Two issues stick out when re-watching the Bucs protection in opposition to the Rams’ offense in Week 3: Mathew Stafford’s missed alternatives, and Tampa Bay’s errors erasing in any other case sturdy play in man protection.
Rams’ Missed Alternatives
The Rams may’ve put up 40+ in the event that they executed higher to begin the sport. Their opening drive ended on a missed go meant for a large open Van Jefferson. With the pocket collapsing, Stafford missed a brief go to his receiver. Nevertheless, not all errors have been induced by the Bucs’ strain.
Play faux strikes David, who’s taking part in down the pipe in Tampa 2, and creates area for Kupp on center learn.
Regardless that they scored 34 factors and received, the Rams left loads of chips on the desk. pic.twitter.com/nXTXbHJQBp
— Paul Atwal (@AtwalNFL) January 21, 2022
On a first-and-10 throughout Los Angeles’ second offensive possession, Todd Bowles referred to as Tampa 2. Sean McVay dialed up a center learn variation, much like the Bucs’ staple Go idea, off of break up zone motion. Lavonte David — the pipe participant in Tampa 2 — was displaced by the faux. This created area for Cooper Kupp over the center, however the ball went a bit over his head and thru his palms.
Stafford missed once more on third-and-10 on the identical drive. With the Rams in a 3×1 set, the Bucs went to Stubbie. Stubbie is a match quarters protection that creates a triangle over the No. 2 and No. 3 receivers.
McVay countered completely. Not like Stubbie’s sister protection Stump, the journeys facet cornerback can’t abandon the No. 1 receiver on a brief beneath route. As an alternative, he’s locked in man protection. Thus, David — who was accurately taking part in with inside leverage — had no assist outdoors in opposition to Kupp’s sail route, as Jamel Dean adopted his receiver beneath as an alternative of dropping right into a deep zone. However that’s not even the place the ball went! With Mike Edwards eyeing Kupp, the No. 3, by way of his minimize, Ross Cockrell was left one-on-one in opposition to Desean Jackson’s submit route, which minimize after Kupp’s route, with outdoors leverage.
Stafford’s underthrown go bailed out the protection. The drive that ought to have ended with seven factors ended with a punt.
Stafford missed one other explosive alternative to Jackson. Sure, he was hit instantly after the throw, however the Rams anticipate Stafford to hit this.
Tampa Bay’s protection seemed to be in quarter quarter half protection, also referred to as Cowl 6. Up high, on the Cowl 2 facet, Jackson’s nook route went previous the place Dee Delaney sunk. Antoine Winfield Jr. due to this fact drove down exhausting to compensate. Nevertheless, Jackson’s nook route was truly a corner-and-up that left him huge open.
In keeping with Sports activities Information Options, the Bucs’ protection performed variations of Cowl 1 on six of the Rams’ dropbacks. Stafford went 4-5 for 75 yards, one landing, and one sack. Whereas I feel the Bucs may’ve truly had success with Cowl 1, which we’ll get to in a second, this was one other missed alternative by Stafford.
Los Angeles picked up the blitz nicely, however Stafford nonetheless leaned again as an alternative of confidently moving into his throw, thus crusing the ball over a large open Kupp.
Man Protection Errors
As talked about, the Bucs’ numbers taking part in Cowl 1 weren’t fairly. But it surely’s not as a result of Tampa Bay couldn’t cowl, it’s as a result of they couldn’t get out of their very own method.
The Bucs have been taking part in Cowl 1 and sending 5 once more. And as is commonly the case, Devin White added on as an additional go rusher when his task, the working again, stayed in to go shield. The Bucs’ protection was wonderful. Nevertheless, this play was undone as a result of David was offside pre-snap.
The protection confirmed man protection throughout the board, and their three cornerbacks on the journeys facet have been aligned on the identical degree as an alternative of being staggered. Stafford noticed this and signaled his receivers right into a post-slant-wheel mixture that created a pure rub for Kupp. Delaney maneuvered by way of visitors nicely, however the route idea created sufficient area for Stafford to throw a downfield dime.
Tampa Bay made the identical error on the very subsequent play! It’s troublesome to stagger a lot this near the top zone, however it was nonetheless too straightforward for the Rams to create a pick of their bunch formation. Defenses typically resolve this problem with banjo coverages.
The Bucs have been taking part in 1 Lurk on third-and-5. On this variation of Cowl 1, the protection begins in a two-high alignment earlier than a security comes all the way down to play the robber place in the midst of the sphere. Tampa Bay truly lined nicely, however White carelessly picked Carlton Davis and let Jackson come open for a primary down.
Bucs Defensive Options
I imagine the Buccaneers can deal with the Rams in man protection. However they will’t get in their very own method, actually and figuratively. Additional, once they do play Cowl 1, I would like to see extra 1 Lurk, 1 Cross, or 1 Gap in order that they’ve extra assist over the center of the sphere. Jon Ledyard detailed this additional in Bucs Briefing. Blitzing the Rams is just not the reply.
Per SIS, Stafford leads the NFL in ANY/A in opposition to the blitz, and nobody blitzes greater than Bowles.
Stafford: 8/10, 81 yards, 1 TD, 1 sack
— Paul Atwal (@AtwalNFL) January 18, 2022
Cowl 2 man underneath, or 2-man, must also be a much bigger a part of the sport plan this time round.
Deep security assist let Davis play a path method in opposition to Kupp. And regardless of looping inside, Joe Tryon-Shoyinka bought all the best way outdoors as soon as Stafford threatened to scramble. The Buccaneers had success with 2-man in opposition to the Eagles, however they have been cautious with its utilization due to Jalen Hurts’ skills as a runner. Stafford received’t beat the Bucs together with his legs, they usually can include him with no spy.
The Bucs, once more, lined completely with 2-man. I additionally like how Edwards was eyeing Kupp all the best way from the other facet, and it nearly made the protection appear to be 1 Cross.
When taking part in 2-man in opposition to dropbacks in Week 3, Stafford went 2-6 for 9 yards. The Rams have been in the midst of the pack by way of effectivity when going through 2-man for the entire season. Stafford’s season-long stats in opposition to 2-man replicate that, as he has solely gone 17-32 for 243 yards, one landing, two interceptions, and 4 sacks.
There’s no clear blueprint to cease McVay and Stafford. However self-inflicted errors are the sure-fire approach to lose. The Bucs can’t rely on Stafford lacking, they usually should clear up their very own errors if they’re to win.