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Second Half Adjustments Follow First Half Failure

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"Guys, it's the first half, just go through the motions. The game doesn't start until the 3d quarter, right?"
"Guys, it's the first half, just go through the motions. The game doesn't start until the 3d quarter, right?"

In my mind this was going to be a stat heavy article, showing how in 2010 and the first two games of 2011 the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took a dump on the field in the first half, but somehow managed to turn it to gold in the second half. I know there are numbers out there that back this up. Heck, anyone who watched the Vikings game without throwing their remote knows that the Bucs started slow and finished strong. This has been a trend under Raheem Morris, and though we went 10-6 last year and sit at 1-1 this year, it's a position we can't continue to put ourselves in. Though Josh Freeman has brought us back many times, he also has tried to give away a game or two. Luckily for the Bucs, opposing teams develop butterfingers in the 4th quarter.

To get back on point, the crux of the question is this; I have no doubts that Morris and company make some fantastic half time adjustments almost every week. They utilize halftime perhaps better than anyone else, as is evidenced by the destruction in the first half, and the monumental comebacks in the second half. But rather than focus on the adjustments, we should be focusing on the other part of the argument. With 5+ days to prepare for each opponent every week, why are we coming out so slow? Morris and the other coaches have weeks of film to watch and prepare a gameplan. It's fairly obvious that whatever they are doing during the week to prepare is not working. In fact, it's awful. They would be better off not developing a gameplan and just going sandlot football on us.

The Vikings did nothing surprising last week. They ran Adrian Peterson down our throats, got Harvin involved, and ran a pretty basic Vikings offense. The only thing that didn't happen was McNabb puking and Barber picking off McNabb. If the Bucs want to be a successful team and climb into the upper echelon of NFL teams for years to come, they have to start faster. The gameplanning, preparation and coaching, along with execution has to improve. Whatever special sauce Morris cooks up at halftime needs to be simmering pre-game and not wait until 30 minutes of game time have ticked off the clock.

It may seem petty or overly critical to focus on the rough starts, but in a competitive league with 16-20 talented teams, the Bucs can't afford to spot every team two touchdowns before they wake up. With the way our offense is built, run game that gets better in carries 15-20 (5.5+ YPC) and a big armed QB who can run a play action passing game with the best of them, we should be playing from ahead. Hopefully Morris gets the message and figures out how to get the team moving the right away from the coin flip, not from the second half kickoff.