Well after three straight losses resulting in a 2-4 record, it appears that the self-destruct button has officially been pushed inside the Buccaneers locker room. The team has yet to play a complete game since they beat the Bears in Week 2 and the frustration is setting in for the coaches, players and especially fans. Nobody seems to know what the hell is going on. When the offense scores points, the defense shits the bed. When the defense actually does their job, the offense struggles to put points on the board. The team can’t seem to get things going until the second half of games, but by then the deficit is too large to overcome. Is it a coaching issue? Is it an effort issue? Is it a mental issue? I have no idea. Maybe it’s all of that and more.
The coaching staff is clearly frustrated because they can’t figure out what the issues are either. They look at the talent on this roster and just scratch their heads at the play on the field every week. I had flashbacks of Lovie Smith’s press conferences watching Dirk Koetter after the game say “Well, we had a great week of practice!” and it made me cringe. I even threw up in my mouth a little. As we all saw with Lovie’s Bucs, good practices don’t always translate into good play on Sundays. I mean, you’d think after the piss poor performance in Arizona last week that this team would’ve been ready to play; especially the defense. They didn’t play quite as bad as last week, but they didn’t play nearly as well as they should have. Too many explosive plays given up. Too many missed tackles. AGAIN. Too many mental errors. And this is a defense that has guys that are supposed to be “Pro Bowl caliber” players at every level.
How does this even happen? How have they regressed from last season? Is it Mike Smith’s coaching? His playcalling? His scheme? I find that hard to believe seeing as how he’s produced a Top 5 defense on every team he’s coached. Is it the talent level of the players? Again, I don’t think that’s it either. There’s plenty of talented players there, both young and veteran. How does a defense, that was so dominant in the second half of last season, all the sudden forget how to play fundamental football? Gerald McCoy said after the game that “All we can do is watch the film and get back to work”. Yeah, that’s what you said last week too I believe.
Lack of production from the front four, poor tackling from the front seven, bad coverage technique from the corners and mental errors from the safety position have all contributed to this Bucs defense giving up nearly 30 points per game in the last 5 weeks.
What happened to the good old days when the defense was so dominant that they would tell the offense “If you give us 17 points, we’ll give you a win!”? If that was still the case, this team would be 5-1 and leading the division instead of the 2-4 basement dwellers that they are now.
Just as much as winning cures everything, losing magnifies everything. It magnifies mental mistakes. It magnifies bad playcalling. It magnifies poor play. It magnifies the lack of effort. And it magnifies which good teams are just playing bad, and which teams are just bad period. Right now, this team is just bad.
Adding fuel to the fire, now they have three of the free agents that were brought in this season, in hopes of taking this team to that next level, bitching and whining about playing time and not getting the ball enough. As if that wasn’t enough locker room bullshit to deal with, now Miko Grimes is starting her stupid tweets about her husband’s team. None of this is good for a football team. Especially a young team like this that is already struggling. Losing three games in a row is hard enough to mentally deal with for these young players without having to hear veteran players, guys that should be leading by example, gripe about not starting or not playing enough. That crap needs to stop!
I have a feeling that Jameis Winston is going to call a players only meeting this week at One Buc in an attempt to right the ship and get this team focused on the task at hand once again. It needs to be done ASAP!
That Buffalo game was a “must win” game in my opinion. Does the loss mean the season is over? Not necessarily. But I knew that a loss to the Bills, and a third loss in a row, would bring this kind of petty BS to the surface. Unfortunately, I was right. Now the question of the week will be “How does this team respond to all of this adversity?”
Do the leaders or team captains regain control of this situation and get this team back on the right track or does this team just implode and fold up shop at midseason? I guess we’ll find out on Sunday against Carolina.
Until then, as always…GO BUCS!!!