Let's call this our therapy session. I'm still pretty disgusted with yesterday's game on a few points. This will sound a lot like Lee Caz's post in the game recap, but he's right on and there are too many issues to ignore. I don't enjoy beating a dead horse, but that loss has me pretty fired up. Some of this is reactionary, but needs to be said. I also realize that I am not a player, nor a coach, and none of this means I am off the bandwagon, not a Bucs fan, or just a pessimist. It's observations I've had over the last 9 weeks and have shared countless times.
1) Lack of discipline. It's unbelievable how every week we have stupid penalties. I can handle a pass interference call here and there against a team like the Saints. What I can't take are false starts, delay of games, holding and unsportsmanlike conduct. The players are the ones executing this, but the coaching staff HAS to hold them accountable. How many weeks in a row can we have a 15 yard unsportsmanlike on us?
2) Lack of running game. On the year Blount has 90 carries for 400 yards. Thats 4.44 YPC. That's also on pace for 218 carries for the year. Roughly the same amount he had last year when he didn't start for us in the first 5 weeks. He averaged 5 YPC last year, is averaging a healthy 4.4 YPC this year, and yet we still don't get him the ball. He ran well on the first drive, totaling 5 or 6 carries (counting the awful 4th down call). He got 7-8 carries the rest of the game. That is inexcusable. Explain how we have a 1,000 yard back (in 10ish games last year) and call him a weapon, yet refuse to give him the ball. He's topped 13 carries twice this season, that's it.
3) The gimmicky playcalling. The Benn end-around/reverse doesn't work. Give it up. Also, if you want to call JJ and the option. Do it in the middle of the field or on 2nd and short. Not deep in Saints territory when we are driving. Unbelievably dumb.
4) Tackling. Really? That's the best you can do? That wasn't Jim Brown, Barry Sanders and AP out there. It was Chris Ivory, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles. Embarrassing how we lack physicality. I will say this until it happens. Raheem (in my opinion) is a decent DC and probably a good head coach, but he cannot do both. Hire a DC, then take responsibility for the lack of discipline and focus on coaching. You are not successful doing both. The defense is getting destroyed on the ground and is weak against the pass. Fix this. Also, fire the OC (see above).
5) K2. Stop getting your panties in a wad. You are washed up. You are a possession TE now. You have no speed and lack separation. Deal with it. Getting mad and yelling at everyone doesn't change the fact that you are not who you were two years ago. You are becoming a liability with Freeman trying to force passes to you to keep you happy. You still fit a need in with our team, but it isn't the field stretching, seam-route running, dynamo you were. Deal with it.
6) Quit. I saw quit in our team on the last drive. Yes, we were down two scores, but giving up can't happen. At least take a shot down the field. What does another pick hurt at that point? Take a shot.
7) Play design. I haven't seen the All-22 film this year, but here's a question/statement. Are we running routes longer than 3 yards and just not throwing to those receivers or are we only running short routes? I think it's both to be honest. I don't mind short routes on 1st and 2nd down. Pick up chunks, that's fine. But on 3rd and 4+ yards, you have to have at least two receivers attack the sticks. If you want a safety valve running a shorter cross, that's fine, but you need others to attack downfield. Also, Freeman, please throw it downfield to keep teams honest.
8) Decision making. I'm not a quarterback, nor a coach. But I still believe Freeman suffers from trying to do too much. He is trying to read the defense, check the play, and call out blocking assignments. He had help last year. His big knock as a college QB was ability to read defense. Help him out. Caddy helped last year, have Faine or OL help this year.
9) Realize who you are throwing to. If it's Lorig or Lumpkin, put more air under it, particularly when no one is behind them. Let them run to it. Missed two big shots because of that.
10) Playcalling, again. 3rd and 1, late in the game, obvious we're going for it on 4th. We throw the ball? Why? If you are going for it, take two cracks at it with your ginormous QB. Also, after going for it on 4th twice (and getting it) and wasting 2.5 minutes, you run a QB draw and kick the FG? Wasted time, wasted opportunity. Earlier in the game, Blount is running well, we all know Freeman does well on PA and we haven;t taken a shot deep. Why not run PA on first down and take a shot? PA never happened yesterday and only seems to happen late in the game when we have announced that we arent running anymore.
Ive said most of that before, but it had to be said again. This team can still go 10-6 (bear with me). The only losses I see for sure are Green Bay, at Atlanta (being generous) and the Cowboys (being generous again). Outside of the Green Bay game, I won't count us out, yet. But there are items that have to be addressed.
I apologize for the herky-jerky style of this post, but wanted to provide a place to complain today so we can get it out of our systems and focus on next week.