Josh Freeman

Truly A Throwback Game

December 06, 2011 at 09:55am by Scott   •  10 Comments »

Panther Abortion 1

Sitting back and watching Josh Johnson, I don’t think he played any worse than Josh Freeman has been. He scrambled more and took a couple extra shots downfield, which I think is an improvement. But a lot of the time he also looked uncomfortable in the pocket even when the protection was good. The low point had to be the interception he threw when he got the snap early. He’s got enough years behind hi now that he should know better. His highlight is probably the 42-yard pass to Mike Williams, which was perfect. But honestly, it’s kind of a wash.

LeGarrette Blount only got 11 carries on Sunday, but he never touched the ball after 6:21 left in third quarter. At that point the score was 31-12. Three scores down, but with 21 minutes left, I still wouldn’t have quit on the run game. Even when the Panthers were stacking the box, Blount got a couple six-yard runs in there. Mossis Madu looked like an upgrade over Kregg Lumpkin, but I’m not sure why feeding Madu the ball instead of Blount is a good idea. To be fair, Madu did gain more yards than Blount on fewer carries, but I’ve never seen Madu break six tackles on the way to the endzone, either.

And why, right after Blount gets six yards on back to back carries, is that the time to run a reverse on third and 2? That reverse to Arrelious Benn hardly ever works. I don’t know if the formation gives it away or the players aren’t selling it good enough, but it is rarely ever this big breakaway play that they want it to be. A first down would have put them at the Carolina 15. Instead, Benn lost 12 yards on the play and forced a field goal.

Jeremy Trueblood got handled by Charles Johnson. Johnson had a sack, three TFLs and a pass defensed. Bad day at the office for Trueblood. I didn’t notice anything else awful about the offensive line, but I’m not sure if that bad snap was Jeff Faine‘s fault or Josh Johnson’s.

Defensively, Da’Quan Bowers established himself as a real contender to start. Bowers was a machine all day long — 1.5 sacks, 8 tackles, 5 TFLs. With him on one side and Adrian Clayborn on the other, the Bucs may have found a pair of defensive ends to grow with them.

I don’t know what Brian Price did, but every indication is that the decision to send him home was an overreaction by Raheem Morris. If it isn’t bad enough for the officials to eject him from the game, it shouldn’t be bad enough for Raheem to do it. I think Raheem was just waiting for someone to make a stupid mistake and make an example of him. Too bad it was Price because he’s one of the best defensive players they have right now and from everything I’ve ever read or heard from him is a kind-hearted kid. For as many scraps as Aqib Talib has gotten into on the field, for Price to be the one sent home for that kind of infraction is seriously messed up. It’s a power move, and a coach with full control of the locker room doesn’t have to make them in that fashion. If it works, maybe Raheem gets everyone’s attention. But if it doesn’t and he loses control of his team, he’s finished. It’s a huge risk he took doing it.

I’m not sure the team even has linebackers anymore. I see Mason Foster making plays, but he can’t do it by himself. If any group needs to be blown up and started over from scratch, it’s this one. And please, when you do it, move Foster back to WLB where he played in college.

The secondary could have been a lot worse without Talib, but overall it wasn’t terrible. E.J. Biggers gave up a big one to Steve Smith, but I was actually impressed it was only one. Smith only caught two passes all day.

And we all know that Ronde Barber wasn’t supposed to tackle Cam Newton on that option play, right? If Barber had released his man and went after Newton, Newton would have just flipped the ball to the guy Barber just left and he would have been the one to make the big gain. I’ve seen people complain that Barber should have just “made the play”, but he was exactly where he was supposed to be.

What happened to Tanard Jackson? Dude seems to be getting plowed more than I remember.

Connor Barth, Bucstats salutes you for being the most consistent player on the team. Maybe it was you who had the championship hair all along.

Baby, I love your way.

That’s about all I can fake my way through right now. Sorry it wasn’t funny or anything. It’s just so hard to care about this game. The good news is that the Jaguars look even shittier. The Chargers hadn’t won since forever and they destroyed the Jags last night. Blaine Gabbert looks awful and no one seems to give a shit in Jacksonville, either. We can call next week’s game the Apathy Bowl, sponsored by Valium!

10 Comments to “Truly A Throwback Game”

Darren47

Darren47 (December 06, 2011 at 10:10am:

You know what makes this post particularly depressing? I’m fairly certain that Dominik and most of the Bucs front office reads this blog (as illustrated by their familiarity during Scott’s visit to One Buc Place). Obviously most Bucs blogs are fairly downbeat, but BucStats is one of the few that has no ulterior or business motive; Scott is just a fan that loves his team and uses a fair chunk of a his brief time on this earth to follow and write about them. Alas, this isn’t the team Dominik expected its fans to “fall in love with,” so now we are left to complain, call for coaches’ jobs, and hope for a stud draft pick. I can only imagine how powerless Mark Dominik feels right now.

