If there's such a thing as an intrasquad scrimmage hangover, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offense had it on Sunday morning.
That unit had most recently dominated in Friday's scrimmage at Raymond James Stadium, beginning with a 98-yard Tom Brady-led touchdown drive and continuing on with two more trips to the end zone. After a players' day off on Saturday, the Buccaneers regrouped on Sunday at the AdventHealth Training Center to begin the third and final week of training camp.
How did that go? Well, it prompted this from starting left tackle Donovan Smith a couple hours later:
It's safe to say that came after Head Coach Bruce Arians had a few choice words for the offense in the post-practice huddle. Arians certainly didn't sugarcoat the offense's performance when he met with the media on a Zoom call.
"Defense made the plays all day. I don't know if the offense made any plays. [They] might have been reading their press clippings that they're so good, because they didn't show up today."
Smith's group didn't have its best day up front on Sunday but has not been a point of concern during camp and had no problem protecting Brady on Friday. Arians' displeasure wasn't aimed at the O-Line in particular and seemed to have more to do with how the offensive players carried themselves in practice, particularly in contrast to a defense that was ready to go.
"If [protection issues] showed up today – there were 11 guys that stunk," said Arians. "It wasn't just them. It hasn't been a problem until today. The red shirts had so much more energy in that practice than the white shirts. I think the white shirts thought they were something good after Friday, and they didn't show up today."
One bad day for the offense or defense only becomes a problem if it turns into two bad days, and then three. Chances are, given how clear Arians was with his message after Sunday's let-down, the offense will be back to the sort of energy level and precision it showed on Friday.
"Today wasn't our best day as an offense," said wide receiver Scotty Miller, one of the standouts from the scrimmage. "We've just to come out with better energy, wanting to compete. We have such high expectations for ourselves this season, so days like today aren't acceptable for us. The biggest thing is to come out wanting to compete with energy. If we want to get to where we say we want to go, we've just got to come out and play harder. Because if we all play hard and know what we're doing, no mental errors, we've got the guys to do it, the guys to make plays. So tomorrow we've just to come out ready to go and ready to compete."
Indeed, the Bucs' offense is obviously loaded, starting with Brady under center. Miller is battling hard for the third receiver spot, and if he gets it he'll be operating alongside the likes of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, O.J. Howard, Cam Brate, Ronald Jones and LeSean McCoy. That's a lot of playmakers, and they had consistently been making plays before Sunday.
"Today was a tough day for us, but overall I think these last couple days have been pretty productive for us as an offense," said Howard. "Everyone's playing fast, we're coming together on the same page, we've been making some pretty clutch plays during big moments. I think we've been doing a really good job."
View some of the photos from Buccaneers Training Camp practice at the AdventHealth Training Center.
And, of course, if you're looking for excuses for an offensive off day, you can just cross the line of scrimmage and consider a defense that was among the league's best during the second half of last season. That side has its share of playmakers, too, and it probably left the field on Sunday believing it had been a very good day.
"They're extremely talented," said quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who had to try to move the ball against that first-team defense on Friday. "When our front seven and our back end in the secondary can play complementary football and play off one another, that's a tough group. When you're in a sub package and you're going against Vita [Vea], [Ndamukong] Suh, Shaq [Barrett] and [Jason Pierre-Paul], and then you bring in Will Gholston, Lavonte [David] and [Devin White] – there's a bunch of guys in that front seven that can roll through who are extremely talented players. Just the pass rush that they will provide will help our secondary because quarterbacks are going to have to get the ball out and DBs definitely know that."
Not that the struggling offense was looking for excuses. All they want is another day to get back to where they know they should be.
"I think all those things could have played a part, certainly, but at the end of the day we're not going to make excuses," said Miller. "We've got to be better. We've got to come out every day with a lot of energy to compete and get to where we want to go."