Could the Bucs finally field an scary offense?

by Gary Shelton on April 1, 2017 · 0 comments

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The Bucs finally have the oilily on offense to be scary../TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

The Bucs finally have the oilily on offense to be scary../TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Monday, 4 a.m.

In the beginning, the Bucs' offense wasn't much.

It began with a three-yard run off right guard. In all the years since, that stands as one of the breakaway plays. After five straight runs, it perfected the incomplete pass. It finished the day by being shutout and and making only eight first downs.

And just like that, a juggernaut was born.

Every now and then, the Tampa Bay Bucs are going to be able to flex a muscle on defense. Lee Roy Selmon got his team to the NFC title game by dragging the offense there. Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp, John Lynch and Ronde Barber won a Super Bowl with a patchwork offense. Pretty much, most of the good afternoons that the Bucs have had have been because of the defense.

But the offense? Don't ask.

The Bucs' offense has been Josh Freeman and Lars Tate and Alvin Harper. The Bucs' offense has been Trent Dilfer and Dexter Jackson and Steve Spurrier and Byron Leftwich.

It has been two yard runs and six-yard passes on third-and-13 and interceptions. It has been confused coaches trying to figure out a route to the end zone. It has been bad quarterbacks and bad receivers and bad tailbacks.

Until now.

Until, finally, it looks like offense may come here to live.

I know, I know. You'll believe it when you see it. After all, this is the team where they cut off a receiver's (Harper's) finger. This is a team where the starting quarterback (Dilfer) got into a fight with the backup quarterback (Casey Weldon) on a golf course.

This is a team where coach John McKay was famously asked about his offense's exectition, and snapped that he was in favore of. This is the town that did not know Bo. This is the team where Sam Wyche's signal to hurry was to circle is finger in the air...while about 2,000 fans sitting behind him did the same thing. It was Vinny and Danny Peebles and Steve Young before he became a Hall of Famer.

It was this: Ouch.

Because of that, you may be among the many who keep pinching themselves over the concept of an offense that is feared in the deep.

Who'd a thunk it. Only four times in 41 seasons have the Bucs had a top 10 offense: 10th in 1984, 10th in 2003, ninth in 2012 and fifth in 2015. But even those seasons were somewhat flukish. The Bucs had a losing season in all four years (two 6-10s and two 7-9s). In those years, they were never higher than 13th in scoring.

In other words, this has not been fireworks in the end zones. There is no razzle and precious little dazzle. Scoreboard operators are not standing by.

Still, you look at the current Bucs on paper, and you see the opposing team struggle with its matchups.

Think about this team breaking the huddle. You have Jameis Winston, who threw for 4,000 yards again. You have Mike Evans, who made the Pro Bowl last year. You have high-priced free agent DeSean Jackson, who can still fly at his age. You have rookie tight end O.J. Howard. You have rookie receiver Chris Godwin. You have Cameron Brate, who caught 57 passes last year. You have Adam Humphries, who caught 55 passes last year. You will either have Doug Martin or rookie Jeremy Nichols lining up behind Winston.

Has there ever been a Bucs' offense with this much speed? Has there ever been one with this much potential?

Again, who do you double team? Evans? Jackson? Howard? Do you stack the box against the run? Do you play overly deep to keep Jackson in front of you?

Look, we all know there is a long way to go, and we all know that injuries could keep guys off the field and that the rookies need time to grow. We all know that Dirk Koetter is going to have to share the football pretty soon.

Still, you can see possibilities.

If you squint, you can see fun.

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