Monday, January 02, 2012
Well, the 2011 season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn't end like I thought it would. At the beginning of the season, I had hopes for a wild card birth in the NFC playoffs and possibly making it to the divisional round. And at 4-2, I could see that the season was going well. After all, we had beaten the Falcons and Saints, the two major rivals in the NFC South. Then we let the game against the Bears slip away and all of our flaws were exposed. We had 9 consecutive losses after the Bears loss. The team didn't show up for the last four games of the season, ending against Atlanta where we fell behind 42-0 in the first half.
The team has fired head coach, Raheem Morris today, after 3 years on the job. It was time. And now the Buccaneers will come in and hire an experienced coach, trying to reverse the situation that Coach Morris found himself in.
RANT I: Um, there is such a thing as skill in the skill positions. If you aren't a fan of the Buccaneers, you probably don't know the Wide Receivers that the Buccaneers have. There is a reason for that. The skill level of that position isn't what you would call All-Pro. In fact, after Williams and Benn, there isn't lots of production. A third or fourth receiver that you might of actually heard of would be nice. And can we figure out how to get a backup for LaGarrette Blount that has basically the same running style? I think that the QB position is taken care of with Josh Freeman and Josh Johnson as the backup. Kellen Winslow Jr. hasn't been bad, but hasn't been the player that most of us fans thought that he would be.
RANT II: With a new staff coming into One Buccaneers Place, maybe we can have an offensive coordinator that can figure out that we are not a 50 pass per game team. We run the ball. There were games where we would run the ball 10 to 15 times. That is not the way that we can win. Grind out the ball because the defenses are becoming more and more designed to stop the pass. Make them react to what you do on offense, not allowing them to play their defenses that they love.
RANT III: The GM, Mark Dominic, needs to hit more on those high round draft picks. He has some decent drafts but not one that makes you think that this is the draft that will be one of the all time greats. The past 3 years has netted 6 picks in the top 2 rounds. 2009: Josh Freeman. 2010: Gerald McCoy, Brian Price, and Arrelious Benn. 2011: Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers. He also needs to identify the free agents that the Bucs should try to retain and ones that might make a difference for the team. Letting Barrett Ruud go was a mistake in many people minds and allowed the linebacking corps to take a step back this past season.
RANT IV: This one is about the ownership. Figure out what you want. If you want to be a high and mighty owner for Manchester United, then be the owners of Man U. If you want to be the owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, then be the owners of the Bucs. But stop trying to do both. The division of attention isn't doing either team any favors. Oh and since you are rich and stuff, let's figure out how to start paying for talent on the American Football Field. We weren't even close to the Salary Cap. Spending that additional $10 Million per year might bring in some better talented players which in turn might bring more wins and in turn might start getting the fans back to the stadium. And if you are still having financial difficulties, then sell the team to a person that will make the Buccaneers the priority.
RANT V: For the past 3 years, I have heard from the talking heads of the organization that we will be committed to stopping the run. The last time I checked, the defense is still like a sieve when it comes to run defense, and it is mostly the defensive line that takes the brunt of this. Gerald McCoy hasn't been able to stay healthy for his career so far. Brian Price looks like he might turn into a bust after two unproductive seasons. Da'Quan Bowers coming off microfracture surgery didn't look so good this year. The first round draft choice of Adrian Clayborn is looking good though. 8 sacks in his rookie year and 3 forced fumbles. It got so bad this past year, that we actually had Albert Haynesworth starting for us. The new Defensive Coordinator better figure out how to get these high draft choices on the defensive line to become a force to be reckoned with.
RANT VI: In the first game against the Falcons, the Buccaneers fought (literally) for the win. The team was hungry and played like it. The last part of the season, they acted like dogs and played half-assed. Whoever is on the coaching staff needs to tighten up the ship and have these guys play with passion. I wouldn't care if the team went 1-15, if they were out there each and every game fighting until the final seconds trying to win the game. Real Bucs fans are used to losing seasons, what we cannot stand however is the lackadaisical play that we saw this year. For us, those players that just came in for the paycheck and didn't care about the losing need to be shipped out immediately. We want heart and drive in our players. We didn't see enough of that this year.