What was supposed to be a breakout season for Gaines Adams has been anything but that for the third-year defensive end that has failed to record a sack over the first two games of the season and hasn’t even been close to doing so.
Through two games in what was supposed to be a defensive end-friendly scheme, Adams, the fourth overall pick in 2007, has just five tackles and has done nothing to quell the “bust” labels that some fans and media pundits have placed on him for recording just 12.5 sacks in his first two years in the NFL.
During Monday’s press conference, Bucs head coach Raheem Morris joined the growing list of Adams critics, and admitted that the necessary effort has not been there at the start of the 2009 campaign.
“He hasn’t [put forth the production], and I think Gaines knows that,” Morris said. “Gaines is one of those guys that knows that he is judged on whether he touches the quarterback or not. Right now he is not getting production as far as not just touching the quarterback, the tackles, the sacks. He’s not getting any of that. He is not playing up to par right now. He’s holding himself accountable. We have to hold him accountable, and it is tough right now. He is not getting it done. There are no excuses. There are no explanations. Gaines is not getting it done right now.”
Adams got off to a hot start in 2008, recorded two sacks against Atlanta in Week 2, along with making six tackles. Over the next two weeks, Adams had key interceptions against Green Bay and Chicago, returning the pick against the Bears for a key touchdown in the Bucs’ overtime victory. Yet thus far in 2009, Adams has been ice cold when it comes to making impact plays.
“Last year to start off the season his whole thing was to play hard – to play harder than the people he was playing against,” said Morris. “Right now I just don’t see that. I don’t see that same fire. I don’t see him playing the same speed as how hard he played last year. We got to get that back. We got to get that back from him. If we don’t get that back it is going to be a long season for Gaines, and us.”
Morris indicated that if players – including Adams – don’t produce, the coaching staff will look at making lineup changes.
“We definitely have to change some things up, and try to get some people out there,” Morris said. “You have to find the best combination of players and your best people that can go out there and play, and that is what our job is right now. You don’t have to keep the same guys out there if they are not getting it done. You put new guys out there and let them go do it. Let them get a shot at it, and try to do it at least.”
Morris singled out the play of newly acquired defensive end Tim Crowder, who got his first action for Tampa Bay on Sunday at Buffalo, recording two tackles. He or Stylez G. White could be a candidate to replace Adams in the starting lineup if his play does not improve quickly.
“Crowder was a pleasant surprise yesterday,” said Morris. “He was in there mostly on run downs, but when he was up he showed up. I hope to see more of Crowder. I hope to we can get Kyle Moore healthy, and see Kyle Moore. Quincy Black has been another (option) as you talk about.”
On Monday, Adams didn’t reveal much about what he and the Buccaneers defense needed to do to turn around their play and get off the 0-2 losing streak in 2009.
“We’ve got to overcome the situation and just work a little bit harder and get ready for the next game,” said Adams.
According to Morris, who said back in the spring that Adams had to become a double-digit sacker this year to avoid being a bust, his young defensive end has to work a lot harder as he has just one sack in the Bucs' last six games.