Oh what a 2013 for your Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It's been quite some time since Tampa Bay has reached this level of futility. For the sixth time in Franchise history, the Bucs have started 0-6.
4 of those were in the early creamsicle era. The other was 2009: Rah's first season with a gutted football team - when the rebuilding project began in earnest.
The Bucs didn't finish with more than 3 wins in any of those seasons.
Think of the bad coaches that haven been through Tampa Bay that have never gone 0-6.
Richard Williamson. Ray Perkins. Sam Wyche. Hell, Leeman Bennett got one of his two wins in his second season within six games.
In other words, you have to try really hard at being bad to be this bad, folks.
Did we learn anything from the latest dumpster fire?
1. There is a vicious infection ripping through the Tampa Bay Buccaneers locker room right now. It's not MRSA (although that's probably still kicking around as well). It's losing. Losing is contagious, you start to doubt your own ability to perform. Your coaches ability to put you into positions to win. Your teammates ability to get the job done. You start to try to do the other guys' job or take that one extra step trying to do something...anything to turn it around. In the end, you make things worse.
Right now we found out which players truly want to be in Tampa Bay. Right now we find out whether this is a Kansas City Chiefs type situation where the Bucs have some talent just not the coaching to draw it out of them or a boatload of losers who need to be shipped off to another port.
The players are playing for jobs. Not SchiaNO's, but their own. I don't think the team quits on SchiaNO the way they quit on Raheem. They fear his wrath too much. Maybe that's a good thing. Still, when you're end this type of situation, you begin to see guys make "business decisions" - especially after seeing what happened to Goldson and Martin this week.
The more guys making those business decisions, the more we'll see the losses get progressively uglier. It could start Thursday night against an up-and-coming Panthers squad.
2. Are you asking yourself what's happened to the Bucs' defense? Welp, the brainiacs at One Buc Palace - who condescendingly challenged "chirping" fans and analysts to join them in game planning for the defense have been exposed. The Bucs leave Revis Island on one side of the field? Well, just move your top wide out to the other side and let Mr. Million Dollars a Game cover a rookie wideout from Southern Methodist (freshly signed from the practice squad). Revis did his job, holding the powerhouse to just 2 receptions.
Unfortunately, Harry Douglas - the 3rd string wideout pressed into first string duties, made rookie Johnthan Banks and Leonard "Burnt Toast" Johnson look like it was amateur hour. 149 yds on 7 receptions and 1 touchdown later, the Bucs finally began moving Revis around (although only a few times).
Better late than never, I suppose. But hey, I did see Revis on the line of scrimmage a lot more in this ball game. CROWN US!
The opponents have also figured out the Bucs' blitz schemes. Knowing Tampa Bay cannot put pressure on with the front four, we saw a lot of quick three step drops and hot reads from the very intelligent Matt Ryan.
The result was 273 yds and 3 touchdowns to Curley, Moe and Harry and averaging 10.5 a pass play. No Fly Zone? How bout Frequent Flier Miles?
3. Speaking of the front four - the Falcons offensive line has been terrible all season. While Ryan has only gone down 9 times, he's been hit, harassed and hurried all season. I'm not sure if Adrian Clayborn or Gerald McCoy were even in the same stadium. There was an early report that DaQuan Bowers was inactive but it proved to be inaccurate. Or was it? I'd say the entire defensive line was inactive.
We interrupt this 10 Things to bring you this message from Mike Smith of the Atlanta Falcons -
Please keep Greg Schiano. We think he's doing a swell job. Toes on the Line!
Head Coach of the Atlanta Falcons
4. One guy who is playing out of his mind is Lavonte David. He once again was all over the football field, making plays in the backfield, racking up tackle after tackle. Just being an impact player. Its a travesty that the suckitude of his teammates and coaching staff as well as that one single play against the Jets may keep one of the best young NFL stars in the league out of the Pro Bowl. He may be the one Buccaneer that deserves to be there.
5. There's an old football cliche that says if you're bad at the line of scrimmage - you're bad. We've already talked about the Bucs' abysmal defensive line but the Offensive line is just as horrible. You can blame it on injury all you want - but the O-line sucked with Carl Nicks in there, it sucks without him. There's a ton of high priced players on that offensive line that are simply not getting the job done.
Mark Dominik is on record as saying he won't draft an offensive lineman because it's too much a crapshoot. How's all those premium picks on the defensive line working out for you Mark, ole buddy?
Meanwhile, I heard George Selvie got another sack. Who was he released for again?
6. As Sander pointed out - SchiaNO gets a stay of execution this week. With only three days to prepare for Thursday Night' pending debacle the Glazers aren't going to pull the trigger now. However, this could be a very trying week for Mr. SchiaNO. If Freeman at least looks like a starting QB against a very bad Giants team and that's followed up by an ugly loss to the Panthers - who are playing very well right now - then the Glazers have an extra view days to install an interim head coach.
