It's always tough to try and remain objective when you're not only writing about your favorite team, but writing in a place where a few other folks will read it. I've done my best to remain impartial, and would like to think I'll continue to do so. This column is one of those from a disappointed fan. I've never been blindly optimistic or blatantly pessimistic instead trying to remain objective and as impartial as I can. I'm not sure how this will go over, whether it will look like whining after a loss or a quick look at some big issues with the team. Take it for what it's worth.
That being said, I was pretty fired up after the recent loss to the Bills. The Bills beat us, hats off to them. I can handle being out-manned, out-coached, out-schemed, but I can't handle sloppy play, blown assignments and undisciplined play. You all are probably sick of me using that word, undisciplined. It's not a buzz word, or one of those exciting football terms. It's something that we all have to have in our job, and it also falls in the realm of being an NFL player.
But I'm not an old timer calling out the team to play more like the olden days with leather helmets and no forward pass. A well coached, well disciplined team always shows well, win or loss. Like I said, I can handle losing, I can handle mistakes, but not when they come in bunches. And right now, I see a lot of sloppy play.
I don't even want to dive into the Dallas game. The blown assignments there have been beaten to death. We know about Sabby and his exploits, Phillips and his ability to seemingly miss every other tackle. We know about the wide pass rush that leaves open cut back lanes and room for QB scrambles.
This week should have been different. Doesn't mean a win was on the way, but I thought for sure I'd see a better coached, better prepared, better disciplined team. And there were times were the Bucs looked as such. But the bitter taste that still resides was one of amateur hour.
I lost track of how many missed tackles there were. And it started on the first play when Flip tried to blow up T.O. rather than tackle him. Sure, that tackle won't get you on Sportscenter, or on Jacked Up, but it saves yards. Fundamentals guys, geez. That lone missed tackle was a microcosm of the entire day.
I saw Flip miss more tackles, I saw Sabby take poor routes to the ball and miss tackles. I saw Barrett Ruud get faked out of his jock strap. I watched Quincy Black give a tight end the edge, the list goes on. It was a pathetic showing. I wish i could blame it on old habits, but a lot of these guys are new starters. I wish I could blame it on regime, but Gruden and Allen are quietly collecting paychecks while unemployed.
We had over 100 yards in penalties (13 for 112 yards to be exact), including 4 facemask calls. That's ridiculous. We saw Gaines Adams yet again throw his hat in the ring for a few penalties. Jeremy Trueblood decided to re-visit late last year and get a few penalties called. Illegal touching, blocks in the back, you name it, the Bucs did it. Especially aggravating.
Blown assignments. I'm happy to say no one ran free down the middle of the field, at least, not that we saw or were beat by. But we saw pass rushers go up field with no idea where the play was, we saw underneath coverage break down and we saw a few over the top plays where other options were open.
Again, getting beat isn't what I want, but I can handle it. What I can't stand to see is this lack of effort. I'm not calling anyone lazy, but to see Fred Jackson continually turn up field and blast through our guys while they had given up on the play is ridiculous. It's just not understanding the play isn't over.
I'll get off the soapbox in just a second, but want to make something clear. I have no issue with another team or player being better than the Bucs. I just don't want to see guys standing there instead of wrapping up, or flying in trying to make the highlight reel and costing us 7-9 yards. If this were a movie, there would be a big locker room scene with the coach yelling at the players, and the players getting back to basics with tackling drills with some hit song in the background.
The blame is spread equally amongst coaches, players and front office. The players have to play and finish, the coaches have to hold them accountable and the front office has to deliver the message from the top down.
Hopefully, this is the last article I have to write on this topic. Teams that turn the ball over, commit excessive penalties, and don't stick to their assignments aren't successful. Fix it now Bucs.