Editor's Note: This FanPost was placed on the Front Page, with an appropriate image added.
Has anyone claimed that domain yet?
1) There are reasons why I'm not really blaming Josh Freeman for much that has happened the last two weeks. About 80 percent of the blame is on Coach Schiano, and here's why:
1a) The penalties. This became a clear problem in Week One and continued on into Week Two vs. the Saints. It was so noticeable that the Fox Sports crew had a running bit where they counted the number of Bucs penalties against the number of Bucs first downs. This week it was 10 penalties to 14 first downs: for most of the game it was neck-and-neck. And a solid number of the penalties were due to dumb-headed (literally) tackling by the secondary that involved helmet-to-helmet or late hits. It's up to the coaches to train the players on how to tackle, and to enforce the right techniques: every other team in the NFL seems to have gotten the "no-helmet hits" memo except the Bucs. Other penalties included Illegal Formations where the WRs didn't know who had to be at the line of scrimmage for which play, which points to poor scheme coaching.
1b) Sloppy team management. Half the time players are rushing back and forth from the field as different plays require different platoons. That's a given in this day's NFL. Problem is, the Bucs' players have no fricking clue which play is getting called until it's 10 seconds before the snap and nobody's in place yet. I don't think I'm exaggerating. During that huge goal-line stand, the Bucs defense had 10 players on the field for the last one and if the Saints had noticed they could have pulled a trick play rather than a power push the Bucs D expected.
1c) Ultra-conservative play-calling once the team gets a bare lead. Schiano seems to think a 1-point or 2-point lead is insurmountable and proceeds to call a run-run-run-punt offense. Look, Doug Martin is a GOD, and he can get you 5-7 yards on a decent setup with good blocking, but when the opposing D is loading up 9 guys in the Box there is no way Martin is gonna get you a First Down every time. A good NFL coach should know there is no safe lead unless you've got 4 TDs up on your opponent and there's 2 minutes left on the clock. Schiano has to treat a 2-point lead as a potential loss and needs to keep playing a mixed offense and trust Freeman to either throw a decent pass for a First Down or at least scramble for one, which Freeman demonstrated earlier in the game when he tucked it in and kept the (only) TD drive alive by his legs.
1d) That all said, failure to trust the talent you've got. Yes, Freeman is questionable talent. But he does have talent, and an ability to roll out of the pocket, and an ability to scramble for First Downs if nothing is open downfield. Instead, the coaches (but primarily Schiano by the looks of it) seem convinced Freeman can't even audible properly and has limited his options and is forcing him to stick in the pocket and force throws downfield.
If Freeman is failing it's because it's looking like the Head Coach is expecting him to fail. It's not a good situation for anyone.
2) The Bucs can arguably be the best 0-2 team in the league at the moment. We've got talented players when they're allowed to shine. Martin garnered a 122 yard rushing day even with the Saints D expecting run plays. When he gets a solid throw and holds on Vincent Jackson can rip for a long TD catch (it's a damn shame that got called back on an Illegal Formation penalty. THIS IS WHY PENALTIES ARE BAD, COACH). Freeman can scramble for First Downs if he's allowed to (it seems he's got orders to stay in the pocket). Our offensive line actually seemed able to pass-protect for over half the pass plays.
2a) It's been on defense - outside of the DAMN HELMET HIT PENALTIES COACH TEACH EM BETTER DAMMIT - where the team is flouting the talent. Our defensive front seven - DL and LB - currently lead the league in sacks whereas since 2009 we've barely seen 2 per week we're seeing 4 to 5, with an increasing number of QB pressures. DT McCoy is still a beast, and DE Clayborn has returned from last year's injury with a vengeance. But it's been the play of the LBs that have the Bucs fans feeling great.
2b) Mason Foster had a career game with a INT pick-6 that electrified the stadium and induced two separate celebration penalties from the defense (arguably the only penalty a fan can eagerly accept).
2c) Lavonte David had 1 and 1/2 sacks and was seemingly in on every other tackle.
2d) For all the online thread griping about S Mark Barron being a "wasted" First Rounder, screw you haters: he had 13 tackles and shared a sack with David. And if Barron had gotten burned on that Brees-to-Graham TD pass in the First Quarter, that was due more to mis-communication (due to, you guessed it, the DAMN COACHES).
3) Stats of the Day: Bucs had 10 penalties for 118 yards. That's 11 yards to 12 yards per penalty, meaning a lot of serious stupid penalties hurting the team. Saints had 5 penalties for 35 yards. 7 yards per penalty, meaning more minor screwups than brain-damaged ARE YOU KIDDING ME ones.
3a) Freeman passing: 9 for 22. The major two receivers - Jackson and Williams - had double the drops per catches. How many of them were due to poor throws by Free and how many were in their hands and just "oops" out?
3b) Williams had two catches for 9 yards. He was targeted for short yardage, which seems to be a waste of a WR who could and should get 12-15 yards downfield every pass play. Makes you wonder if we had a viable Tight End handling short yardage throwing attempts.
4) When Peter King of SI.com is labeling you the only Goat of the Week, it means you're doing a piss-poor job Coach Schiano. I guarantee you Easterbrook for TMQ over on ESPN is gonna carve Schiano up for his ultraconservative mindset in the game.
5) In other NFL news, there are other 0-2 teams that the Bucs could possibly lose to considering Schiano's terrible coaching: there's Cleveland, there's Jacksonville, Washington (?), the Giants (?), Minnesota (?!) and Carolina. Okay, maybe we can beat Carolina. There's also whoever loses the Cincy / Pittsburgh game tonight.
5a) If Freeman is serious about getting traded, the most likely destinations are gonna be Jacksonville, Jacksonville, maybe Cleveland, and Jacksonville. I doubt Freeman wants a trade. Free Agency right now looks more appealing.
5b) Denver is on pace to score more points than the Pinball Wizard. Peyton always has the play in, never tilts at all. That tall balding old kid, sure plays a mean football.
6) In college football news, there is no South Florida Bulls football team. It turns out there never was one. It was all an illusion. Never real. Never there at all...
6a) No matter who won the Alabama - Texas A&M shootout, we were guaranteed a gushing admiring sports media hailing it as one of the greatest games of all time. Phooey.
6b) When you read about the SI article about Oklahoma State, just remember: this is one of many programs that got caught. It's called the "NCAA Scandal Train" for a reason: because the status quo profits too many powerful people and nobody wants to pay the dues.
7) In other sporting news: The only thing left Tampa Bay fans have to root for is a Rays wild card spot. Winning the AL East seems unlikely given Boston's huge lead... and this ain't 2011, when the Red Sox was a bloated fat program collapsing under its own weight.
7a) That said, the Rays cannot afford to lose, nor afford the Orioles or Yankees or Rangers or A's to win.
8) When would be the best time to fire Schiano? Well, NOW WOULD BE THE PERFECT TIME!
Unfortunately, it would interfere with the Bucs' need to get prepped for their next game at the Patriots, and with the following game vs. the Cardinals. It's a good thing the Bucs have the Fifth Week as a Bye: the PERFECT opportunity to kick Schiano off and give an interim coach a chance to prepare his own way.
9) In other news, Schiano sucks.
10) Next week: Bucs visit a Patriots team lacking in WRs but with a good number of talented players at... uh, some position called um, what it is? Oh yeah, Tight End, a perfect receiving target for red-zone TD throws and First Down completions.
What do you think sirs?