Make Plays By Not Making PlaysDecember 11th, 2012
Bucs fans are still seething — rightly so — over how the Bucs played awful football, unacceptable football, in losing to the hapless Beagles Sunday, all but kissing away any playoff hopes.
The quarterback was bad. Some say his receivers didn’t help him out. Some suggest Schiano gave the game away. Virtually everyone agrees whatever the Bucs are doing in their fourth quarter pass defense needs to stop now and be completely overhauled for next year.
But it seems players and Schiano are on different levels on how to right the wrong(s) in very fundamental differences.
Some of the players say someone needs to “make a play.”
Schiano says, just do your job, writes Woody Cummings of the Tampa Tribune.
“It’s all fixable. It’s nothing major. We just have to make more plays at the end,” Da’Quan Bowers said.
Schiano doesn’t subscribe to that theory. He thinks the player who simply does “his job” best usually wins those battles – and he cannot emphasize that enough.
“I think when you focus on making plays, that’s exactly when you don’t make plays,” he said. “Focus on doing your job and plays come to you, the game comes to you. That’s what we believe around here.”
Here’s the thing: If one is to believe, as Bowers suggests, someone needs to make a play, it’s pretty damned clear nobody is week after week, time and again in the fourth quarter when the game is on the line.
Talk is over with. Action is required.
But if one is to side with Schiano, then that tells Joe either his mindset hasn’t sunk in on the Bucs secondary quite yet, or wholesale changes are needed on the defensive backs roster for next year up to and including defensive backs coach Ron Cooper if not defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan, themselves.
Now Joe isn’t the “fire him” kind of a guy, but simply put, the inability for the Bucs to stop a cool breeze in passing situations in the fourth quarter is absolutely and totally unacceptable for any NFL team. The Bucs pass defense currently is no better than the Bucs rush defense was last year and heads rolled as a result, understandably so. Watching teams knife through the Bucs secondary — worst in the NFL — with ease each week is appalling and it never seems to be righted.
Sure Schiano and the Bucs have done a wonderful, masterful job of shutting down the run (how much of that is Bryan Cox’s coaching?) but what the hell good is it if a third round draft pick of a rookie can hang 381 yards on the secondary and march down the field like Joe Montana in his prime for the winning score?
How many times has this secondary lost the game by getting lit up like a roman candle despite the Bucs stopping the run, both with and without Aqib Talib, both with and without Eric Wright?
Barring a miracle, this pass defense of the Bucs cost this team a playoff berth. There’s no need to sugarcoat it.
These are serious, legitimate questions both players and assistant coaches need to answer to Schiano in the immediate hours after the final gun ends the season.
Look, if the Baltimore Crows, leading their division with three games left, are willing to unload their longtime offensive coordinator two weeks before Christmas for rotten production, why exactly should Sheridan and Cooper be resting peacefully at night?