Following last night’s 56-14 annihilation in Atlanta, player availability was predictably sparse during Friday afternoon’s open locker room media session.
Of the players who did show their face, DT Clinton McDonald stood out because of his open, matter-of-fact approach on a day no one wanted to talk. The sixth-year veteran was the first starter to enter the room and immediately motioned for media members to come around his locker.
“It’s been a while since something like that has happened, only in high school,” McDonald said of getting blown out. “We went out there Thursday night on national TV and didn’t put on the tape what we wanted to put on it. We didn’t execute football like we should’ve executed football. As an individual, I didn’t execute my job. I know this is a team sport but it takes a lot of individuals coming together playing as a team and I didn’t do my job, first and foremost. So you’ve got to take responsibility for your actions and we have to go out there and get it right.
“We owe this city more than that and we owe ourselves more than that. We’ve got to execute our job and go back out to practice and put it together.”
Tampa Bay’s depleted defensive line failed to generate pressure while playing most of the game without three of its four projected starters. DE Michael Johnson made a few appearances but didn’t show up on the final stat sheet, leaving McDonald as the lone starter alongside DTs Da’Quan Bowers and Akeem Spence and DEs William Gholson, Larry English and Scott Solomon.
McDonald’s only been a Buccaneer for about six months now but continued to carry himself like an accountable leader of this team Friday.
“If you look at all the great fronts that there have ever been, it’s a collective effort of all four getting to know each other as pass rushers, not just one man that’s going to have a 20-sack season,” he said. “I say we just have to work harder. We’ve got to study more; study more of our opponent and offenses we’re going to face. We can’t make excuses about why we’re not getting it done. It’s just time for us to get it done.”
Tampa Bay players and coaches get the next two days off before coming back to One Buc Place to prepare for next week’s trip to Pittsburgh. McDonald said it’s critical for everyone to use this time wisely while recuperating from Thursday’s beating.
“Very important,” he said. “It’s no different from building a car. If the engine’s not firing, there’s a reason. We’ve got to go back and take the engine apart. We’ve got to check and see if the spark plugs are going to fire, the pistons are going to fire. We’ve got to do our job. We’ve got to break this thing down and we’ve got to get it right, because 0-3 is not acceptable. It’s not acceptable for me or no other man in here or in this organization.
“So we’ve got to take it upon ourselves and say either we’re going to be an 0-3 team and keep on losing games or we’re going to turn this thing around. We’re going to put it on our shoulders and believe we can do it and start doing it.”
Next week’s game against the Steelers is now the most important game of the season. If they are even half way competitive in this game, they might squeeze out a couple of win. If it is a repeat of last night, we are looking at 0-16. If I wanted this much abuse, I would of been a Cubs fan.
It’s an interesting thought (breaking it down and rebuilding), but does anyone actually think we’ll see anything different…does anyone believe we’ll now start throwing downfield to the Dunkaneers…or blitzing and mixing between zone and man…why would I think we’ll now start getting pressure on the QB (we couldn’t do that against porous lines)….or win the turnover battle (we give it away so easily)…it’s nice to think Clinton but I have absolutely no reason to think we’ll see anything different in Pitts.
Let’s take some damn ownership on the field. We need an attitude on this team and we’re getting bullied because we don’t have one.
My sentiment exactly Sactobuc. This team has no “spit in your face” swagger. Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David are good players but they simply don’t have the Sapp and Nickerson fight in them. To get beat down and bullied by a “soft” Atlanta team was just evident that this team lacks the “tude” of our championship edition. Choir boys are nice but give me a couple of guys who think it’s great fun to give them a wedgie.
Agreed Sactobuc/scubog! The Bucs are the least penalized team in the league. That’s good and bad. It’s the coaching. You can see it in the secondary. With the new rules our guys are letting WRs/TEs catch the ball uncontested, then attempt to tackle. No penalties, but they can’t stop anyone. We need to turn these guys loose and let them attack. Lovie’s attitude, no cursing etc, may have unintended consequences. Bottom line, we need to get tough!
Face it, Lovie Smith was the wrong hire and his stubborn refusal to change will cost us as many years as the Glazers are willing to sacrifice to finally admit their blunder. Empty seats will doom Lovie but not soon enough IMO.
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