, but he understands that. We’re trying to go out every day, and I mean this – I know you guys hear me say this so much – we’re trying to go out every day and get better, and us getting better as a whole. Not just Jameis – everyone.

"Us getting better as a whole will give us better opportunities to win football games. That’s what we believe in, that’s what we preach (and) that’s what we live by here, so that’s our mindset week in and week out.”

Leftwich was asked about making adjustments during the game.

“It’s not really that – it’s just really making plays," Leftwich said. "We made a lot of plays early on in the first half that we didn’t make in the second half. That’s really what it comes down to. I don’t know if it’s anything from an adjustment standpoint – we’ve just got to really do a better job of converting on third down, to be honest with you, and scoring points in the red zone. (If) you do those things better, all those other things are just obsolete – they really don’t matter. As an offense, that’s how we see it. We’ve got to get better in situational football and we will do that.”

Leftwich would like to see his team's red-zone offense get better.

"It’s just execution, really," he said. "When you go one-for-five, you really look at everything and try to determine why you didn’t score touchdowns. When you look at it, it could be a multitude of different things, so you just try to get better as a whole. It’s not one specific thing, though. We will do a better job of executing in those situations and find a way to score touchdowns.”

Leftwich said the short passing game is in good shape.

“We’re fine. We’re getting better every week in all phases of our game. As an offense, we’re getting better really on a daily [basis] in all phases, so that’s what we’re trying to do. Not just the short passing game, not the run game, not the deep balls – we’re trying to just get better as a whole and we’re doing a good job.

“We’ve just got to score when we get down there. We’ve got to score touchdowns when you get down there – that’s what it really comes down to, because if you score a few touchdowns then maybe it’s too far out of reach. That’s how I see it as an offensive guy. As a whole, we understand [and] we preach to these guys that it comes down to the last series, but as an offensive guy, you’ve got to be thinking in that situation [that] we’ve got to find a way to score more than three points in the second half.”

Bowles dismissed the thought that the absence of Saquon Barkley should have hurt the Giants more.

“It didn’t matter whether he played or didn’t play – if you don’t make plays against the team that is out there, you are going to lose the ballgame," Bowles said. "We didn’t make plays. We don’t worry about (whether their best player is hurt or if their worse player is hurt – we go out there to win the ballgame. We didn’t win it. We don’t make excuses. We look at the film, we correct it and we move on.”

(Bowles will face a challenge in playing against Sean McVay's Rams.

“(He is) very intelligent, you know, that’s why he is where he is at," Bowles said. "Obviously, it has shown over the past year or so and it’s showing again this year. They can run the ball [and] they can throw the ball. He is very innovative. He is very bright. Guys play hard for him – the team loves him and that is evident with how they play. You’ve got to give him a lot of credit.”

The Bucs play at the Rams at 4:05 p.m. on Sunday.

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