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JasonOfthetower

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: December 16, 2010, 11:30:34 AM

http://blogblitz.nfl.com/tampa-bay-buccaneers/entry/debunking_the_bucs_easy_schedule

Debunking the Bucs Easy Schedule Myth
We don't talk much about the opinions of the "World Wide Leader in Sports" because they're an NFL partner and my momma always told me if you don't have anything nice to say don't say it at all. Sure enough, I agree with JoeBucFan.com's characterization of the four letter network by changing the "E" in their name to a "B". Still, when I read the article from ESPN "expert" John Clayton on the reason why the Buccaneers are in the playoff hunt, I had to laugh.

While I'd expect nothing less from Clayton, it was as ill-researched as any I've seen recently on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While other networks are giving the Bucs their well deserved props, Clayton disses them, saying they're nothing but a product of their schedule.

Of course, he cites the old "Bucs haven't beaten a team with a winning record" nonsense and quotes the Bucs' strength of victory - as if he's giving us some new revelation about the Buccaneers that no one else has provided.

Well, I for one, am sick of it.

Let me ask those of you who like to write off the Bucs as benefactors of an easy schedule a question: Are the Saints also benefactors of an easy schedule? How about the Falcons? You see, with the exception of two games, their schedules are identical, and the Bucs' two unique opponents (Detroit and Washington) aren't much worse than the Saints' (Dallas and Minnesota). Yet your hear no one going on about how the Saints' schedule has put them in the playoff chase.

Of New Orleans' 10 wins, only two (Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay) were against teams with winning records. The Giants also only have notched two of their nine wins against teams with winning records and media darlings, the Jets, have notched just two wins against teams with winning records - none since September. - are they frauds, too?

The Bucs haven't lost to teams that at 7-6 or 8-5, either. The losses came to teams that many consider elite, with a combined record of 40-12, and each with at least nine victories. Clayton cites blowout losses to the Steelers and Saints as evidence that the Bucs don't belong. Yet those games were in September - before LaGarrette Blount was on the active roster and this young team was trying to figure out what's what.

He says nothing about the youngest team in the NFL taking the supposed best team in the NFC, Atlanta, not once, but twice, to the brink of defeat. He says little about the Bucs going into the lion's den of Baltimore and giving the Ravens everything they could handle.

So you mean to tell me that because the Bucs couldn't convert fourth-and-1 at the 2-yard line (Atlanta, first meeting) or overcome bad calls by officials (Baltimore and Atlanta, second meeting) that they suddenly don't belong among the playoff elite?

Let's talk about some of those teams Tampa Bay has beaten. Do you think New Orleans and New England think Cleveland was a cream puff? Do Philadelphia, Green Bay and Chicago think they benefited from playing Washington? Is Baltimore thrilled that the weakling Bengals are in their division? Does San Diego think the Rams are a farce? I don't think the Saints believe Arizona was an easy win. If the Bucs are fortunate enough to get a win this week against Detroit, will Green Bay be jealous? If they follow up with a win over Seattle, will Chicago and San Diego wonder, "Why not us?"

Considering the Bucs are doing this with the youngest team in the league, a second-year quarterback, two rookie wide receivers, a rookie running back, a makeshift, injury-depleted offensive line, and six starters missing on defense, how you could even consider discounting what they have accomplished this year is beyond me.

And we haven't even gotten to the grittiness of this team and its quarterback. Josh Freeman has five fourth-quarter, come-from-behind victories this season, and seven total in his short career. They were ready to give Jets QB Mark Sanchez the MVP (ahem, Peter King) for two. He's directed this team to eight wins when some pundits (Warren Sapp, ahem) said it would take them three years to get that many (to be accurate, Sapp said it would take three years for the Bucs to achieve Raheem's Race to Ten).

Not only should Raheem Morris be a slam dunk Coach of the Year candidate, Freeman should get consideration for MVP and the Pro Bowl.

John Clayton, meanwhile, should stick to his inaccurate rumor mongering.

