No Real Excuse For Slow Starts

September 11th, 2011

There’s no amount of spin that can cover for the Bucs’ problem of exceptionally slow starts in games.

It’s not just Joe being critical. Raheem Morris has spoken of the pattern himself.

Today it was painfully front and center on both sides of the ball. And fixing it is something the team has made a focus, yet it’s still there, dating back to most games last year and, well, probably everything associated with 2009.

Where does the blame lie?

Joe asked Ronde Barber whether slow starts are just bad luck and a media-made focus, or something a team legitimately can work to eradicate.

“You’ ve got to have a sense of urgency from the opening gun,” Barber said. “When we get to that point, we’ll be a better football team. There’s no doubt about it.”

Now Joe can’t fathom how an allegedly “youngry” NFL team, on opening day no less, is hurting for a sense of urgency. It’s truly mind-boggling, especially with much more experience on the field this season and a coaching staff dialed in on fixing the problem.

And it was so widespread today, from the offensive line to Josh Freeman to the playcaller to the defense.

Joe has to think the Bucs need a shakeup. Strippers in the locker room? Coffee? Old fashioned locker room threats from the head coach? Aggressive gameplanning on both sides of the ball from the opening whistle? Something is wrong somewhere.

14 Responses to “No Real Excuse For Slow Starts”

  1. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    The head coach sets the emotional tone in the locker room. Raheem needs to stop trying to play it so cool and show some emotional urgency in getting his young players pumped up right from the start. I understand his philosophy of not wanting to “ride the emotional roller coaster”, but sometimes you gotta stir up to get psyched up. Ronde is right…this team lacks a sense of urgency to start the game.

  2. Eric Says:

    Rah had such a bloated head coming into the season, thinking he had some kinda championship team from last year, and he didnt really work his starters much in the preseason. That last game they were all standing around in their jerseys acting like the 72 Dolphins. Laughing and joking around.

    Wherefore, nobody was sharp. Detroit was hungrier.

    season not over but they better dang well pick it up quick. Like this week.

  3. ATLBucsFan Says:

    This starts with the head coach and his staff. Sometimes I wonder if they are so confident in Freeman that they don’t get concerned if they start slow. Well, they are not a talented Super Bowl winning team yet so they need guidance in how to impose their will on the opponent. Look at the tape guys because Detroit did just that. I’ve read in other comments that the D was better in the second half. I would suggest that the D looked “better” because Detroit stopped passing as much as they had in the first half. They came out in the second half and by their performance on the first drive showed the Bucs that the first half was no fluke.

    Urgency comes from realizing that you are not as talented as you think. You realize that it will take all your players best efforts to succeed. Experience will teach the players that but the coaching staff must get that approach across to the players.

  4. Gavster Says:

    They need swagger. Big time.

  5. Fear The Glo Says:

    At least we’re still tied for 1st place in the NFC South…..

  6. Hawaiian Buc Says:


    Hindsight is always 20/20 on the preseason. You are probably right, but he simply did what 90% of other NFL coaches do. Haley for the Chiefs did the exact opposite of the norm, playing his starters into the second half on the final game, and he lost one starter for the season and Cassell came in banged up. It didn’t work out well for them today either. Again, Raheem didn’t have this team ready to go today and he is ultimately responsible. However, it’s just one game on a very long season. Give them a few games before you bring your paper grocery bags to the game (that is, if you actually even go to the game).

    I will say this, we better start fast against Minnesota next week. If we start out in a hole (again), they are going to run AP over and over, and I don’t think we can handle that. I know every OC has a few special plays, and he better run them early on. Every single first series of our games has the same 3 plays: run up the middle, check down pass, check down pass (or if the run is moderately successful, we will run it the first two plays followed by a check down). If I know this, I think it’s pretty safe to say the opposing team knows it. I watched every game last year at least twice, and we did that in almost every one. Throw the frickin’ ball down the frickin’ field early on, at least once! You never know, it just may work. If it doesn’t, then we go 3 and out, just like we do every other first possession of every game. No big loss. I am sick and damn tired of playing catch up. Every game is adding gray hair to my head, and I’m running out of brown hair.

