At Least They Got A Vacation Out Of It
October 25, 2011 at 10:29am by Scott • 9 Comments »
So much for that thing about getting to London early and getting all settled in. The Bears barely arrived before kickoff and they looked fresh as fucking daisies. The Bucs just don’t travel all that well. Last season looked good with wins in San Fran, Arizona and Seattle, but last year all those teams really sucked. With the level of competition knocked up a notch this year, the travelling thing becomes an issue again.
Are we allowed to say that Josh Freeman has regressed? Is that allowed or are the Bucs too invested in him to let even the slightest doubt creep into the public discourse? I understand that since there was no running game, the Bears could key in on Freeman and play the pass. But Freeman is FORCING the ball several times per game. I’m dumb as shit and even I can see it. Ten passes defensed in addition to four interceptions is a lot. He’s staring guys down and making bad decisions. All this can be corrected, but if he doesn’t have an effective running game to take some pressure off of him, there aren’t going to be a lot of good decisions out there to make.
And even when Freeman makes a good decision and gets the ball to the right guy, his receivers are dropping more balls than normal. Are they that surprised that the ball touches their hands? And is it just me, or did a lot of receivers seem to hit the ground awfully fast after they made a catch? That may have just been my imagination, but it really seemed like guys would catch the ball and then just kind of sit on the ground.
Kregg Lumpkin is not the answer at running back. I know it’s a controversial statement, but I’m making it. He’s not good at anything. If you follow the SEC, you’re not shocked by this. I know the mentality these days is that you can just grab a running back from a D-III school and plug him into your system and he’ll be fine, but that’s not turning out to be true. The position isn’t as plug and play as the draft analysts would have you think. There’s a reason why players like Matt Forte can still excel even with a shit offensive line. They’re actually good. Some kind of real depth will have to be acquired in the offseason. In the meantime, the Bucs need a reliable stopgap since Earnest Graham is out for the season. You know who would be good? Cadillac Williams. Oh wait.
I just got an email that mentioned Tiki Barber as a possibility. I’m deleting that person from my address book. Tiki may remember enough to get in a rushing linebacker’s way and be a decent pass-protector, but I wouldn’t count on him rushing for any significant yardage, and that’s what the Bucs need. A real running game will solve a lot of problems. When does LeGarrette Blount come back again?
Did Arrelious Benn dress for the game? He’s on the starting roster, but Freeman looked to him exactly once. With Mike Williams sucking ass this season and admitting as much publicly, it seems like to would be smart to look to other guys. Benn is the best YAC player on the team. Put the ball in his hands and let him do good stuff with it.
Dezmon Briscoe played a lot instead of Benn. Maybe Benn was hurting? Briscoe looked good, but even he dropped his first pass. Nice touchdown, though.
Aqib Talib‘s fourth quarter personal foul may be the dumbest penalty I’ve ever seen. Holy shit, that was stupid. Talib needs to take the entire defense out to dinner for holding the Bears for three more downs. It didn’t get back the time that was wasted, but at least they had a shot.
And Ronde Barber owes Talib a kick in the balls for making that sack irrelevant on the first third down. Barber almost took the snap from center, that’s how fast he came off the ball. It was an incredible play that was completely overshadowed by Talib’s loose cannon. That was Ronde’s 27th career sack. He’s a cornerback. That’s insane.
Oh, and Ronde got the first safety of his career on Sunday, too. It was a big day for him. The Bucs did a write-up on it here.
How many tackles did Quincy Black miss? A thousand? Start Dekoda Watson. He has the physical specimen thing down and he is a more sure tackler.
Adam Hayward is mad at the world for some reason and he’s taking it out on opponents, which is awesome. He laid a couple dudes out on Sunday.
Adrian Clayborn owned his blocker. Some players have regressed since the preseason, but Clayborn is one of the few that has gotten steadily better. I wasn’t sold on him during the draft, but I’m becoming a believer.
This game seemed pretty typical of the Bucs this season. Start out slow and count on Freeman to pull out a miracle at the last second. I think we’ve all said that they can’t keep that up forever, and it looks like we’re right. It’s not a recipe for long-term success and that’s the mantra this team has been chanting for three years now. Building from the ground up so they can have a consistent winner. But winning consistently comes with playing consistently and scoring consistently, not sucking for three quarters and then magically scoring four touchdowns.
Okay, I’ve waited long enough to post this. Your thoughts in the comments.