As a nine-year former member of the Tampa Bay defense and former franchise player who bleeds pewter and is passionate about the Buccaneers legacy, I feel the results of the 2011 NFL season has set Bucs football back 20 years. The exact level of the atrocious play I do not believe has set in yet for the men who run the Buccaneer organization.
I wonder if the Tampa Bay players realize exactly how bad they in fact are. To set a new franchise record for most points allowed (518) than any other team in franchise history is a monumental statement on just how far this once-proud organization as fallen.
Being drafted by the Buccaneers in the early 1990’s, I witnessed first hand the absolute worst brand of football I have ever seen in my 12 years in the NFL.
Players were just not that good.
The coaching was terrible.
The coaches and the players frankly were not that football intelligent.
The number one culprit for the old “Yuccaneers” was mental mistakes.
The amount of mental mistakes committed by the so-called “stars” of the team was absolutely astounding to me.
The number two culprit for the “Yuccaneers” was a caveman mentality and approach to football. While other teams were practicing and preparing the smart way, the old Bucs were pounding on their chests, using outdated football techniques on the field, in the training room, in the meeting rooms, and in the front office.
Add up all that horrendous football I witnessed in the early 90’s and I try to come to grips with the fact that this 2011 Tampa Bay team is way worse than all of those bad teams. We certainly didn’t lose 10 games in a row in the 1990’s.
It is simply mind-blowing and mind numbing to say the least. If I could pinpoint exactly where it all went wrong for these 2011 Bucs, the answer I suspect is very similar to the ailments of those horrible Tampa Bay teams I played for in the early 90’s.
But the main element that was sorely lacking on those teams in the “Yuccaneers” days was an entire team full of true leaders. Quite honestly, most players were a bunch of clowns creating the football follies back then. True gladiators and great warriors were missing at many positions on those teams.
When our Bucs turned things around in the mid 90’s on, we had a team that was full of true leaders who were accountable to each other, our mission, and our legacy. Instead in the early 90’s, most players were a bunch of “playas” that wanted to party it up, brag that they were NFL players, and more concerned with collecting their paycheck so they could buy big expensive cars, mansions, and boats.
I fear that we are now back to those “Yuccaneers” days once again.
The mere fact that this 2011 team lost 10 straight games in a row, with each loss even more horrendous than the previous, and at or near the top of the NFL in penalties and turnovers is a strong indication that we have the usual suspects running the helm once again in Buc land.
Some of the suspects were fired Monday. But “Black Monday” did not send all the suspects packing. There are still players and some in the front office staff that were retained who are responsible for this recent demise. Raheem Morris and his coaching staff may have taken the fall, but the rest of culprits are still looming around One Buc Place.
Now I was all for keeping Morris a few weeks ago and giving him another season to right this ship. Although, the losses were enormous and the team’s play was porous seeping with incompetence and embarrassment; I believed for the sake of consistency and foundation that Morris should be retained.
But now that he has been fired at this juncture, a complete overhaul must take place. The general manager, the quarterback, the linebackers, the defensive backs and the wide receivers – all must go. These are the suspects who are still lurking around One Buc Place. And if this once-proud franchise is to be transformed from a circus to a return to days of glory, then all of the suspects must leave the building.
In three years during his tenure as general manager of the Bucs, Dominik has not produced and ultimately the losing 2009 and 2011 teams are his doing. Dominik’s 2010 pewter product was a success to a degree, but taking his three years at the helm in totality the end result has been ineptness.
Dominik, having never had a G.M. position prior to this stint, is very similar to Morris’ predicament whereas he is unproven and inexperienced. Some say that he is simply over his head in this job. While Dominik’s young players he assembled through the draft are still in the early stages of their development and many of the players he acquired may have some promise, Dominik is a suspect and must go.
In the three years during his tenure as quarterback of the Bucs, Josh Freeman has not produced and ultimately the team goes as far as Freeman goes. Freeman’s 2010 success showed flash of what this talent is capable of.
Although Freeman has thrown more touchdowns (51) than interceptions (46) in his three-year NFL career, his great season in 2010 in which he threw 25 touchdowns and six interceptions has skewed his career, which features two seasons in which he has thrown more interceptions than TDs, including 2011 where he tossed just 16 scoring strikes and a career-high 22 interceptions.
But taking his three years in totality, the end sum is miserable failure. Quarterbacks are judged by wins and losses and Freeman’s three-year total is 17-23.
It is a new era of the NFL where the quarterback play is setting NFL records in passing, with the likes of New Orleans’ Drew Brees, New England’s Tom Brady, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, and Detroit’s Matthew Stafford. Even young star quarterbacks are entering the league exploding onto the scene and setting records. A look at the great success of rookies like Carolina’s Cam Newton and Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton will tell you all you need to know about how far the quarterback position has come.
Even a look at backup quarterbacks like Green Bay’s Matt Flynn and Houston’s T.J. Yates. They reveal the amount of talent and success there is to be had at the quarterback position. Yates has helped lead his Texans team to its first playoff berth. Flynn set a franchise touchdown record for Green Bay against Detroit by throwing six total touchdowns in that game. A franchise that has seen the likes of great quarterbacks like Bart Starr, Brett Favre, and Aaron Rodgers saw a single-game touchdown throwing record attained by back up Matt Flynn.
The Bucs, having won the fifth pick of the 2012 NFL Draft, may have a slight chance to select a quarterback like Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III. Freemen is a suspect and must go.
The rest of the members of this suspect list are the linebacking corps, the wide receiving squad, and the defensive backs unit. The group of them may have produced the absolute worst seasons of any units ever in the history of the Buccaneers franchise. They must all go except for Mason Foster, as he is a rookie and played like a man for the most part.
As the coming days unfold, new hope and anticipation of a revamped overhaul of our Buccaneers lays in waiting. We can all but hope that the Glazers can see these glaring needs.
I once asked a man why he always plays the Lotto every day and he answered to me it was simply because of hope. Sometimes a simple act of doing something in which one can have hope for a greater outcome, is all worth it in the end.
Buccaneer Nation may be getting decimated with the season’s end overhaul taking place, but at the very least now we can all have hope once again. Yet some suspects remain at large.