There was a time many weeks ago that I hadn’t yet given up hope for a turnaround. After all, the Bucs started pretty shakily in our last Super Bowl run in 2020. Then that team came out of the bye week and ran things in this league, outclassing the Chiefs at home for the Bowl win. The 2020 team had a much different vibe about it than the 2022 version. This team has also dealt with more injuries than that one. My feeling about the injuries is that even with everyone healthy and able to play, this team wouldn’t be much better.
Many factors go into making the team a winner or a loser — or somewhere in between. Coaching, conditioning, discipline, commitment, attention to detail, game plan, injuries, and the list could go on for days. Possibly the most critical factor in winning, though, is one that I have labeled “want to”. You may call it what you wish: heart, desire, or hunger; there are plenty of things you can call it — they are all synonyms, thesaurus fodder for sure. While one could make a case for many of those, especially the coaching, my feeling is that many of those factors could be overcome if there was enough “want to” going around this group of players. When everyone “wants to” enough, good things are bound to start happening. When you really “want to” stop holding so often, we don’t hear Donovan Smith’s name called concerning yellow flags at the worst moments.
All the players will tell you they “want to” win it all again, but there is no fire behind it, leaving it hollow and weak.
In other words, “want to” involves using some other factors, such as discipline in Smith’s case. In the Saints’ comeback, I truly, believe that for whatever reason, be it the dislike for the opponent or what have you, the team really “wanted to” come back and beat the division rival. They then put on the best 3-minute performance of, maybe, the last two seasons. Not even Donovan Smith could derail that comeback; they rallied despite the left tackle. Because they “wanted to”. You are never going to hear a player admit to lacking “want to”. It’s rarely even spoken of by coaches, especially in earshot of the press. No player wants their “want to” questioned.
At some point, when you have talent all over the field, and most are playing way below that threshold, it’s got to be the: “want to”
Todd Bowles and Tom Brady have become easy to predict in postgame press. Just carry around a video clip of the postgame from any of our losses, and replay it after every game. Let those two head out a little earlier. The same things they talked about weeks ago, or just the last week, are repeated: over and over, yet, none of those things have changed. Do you know why? That’s right, they don’t “want to”; or it would change, would it not? It seems to me like it would — when the team won the Super Bowl in 2020, it was all over them. The team was covered in it. It’s also true that teams can really “want to” — and that isn’t enough. This team isn’t one of those. The Bucs have the talent and know how to win. I just believe there is no fire behind their “want to”. Go Bucs!!