The Tampa Bay Buccaneers came up just short in a 37-31 overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 5. The Buccaneers are aiming to decrease the number of penalties called against them as eight of the 15 they had against the Saints were in the fourth quarter and overtime.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are aiming to be a more disciplined football team with fewer penalties being called against them.
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The Buccaneers were called for 15 penalties in a 37-31 overtime loss to their NFC South division rivals, the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 5 -- eight of those came in the fourth quarter and overtime. Tampa Bay is aiming to stop that trend, per Scott Smith of the team's official website:
"After a day to recuperate on Monday, Tampa Bay Buccaneer players returned to team headquarters on Tuesday to review tape of Sunday's overtime loss in New Orleans. That's part of the process of turning the page and moving on to the next opponent; as wide receiver Louis Murphy put it: 'We put the Saints (game) to bed, and now it's the Ravens going forward.'
"That said, there were certainly things on that game tape that will inform what the Buccaneers are doing on the practice field Wednesday when they start their Raven preparations. It is quite likely, for instance, that head coach Lovie Smith will be stressing ways to cure the team's sudden penalty-flag ills.
"Eight of the Bucs' 15 killer penalties on Sunday came in the fourth quarter or overtime, and even Saints head coach Sean Payton thinks that was the deciding factor. The Buccaneers are left wondering 'what if,' believing that they likely would have left New Orleans with a very important win if they had just avoided that one issue.
"'I know what this team can be with a clean game,' said cornerback Jonathan Banks, whose illegal hands-to-the-face penalty on the other side of the field erased a third-and-10 Saints completion in overtime. 'It's not what I would like for them to be; I know what this team can be. If you take those 15 penalties (away)...that's crazy. (If) we don't have 15 penalties, who knows how bad we could've beat those guys. We were up 11 points in the fourth quarter. We're just shooting ourselves in the foot every time.'
"...(Bucs wide receiver Louis) Murphy drew one of the more unexpected penalties of the day when he was flagged for inappropriate language after Bobby Rainey's go-ahead touchdown run in the third quarter. The Bucs actually avoided any serious consequences from that one because Michael Koenen's kickoff from the 20-yard line rolled around for a bit before it was picked up by Travaris Cadet and returned only to the Saints' 26. However, an unsportsmanlike conduct call on Danny Lansanah after his pick six a few minutes later helped New Orleans shorten the field for their 63-yard TD drive on the next possession.
"'In the heat of the battle, with whatever we said to each other -- a lot of trash talking -- I guess I just took a little bit too far,' said Murphy. 'Like I told coach, 'My apologies and my bad on that.'
"The Buccaneers already know what the coach is going to say to them on Wednesday (and probably Thursday and Friday as well). Banks summed it up neatly.
"'We've just got to be more disciplined and more focused on the job at hand,' he said."
In another team development, the Bucs are confident they can get their struggling running game going with second-year man Doug Martin leading the charge, per ESPN's Pat Yasinskas:
"The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' running game may be struggling. But don't put the blame on tailback Doug Martin.
"At least that's the message from quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo, who is working as the play-caller with offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford on a leave of absence. Arroyo said Wednesday he's happy with how Martin has played.
"'I like how hard he works,' Arroyo said. 'I like how hard he runs. I like that he's trying to find ways to get it done. He has zero flinch. He's a team guy. I like those things.'
"But the fact is Martin is averaging just 2.5 yards per carry. He averaged only 3.2 yards per carry as the Bucs were unable to protect an 11-point fourth-quarter lead against New Orleans.
"The Tampa Bay running game was supposed to be a strength coming into the season. It hasn't worked out that way. The Bucs rank 24th in the league in rushing and the rank would be much worse if Bobby Rainey hadn't put up 144 yards against (the) St. Louis (Rams) in place of an injured Martin.
"Arroyo said he has not qualms about giving Rainey some carries, but Martin still is the Bucs' top running back.
"'I like the things Doug has done,' Arroyo said. 'Our run game has to improve, obviously, overall. We believe that as a staff that starts with us. I think wholeheartedly we need to continue to find out what exactly it takes to get us back on track in the run game. There's going to be some finer points, detail and those things executions-wise.
"'At the end of the day, it's going to be about executing the scheme. One guy doing his job and the other 10 following suit. That's why this game's so hard. It's 11 guys doing the same thing against another 11. We need to continue to find ways to run the ball and we're all in it together.'"
The Buccaneers currently have a 1-4 (.200) win-loss record entering the game against the 3-2 Baltimore Ravens on Oct. 12.
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