“How Does A Team Fight Regression?”

August 8th, 2011

Joe’s already smelling low expectations from some fans and media for the 2011 season.

Sorry, but Joe doesn’t play that game. Joe’s not in the corner where people sit around all giddy and hold hands and say the Bucs likely will and probably should take a small step backwards this season — all part of the grand plan to grow happily toward a Super Bowl contender.

Sadly, Joe thinks a lot of those folks are the ones sitting on the sidelines waiting to buy tickets when they perceive the team is really good.

Joe’s heard the attitude from sports radio callers, sports radio hosts, commenters here, and throughout Joe’s travels. Frankly, that’s not what the NFL is all about. You can’t go 10-6 with a young team and not demand at least as good or better the following year as a fan, an observer, or as a member of the organization.

This isn’t a Girl Scouts hopscotch tournament or some panzy youth soccer league where the result isn’t as important as progressing toward a goal and personal growth.

Joe’s not saying the Bucs missed the boat passing on free agents outside of a punter. Joe’s fine with the team plan, but winning has to be a part of it. It is, if you listen to the Bucs, and fans should join the team in demanding greatness.

What set Joe off was hearing esteemed columnist Gary Shelton of the St. Pete Times ask Raheem Morris today to open the coach’s news conference, “How does a team fight regression?”

Joe likes and respects Shelton — the two had some bonding time together this offseason — but what the hell kind of question is that? It’s almost ridiculous. Joe gives Shelton the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he was trying to bait Raheem into a unique answer. Raheem didn’t really answer and simply said everyone is hungry.

Joe’s hungry, too. For a team that’s better than last year’s.

25 Responses to ““How Does A Team Fight Regression?””

  1. Eric Says:

    regress from what?

  2. Pete Dutcher Says:

    I’m sorry, but if they win only 9 games I do not view that as a step backward.

    They are playing tougher competition this year and in order to get the 9 wins they will have to win some against some tough teams.

  3. Buzzsaw Says:

    I would guess that Shelton’s question springs from the Bucs recent history of down years following up years during the Gruden/Allen regime. If Gruden/Allen were still around it would certainly be a fair question. But under the present regime you have to give them the chance to build their own history. At any rate, it’s no biggie. It doesn’t hurt to subtly remind them there is a history they need to overcome.

  4. BecklesHeartsRuud Says:

    It’s a legitimate question. The Bucs do face a tougher schedule this year. Fortunately I think its a question with a happy answer for Bucs fans. Freeman is a legit franchise QB now entering his 3rd year after a near pro bowl caliber 2nd year. The defense addressed its most glaring weakness by adding two of the top defensive ends in the draft. Barring injury there is no way the offense regresses as its returns all its starters and guys who were already stars as rookies now have a year of experience under their belt. I think fans in this town are still too tentative with this team. Don’t forget how this team only improved throughout the season last year. Hell they beat the Saints with guys like Larry Asante, Frank Okam, Derek Hardman and Al Woods either starting or seeing significant playing time(Anyone on here who says the Saints weren’t trying isn’t a fan). At the end of the day if you doubt the ability of this team to make the playoffs then go ahead and treat yourself to an 11 minute highlight reel of just how unbelievably talented our young Josh Freeman is.


    To everyone who really thinks that a rookie starting at middle linebacker might stop #5 on his drive to the playoffs, go ahead and watch that highlight reel and just BELIEVE!!!!!!!

  5. JakeBucsFan Says:

    I disagree Joe. I have no expectations of Freeman regressing or the team being too confident. But that does happen on a yearly basis in the NFL. That IS what it’s about. If the same teams were the top teams every season it wouldn’t even be fun to watch. I would have no problems if the Bucs regressed a little this season if the end product was a Super Bowl in 2012 or 2013. I agree that the mentality should be to win win win, but the reality is there are 32 teams with that same mindset and they’re all great athletes, all great at what they do.

  6. BecklesHeartsRuud Says:

    At the end of the day I may be a homer but so what? Homers have a lot more fun watching their team. Go ahead and be a pessimist and have fun being the type of fan that is absolutely miserable in everything but the rare Super Bowl winning season. I couldn’t imagine even having fun watching football if I was that demanding of a football fan. Thomas 2.2 and his ilk must be sadomasochists who enjoy being unhappy with their team.

  7. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    “regress from what?”


    The ignorance of that comment is unbelievable. You must be proud of yourself.

