Over the last 7 years, the Bucshave been like a bad stereotype of a guy in a chick flick. The one that won't commit. This seems to be more a habitual problem that has managed to infest just about every facet of the organization. As fans we've seen coaches come and go, general managers come and go, and certainly players that have had a quick cup of coffee with the Bucs. Stability seems to be something that pushes an organization forwards. That doesn't mean you stand pat with bad players, coaches and systems, but more you make a commitment to finding those people that will fit what you want to do as a team and then you press onward.
We all know the lack of commitment to quarterbacks over the last few years. Now, whether you agreed with it or not at the time, we can all recall the Gruden era that featured a new quarterback every 8 games, or so it seemed. We are now in the "Life after Gruden" stage and the Bucs still seem unable to commit to a quarterback. We saw the battle in the preseason between Leftwich and McCown, with the job ultimately going to Leftwich. After 3 games, the reins were handed over to Johnson, and if you go withpopular opinion, it seems that in three weeks against Green Bay we will have yet another starting quarterback in Freeman. If that happens, that will be five different quarterbacks who started a game in the last 11 games dating back to last year and not including preseason. It's tough to develop consistency with a changing of the guard every few games. To this day, the inability to develop a quarterback or commit to one hangs over the franchise.
The other area that has suffered due to lack of commitment is the run game. This effects both the offense and defense. On Sunday, the Bucs were in the game and still managed only 17 run attempts compared to 24 dropbacks. I harped on it last week and will say it again here, a young quarterback and a solid stable of backs should be erring on the side of the run. Don't ask the young guy to do too much. Let the running backs set the tempo and stick with it. The Bucs saw first hand what a commitment to the run can do to a team as the Panthers just slammed the ball at us on the ground in the 4th quarter.
The offensive philosophy has been disrupted withtwo offensive coordinators before the season was even a week old. We saddled up with Jags in the offseason and then sent him packing before the season started. Whether it was the hiring or firing of Jags, a wrong decision was made. These are the missteps you don't see in the elite organizations.
I don't advocate sticking with bad processes over the long haul just to say you had consistency. Instead, the right processes from the top down need to be practiced and adhered to. Our coaching searches the last two times we needed a head coach were a joke and stunk of bad processes. Getting spurned by Parcells and eventually forking over picks and cash for Grudenended our embarrassment. This time with Morris, there really was no coaching search. The procedures have to be set in place. There seemed to be no accountability for the Glazer's and the coachign search and that has manifested itself on down. Grudenhad no accountability with developing a quarterback. Morris didn't seem to be held accountable for the Jags debacle and Olsen seems to be avoiding any heat despite our lack of commitment to the run game.
It really boils down to a simple theory. Good processes will yield results over the long term. This doesn't mean that by doing things the right way that we turn into a powerhouse and go 16-0, but it will establish and set up the organization in the long run. Results will always vary game to game and year to year, but when the groundwork is in place, and you have accountability, good processes and smart people all working together, the results will follow.
Please forgive the off the cuff column this morning but this is a bigger issue than I thought. We used to be able to pin these issues on Gruden and his system, but with him being canned and a new regime at the helm, why do these issues still exist?