2nd Look at Bucs – Cowboys

I rewatched the game and replayed all the offensive plays and almost all of the defensive plays multiple times and I have a few more thoughts.

1. The poor run defense was mostly due our LBs, particularly LVE. Every time Fornette broke loose for 10-15 yards, LVE was not making a play he could have made. LVE was too slow to see the play coming and too slow to react. By the time he sees the ball it is too late to make the tackle before a big gain. He made a few plays near the LOS but overall he was a problem. On one 16 yard run, they had a camera angle from behind the QB and you could see the hole open up and LVE standing 10 yards deep in the secondary facing the hole. Fornette runs through the hole and by the time LVE saw him, Fornette was already by him.

They put a graphic up during the game that showed Fornette had 111 yards going to his left and 16 to his right. That's because Lawrence plays on the left side of the Cowboys defense and he does a better job of clogging things up than Armstrong who gets sealed off inside allowing the defense to close every up on that side. LVE tends to play on the right and is never in position to make a play.

Anthony Barr was worse. He gets blocked by TEs and is not where he needs to be. The problem with old guys is they are never what they once were. Even last year against Dallas Barr looked quick recognizing the play and getting to the ball carrier. He did not show that Sunday.

One thing I will say, the DL did a good job clogging up the middle and occupying blockers. The LBs need to react quicker and get to the ball.

2. Pass defense. I can't for the life of me figure out why the Cowboys DBs play so far off the receivers. Before the snap the CBs are 10 yards off the LOS. Knowing Brady likes to get rid of it quickly and he is 45 years old, why not get up on top of the receivers, hold them up a bit and make Brady hold the football just a bit longer than he likes? Even late in the game with the Cowboys losing by two scores the CBs were playing off and letting Brady make some easy throws for 8 yard gains.

3. Parsons gets held a lot. In fact, the Bucs did a lot of holding all along the line. The refs were pretty generous with both teams but more so with the Bucs.

4. The offensive line. I watched every offensive play at least 5 times. I will say two things. First, they did a good job run blocking. If they had a TE who could block their run game would be excellent. Zeke looked good. He was getting 5 yards a carry or more. They should have gone with him more. 10 rushes again for Zeke and he averaged 5.2 yards per carry.

The pass blocking was good too. Not great, but good enough. Dak and Rush had time on most plays. I think the OL will get better if the play together more.

They struggled with stunts and blitzes a couple of times but overall, they gave the QB time and moved the DL back on running plays.

5. Dak. He was awful before he got hurt. He looked good the first series and then his accuracy and decision making left him. There were receivers open from what I could see. Dak was late getting the ball out or he didn't see the open guys. On one 4th down play he chose to throw a pass to Brown that was almost intercepted. CeeDee was running a little out for the first down and he was open where only he could catch the ball. Dak had time, just a bad decision. He made a few of those.

After watching the game a second time I am a little more optimistic than I was yesterday. Just a little. They need to get Gallup back and I am not convinced Dennis Houston should be an active player over Brandon Smith, but let's see what happens this week.

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