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December 18, 2011 @ 1:42 am
Current rating: 4.00 Stars/1 Votes

Talent Discrepancy Apparent As Bucs Drop Eighth Straight

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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Each week beat writer Mark Cook develops five keys he feels will help the Buccaneers achieve victory against their upcoming opponent. After the game Cook re-visits his keys and grades Tampa Bay on how well they were able to accomplish these goals.

Key 1. Eliminate Self-Destructive Tendencies
Playing virtually mistake-free football was a must for the Buccaneers to have chance at victory but this key failed on Tampa Bay’s first drive when after picking up seven yards and reaching midfield, quarterback Josh Freeman was hit from behind and fumbled the football. Whatever momentum the Buccaneers had in the first few minutes was lost and Tony Romo easily marched the Cowboys 66 yards a 7-0 lead that was never threatened.

The Buccaneers actually protected the football for the rest of the game and were only called for six penalties for 46 yards, one of their lowest totals of the season. But coverage breakdowns in the secondary combined with an inconsistent pass rush doomed Tampa Bay’s chances. An inept offense led by Josh Freeman’s Tebow-esque first half numbers (2-of-4 for 14 yards) also contributed to the 31-15 score and the Buccaneers eighth straight loss.
Final Grade: C

Key 2. Keep Your Heads Up
Again tonight a lack of leadership was clearly evident and when things began to unravel (Freeman’s fumble, an early 14-0 deficit) there was no one on the roster who was able to snap this team from its funk.

The body language of the players and coaches from the first Cowboys score only got worse as the score went from 7-0 to 28-0 by halftime. I do credit the Buccaneers for putting forth effort in the second half, managing to score two touchdowns, but let’s face it, the offensive score came against a Dallas defense playing soft quarters defense keeping everything in front of them.

Finding some veteran presence in the offseason should be this team’s biggest priority. Leadership doesn’t grow on trees and sometimes it’s not the worse thing to do to go out and purchase it.
Final Grade: F

Key 3. Rope In Romo
Dallas quarterback Tony Romo is as streaky as a player as there is in the NFL. Unfortunately for the Buccaneers he was on a hot streak from his first pass until his last. At times it appeared Romo was playing as the “all-time” quarterback in a pickup game at any of the local middle schools in the Tampa Bay area. Drop back, little pressure, and deliver strike after strike.

In defense of Tampa’s secondary, losing Aqib Talib in the first quarter changed the defensive strategy and forced a shuffling of personnel that never quite seemed to get in a rhythm.

Pressure on Romo was strong at times as Tampa Bay recorded two sacks (Clayborn, Bennett) but Romo was able to escape it most of the night stepping up in the pocket or rolling away from the pressure.
Final Grade: D

Key 4. Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting
Playing with pride and with an attitude were two things that seemed important for Tampa Bay to accomplish. To Tampa Bay’s credit not many people can argue with the effort. The “loaf” plays that were evident in the Houston contest didn’t surface tonight and in fact the hustle was best demonstrated when in the second half – with no chance to catch the Cowboys’ running back – Albert Haynesworth was still pursuing 15 yards behind the play.

A lot of talk this week in the locker room at One Buc Place was players saying they wanted to show the rest of the league that they were a better team than their record indicated. But after the 31-15 loss to the Cowboys it appears the talent is that of what the Buccaneers are – a 4-9 football team.

Saturday night’s loss was not a result of not trying, it was as Raheem Morris said in his postgame news conference – “just men beating guys.”
Final Grade: C

Key 5. Loose As A Goose
In this key I tried to convey that the overall black cloud hovering over this franchise was possibly creating pressure being felt by the coaching staff and passed down to the players. As the losing streak grows each week so does the pressure to break it – and the pressure to not make mistakes.

No matter the profession, when work is being done with the fear of making mistakes it usually tends to exasperate the situation. Josh Freeman and his coaching staff all claim Freeman is a better quarterback than last season, but the stats certainly don’t back it up. The third year signal callers interception issues really became apparent in the 48-3 loss at San Francisco in October and the cry in the media and from fans was Freeman was forcing balls. Since that time you can count the number of times Tampa Bay’s QB has went deep, and even his mid-level passes seems forced at times.

The Buccaneers needed to coach – and play – without fear of making mistakes to have any chance of upsetting the Cowboys. But instead play calling and execution seemed timid for the most part and the results speak for themselves.
Final Grade: F

Final Analysis
At halftime, down by 28 points, the talk amongst the media in the press box wasn’t if Morris might be replaced, but more of how soon. Outscoring the Cowboys 15-3 in the second half may have given Morris another week, or perhaps the rest of the season. Changes are most certainly coming, but how drastic is the only question now.

