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tbc_bucs

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: January 03, 2009, 12:58:22 AM

I've taken close to a full week to think over the bucs season. I watched a few of the games I had on my DVR this week and then I decided to put in my "America's Game" 2002 Superbowl DVD.

The Bucs lack fire and accountability.

Derrick Brooks is the hands down leader of the defense at this stage. Everyone understands you have to respect him and the locker room is molded around his character. But it starts and stops with Brooks. No one is on his level. To me that is a part of the problem. The leadership is strong but I dont think the team is entirely in tune with its leaders. 12-15 years difference in age between Derrick Brooks and a rookie is a big difference.

Lynch was a buccaneer before the McKay era but after that Alstott, Sapp, Brooks, and guys like Ronde and BK all came in together or shortly after. They were on the same level. There was a leader at every level. Right now we have Ronde and Brooks. We don't have a firey leader with great passion on the defensive line. Ruud is a great player but until Brooks retires I dont see the guy taking over this team from a leadership standpoint. BK had passion, dexter jackson had passion, does Ronde really strike you as a guy displaying passion or a guy that just does his job? He leads by example, but he doesnt have the swagger of some of our younger players.

As crazy as this might sound, maybe we respect guys like Brooks and Barber too much. So much that it hinders our teams development.

Look I have all the respect in the world for both guys, but at some point we have to look at who will lead us to another superbowl. IMO, Barber should have been benched in favor of Talib. In the Dallas game he blanketed T.O. on a few plays. Looked impressive. Talib has personality and swagger. Was he ready to start? Not early in the season. I think he should have started after the Bye week. The guy will bring passion to the field. Spirited football if you will. Barber is great in the slot and I hope he plays there next season.

Brooks... We dont have a replacement for him on the roster IMO. He played great early on. We need to finally sign, draft or groom a replacement for him. June is not the answer. I dont believe Black is either. Lance Briggs would have been a good signing but that would have been a media frenzy for our team. Maybe Geno Hayes will continue to develop...

Sapp was an intimidator. A dominator. Nothing about our Dline dominates. Hovan and Haye are decent run stuffers. Gaines Adams is nothing like Simeon Rice, sorry folks. He hasnt taken over a game, ever. Not in college, not in the NFL. The great ones can turn it on when necessary, and I think if Gaines gets his Sapp (Haynesworth?) he might be able to do that.

On offense we have one leader. Gruden. Forget the "Garcia leads the offense" talk, thats crap. He is a finger puppet on Grudens hand. Gruden does hold people accountable but the problem is the players themselves dont bother to hold themselves accountable. Gruden mentioned many times that Garcia was missing open receivers, and Garcia didnt hold himself accountable to correct that mistake. Gruden has birched at Clayton for years, and he still doesnt understand that he has to catch the ball before he can run with it. They rely on Gruden to point everything out to them. Gruden does do it but why dont they listen? The way I look at it, Garcia being benched after the first game was Grudens way of calling him out. Much like the McNabb benching against the ravens this season. But Gruden needs to realize he cant be the only person to hold the offense accountable.

Just like the defense, the offense needs leadership. In comes Antonio Bryant. In my opinion, he was the offensive MVP. Without question. He has the passion to take over a game. He has the passion to call out his teammates and get mad. Not T.O. mad where he blames everyone but himself, but mad enough to approach a teammate and talk about ways to make things work between them. He seems to take coaching but also let people know when hes open. I like that. A true diamond in the rough FA acquisition.

Finally we have a center with some balls. Faine is a leader and good at calling out line adjustments. We paid a steep price for the guy but so far so good. At 27 I hope his best years are ahead of him.

No leadership at the TE position. No true leadership at the QB position (with the changes of QBs all season). No leadership at the RB position. 3 of the 4 skill positions lack fire. Why? If this offense was held to half the standards as the defense we might be a great team. What we need to do this offseason is spend money. Not on players, on leaders. We need some players to come in and say "you need to be held accountable for sucking Michael Clayton"

Heading into this offseason I am nervous. I wont exhaust the Haynesworth, McNabb, Hasselback, and other Maddenites offseason wish lists... We all know who we want and why we want them. I rather take the time to address what we need to do to improve. We need to improve accountability. Some will say its Gruden. I would say its the players. We need Bruce to give Gruden a chance to show what he can do. Its been too long for this team to not be filled with talent.

My take is a little different than what most might think but I think the team is a few leadership pieces away from actually doing something in the postseason.

Lets see what Bruce does this year... If he doesnt do enough both Gruden and him will be gone for the 2010 regular season...


jerseybucsfan

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#1 : January 03, 2009, 01:05:21 AM

Great post. But then leadership begins in the front office too. We had $, but then didn't spend it either. Would the addition of a Berrian, in addition to Bryant, have helped? Tough to say. Obviously if Garcia can't hit an open man, no.
Sometimes it felt as if Gruden was acknowledging the lack of leadership and crawled into a conservative shell saying 'Don't blow the game.' And naturally that mentality isn't going to help because invariably someone will.
I found your call on the TE position true. People forget the big plays we got out of Dilger and Dudley in 2002.
Strangely, Caddy looked like he was stepping up on that final drive, showing the fire to ice the game. And then fate took him down, the wind was sucked out of the stadium and the team ... and losing became inevitable. Is that Gruden's fault? Not in that case. But if we don't get more leaders and playmakers soon, he will be held to task for it and we'll have to find new leaders under at LEAST one more regime, maybe several.

