Frustration is mounting…expectations should now be falling back to where they belong, but any way you want to describe it; The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the Atlanta Falcons in a game that was painfully obvious to everyone who watched the last two weeks, the Bucs are NOT ready for Prime Time, and certainly not ready for the playoffs.
Bucs fans ask yourselves a few questions..
- Was the game competitive before halftime?
- Were the Bucs 4th and 5th string running backs able to perform as good as starters?
The answer is Yes and a Conditional Yes. The Bucs were in the game in the first half, but they turned the ball over or a play were 5th string RB rushed onto the field not knowing he was in the play, then fumbled the ball when he took the handoff in a play that should have just been abandoned with a Time Out. The problem is without proper depth, the Bucs were in bad shape to begin with, and they still haven’t recovered from that Raiders game!
Barber and Smith did fine as running backs, Smith averaged 5 yards a carry, but the running game got left behind in the 2nd half, and we already know this team is not designed to win in an all passing shootout! Not with a 2nd year 22 year old QB and ONE WR!
So a couple more questions:
- Can you see how recovering from the Raiders loss is harder for a team without depth to recover from than the Falcons who DO have depth and didn’t have as hard of a win over Green Bay like the Bucs had over Oakland?
- Can you see that the Bucs were competing in this game until they wore out, especially defensively?
A: You should by now if your honest with yourselves, the Bucs defense didn’t quit, they didn’t stop caring, especially with Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, John Lynch right there on the sideline. EVERY TEAM has injuries, and the Bucs have been lucky they’ve had the same Offensive Line for 8 games, Winston hasn’t missed a game, Mike Evans the same. But the offense is not the weak side of this Bucs team, its the D Fense!
So Now fans can concentrate on watching the IMPROVEMENTS this Bucs team is making, and stop comparing them to the other teams they play. OTHER TEAMS have had less than 4 coaches in the last 6 years, jettisoning talent after every coaching change to the point your left with this! Tell me you didn’t need Adrian Clayborn on the D Line last night? Don’t think the Bucs would be better if Jonathan Banks and/or Mark Barron were starting? These players are gone because they didn’t fit a replaced coaches scheme before getting fired himself! Yet in spite of this the Bucs fans in social media will surely call on Dirk Koetter to be fired, repeating the same process.
Yes, Atlanta has a relatively new coach too, but the previous coach was there for years; as in more than 3. Maybe now Bucs fans, Bucs local media who called for the change last year, to take a step back and realize the Bucs problems last year were not Lovie Smith’s fault, there was no talent on the team from firing too many coaches. Under Lovie/Licht
The Bucs did the right thing and drafted talent, and good talent, but it was all offense. Two straight years and the Bucs drafted 13 offensive players and one defensive, Kwon Alexander.
2016 was supposed to be the year the Bucs spent their draft to shore up the defense, But I can’t imagine GM Jason LIcht/Dirk Koetter is the same as Licht/Lovie Smith. I dont see Lovie signing off on a kicker in the 2nd round, and mind you its WAY too early to grade that, but this Bucs team wasn’t ONE player or two away from a Super Bowl. Thats when you make a move like that.
Jameis Winston is suffering the normal second year issues all players do, and he will be just fine. The Bucs need to provide weapons for him to succeed, Mike Evans can’t do it all. Speaking of which Mike Evans is a top 5 WR in the NFL, he is among the elite at his position with Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr, and a couple more. But like other positions, the drop off from there is STEEP!
Nowhere is the talent level lower than on defense. The Bucs have someone on each level, but need so much more. Defensive Ends don’t dominate or produce at a high level until their 2nd or 3rd year. The Bucs need more Defensive Ends, more Defensive Backs, especially at Safety. They need these players from the draft, not free agency, but with young players, more patience is required from Bucs fans who are frustrated with losing.
Bucs fans need to adjust their expectations, stop expecting Winning, and expect positive change and results and look for them when you see it. Are the Bucs improving?
- 2014 Bucs average 17.4 points per game.
- 2015 Bucs average 21 points per game.
- This year the Bucs are averaging 22.5 through 8 games.
- The Bucs have 3 games over 30 points so far half way through the season, LAST YEAR they only had 2 games all year.
This team is not good enough, Talented enough, or deep enough to handle the adversity of 2 games in 5 days, especially after a 90 play 5 quarter game like the Raiders. Give them 10 days to rest up, heal up, and I’m willing to bet we’ll see a better product on the field, both sides of the field, than we’ve seen the last 5 days.
When it comes down to it, if your looking for improvement, this is the time of the year when you look for it; the last 8 games, especially the last 4: 2 games against the Saints, at Cowboys and finish at Carolina.
FINAL WORD: Bucs GM Jason Licht is not free from criticism in the slightest; Its his job to stockpile talent, but instead of getting another Wide Receiver for Evans, he put his faith in an aging Vincent Jackson and his bad health. Put his faith in an injured Louis Murphy that he would be ready, banked on Kenny Bell, and just so sure that the problem with the defense was LOVIE SMITH and his scheme.