THE QB BLAST: Preseason Is About IndividualsAugust 23rd, 2011
Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson is often seen as a color analyst on Bright House Sports Network, and he trains quarterbacks of all ages locally via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.
By JEFF CARLSON
Overreaction and hyperbole are not in my nature and I didn’t do backflips over the Bucs’ shutout win in the preseason opener and I’m not ready to kill myself after their ugly loss Saturday.
The Indianapolis Colts just lost their eighth straight preseason game, and that hasn’t bothered their regular season final results too much, so the Bucs poor showing becomes a great teaching point for this extremely young crop of players and not much else.
“There’s no ‘I’ in TEAM”, except in the NFL preseason where everything is about ‘I” (individuals). Players trying to make a NFL roster for the first time, veteran players trying to make it through training camp healthy, others rehabbing and coming back from injuries are only concerned about themselves, not the good of the team or the scoreboard.
Any of those players would take a good personal performance over a team win in the preseason, so the hubbub about Gerald McCoy’s comments was a great example of much ado about nothing. He was appropriately sober while being interviewed on TV while the game was still in progress, but while specifically referring to his own performance, he was very happy to be back on the field and spoke about his own return from injury and how much fun it was to get back to playing again.
If the outcome of the game was so important, then LeGarrette Blount should not have been laughing and joking with him while he was being interviewed and Kellen Winslow should have played. The thing that caught my eye was Elbert Mack’s extensive endzone dance on his interception return. I was always taught through the years that when you score a touchdown while getting blown out, you don’t celebrate too much and that dance was a bit much while still down by three scores.
The saddest thing of the night was the flag thrown on Mason Foster.
Since that play is by rule a penalty, the NFL has significantly downgraded the game of pro football. It was a very nice reaction and play by the rookie linebacker and not being able to legally hit a receiver while he is stretching to catch a ball is simply sad. The talk of a fine for that is unfortunate and I’m sure it won’t draw one from the commissioner.
On the other hand, and on a play that didn’t get any talk that I know of, but should have been flagged and possibly fined was Devin Holland’s blindside hit on the Patriots’ Danny Woodhead during punt coverage. It was a helmet-to-helmet hit and he exploded up into the defenseless Woodhead, who was knocked for a literal loop. It is that kind of hit that can alter and possibly end a player’s career, not the aforementioned hit on Ochocinco and even the former Chad Johnson agrees.
I promised myself I was going to stop bringing up options for getting Josh Johnson on the field with Freeman, but the preseason opener showed just what that extra dynamic could mean to the offense and the team.
The rule for having a third quarterback eligble and not eating an extra gameday roster spot is new this year, giving the Bucs more options in this regard. Also, Johnson was quoted not too long ago about his desire to be a starter in the league and not just a career backup. He is guaranteed to be a backup if he stays in Tampa, so Raheem Morris and Mark Dominik will have to either convince him or pay him to do that.
And if he really wants to be a starter, it will be impossible to keep him. So making life fun by getting him on the field for more special plays may be the only solution to keep Johnson around.And fun for Johnson would mean more fun for Bucs’ fans (and most assuredly more tickets sold).
Allowing Johnson to sit on the bench for another year and then leave the Bucs without using his unique and important talent for the good of the offense and helping the team win games this season (the stated goal of Morris) would be a sin.
Here’s to Greg Olson’s imagination working overtime to make that happen.