  8. Kyle Says:

    Anyone who’s played sports knows you don’t fight regression unless you’re riding so high after a championship. I rarely agree with Eric, but when you come in third place the question should be just the opposite of what SHelton wrote. … There is no regression when you’re a young group assumed to get better. Anyway, the answer to Shelton’s question is always the same. GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR TEAM! The Bucs have enough talent to win every game. If they win at a 60 percent clip, that’s 10 wins and that’s reasonable to expect

  9. k_bassuka Says:

    More likely one team in the NFC south is going to regress and the prime candidate team to do so is the Bucs. We allegedly lost the brains of our defense, have an even younger D-Line, our O-Line is going through changes once again, and they have shown that they can’t be relied upon to stay healthy, our LB are nothing to be excited about (still expect big things from them), not to mention that we weren’t necessarily dominating games last year and we easily could’ve endedn with a loosing record.

    I hope we don’t regret but if we do it wouldn’t surprise me at all.

  10. Fish Says:

    I disagree with you here, Joe. With such a young team, they will naturally progress – at least with the way Dom and Raheem are taking the team. Even if the win total doesn’t match up, there will be a lot of experience, growth and development occurring. I’ll take that.

    I remember you suggesting that the team should buy a few big players to push us over the edge, but I would rather have the proposed lasting contender goal with a lot to look forward to than selling out for a year or two on a a few big name free agents in or at the end of their prime. It actually surprised me how quickly and easily you bought into that idea.

    I have never agreed more, at any point of my Buccaneer fanship (a real word – probably not – but you get the point), with the path that the Buccaneer organization is taking. I loved what Gruden did with an already established team, but he ran it into the ground over time and bought veterans, sacrificing the future of the team.

    Let’s compare this to college football: doesn’t it seem like college players play their asses off for their team more than many NFL players? That’s because they’re committed to that team and have joined that family. The Bucs want to build that type of mentality with the players that they draft. Veteran free agents are veteran free agents for a reason and weren’t re-signed by their organization for a reason.

  11. Bucbeliever Says:

    #5 has me believin’ for a championship…he’s a rare gem of a qb that comes around once a decade or two…

    GO BUCS!

  12. Fish Says:

    The culture they’re building within the organization is incredible and I get giddy just thinking about our “lasting contenders.”

    Free agents are a fun idea, but deep down, I think we all know that they’re basically bandaids for teams that aren’t good enough drafters to draft the players they want in the first place. Luckily, the Bucs aren’t in that category anymore.

  13. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    @Fish — You’ve misrepresnted Joe’s positions on free agency in your comments. As for free agents, it’s fine to be on board with the Bucs plan. JOe thinks the Bucs have earned a lot of credibility after amazing achievement last year considering their injuries and youth. They can do it there way. It’s working, and we’ll see where it goes. But it’s foolish to think every free agent is bad or over the hill, or whatever negative way you want to characterize them. … Would Davin Joseph be a crappy talent all of a sudden if he had signed with the Cowboys? Or if Quincy Black went, for example, to the Cardinals, does he all of a sudden suck? Of course not.

  14. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    @Fish — Just to continue (joe got a phone call), Look at what Dunn, Lynch, Sapp and others accomplished when they left the Bucs. They had great years. It just comes down to grabbing the right players and building a team of 53. How they’re labeled before they get here really doesn’t matter in the end.

  15. Fish Says:

    Please tell me my last response didn’t just disappear into cyberspace when I tried to submit it…

  16. Joke Says:

    “You can’t go 10-6 with a young team and not demand at least as good or better the following year as a fan, an observer, or as a member of the organization.”

    You certainly can as a fan. I’ve done it.

    I’ll be pleased with 10-6, but I’ll accept 9-7. 8-8 or worse would disappoint.

    If you look at the numbers, we only outscored opponents by 23 points. That’s more fitting to an 8-8 or 9-7 team. In other words, there was some luck involved with getting to 10 wins (a number of close wins and only a couple close losses). Couple that with a likely harder schedule (but not that much harder — folks are blowing that way out of proportion; last year’s schedule wasn’t much below average) and I say 9-7 or 10-6 this year represents improvement.

    The team is young and still has lots places it can improve. I think the defense will start to come together this year, but there will be some rough patches.

    All that said, I desperately want them in the playoffs this year. Hell, I’m so pumped I decided to switch to DirecTV so I can watch all the games this year (I live in Texas nowadays).

  17. McBuc Says:

    Close wins and close losses do not matter…The Bucs were in all but 2 games last year, they had many close losses as close wins. Think back to the Bucs SB year. If the defense was not scoring so much the Bucs would not have made the playoffs. The offense showed up in the play offs like gang busters, but it was not like the Bucs were beating people by 40 points. A win is a win, and a loss is a loss. This team can make the play offs, and as far as records go any thing under 9 wins will be disappointing.

