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We're four games into the Greg Schiano era. What did we learn? What's the biggest triumph or disappointment? BucsNation explores those and many other questions.
In the twitter/24 hour news society we have today, we're so quick to judge aren't we? Four games into the Greg Schiano's run as Head Coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, many are ready to declare Schiano a college bully know-nothing with an archaic view of football. Josh Freeman is a bust. Mike Sullivan can't call plays. Doug Martin can't run. LeGarrette Blount has some how turned into John Riggins but is being wasted on the bench. The Bucs simply don't know how to win in the league.
Well, the last one might be right. No fans, it was going to be difficult for any football coach to come into this organization, institute culture change, changes the way the team operated on offense and defense, integrate new players to support the philosophy and basically remake this roster in one off-season.
Schiano may be "College" as one replacement ref - by the way does refereeing three regular season games in the NFL (and badly I might add) suddenly make you an expert on the league? Some of these guys got fired from the lingerie league. What makes him a judge of coaching acumen? Go back to referreeing semi-pro football and shut hell up - sorry I digress, where was I - oh yes, he might be Joe College but it doesn't make his views wrong.
Just look at the other new coaches in the league - all "NFL guys".
Joe Philbin, Miami - 1-3
Romeo Crennel, Kansas City - 1-3
Dennis Allen, Oakland - 1-3
Mike Mularkey, Jacksonville - 1-3
Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis - 1-2 (get well, Chuck!)
The only new coach with a winning record right now is St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher - but we all know they'll end up around 7-9 or 8-8. That's what 75% of his teams do.
Some of those other teams look a lot worse off than Schiano's Buccaneers do right now.
There has been a substantial improvement in how this team performed compared to last season. It hasn't resulted in a plethora of victories but you have a feeling that it soon will. I'm not sure if they feel that way in Kansas City or Miami.
But the intent of this article isn't to convince you the Buccaneers are on the right track. It's to review the past four games and discuss what we liked and what we didn't like.
First Quarter MVP: Gerald McCoy, DT
GMAC has been a force in the center of the Buccaneer defense seems to finally evolving into the player the Bucs envisioned when he was selected 3rd overall in the first round of the 2010 draft. McCoy has three sacks, 11 tackles and has been a regular feature in opponents backfields. His efforts have allowed teammates like Michael Bennett and Mason Foster have career years thus far and has significantly upgraded an anemic Bucs' pass rush.
Offensive Player of the Quarter: Vincent Jackson, WR
V-Jax and Josh Freeman are off to a slow start, but Jackson has given us some amazing plays in the Bucs' struggling offense. Jackson has hauled in a team leading 16 catches for 304 yards and two touchdowns. While he certainly has had a few drops and some route running issues, it's all about learning this new offensive system.
It's also on play calling. Mike Sullivan is quickly being indoctrinated into the world of finding ways to get your playmakers the football. When called upon, Jackson has delivered better than most.
Defensive Player of the Quarter: Gerald McCoy, DT
Again, McCoy has been the straw that stirs the drink in Tampa Bay. The improved play of Mason Foster, the addition of LaVonte David and the maturation of Michael Bennett certainly deserved some mention - but it revolves around McCoy.
Most Improved Buc: Mason Foster, MLB
Mason Foster has had the responsibility of calling the defense shifted off his shoulders and it's allowed the young Buc to clear his mind, recognize and react. Foster is leading the Bucs with 36 tackles and is tied for second in the entire league with 7 tackles for loss.
Foster still gets lost at times in coverage but has even improved there, registering an interception.
Rookie of the Quarter: LaVonte David, OLB
No single rookie has impacted the Bucs like LaVonte David has in the linebacking core. Once consider the team's weakest position group - the linebacking core has contributed to the resurgence of the front seven and David is a major part of that.
Second on the team with 33 tackles and 6 tackles for loss, David's speed and instincts have been on display. His intelligence has also been highlighted as he is the quarterback of the defense with the green dot signifying which player has communication with the defensive coaching staff on his helmet.
If early returns are any indication, the Bucs have a special player in David.
Most Disappointing Buc: Josh Freeman, QB
The Bucs appeared to be giving their franchise quarterback all he needed. An all-pro guard to help protect his blind side. A Pro Bowl wide receiver to throw to. A first round draft pick at running back to hand the ball off to and a former All-Pro Tight End to help out with the intermediate routes. He was provided a quarterback coach known for getting the best out of his quarterbacks and an offensive coordinator who under his tutelage turned Eli Manning into one of the top five quarterbacks in the league and two time Super Bowl champion.
Yet Freeman has struggled to grasp the concepts of the offense, be decisive or correct in his decision making and accurate with his throws. Greg Schiano has intimated this week that the offense is being spoon fed to their fourth year quarterback.
Completing just 54.6% of his passes for a paltry 790 yds, 5 touchdowns and 4 interceptions is simply not going to get the Bucs where they want to go.
The Hell Yeah Moment of the Quarter: Doug Martin breaks off a 15 yard run to secure the final first down needed to run out the clock against Carolina in Week 1.
The DOH! Moment of the Quarter: The Bucs blitz, blitz and blitz some more against Eli Manning, allowing the two time Super Bowl winning quarterback to carve up the exposed Bucs' secondary for a team record 501 yds.
The foundation of a competitive team has been laid. Now it's time to win some games. Tampa Bay's next four opponents are a combined 5-11. If Tampa Bay can get off the snide and finish a complete victory, this team could get back on track in a hurry.
Lose a few more winnable games and it could get ugly for Coach Schiano, Freeman and the team.
How would you grade the Bucs' first quarter?
A (7 votes)
B (56 votes)
C (153 votes)
D (46 votes)
F (7 votes)
269 total votes