-- JC DE LA TORRE
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CTGuyton

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#1 : December 16, 2010, 11:41:46 AM

One quick error I noticed. LGB got his 1st carry against the Steelers which was 2 weeks before the Saints game, so he was on the active roster for both. He wasn't a starter yet though, just a 4th quarter 'why the hell not' guy.


da gunny

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#2 : December 16, 2010, 11:54:27 AM

Jason,

Thank you for taking the time to write this blog. I have felt (as many have) the same way about the Bucs being dismissed by the national media compared to other more "sexy" teams. Its all good though, if we keep winning they will act as though they were on the wagon the whole time! Great points about the strength of schedule farce!

Morgan

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#3 : December 16, 2010, 11:59:06 AM

Clayton is answering the question - "are the Bucs for real" - and the answer is,  WE DON'T KNOW IF THE BUCS ARE FOR REAL.  You can't go by their W-L record since they've only beaten teams with a combined .279 winning pct.

We know the Falcons, Saints, and other teams are for real (even w/ an easier schedule), because they've shown they are for real in the last few seasons.

But the Bucs are coming off a 3-13 season and haven't beaten a good team yet.

Clayton gives Morris and Freeman their due props.

What else do you want?

: December 16, 2010, 12:04:20 PM morgan

jerseybucsfan

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#4 : December 16, 2010, 12:05:38 PM

Clayton shouldn't have written anything. That's what I want. He's projecting something based on incomplete data. You can't say their schedule is weak based on only who they lost to. You can't make the they haven't beaten anybody argument given the oddity of their schedule. Frankly one random win wouldn't prove anything either. The Browns beat a few good teams. So that makes them good, right? Oh wait, we beat them so they're NOT good. His point was agenda-driven. The Bucs are NOT title worthy. On that we agree. But he's saying we're not PLAYOFF worthy. There's a difference.

In Verner We Trust

Detrimental

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#5 : December 16, 2010, 12:08:20 PM

Freeman for MVP

Morgan

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#6 : December 16, 2010, 12:11:55 PM

His point was agenda-driven.

You think he's has an anti-Buc agenda? Why would he even care about the Bucs to have any kind of agenda. What's with this theory by Buc fans that the national media hates the team. I've never understood that.

acacius

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#7 : December 16, 2010, 12:32:54 PM

Clayton is answering the question - "are the Bucs for real" - and the answer is,  WE DON'T KNOW IF THE BUCS ARE FOR REAL.  You can't go by their W-L record since they've only beaten teams with a combined .279 winning pct.

I think that if his answer had been "we don't know", his column would have been nearly as annoying as a Bucs' fan.  Instead, he flat out described the Giants, Packers, Bears and Eagles as "more worthy playoff contenders" and stated that an easy schedule was "the only reason they're in the playoff mix".  Now, don't get me wrong.  While the games against Atlanta and the Ravens may have been fairly competitive, I do think that their record against the top teams in the league shows that they're not "for real" in the sense of being an elite team with Superbowl aspirations.  But I don't think it's enough to state conclusively that they aren't (at least, assuming the injury bug hasn't reached a critical mass) a legitimate borderline playoff team in the conference, just as deserving as the other borderline playoff teams in the conference.
: December 16, 2010, 12:37:53 PM acacius

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#8 : December 16, 2010, 12:38:31 PM

Well done Jason. Thanks for representing our team!  :)


Go Bucs





It is a new day in TAMPA BAY!    GO BUCS!!

jerseybucsfan

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#9 : December 16, 2010, 12:45:01 PM

I don't consider his ''agenda'' to be exclusively against the Bucs. This is an elitist national team mentality. If you're a fan of the Steelers, Giants, Cowboys, et al, the teams that get TV ratings, you are free to take potshots at the less popular teams like the Bucs. The rules are different with teams like us or Carolina or Jacksonville, etc. We're not ''darlings.''
They want to make us feel small. It's like the team meeting in ''Remember the Titans'' and Clayton's shouting ''You ain't done nothin, ya'al.'''
The Bucs are actually the perfect 8-5 team; no great wins, no terrible letdown losses. They have inched closer to the next level in their last three losses to elite teams, putting them a year of experience and maybe just a few pieces away from being one of them. Instead, Clayton's saying they're not worthy of even being a 6 seed.
When Chicago lost to Seattle and Washington were they worthy of the playoffs?

