Little things can lead to bad things

Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire


Football coaches try to tell us all the time that the game they’re teaching is not rocket science. There is, however, some geometry involved. There is at least with the Buccaneers.

A week ago the Bucs lost a critical fumble that was created when Rams defensive end Robert Quinn blew past left tackle Donovan Smith for a sack of quarterback Jameis Winston.

Even to the trained eye, that sack may have looked like it was all the fault of Smith, who barely touched Quinn before he created the takeaway that led to Ethan Westbrooks’ 77-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown.

However, a little thing lead to arguably the biggest momentum swing of the game in the fourth quarter.

As it turns out, the sack and takeaway were almost all the result of Winston failing to take the proper drop, which messed up the geometry of the blocking scheme the Bucs had in place.

“The drop was too deep,’’ Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said. “We try to stay under 10 yards (on our drops). It’s (supposed to be) the equivalent of a seven-step drop, but it’s shotgun plus five.

“But Jameis got about 10-and-a-half (yards deep) and believe it or not there’s some geometry involved there as far as the angles that the tackles are taking.

“The guards and the center set the depth of the pocket and the tackles set the width of the pocket, and when you get too deep (a play like the one Quinn made) has a tendency to happen.’’

The quarterback can avoid the sack in that situation by stepping up into the pocket and Winston was just about to do that when Quinn reached him. By then it was too late, but only because Winston had dropped too far.

“Yeah, I was just too deep,’’ Winston said. “That’s why this is a game of inches. I mean, if I get that ball out quicker, it might have been a touchdown because Mike (Evans) was wide open on the curl route.

“But that’s why the chemistry and us being in rhythm (is so important) because when things are going our way things are going our way. But when things are not going our way they seem to be worse than what we want.’’

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