We know the Glazers don't like to be embarrassed. We also know they hear the frustration of the fans. Its what got Dungy and Gruden their walking papers. We also know the Glazers don't need to have the current coach on the unemployment line to begin chasing candidates (see Parcells, Bill).
If SchiaNO survives Friday, I think the Glazers will stick to their policy of no in-season coaching changes.
We've just intercepted this email from Sean Payton to the Glazers.
Greg's a great guy and hey - his team had us beat! We just found a way to snag victory from the jaws of defeat. I don't think you should give up on him just yet!
Head Coach of the New Orleans Saints
7. Mike Glennon did a solid job this week for the Bucs. Yes, his fumble was very ugly but he shook off that horrible play and turned in a solid performance against a week defense. 26 of 44, 256 yds and 2 touchdowns, 0 Ints is not half bad for a rookie. He even hit on a deep ball (albeit severely underthrown and a tremendous catch by Vincent Jackson). At worst, the Bucs have significantly upgraded their future backup QB situation with Glennon.
I think Glennon can be serviceable as a starting QB in this league. But in a division featuring Matt Ryan, Drew Brees and Cam Newton - serviceable won't be good enough. The Bucs still need to address QB and early in the upcoming draft.
Interestingly - it was a rough week for most of the top prospects. My guy Aaron Murray has fallen off a cliff - he doesn't look like a quarterback I'd draft in the first two rounds. Taj Boyd - got a real strong Freeman vibe from that guy. He doesn't seem accurate enough. Johnny Football got banged up - can he stay healthy? Bridgewater played well but his Louisville Cardinal were upset by UCF. Mettenberger was picked off three times in LSU's loss to Ole Miss. Brett Hundley got a little exposed in UCLA's loss to Stanford.
Only Marcus Mariotta truly looked the part. It will be an interesting decision for any team that gets the top spot. The Bucs need to find a way to be at least number two because other than Bridgewater and Mariotta - I'm not sure if there's a difference maker in these other guys.
Maybe Johnny Football...but is he dedicated enough? Can he stay Healthy? Big bust factor with him.
8. So we asked during our podcast last week - what type of coach you'd want the Bucs to get to replace Schiano? I'm not sure if I want an NFL assistant guy, a retread or a college coach. What I do know is I don't want a defensive minded coach or a west coast offense guy.
I don't want a defensive minded coach because frankly, I'm tired of seeing the Bucs lose 16-13. There's enough talent on this defense to have an offensive guy come in and hire a competent defensive coordinator to get more out of the defense. I don't want to see conservative play calling. I want aggressive, imaginative schemes.
I don't want a West Coast offense guy because it simply isn't an effective offense in the NFL anymore. Sure, you have some exceptions like Aaron Rodgers and the Packers - but that's Aaron Rodgers. I don't think there's any Aaron Rodgers in this draft.
No, in today's modern NFL - offenses spread their opponents out. There's a myriad routes and configurations that will get guys open for easy throws by the quarterback. Now, I'm not saying I want Mike Glennon out there running the read-option but I think some of those principles would help bring a spark to the Bucs' offense.
Brady is making it work in New England with scrub receivers. Brees feasts on it in New Orleans. Manning is the General for that type of offense in Denver. Chip Kelly is making hay with it in Philly. Sure it helps if you have a top notch QB but even backups like Nick Foles can come in and do well.
It's time for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to join the 21st century. A creative offensive mind would be my choice as next head coach of the Bucs. Who that would be? Not sure at this point.
9. Is there any hope that Coach SchiaNO can save himself? The easy answer to that question is with another: Can he go 7-3 in the last ten games? I think the answer is a solid no. However, if SchiaNO can get his football team to fully by in, stop self inflicting wounds, Glennon continues to improve by showing signs he can be the guy and the team can get on a run, the Glazers may give him another season.
I think that's pie-in-the-sky stuff at this point. With all the negativity surrounding the franchise - to me, SchiaNO is dead man walking.
From Panthers coach Ron Rivera.
Please hold on to Greg Schiano. I can't tell you how much his presence has helped me in this league. I mean, any time we lose a close game and the fans get riled up - I can point to Tampa and say, "Hey look - it could be a lot worse."
Head Coach Carolina Panthers
10. Nice job by Atlanta sticking the knife in a little deeper by sending dudes in Hazmat suits to clean the Bucs' locker room after the team left the Georgia Dome. It sends a message to potential free agents that at least the Atlanta Falcons think the Buccaneers run an unsafe work environment. The pictures will stay with guys when March comes around and at the very least make the Bucs spend a couple more Glazer coins to lure them to Tampa.