Blame And Adjustment
October 02, 2012 at 10:41am by Scott • 4 Comments »
Robert Griffin III‘s run up the middle for 15 yards with 38 seconds left was the play the Bucs couldn’t allow. With a tackle for minimal or no gain, they either have to burn that final time out or spike the ball and make it fourth down. But everybody went to the offense’s left, so he went to the right and saw nothing but grass. And as Americans, we have only one question on our minds: Who is to blame? Well, it depends on who you ask. If you ask Michael Bennett, he would tell you he probably wouldn’t have called a blitz in that scenario.
“You run a blitz and it was just wide open,” defensive end Michael Bennett said of RG3’s run. “I knew myself. I was like, ‘I don’t know if I should run this play or not, but I did my job.’ I knew he was going to get outside. That’s what he does. The edge was too short. The whole defensive line slanted.”
And if you were to ask Greg Schiano, he’d tell you it wasn’t the playcall at all, but the execution.
“They’re not calls I wish I had back,” he said. “We have to execute them. Suffice it to say we made mistakes on two of those plays that were critical.”
So this could get awkward. Without knowing exactly what was supposed to happen on the play, we can’t know who was really at fault here. But what we do know is we have a player and a coach throwing each other under the bus, and that seems unusual for such a briefly-tenured regime. Isn’t there some kind of honeymoon period that everyone gets before they start hating each other in public? I may be making too big a deal of this, but the usual response by players to questions about why something didn’t work is, “We just have to go out there and get it done,” and by coaches is, “I need to look at the tape, but we can all improve.” When a coach says they need to “execute”, that is always code for blaming the players. And again, maybe they are to blame. But it seems early for this kind of talk.
Schiano may not make any friends on the defense this week with that comment, but Josh Freeman is about to get the Gerald McCoy treatment of being allowed to do more of what he likes.
“He came out gang-busters the first three games, the first series,” Schiano said. “This game – not. … But if it were one thing he were comfortable with or not comfortable with, we’d just cut it out and we’d up more. … But I did think the deep shots that he hit were as good as you can throw. Some of the lasers he threw in there were as good as you can throw. We’ve just got to get, as you said, I do think there is some of that really pinpointing what we know he’s most comfortable with and what our offense is most comfortable with. So that’s our job to do and make sure we get it right quickly.”
If Freeman likes the deep shots, that’s fine. But he has to be able to make the decision to throw it quickly and confidently and to put it on the money when he does. As Schiano said, a couple of the ones he threw were pinpoint perfect. When Freeman’s ass is on fire and he has five minutes to save the game, he does amazing things. The trick is to be able to play that way even when they’re ahead.