In Verner We Trust

MBF

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#2 : January 03, 2009, 01:11:21 AM

Interesting post and I agree with a lot of it but I'd count Dunn as a leader at RB and Carter on the DL. They're like Derrick and Ronde in that they're not the 'rah rah' types but they still guide the younger players. Is that good enough for us to win games? Probably not, but I don't think the players are molly coddled as you seem to suggest. I'm sure behind closed doors there were fingers pointed and angry words exchanged after our late season collapse, when you have some of the players that we do that's inevitable. I look at guys like Ruud, Adams, and even P-Buc and I see guys who are reluctant to step up to the plate and become a leader for whatever reason. Maybe the presence of Brooks and Barber has something to do with that but that doesn't bode well for us in the future. Hell even Ronde said this year that they kept telling Ruud to 'speak up', that can't fill you with confidence. And as much as we rag on the O-line you have to like what you see there, I mean Faine and Trueblood look like great leaders and Penn and Davin aren't far behind. They deserve credit for that. But we definitely need to get some more leaders this off-season, especially at the QB position, but not at the expense of talent, we've seen that happen (keeping Carter rather than add a young LDE) sp ideally we'd want a Ray Lewis type who's a great player and has the leadership skills to match.

tbc_bucs

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#3 : January 03, 2009, 01:18:55 AM

Great post. But then leadership begins in the front office too. We had $, but then didn't spend it either. Would the addition of a Berrian, in addition to Bryant, have helped? Tough to say. Obviously if Garcia can't hit an open man, no.
Sometimes it felt as if Gruden was acknowledging the lack of leadership and crawled into a conservative shell saying 'Don't blow the game.' And naturally that mentality isn't going to help because invariably someone will.
I found your call on the TE position true. People forget the big plays we got out of Dilger and Dudley in 2002.
Strangely, Caddy looked like he was stepping up on that final drive, showing the fire to ice the game. And then fate took him down, the wind was sucked out of the stadium and the team ... and losing became inevitable. Is that Gruden's fault? Not in that case. But if we don't get more leaders and playmakers soon, he will be held to task for it and we'll have to find new leaders under at LEAST one more regime, maybe several.

I agree that in part it is on Allen. This is a call for him to actually spend some money on impact players. Being frugal and putting together a roster of cheaper but talented players will not get us over the hump this season. We need to establish an identity again...

Interesting post and I agree with a lot of it but I'd count Dunn as a leader at RB and Carter on the DL. They're like Derrick and Ronde in that they're not the 'rah rah' types but they still guide the younger players. Is that good enough for us to win games? Probably not, but I don't think the players are molly coddled as you seem to suggest. I'm sure behind closed doors there were fingers pointed and angry words exchanged after our late season collapse, when you have some of the players that we do that's inevitable. I look at guys like Ruud, Adams, and even P-Buc and I see guys who are reluctant to step up to the plate and become a leader for whatever reason. Maybe the presence of Brooks and Barber has something to do with that but that doesn't bode well for us in the future. Hell even Ronde said this year that they kept telling Ruud to 'speak up', that can't fill you with confidence. And as much as we rag on the O-line you have to like what you see there, I mean Faine and Trueblood look like great leaders and Penn and Davin aren't far behind. They deserve credit for that. But we definitely need to get some more leaders this off-season, especially at the QB position, but not at the expense of talent, we've seen that happen (keeping Carter rather than add a young LDE) sp ideally we'd want a Ray Lewis type who's a great player and has the leadership skills to match.

To an extent I agree with you. Every team has some level of exchanges. I would bet this team did as well, but this thing was bigger than the non-chalant post game quotes ive seen the past few weeks. It was like" oh we didnt get them this week, we will try again next week...."

That is crap... Put it like this, Sapp or Lynch would have blown this thing up in the locker room.

While I agree that Dunn and Carter are leaders, they are leaders by example. Neither guy could light a fire under my ass. They are guys that you respect and admire for the way they carry themselves, not really motivational in my book...


MBF

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#4 : January 03, 2009, 01:26:10 AM

When I look at the leaders/potential leaders on this team, the only guy I could picture getting in someone else's face after they messed up is Talib. Everyone else is too reserved.

tbc_bucs

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#5 : January 03, 2009, 11:09:01 AM

I too could see Talib being that guy. Obviously Antonio Bryant is a guy that has done it this season and I believe will continue to do it whoever the QB is next season. I wonder sometimes if Earnest Graham would get in someone's face.

Maybe Gruden has to establish a core group of guys that he can go like Tom Coughlin and Brad Childress did. Like a leadership council thing. It seemed to work well for both coaches.

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