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January 1, 2012 @ 8:54 pm
Current rating: 3.33 Stars/3 Votes

Misery Of 2011 Season Comes To An End; Keys to Victory Re-Visited

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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Each week beat writer Mark Cook comes up with five keys he feels the Buccaneers should attempt in order to help topple their upcoming opponent. After the game he re-visits the keys and grades Tampa Bay on how well they achieved those keys.

Key 1. Turnover Free
Not even the Green Packers could win many football games turning the ball over in the same fashion the Buccaneers have this year, and Sunday, as Casey Kasem used to say, “the hits keep on coming.”

Interceptions, fumbles and sack-strip-fumbles plagued the Tampa Bay offense once again and the attention to detail just wasn’t present. Knowing that they had to be smart and protect the football, this team looked like they were more interested in picking up their last game check and starting their vacation a week early, rather than trying to play like a professional football team.

Four more turnovers by Freeman (one fumble, three interceptions) doomed the Bucs from the first quarter to the last drive.
Final Grade: F

Key 2. Find Some Swagger
Attitude and belief is a big part of a professional sports team's success, regardless of the sport. In the first half it was obvious this team had no swagger, attitude or belief, and that was part of the reason Tampa Bay found themselves down 42-0 before getting on the board.

In the second half, whether it was Atlanta taking it easy or an attitude adjustment by the coaching staff, the Buccaneers played better. However, it was way too little, too late.

You could see the Falcons imposing their will on the Buccaneers several times, none more than apparent than when backup speed back Jaquizz Rodgers took on rookie linebacker Mason Foster at the goal line in the second quarter. Clearly Rodgers wanted it more and drove Foster backwards, scoring another Falcons' touchdown.
Final Grade: F

Key 3. Trying to Get The Feeling Again
Looking back to earlier this season, it is almost unbelievable this team at one point was 4-2. Not only were they 4-2, but that two of those four wins were against the Saints and the same Falcon team that jumped out to a 42-0 lead.

For whatever reason the Buccaneers weren’t able to feed off of those wins when things started going south this season. You would have though the Buccaneers could have possibly garnered a little confidence from the last Atlanta win, but the season apparently was too far gone.
Final Grade: F

Key 4. Win The Super Bowl
With all the goals the Buccaneers had hoped to achieve when training camp began back in late July dashed, the one thing left to play for would be pride. Why not everyone, from the coaching staff down to the equipment managers, come out Sunday with the goal to start the new year off with a win and think of it as their last chance for respect? Why not play the game and coach it like it is the most important game ever? While there were a few individuals on the team that did just that it, obviously not enough of them enough cared how the season ended.

Davin Joseph said it best last week when he told the media that these players don’t need to worry about if Raheem Morris will be back, they better start thinking if they will have a job.
Final Grade: F

Key 5. Deliver Belated Christmas Gift To Morris
I posed a question in Saturday’s original column that asked if any Buccaneers coach ever went to bat for or had their players back more than Raheem Morris? I think it is pretty clear the answer to that is no. So where was the repayment? Where was the love these players constantly talked about in the locker room this week?

If I am some of these players, I am actually hoping Raheem Morris doesn’t come back. Why you ask? Because even a man like Morris, with a forgiving personality who gives players several chances, will remember the effort put forth and how it could cost him his job. If Morris somehow survives, I believe it will be a totally different style that Morris coaches with. He has to see that the buddy-buddy system doesn’t work and accountability must be a part of his coaching style. If he does return, I would suspect a few of these players will be looking for a new home.
Final Grade: F

Final Analysis
The painful season has mercifully finally come to an end. The grind of 20 weeks of football is tough on young players, coaches and even rookie beat writers. As stated earlier, it is difficult to even believe this football team was actually in first place in the NFC South after week six. 

As I sit here writing this on Sunday night, only two people, Bryan and Joel Glazer, know the future and fate of Raheem Morris. Monday promises to be interesting and I expect the next month and even the entire offseason will be as well. Buckle up Bucs fans, it should be a crazy ride between now and next July.

Last modified on Sunday, 01 January 2012 22:50

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  • avatar

    Horse you are absolutely right. I believe in any organization when a member of the rank and file (defensive gopher) moves up the ladder (DB Coach) too quickly it is too difficult to change the perception of his new subordinates. Raheem would have been better off going to another team. I believe he can be successful eventually, just not here. Too bad. I applauded the Glazers for their willingness to promote from within, but looking back they should have stopped at DC.
  • avatar

    scubog, I am right with you because I was all for theGruden change and the new "youngry", but then realized that this wasn't going to work especially about 6 weeks ago. Morris might be a decent coach if he gets the right mentoring and enough experience along the way. Other than being a rah rah type of person there may not be much else there; I sure hope I am wrong because I really like the guy. I hope he gets a CB job quickly somewhere and starts taking notes.
  • avatar

    Thanks Mark and "Job well done" as a rookie beat writer.
  • avatar

    At least we have the future to look forward to. If it were up to me, I would can the GM too. What has he done? As for the Glazers, they are lucky that they own this team because they were part of this process that resulted in a 4 and 12 season. Coach Morris was in over his head this year, but he will be back and learn form this season..........on another team.
  • avatar

    Mark, good article. Raheem Morris doesn't know how to Coach the way you and I and others understand or expect. Morris moved up the ranks way too quickly and was just plain lucky to have survived as long as he did. He just doesn't have the management/leadership skills until he can get more experience from jobs he should have had way before being given this gift from the Glazers. There's an old business saying we use to say: "The faster you climb up the corporate ladder the faster you fall down it". This is what has happened to Raheem Morris. I have enjoyed your "Five Keys to Victory" every week.
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