  7. IMHO... Says:

    some of tha reasons 4 losing include horrible playcalling from Olsen mainly. Lack of running killed us from tha jump, as it didn’t allow us 2 setup ANY play-action fakes. Still not satisfied with our O-Line as a whole, mediocre at best. Barely any push on point-of-contact.

    Detroit DB’s squated on short routes all day due 2 lack of speed at RB and WR, which should’ve been addressed during tha draft or offseason. We desperately need someone who can stretch tha field or at least threaten 2 do so.

    Can anyone tell me why there was NO press coverage during tha game? That gave Stafford tha ability not 2 worry about tha timing of routes. Any of tha Joes would’ve made plays when you have DB’s playing 10 yards off tha line of scrimmage. This is why our pass rush was borderline extinct.

    Run defense was better than expected. Minus tha Burleson end around gives Detroit 106 yards on 34 carries. 3.1 yards per carry, despite a young defense front wornout from 2 many early 3-and-outs.

    Talib played great against Megatron, but I wanted 2 see Raheem mix up tha coverage packages far as double teaming him with different DB’s and putting Talib one on one with Burleson on occasions.

    Sean Jones sucks. 2 missed INT’s, along with bitting horribly on that 4th down stop and go which went 4 a TD.

    Far 2 many missed tackles from tha defense as a whole.

    Can’t complaiin about Special Teams(excluding Spurlock). They get a A+

  8. MTM Says:

    Raheem is failing to address the slow starts on offense. The Bucs defense has never been able to play for long stretches. Sunday game was all on the offense. This idea that they don’t want to see Freeman make mistakes early because they are afraid his confidence will be shaken is ridiculous. Freeman runs the 2 minute offense and moves the ball right down the field. It was painfully obvious yesterday that the Buc’s major problems are coaching.

  9. Tampa2 Says:

    It is what it is, and Stafford exploited the Bucs defense for what it is, disorganized! Talib did alright, but not hardly the “great” IMHO claims above. Talib gave up 6 catches & 2 TD’s to Megatron, so how can that be called “great”? Detroit is not even close to being one of the better teams that we play this year. And if we lose to the Vikings next week I would hope that Dominik does his job and calls 1-800-C-O-W-H-E-R, or someone that is a respected and experienced coach in here to right the ship. Year 3 of a “learning on the job” Head coach/DC is not going to win games. I’m sure that Freeman & Co. will find themselves. But whether they do or not does not matter when the other team’s Offense stays on the field all day.
    So far the definition of “Youngry” is- A young Buc just ripe for Pickin!

  10. IMHO... Says:


    Be real with urself. Only one of tha TD’s against Talib was a 1 yard jumpball and tha other TD was CLEARLY Sean Jones fault. Take that 36 yard TD away and it gives him 5 catches and 52 yards.

    Megatron is 6’5, 240 and runs a sub 4.3 40, with a 43 inch vertical, which is why I say he did GREAT. He’ll outjump any DB and run with tha best of them.

  11. Number 41 Says:

    I’m so sick of Megatron. It’s a crap nickname. Half the people who call him that would have to turn off an episode of the Transformers cartoon because it’s so bad it would make them uncomfortable.

    As for slow starts — maybe if they didn’t live in mortal fear of pushing the ball downfield, they’d have a better chance of scoring some points.

    Long kickoff return and you don’t go right for the endzone on play #1? BS.

  12. crazy Says:

    “It’s all about 5.” That’s what this team’s offensive identity seems to be. If 5 has anything other than a dominating performance we debate what’s broken every week. Long term success for this team is going to require more of an offensive identity than “5 will save us” and whole lot less bending and whole lot more stopping on defense.

  13. MTM Says:

    Yesterdays game was a great example of why Buc fans were clamoring for Nnamdi. I don’t want to hear the comments that Dominick is building the team the right way crap either. The Buc’s lack talent. Not every young rookie is going to pan out and be a solid starter.
    So what is Dominick going to keep plugging in rookies as replacements for rookies. At some point the Bucs need some veterans.

    The statement of “we don’t want to over pay for free agents” is a load of B.S.. Dominick has been overpaying for some really bad players: Blocking icon(M.C.), Trueblood etc…

  14. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Yeah, let’s fire our coach if we go 0-2! I’m sure Cowher could install his system in a few days. There’s nothing to it, right? Tampa 2, you are a bigger fool than should be allowed by law.