Coming off a 41-0 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, the downtrodden Bucs were given the day off by head coach Greg Schiano. Reports of some division inside the locker room was reported on Monday by ProFootballTak.com, but QB Josh Freeman disputed the notion, saying his teammates remain unified.
For the first time all season the Buccaneers gave the players a day off on a Monday following a game. Unfortunately it wasn't a "Victory Monday."
After a 41-0 drubbing from the Saints on Sunday and going non-stop since late July, the mental break may be the best thing for the Bucs players and even head coach Greg Schiano and his staff.
Sunday’s demoralizing, 41-point loss to the Saints, which was the largest margin of defeat all season, has opened up a can of criticism from fans and now perhaps even some players.
According to ProFootballTalk.com, a Buccaneers player was said to have been critical of some of Tampa Bay’s coaching staff. The unnamed player was quoted as saying, “Can we send these coaches back to college?”
Losing certainly breeds frustration and while there very well could have been a dissenting voice or two from inside the locker room, Pewter Report has had several private conversations with players this season – who on and off the record – have nothing but positive thing to say about their “college” head coach and loved the business-like approach from Schiano as opposed to the loosely-run ship under former head coach Raheem Morris.
Count quarterback Josh Freeman as one of those players that believes the team is still very unified despite losing four straight games.
“”I think we are together as a team, we are unified,” Freeman said. “We still have a lot of young components, a first-year system, and we had some success. At the same time, we have to find a way to take it to the next level. You hate to see it come down to a game like that, but I think this is going to be a great time to really come together.
“We had a rough one, we dropped the ball yesterday. But how will we respond to adversity? When everything is going great anybody can stand up and ... have high energy levels, be up-tempo, go home and want to study the film because you are doing great. But it is times like this when you really forge the nucleus of your team. I think just judging by the number of guys that are in the building on this kind of off day, I think mentally, guys are not only unified, but facing in the right direction.”
Freeman alluded to the fact that there were many players at One Buccaneer Place watching film, studying and getting treated by trainers despite being given the day off by Schiano. He knows as a captain that keeping things together falls on him.
“As a quarterback that is what I do everyday,” Freeman said. “Everybody has their own style of leadership, but I – to the best my ability – try and convey the message of, 'Do your job, sacrifice for your brothers.' Even late in the game yesterday guys were still busting their butts, trying to do everything to get something going. I think that says a lot about the character of the guys on this football team.”
The Buccaneers have been going non-stop since training camp with very few breaks, and after an embarrassing loss on Sunday it appears Schiano decided it was time for a mental day off. Mired in a four-game losing streak, at this point any change is worth a shot as things can’t get much worse than Sunday’s performance in New Orleans.
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