Score Predictions
Actual Final Score:
Cowboys 31-15
Cook’s Prediction: Cowboys 30-21
Reynold’s Prediction: Cowboys 33-20
Horchy’s Prediction: Cowboys 31-20

Last modified on Sunday, 18 December 2011 02:07

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  • avatar

    FIRE RAHEEM MORRIS NOW! the inmates are running the asylum. they play hard when they want to play hard they exicute when they want to exicute. there no dicsipline and that all falls under the catagory of head couch. we need a expereicned head couch with a no nonsenses attitude.
  • avatar

    Dallas receivers running completely uncontested through zone all first half and NO adjustments, offense so basic and predictable with no rollout to take advantage of free running (just like romo did all night) again with NO adjustments, NO sense of urgency spending too much time setting protections when we had a glimmer of a chance! New OC and DC right NOW!!!! That's not lack of talent or hustle it's being completely uncoached during the game
  • avatar

    I hate going to games knowing there is no chance to be competitive - makes it hard to consider renewing the season tickets for 2012. I blame part of this mess on playing a home game in London - they never recovered. Play your home games in Tampa! Fault of management. I like Rah Rah Raheem but he is over his head and should have spent more time as an assistant/coordinator before getting a top job. Fault of management. Weak group of assistant coaches were assembled. Talent? DBs and LBs, other than Ronde and maybe Foster, are terrible, specifically Talib, Mack, Biggers, Black and Hayes, absolutely terrible. The offense plays in slow motion with no sense of urgency. Olson is terrible. And the team quit on the season in the Houston game. Fault of coaching staff. Start next season with new coaching staff. Clear out those who don't play with urgency. Get some talent on defense- LBs and DBs. I believe in Freeman, Blount, the DL, Winslow, Ronde and the kicking game. It's hard to put anyone else on that list.
  • avatar

    If the Glaziers do something stupid and keep this coaching staff around for another year, besides having only 20,000 fans in the stadium, they will put the development of their young good players back another 5 years. This team needs serious veteran leadership and 4 or 5 players to be a respectable team again. Rah isn't even a good defensive coordinator regardless of him being head coach and DC. Haven't seen a Buc team look this disorganized and confused and undisciplined since their inception. Get rid of this whole coaching staff and get rid of the stench so it doesn't linger into next season!!!!
  • avatar

    niko521, I make no special appeal in support of Morris, my point is no matter who the coach is, were in for a year or two more of losing, maybe more. When I say losing I'm referring to making the playoffs or a serious run if we get there. We may win more games than we're winning now but we've fired coaches for less. We lost last night because we couldn't prevent 3rd down conversions. If you think coaching would take the keystone kops we have in the secondary and turn them into an island, I beg to differ. If Morris is gone, consider Talib and Ronde gone. With Brees, Ryan, and now Cam Newton in the mix, this is going to be a tough neighborhood to hold on to your lunch money!. Then throw in next years opponents like the Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, and Redskins. It's going to get scary! We don't have enough draft picks to fix this and no coach likely to make a difference is going to sign up with that suicidal pact called "no free agency". I hope you're right and I'm wrong. But somethings gotta change more than the coach!
  • avatar

    This team should just roll over and play dead ~winning now just drops us down in draft order...
  • avatar

    Rah and Olson just blow...If ownership keeps these clowns next season,expect more losing..I called it a season several weeks ago,since the team offers its fans little hope of a bright tomorrow.There is some talent on the field,but none on the coaching staff... I guess you get what you pay for ~Glazers have chosen the cheap route and Bucs fans continue to suffer.. Its harder and harder to see the light at the end of this tunnel... Thanks Glazers,Rah and Olson ~for f@#king the fanbase yet again with a crap season...Merry Christmas a**holes...
  • avatar

    Talent, no depth, not enough discipline to make the plays work. The players are out of position on defense . What DC lets Austin and Bryant roam the endzone without someone on him. Raheem needs to hire a DC and fire Olson. The Glazers need to bring FA in to become leaders. Barber cannot do it all.
  • avatar

    before 3rd quarter touchdown bucs last five quarters others 69 bucs 0 that right there is the season in a nutshell changes need to be made right or wrong olsen and van pelt for sure
  • avatar

    I like most of the young talent on this team. The question is: Is this the right staff to develop these guys and mold them into top NFL players? Can they teach the linebackers how to read and react? Teach the line to stay in their gaps and work as a team? Teach the young receiving corp what it takes to get open? Can they groom and mentor a talented but raw Josh Freeman and help him become an elite quarterback? To me, we can have a few inexperienced coaches but they can't all be that way. If we don't coach these young guys the right way, we can kiss our future goodbye.
  • avatar