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#10 : December 16, 2010, 01:59:05 PM

What Clayton said is true. And I don't think he has an agenda or is biased or even gives a pile of fewmets about the Bucs one way or the other.  However, like most reporters, he gets drunk with front-running.  It is galling to see the Falcons and Saints lauded as implacable winning machines beating their hairy chests whilst toppling the best in the NFL when they are playing -except for two games- the exact same schedule. It's not the unfairness of his attitude, it's that we suck for doing ALMOST the same thing as the league darlings.  Do I expect him to say we're better than NO or ATL? No.  But counting our wins as gimmes and their exact same wins as manly a$$-kicking accomplishments is skewed and wrong and irksome. That's all.

I kind of like that we are still ignored and background. Hope we stay that way until the end. And I'm sure we will.....


Got_Spleen

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#11 : December 16, 2010, 04:45:57 PM

Good job DLT!

1sparkybuc

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#12 : December 16, 2010, 04:47:08 PM

Clayton is answering the question - "are the Bucs for real" - and the answer is,  WE DON'T KNOW IF THE BUCS ARE FOR REAL.  You can't go by their W-L record since they've only beaten teams with a combined .279 winning pct.

We know the Falcons, Saints, and other teams are for real (even w/ an easier schedule), because they've shown they are for real in the last few seasons.

But the Bucs are coming off a 3-13 season and haven't beaten a good team yet.

Clayton gives Morris and Freeman their due props.

What else do you want?

There's one fallacy in your thinking. The Falcons, Saints, and other teams are veteran laden teams. They have a history with most of the players on their current roster. You can't compare the Bucs and this roster with the team that went 3-13. You can't even compare it to our starters in week one. Nearly half of those guys are watching the games on tv. Our Bucs are playing with backups to backups. Veteran teams lose in that situation, even with veteran backups. Just ask Peyton Manning. We have 11 PS players on the active roster. Veteran teams lose in that situation. We have the youngest HC and the youngest roster in the NFL and we are not losing to veteran teams. We won't have a losing record in 2010. The Bucs are 8-5 and they haven't lost to a bad team yet.

Raheem Morris should be CoW over Bill Belichick. Belichick has veteran leadership at QB. Raheem has veteran leadership at TE and CB. I will allow that Freeman conducts himself like a veteran.I seriously doubt that the Bucs would be better than 8-5 with  Belichick coaching them.

Chief Joseph

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#13 : December 16, 2010, 05:54:23 PM

Our Bucs are playing with backups to backups.

Please explain how you reached the conclusion that this is going to help our chances in the playoffs.

"Bucs haven't beaten a team with a winning record" nonsense

So, your idea of presenting a logical argument is to dismiss undeniable facts as "nonsense?"

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nubcake

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#14 : December 16, 2010, 07:07:33 PM

His point was agenda-driven.

You think he's has an anti-Buc agenda? Why would he even care about the Bucs to have any kind of agenda. What's with this theory by Buc fans that the national media hates the team. I've never understood that.

It isn't the Bucs, it's just small market teams. And I wouldn't even call it an "agenda", more like convenience. For example, Sportscenter is an hour. They probably have something like 30-35 minutes of highlights and 10-15 minutes of analysis. Mixed in with this is the need to get good ratings. Obviously, if you're a business man, you're going to try to appeal to the broadest audience possible. Thus, it's only natural that the networks will give more attention to teams from New York and Boston and less attention to a Tampa Bay.

Consequently, analysts will save time by studying the teams they know they'll have to talk about no matter what(Dallas gets a ton of coverage this year even though they suck, because everyone just HAS to know why they suck when everyone said they wouldnt). They expect the Bucs to suck because they did last year, and they sure as heck aren't going to spend weeks looking into possible reasons why we might not, because even if we DO end up being good(we did), they still won't have to talk about us as much as trying to analyze what's right or wrong with the Jets. And when they do have to talk about small market teams, they really don't have a clue why they've had success and thus you'll see articles like this dismissing them so they won't have to waste anymore time on them.

It isn't exclusive to the Bucs, or even Tampa Bay teams, but you're beyond blind if you don't see a big market bias. Virtually everyone is capable of seeing that. Heck, just look at the stats on the bottom. Half the time you'll see stats on Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol even when the Lakers lose and none from the team they beat them, assuming that team is someone like Indiana, Golden State, Toronto, Memphis, etc. Heck, they hire guys like Bayless and Cowherd who practically parody this fact.

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