That said, I think the team is more resilient than most fans would expect and that they’re (as evidenced by earlier this year and last season) not that far off from being a true playoff team. We need a true third down back (we were 4-2 when Graham went down), GMAC has to improve and stay healthy (4-3 when he went down), and our LBs need to be improved immediately. I’m not calling for Jeff Fisher or some other veteran coach that’s won nothing, there isn’t another coach in this league that could have motivated last year’s team to play as well as it did. Raheem needs help, but he’s more than earned a fourth year.

Sorry for the lengthy post, but just had to air things out.

FireThemCannons

FireThemCannons (December 06, 2011 at 11:02am:

I hope the Bucs go for a Nebraska Trio in the draft….Dennard, LaVonte David, and Jared Crick….lets turn this into a defensive powerhouse

Mark S

Mark S (December 06, 2011 at 01:37pm:

Nice title Scott. It seems that every time we run the reverse it under performs. And, that goes back to Gruden and Dungy too. Our best reverse gets maybe 8 yards (we often get a loss), while other teams get a highlight play. Tear that page out of the playbook.

Maybe watching Bowers is enough of a reason to stay tuned in. As for Price, I think you hit the nail on the head. Raheem was looking for someone to get a personal foul penalty and it is too bad it was Price. I hope it was worth it in the long run.

@FireThemCannons, I certainly want a defensive powerhouse. It is the biggest missing ingredient for our run-oriented power football style to work.

DI

DI (December 06, 2011 at 02:00pm:

I agree with Darren on this. I think Raheem should get another year to continue rebuilding this team. The team obviously has a lot of talent at some positions but obviously lack a lot of talent at others. That is a part of the rebuilding process. Last year a lot of people overachieved and masked the need to fill the lack of talent. But this year those positions were clearly exposed for everyone to see and for majority of fans that was enough to call for Raheem’s head.
I’m certainly not saying the Raheem should be immune to criticism or consequence but he should get a chance. If there is going to be a coaching change-up I do agree that Olson should go. His play calling boggles me. I’m on the fence about getting a DC. Rah’s defense was starting to show glimmers of hope earlier and I was starting to get excited about it.

gatorbait

gatorbait (December 06, 2011 at 05:48pm:

Sure, keep Raheem, but PLEASE hire a DC and relieve him of his playcalling duties. Our defense has pretty much been the worst in the league since he took over and it was bad during our 10-win season last year. I don’t think he’s earned the right to keep these duties by any measure, but I hear he’s one hell of a motivator–so let him just do that.

FireThemCannons

FireThemCannons (December 06, 2011 at 07:15pm:

Its funny because @FireThemCannons is my twitter handle

worker b

worker b (December 06, 2011 at 07:27pm:

The final stretch should determine whether Raheem gets a fourth year. He’s under fire and seems to be losing the team and this will be a good test to see if he can handle a team under stress. If they continue to swirl down the toilet, it will be time to move on, but I hope and expect they’ll play better.

Matt Price

Matt Price (December 06, 2011 at 11:57pm:

I have not been a Raheem fan and I think he needs to go.

BUT that said…

There is much to be positive about. Give Freeman time, it takes three years to make an NFL QB and he’s shown a lot of promise.

Blount is solid and can be spectacular.

The wide receivers have shown skills, though they need more discipline.

The DE’s look strong.

The jury is still out on the DT, but that seems to take 2-3 years as well.

That’s a better base to build from than most teams have.

Mark S

Mark S (December 07, 2011 at 08:28am:

It has been said, maybe by Scott, that often teams that had a dramatic improvement, regress in the year after. Maybe its not regress so much as a tougher schedule. More tape for opposing teams to analyze. Sencond year players having to learn that they still have much to learn. It is a trend that teams in similar situations do not improve their record the year following a dramatic turn around. Now, if they appeared to be being coached I would totally buy that. What bothers me is that we are failing in the basics. Our tackling is worse. We take bad angles. We drop very catchable balls. We incur penalties like the locusts that consumed Egypt. If we can start to see those areas improve, all of which can be coached, I am willing to give Raheem another year. If those areas do not get better, than I am not willing to spend the talent on this team by giving Raheem another year.

campyone

campyone (December 08, 2011 at 03:37pm:

Raheem isn’t going to be fired after this year and I don’t think he should be, I think he should get another year to see if last year was a fluke or whether he really knows how to coach. The one thing I would like to change is our “youth movement.” That term shouldn’t mean the entire team consists of players barely old enough to legally drink. We need to bring in a couple good vets that know how to lead and how to win, if there are any available.

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