    Firing everyone might not be the right thing to do,but it's the only thing to do. Since I don't have NFL network I went to a bar with my son,and long time friend who started rooting for the Bucs back in 78 with me. We've seen a lot of bad Buc ball, but this is as bad as it gets. My son was at the game last week in J ville,and was sure the Bucs would come out this week with something to prove. After the first series is was evident it was business as usual. We all agreed the Glazer's should lob some heads before the end of the season, like today would be nice. Morris has no business being an NFL had coach, and I can only wonder if our offense could've been worse under Jagosinsky.
  • avatar

    Wrong Defensive plays and set ups in the first half that destroyed us by the DC. I don't think Raheem's head was there the first half. In the second half with Dallas throttling back there appeared to be a showing of Raheem presence on the field. Wrong offensive plays called most of the game by the OC. I am convinced it is not Freeman, it's Olsen. Fire the HC/DC/OC NOw! Right Now! Now! Now! Now! I have been saying this for two weeks Now! Bring the GM down from his nest and let him be the HC for the rest of the season so he can see how slow they play and react. Let Lake or Mallard call the DC plays and the QB Coach call the Offensive plays. Put every injured player on IR Now, Now, Now! Cut Lewis, Lee, Now! Go get as many Practice Squad Players from other teams Now! Cut your players that are on our Practice Squad if you are not going to call them up Now. Now, Now, Now is the time to start doing something before you completely destroy the 1st and 2nd year players.
  • avatar

    Firing the coaching staff means starting from the bottom, once again, to build a winning team; new defense, new offense. However, if they are already at the bottom, then maybe it really is time to clean house, starting with the coaches and including many of the players.
  • avatar

    They can fall no further than they are now. No direction, and no heart. They need a coach - a REAL NFL coach, not a wannabe. The ownership is doing this community a huge injustice. They're spitting in the face of the loyal fans who have supported this team.
  • avatar

    I did see loafing, but not on the defense as much. ALthough I didn't like the fact a dallas WR can bobble the b all and still catch the ball for a TD. Can you imagine that play 15 years ago? Loafing on offense, Jeremy Trueblood, Michael Spurlock doing his best "For who? For what" play by giving up on a pass route.
  • avatar

    Men beating guys? First of all Penn,and Trueblood are not young players,they've been beat a lot lately. As a matter of fact our whole offense is made up of vets. This veteran group scored a whopping eight points. As for leadership,it starts at the top,in Morris we have none. Black,Hayes,Talib,are vets,again no leadership there. Excuses are like you know what,everyone has one. I'm sick of Rah's excuses.
  • avatar

    Scubog, That is probably going to happen, but "caveat emptor", let the buyer beware. Vince Lombardi could not have gotten Trueblood and Penn to block last night. That's not coaching - that's incompetence. These men are veterans, they can't be coached "down" anymore than you can unring a bell. This is a bad football team with some good players and 5 or 6 players (Freeman, Blount, Clayborn, Bowers, Foster) with the potential to be great. The rest probably couldn't make another NFL team for performance or character reasons. There are a ton of reasons why Morris should be replaced, but nobody gives him credit for personally lobbying to re-sign Cadillac and Ruud. It should be obvious now when the defense can't even line up properly on the field, that they are without a leader on the field (MLB) to call the plays and get everybody into position. You can't tell me that Gilmore couldn't help this team more than Pinalto, when I see Gilmore on the field every week with the Saints. Inexperience has been a problem for Morris, but an even bigger problem is the fact that he has no pull in this organization because of his stature. Gruden got what he wanted, but Morris has to accept what he is given and make do with it. While it is one thing to not give this team the weapons that it was promised, it was criminal to take them away. We may get a new coach, but it is not going to get any easier. I just saw the schedule for 2012 and we play 6 tough division games, 4 games with each NFC-East team (whew), 4 games with each AFC-West team (Tebow), and 1 game each with the weakest team from the NFC-West and the NFC-North. So good luck with this new coachy thing!
  • avatar

    Macabee, no one has been a bigger Morris supporter than me. But don't tell me there is no talent on this team. It only looks that way. Last year (same team btw) we talked about how much YOUNG TALENT we have. this year, we talked about a talented young roster. Im afraid that BAD COACHING is making our talent look like it needs to be replaced. Maybe a few do, but this is bad coaching causing young players to play like this.
  • avatar

    There is a serious lack of talent........in the coaching staff. Totally outclassed again on both offense and defense. One of my favorites was a 3 yard crossing pattern to Winslow on third and long late in the fourth. Why in the world was the tight end even running that pattern?
  • avatar

    Nice misdirection. Header talks about lack of talent, article talks about lack of coaching, experience, etc.
  • avatar

    Take the keys away from Raheem.
  • avatar

    I Can't believe this is the same team as last year. I agree, something has to change.
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