“With Their Hair On Fire”June 6th, 2014
Derrick Brooks used to say that he and the old school Buccaneers competed for every blade of grass.
That was the mentality. No piece of Tampa Bay turf was acceptable to give away.
That glory days mindset is returning. Joe could sense that from talking to various Bucs assistant coaches this week.
Coaches are simplifying things but ramping up pressure on players to perform those basic tasks.
Take life on the Bucs’ defensive line. D-line coach Joe Cullen admits, “We don’t ask them to do a lot” and that means he won’t get to evaluate much until players can start hitting each other and squaring off in training camp. In this pass-rush first defense, Cullen will have a basic measuring stick: “You got a 1-on-1 rush, you gotta beat it,” he said.
Coaches talk about winning every down and “bringing it” on Sunday is high a standard for Bucs icon and linebackers coach Hardy Nickerson. He expects what Cullen says will be the hallmark of the Bucs’ defense, “They’re going to play hard with their hair on fire.”
What’s exciting is the Bucs have enough defensive talent to dominate and be a top-5 defense. How quickly it can all mesh, and whether Lovie Smith can have everyone reacting versus thinking — with their hair on fire — will be key.
Joe’s not expecting it all to blossom out of the gate, but Joe’s more confident in the defense getting it done before the Week 7 bye, as opposed to the offense.