This team won’t quit…
Last year I watched our team suck wind in the second half of most games under our hot Florida sun. It amazed me that such would happen to a Buc team. Home field advantage really we had none. I like many a Buc fan hoped for the best but it was evident early on that this team had no direction in the form of a backbone. It had no identity. As such it was a sad thing to see.
Things have changed I feel big time. A new coach that brings back accountability. A great young general manager who finally gets a true head coach. He will make each player understand what it is to be a professional..
It would be easy to say another losing season. Last years team had the bark but no bite.
What I believe you will see this year is the opposite.
Freeman got slammed to the ground so often last year. Had no time to get into a rhythm. No one to pick up the blitz’s in the backfield since Warrick Dunn. Receivers who ran the wrong routes or couldn’t adjust and hardly ever got separation. Freeman didn’t have the time to find secondary receivers and the tight end play was pathetic. Fain gave up. Penn was 200 lbs overweight and didn’t have the speed to stop the outside rush. Blount had a new big contract and at times acted like it. No deep threat. Pass then run philosophy. A defensive coordinators dream.
Defense, well the linebacker play was far from physical, poor against the run, inept at covering the slant pass. A new middle linebacker (rookie) that was simply overwhelmed in play calling the defensive sets. No safety to fill the gaps and hammer the runners (Lynch). No outside speed rush to compliment Claiborne’s bull rush. Corners getting burned trying to jump the passes. So weak up the middle at times I wondered why the other team even considered passing the ball. A coach that believed in the buddy system and when his back was turned many players simply loafed.
Barring injuries this year I see the beginning of true change. The blitzes will be picked up. Opponent’s defensive corners will play a step back from the line out of respect for the deep threat. This will give Williams more man to man coverage. It also will help in the running game. Number 44 Clark, well he can block and catch it over the middle get separation something Winslow could not do or refused to do.
The kid from Alabama at safety is a bell ringer and a very good coverage guy so the running lanes will be littered with opponents running backs. The defensive line will showcase a much improved disruptive penetrating play. The offensive line will be the initial strength of this team. I think you are going to see allot of longer runs from scrimmage this year. More second and 3 which allows for the deep ball or the dump pass to Clark.
Finally Freeman. He looks in great shape. He should as such have more mobility. Not necessarily to run the ball but to throw more accurately on the run left or right. Freeman will do just fine under this new coach. The d-line well it’s a big question. If they stay healthy they will be the surprise of this season. Linebacker is the big question on the Buc’s. But with the former rookie in the middle playing in auto mode with no hesitations the strong side and weak side linebackers in this defense with their speed can do just fine.
Corners and safeties could be way above average. Turnovers will drop big time. Conditioning A plus. Attitude A Plus. Hungry, finally. My prediction. This team will never quit. I liken them to a junk yard dog. Maybe a little ugly at times but you are going to have a fight on your hands. Especially in the second half. Before you all pull the trigger on believing the Buc’s won’t do well prepare yourself for some exciting football. The wins will come.