-When you have so many viable skill players (wide receivers, running backs, tight ends), it's easy to ponder the possibilities of what an offense can be. It comes with a downside, though: there's only one ball to go around, which makes it nearly impossible to get all of them involved each game. But as with most things in life, things are made better when you shift your perspective. No, you're not going to get Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Scotty Miller, Tyler Johnson, Ronald Jones, Leonard Fournette (breathes) LeSean McCoy, Rob Gronkowski and Cam Brate, among others, the ball 10 times each every week. But you can mix it up every week, to the detriment of opposing defenses, might I add. And that, in itself, can become your identity. That's exactly what Head Coach Bruce Arians is going for.
"Yeah, very flexible," said Arians when asked if the offense has an identity it's working toward. "We have the ability to have different plans each week with matchups we like. Obviously, we want to run the football more than we did the other night, but the game dictated [that we didn't]. I think with the personnel we have healthy now, it gives us a lot of flexibility."
Barring situational football, theoretically, the Bucs can go into each game placing an emphasis on a different phase of offense that is opponent-specific. Playing a team that is giving up a lot of passing yards? Unleash the receivers. Get another team that isn't faring so well against the run? Open the running back stable. Even if you have a team that deploys a good overall defense, you can show them something completely different than what they may have seen on tape the week before.
The only challenge it brings is keeping your own players happy. But that's not exactly a problem when you have players, and receivers especially, who are as unselfish as the Buccaneers.
"I've never met a receiver that doesn't want the football," wide receivers coach Kevin Garver lamented. "If they're open, they want to get the football. That's every receiver, that's every team – you're going to see that for sure. I think our approach [and] our mindset is, if we can have the best 11 on the field, we want the best 11. Again, the way that Tom [Brady] plays the game – and his approach to the game – he's going to spread the ball out. I think if you actually go back and you look at all of our games, you see that. Sometimes it's Mike [Evans'] week. Earlier in the year against the Panthers, Mike got a lot of balls. Then there was another game [that] Gronk (Rob Gronkowski) got a lot of balls. [In Las Vegas], Scotty [Miller] got a lot of balls. To me, that's just the way it is. Instead of just having one guy and we're just going to feed that guy – in my opinion, it actually makes it a little bit more challenging to the defense. Because, OK, they want to try to take one guy out of the game. All right, well we've got enough guys that are going to step up and make the plays."
In the end, it's really best to look at the season as a whole rather than individual games. When you broaden the scope, you'll see the Bucs' top four pass catchers, made up of Mike Evans, Scotty Miller, Rob Gronkowski and Chris Godwin are all within the 300-400 yard range this season. It's a pretty even split among the top four guys, which is a reflection of the Bucs' quarterback spreading the ball out like Garver said. Now look at production and for all those that say Evans needs to get involved more – just know he has seven receiving touchdowns this year. That not only by far and away leads the team, but is also tied for the fourth-most in the league. Basically, if the receivers themselves aren't sweating it, neither should you.
"Honestly, I think we'll be fine," Godwin said about all the talent in the receiver room and adding more just recently. "Me and Mike [Evans] – we're no stranger to that. I think we're coming in with the same mentality that we've always had. We've got a bunch of great guys in this locker room that are solely focused on winning, and when you have a chance to add another really great talent, you do that. We're looking forward to the opportunity learn, grow and fit him into the offense."
Bucs Tweet of the Day: