September 25, 2023

Bucs Life

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As bad as things look, the schedule signals possible hope dead ahead

3 min read

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates after an interception by cornerback Jamel Dean during the second half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

If winning is a culture, this is cottage cheese.

We all know as fans that there is a culture involved with being a consistent winner in the NFL, or any team sport, for that matter. What that looks like precisely for each successful team isn’t always the same. Yet, certain intangibles are the same. Fundamentals and execution, studying film and being well-prepared for each opponent, knowing what the enemy is going to try to do to you and being able and ready to counter those efforts, in short, good coaching. On defense, it is as simple sometimes as being where you are supposed to be; wrapping up, driving through your opponent, and seeing the tackle through to the whistle. On offense, it’s things like seeing the ball all the way through to the reception before turning upfield. It is remaining on your block and neutralizing the player in front of you until the whistle blows, securing the football and protecting it, being aware of where you are on the field as it applies to the first down marker, the line of scrimmage, or the goal line.

Complacency/depression seems to have the Bucs by the throat.

While all those things seem like football 101 and common sense, they can fall victim to complacency, overconfidence; etc., etc. No amount of “want to” can overcome basic, fundamentally sound football. In other words, when a player/team becomes complacent; usually fundamentals and execution are the first things out the window. That, in turn, leads to multiple missed tackles, needless penalties at the worst moments, dropped passes, sacks allowed, and at times turnovers. Offenses and defenses are only as strong as their weakest links. Winning is contagious, but so is losing, and often, the line between the two is very thin. I’m not going to say that the reasons above are definitively what is wrong with this team, but I am sure that in some way, maybe these things play some part in what has gone wrong. How this team got to that place? I don’t have the answer to explain it. If I did, I could probably write my own ticket into sports psychology. If you have watched the post-game interviews with Brady, Evans, David, and others, it seems as if a cloak of depression has covered this team. Brady, especially seems as if he was just informed of a death in the family. He seems subdued and hopelessly lost. I have seen him before after two disappointing losses in a row when things looked; however, last week was the third in a row. But he was just the same after the first loss. Is it the divorce that has got him? I don’t know. It offers little hope to the viewer that he will; or the team will come out of this tailspin.

Hope on the horizon?

There are nine games left this season. The combined records of the teams we still have to play is 30-39. There are two teams with winning records of those nine: Seahawks 5-3 and Bengals 4-3 — as of this article. There are two more at five hundred 4-4: Falcons and 49ers. The Rams, Browns, Saints, Cardinals, and Panthers are all on the losing side of five hundred; of course, as our losses have already shown, it doesn’t even matter what the record of our opponent is. If the Bucs can shake off this heavy coat of failure and get to the level of play our talent suggests, then playing out this schedule should be to our advantage —that’s a mighty big If! That’s about all the fan base can do: have hope and continue to support our home team. Throughout the Buccaneers’ History, our fan base, especially the older ones, has become a gritty, hardened bunch. They can stare disappointment and loss in the face and not flinch. With that being said, nobody wants what we are being given this season. We shall trudge on with unwavering support and hope for a turnaround while it is still possible. It is what being a true Buccaneer is all about. Thankfully we have had our moments in time; to look on with admiration — because even if we hadn’t, we would still be Buccaneers. Go Bucs!!