THE QB BLAST: Coaching, Effort Led TailspinJanuary 10th, 2012
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. Plus, he’s a really cool dude.
By JEFF CARLSON
In 1990, we started the season 4-2 and by the 12th game of the season, Ray Perkins was fired and we finished the season 6-10.
Blaming the owner (Hugh Culverhouse) for falling apart in the middle of the season is kind of silly. We were the same low payroll team at the beginning, middle and end of that season and the poor play was really on the players and coaches, not ownership.
We all know that more money spent on salaries usually has a positive affect on team performance and spending more makes fans think you are trying to compete with the big boys. The Glazer family has been a low payroll team the last few years and especially recently with the lack of a salary cap, but the majority of this year’s monumental midseason collapse cannot be directed to management, but to players and coaches.
There are so many pieces of the puzzle that can accept bits of the blame to touch everyone, but the overall lack of coaching and game-planning was really evident, spiraling deeper as the weeks rolled on and the effort level of the players also got worse each week with one of the worst ever seen in NFL history in the season finale.
No outrage; No innovation
Many teams with bad seasons rally a time or two to play “spoiler,” but the Bucs rolled over each time. And the gameplans that they had each game were pretty embarrassing. Trying to stay cool through the fire instead of finding some real outrage after each embarrassing loss was a problem for coaches and players alike.
Against the Falcons, the Bucs did not move Josh Freeman out of the pocket on one designed rollout to give the O-Line some help. They rarely ever used any type of misdirection all season. They finally brought Josh Johnson in at WR (I have been begging for that for three years) and let him run deep once, which Freeman threw out of bounds (he was open), but never flipped it to Johnson on an end-around with a run/pass option.
There was no rhyme or reason for what the offense did the entire year. This team’s talent was never good enough to line up and play smashmouth football and expect consistent success. It just didn’t give the defense much to prepare for in any situation, playing straight into the defense’s hands without any players of extra-special talent like most teams have.
I have pointed out since last year that the Bucs’ defense lined up in unsound fronts on a regular basis, allowing offenses to outflank them to the edge on too many plays to count. If you went into a film room and dissected the game, you would see where it wouldn’t matter what the names on the back of the jerseys were, the opposing offense would have a distinct advantage before the ball was snapped. And that is one reason the Bucs set records for giving up so many yards per play and thus, a record number of points on the year.
With that said, management made plenty of its own bad decisions, but the players are paid professionals and should compete regardless, and from London on this team really didn’t, as evidenced by what Cam Newton did to this team twice (setting records in both games) and in the unbelievably poor effort in the season finale. There was really no way to justify keeping Raheem Morris after watching him direct the worst defense in franchise history and the offense really wasn’t much better, or at least one of the most boring offenses in memory.
Now the unfortunate job of finding a new coach in a sea of lackluster candidates is upon us, and while the lack of excitement on the field was bad, the lack of any interest in most of the names being bantered about isn’t going to illicit a raised eyebrow by even hardcore Bucs fans.
The only guy that would get me going is Chip Kelly from the University of Oregon. I figure if you aren’t going to be good, you might as well be exciting and the Oregon Ducks put out an exciting brand of football that makes the defense defend multiple points of attack.
I don’t have any idea of his interest in moving up to the NFL, and I’m not sure his frantic pace would work with a limited roster of players as they have in the NFL anyway.
I do think Jerry Gray (interviewed last week) would make a good coach. He was a Pro Bowl free safety when I was drafted to the Los Angeles Rams. He was a strong leader that took his job seriously, but had a good personality and sense of humor.
Unfortunately for Gray, he is a defensive guy and who knows who he might bring in to run an offense and with Freeman as the face of the franchise. Knowing that is probably the most important thing to find out.
This team may have limited its search to guys that have been called a head coach before, but these young players just need to be motivated properly and given better schemes to work with.
Proper motivation and better schemes might not put this team back in the hunt for the Super Bowl next year, but it will get them back to competing each week and we know that if we can be competitive, Josh Freeman can win games in the fourth quarter. And that kind of excitement is really what this team and town needs right now.