  18. Patrick Says:

    I’ve been a Bucs fan for a long time but only recently started listening to the Tampa sports radio shows on their websites and reading team blogs. It’s really been a big disappointment to me that my fellow followers of the Bucs are so short sighted. Building a tradition of solid talent evaluation and developing winners doesn’t factor in at all. They want to go from a complete tear down and rebuild year to a super bowl in 2 years. It’s ridiculous. I don’t want to bring in a mercinary who is only out for the money and not concerned about buying in to the culture of winning that the team is cultivating. To demand the same record as last year when we’ve had no offseason to train and a tougher schedule is just dumb. I understand that we’ve had some bad years but I’ve been suffering right along with you and I’m ready to buy in and give these guys a chance. They’ve done nothing to lose our trust yet so there’s no reason to hold the short comings of their predecessors against them.

  19. Joke Says:

    @McBuc– In the Super Bowl year, the Bucs outscored opponents by 150 points in the regular season (that’s 127 more points than last season in just 2 more wins).

    Also, they only had 2 close wins and 1 close loss that season (vs. 5 close W & 2 close L last year). For this purpose, I’m defining “close” as 4 points or less.

    Three games is a big spread on games that could’ve easily gone either way. In 2002, their RS record was indicative of the quality of the team; last year their RS record was a bit better than the quality of the team.

  20. Gringo Dave Says:

    The way to stop regression is to sign key free agents, spend some money wisely. Last year on talk radio some one said that the Bucs don’t have a single top 5 player, it made me mad, but we don’t. Not a single position where we have a top 5 player. How do you get them? Buy them.

    In order to make the playoffs, we must knock off the Saints or the Falcons, we could have decimated them in free agency signing some of their best players. We chose to grab a punter. Why do you think the Red Sox paid so much for Carl Crawford, because it decimated the pesky Rays.

    How do you win without great players? If Freeman breaks a finger on a defensive lineman’s helmet or an offensive lineman rolls up on his knee, we go from 10 dash 6 to 2 dash 14.

    The Eagles had less than half the money the Bucs had available. The Eagles have a stud QB in Michael Vick. The Eagles spent the money to get some players to help Vick win. The Eagles don’t need to sell tickets, the Bucs do. The Eagles build through the draft, but they’re not cheap or stupid or greedy. Its always about how much money the Glazers can squeeze out of this team.

    I wonder how many Buc fans would wager that the Buc’s final record is better than the Eagles. Why do you gratefully accept mediocrity. Did you marry an ugly woman because it would be frugal and easier in the long run. GO EAGLES!

  21. OAR Says:

    Go Eagles!?????????????WTF??????????
    While I agree to a certain amount, you need to stick to tacos and burritos, instead of that “Go Eagles” CRAP!

  22. McBuc Says:

    Joke…You must have missed my point about the defense that year scoring in just about every game. It does not matter anyway. I amsure you went and looked it up, since it was so long ago. This is not college ball, there are no style points. You do not have to beat the other team by 35 points to move up in the ranking. It is just Ws and Ls. I agree with what you are saying to a point. I am not convinced any of the guys Gringo, Thomas, or Eric have championed would change the w/l columns. I agree with Patrick above, I guess to each their own, and we will soon find out. I feel these guys are moving in the right direction.

  23. McBuc Says:

    Gringo, why are you on this site? It is clear that you are not a fan, so are you just here as a troll to rile up another team’s fans? At least Eric ann Thomas seem to be fans, just not happy with the direction the team is taking. You however, right “Go Eagles” on each of your posts. I for one think the Eagles may go the way of the Skins, too many big names. What happens when Vick has a couple bad games, and the crazy arse Eagles fans start screaming for Young? You know it could happen. Plenty of teams have had all that FA tallent on paper, and did not win a SB with it. Same can be said for going with youir own home team stars. If the Eagles fall on their face, are you going to comeback and tell us you were wrong? What if it takes all their new players a while to figure out the system? No way they sit those big money guys, there jack arse fans would pelt them with batteries or something. Go back to the eagles site troll.

  24. Gringo Dave Says:

    If the Eagles suck, I will admit I’m wrong. If Freeman gets hurt, I will come back week after week and remind everyone what could have been The Bucs are content to put all the eggs in Freeman’s basket, eggs break easy.

    I notice no one said that they would wager on the Buc’s record over the Eagles. Why not? Answer: Buc management chose not to compete this year. They don’t plan on competing seriously until they are dragged kicking and screaming to the salary cap floor in 2013.

    When they ask Tiger Woods if he would be satisfied just making the cut, he snaps at them, he always expects to win it all.

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