Going back to his days as a star cornerback at FSU, Deion Sanders was never one to bite his tongue. Saturday night, “Prime Time” again let his thoughts fly on the effort he witnessed in the first half.
"I have the utmost respect for Raheem Morris, but a lot of these guys have quit,” Sanders said. “They've shut this thing down. I know quit when I see quit, and quit is not disguised tonight.''
One Buccaneers player who took issue with Sanders’ comments was right tackle Jeremy Trueblood. After taking a few seconds to compose himself and choose his words carefully, Trueblood had this to say.
“Basically he hasn’t played for us and is an outsider looking in,” Trueblood said. “He was a great player but that doesn’t mean he knows what is happening in our locker room or on our field. You respect what other people have to say but you don’t always have to agree with them.”
The veteran lineman pointed out the second half play as an example of the offense continuing to put forth effort.
“If we quit we wouldn’t have done better as the game went on,” Trueblood went on to say. “I don’t really find any merit to that comment at all. On offense we started playing better toward the end. If we had quit that wouldn’t have happened.”
In his day-after-game press conference, Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris was critical of the team’s overall effort.
“We always talk about them [offensive and defensive line] being the bus driver,” Morris said. "We talk about it starting up front on both sides of the ball. Last night we just had a breakdown on both sides of the ball. Whether it be defense or offense, we didn’t get it done. Those things can’t happen. We have to play better, we have to go out and execute better. It wasn’t good enough.”
The former Boston College star didn’t disagree with his head coach’s assessment.
“Obviously it all starts with us [up front] blocking,” Trueblood said. “If we don’t block anybody we cant do anything. That's a group effort. We would like to think of ourselves as the bus drivers but we obviously have to improve what we did last game if we expect to win.”
PewterReport.com also asked Trueblood if Dallas did anything different Saturday night than they had shown on film.
“No, they have a talented group, same thing as always,” Trueblood said. “They didn’t stop us on the third-and-short, we stopped ourselves by having a missed assignment. We fumbled the ball. We gave up sacks. It is what it is. We tried to fix it and come out and do better. All we can do is try and continue to do that.”
One of the critical failures of the offensive line Saturday night came at the 7:25 mark of the second quarter. With Tampa Bay trailing 7-0 the Buccaneers had a third-and-1 at their own 29. LeGarrette Blount took the handoff from Josh Freeman and followed Erik Lorig who kicked out the end. Trueblood released to the second level while guard Davin Joseph double-teamed the nose tackle with Jeff Faine and Dallas defensive lineman Marcus Spears shot through the gap unaccounted for and virtually untouched to make the stop, forcing a punt.
Trueblood talked about that specific play.
“Just miscommunication. Ended up being a missed assignment. That’s a little different than what should have happened. But you can’t go back and fix it. I don’t want to blame anybody in particular because I feel like if we would have executed it as a whole we would have been ok.”
The Bucs sixth-year offensive tackle summed up what has been an issue the entire season for the whole team.
“We have been saying this all year but it's not like it's one guy who continually messes up,” Trueblood said. “Unfortunately it’s like everybody picking a different time to do it. Guess are bouncing back and fixing what they are doing wrong, then someone else does it."