Third downs were an obstacle for Buccaneers

One of the reasons Tampa Bay's offense struggled in 2014 was that the Bucs often had their backs to the wall.

All too often they gained little or no yardage on first and second downs. That left them with difficult situations on third downs.

The proof is in the numbers. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Bucs were the worst in the league when it came to distance needed for a first down on third downs.

Tampa Bay's average needed yardage on third down was 8.56. The St. Louis Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars were tied for second at 7.86 yards. Arizona was fourth at 7.69 and Cleveland was fifth at 7.67.

The Bucs are searching for a new offensive coordinator. They would be wise to get one that's not so conservative on first and second downs.