THE OPTIMIST: D-Line’s Fajitas Are Coming

October 22nd, 2010

You’ve all read THE PESSIMIST, who spews his Bucs-related anger like no other. But Joe also wants you to know THE OPTIMIST

THE OPTIMIST is Nick Houllis, a Bucs fan and an accomplished writer whose steadfast allegiance to the team goes back to the 1970s. Houllis is the founder, creator and guru of, a place Joe goes to get lost in time via Houllis’ stunning video collection.

THE OPTIMIST will shine that positive light in your eyes. Some will love it. Some won’t.

The Saints game was ugly, no doubt. The Bucs were exposed in just about every area of need they have.

The lack of pass rush? Fifteen NFL Players have more sacks than the Bucs do.

Trying to stop the run? The top two draft picks including the 3rd overall choice has increased the Bucs from dead last in Rush Defense to, well, next to last — 157 yards per game. But hey, that is better than last year; where at 158 yards per game the defensive coordinator was fired.

That is not likely to happen this year, as its good to have friends in high places! But if you look closely, there is a difference. No folks, the Bucs are not there yet, and anyone who reads my Bucstop website regularly knows I predicted exactly this kind of start to the year. I said the Bucs would start the year 3-1, before reality hit in; this is a very, very young team. How young? This is the  entire Blue-Grey team plus Ronde Barber playing all time cornerback. This is a team where Josh Freeman and Sammy Stroughter are veterans and Gerald McCoy and Brian Price just havn’t found their home yet.

I won’t sugar coat it. Warren Sapp had a sack by now; heck, he had one before halftime of his very first game up in the Vet at Philadelphia.

But that’s about all Sapp did for the first year or so, and Randall Cunningham trips up every once in a while too, you know. McCoy is still trying to think about what to do, instead of instinctively just doing it. That takes time, as anyone who switches jobs can attest to. If you’re a cook at Hops for 5 years, then you take a job with Chili’s, it’s going to take awhile before you don’t have to think about how the fixings on an order of fajitas are set up. You think, you take up time. You react instinctively, you’ve got fajitas for everyone!

Last year, the Bucs gave up 158 yards per game on the ground, but that was to everyone, including the likes of Fred Jackson and the Buffalo Bills gashing us for 163 yards. It was also the Redskins adding on 128, and Miami rushing for 198.  Sure, Chris Ivory is an unknown too, but the offensive line he was running behind wasn’t; we were watching them in February, remember?

No this team is not ready to take on the Steelers or the Saints just yet. What they are ready to do is take on the weak teams, you know, the ones that beat them last year, and play competitive with them. They are ready to play in the same league with the average teams, all the while learning their lessons from their beat downs, taking film of their ills and having them dissected.

At this time a year ago, we were wondering, Can the Bucs win a game?

Today, were wondering, can the Bucs reach .500? We’re asking the tougher questions because the players are better. Byron Leftwich has been replaced with Josh Freeman, who still has not finished a full 16 games. Michael Clayton and Maurice Stovall have been replaced with Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn. Mike Nugent’s wide right kicks would have dreamed of the chance to hit the right goal post.

The progress is there folks, if you care to see it. The finished product, however, is not. But don’t think for a moment that just because of last week’s game, that it won’t be.

7 Responses to “THE OPTIMIST: D-Line’s Fajitas Are Coming”

  1. joey88 Says:

    “No this team is not ready to take on the Steelers or the Saints just yet. What they are ready to do is take on the weak teams, you know, the ones that beat them last year, and play competitive with them.”

    I will take that, its better than losing. But at what expense and for how long? Next year, the year after?? I live in NY and will be down there soon for a game and I hope its not like the game against the steelers with those pitt fans taking over. How was the fan base against the saints if anyone was there please share.

  2. bucfanjeff Says:

    If we beat the Rams, we’ll be 4-2 heading out to Arizona. Based on last year, I’ll take IS progress, albeit slow.

  3. Sensiblebuc Says:

    Excellent points Nick. This is the point in the year where you check where your expectations were at the beginning of the season. If you thought we were going to be a young team that was going to suck complete ass, this team has exceeded your expectations. If you, like me, thought they were going to beat the teams we should be, lose to teams we should lose to and steal a few games, you’re par for the course. If you thought we were going to surprise everybody and make the playoffs, youre a crazy person.

    Has it been pretty? No. But I think we can all say that the signs of life we’ve shown in the passing game are exciting and we’re starting to figure out who can play and who needs to be replaced via free agency and the draft. I’m still excited by this team and this coaching staff.

  4. OAR Says:

    “I’m still excited by this team and this coaching staff.”
    Team? Yes! Coaching staff? No, not so much!

  5. Buc You Says:

    “I’m still excited by this team and this coaching staff.”
    Team? Yes! Coaching staff? No….”

    There are A LOT of fans who think this way. A LOT!

  6. sensiblebuc Says:

    @ OAR the Bad Guy

    I like what they’re doing in the passing game. When’s the last time you saw a Bucs team get splash plays down field? NEVER! We’re taking shots and actually using our talented players on offense. Defensively, Wash and Baker (?) deserve criticism for the poor play up front and if they continue to slide they’ll be gone. Overall, I think we’ve got a solid staff. We just need our young guys to step up to the challenge.

  7. eric Says:

    Lets see, how about 2008 when AB went for 1400 yards? Any splash plays there?