“I Apologize For Not Seeing Through The Mirage”

September 27th, 2014

michael johnson 0805Underwear football folly led a longtime Tampa Bay Buccaneers analyst to issue an apology to his readers yesterday.

This veteran of all things Bucs feels duped.

Scott Reynolds, of PewterReport.com, penned a look at all things Bucs and felt compelled to claim what he saw and reported from Bucs spring practices simply didn’t exist.

Remember when I was touting Tampa Bay’s offense during the OTAs and mini-camps this offseason and marveling at how quarterback Josh McCown was hitting 80 percent of his passes and throwing to wide open receivers? We’ve now learned why.

We’ve learned that the Bucs offense isn’t dynamic at all and that McCown isn’t that accurate. He looked good – and the offense looked good – because it turns out that Tampa Bay’s defense is so bad. Everything I saw in the offseason and reported was simply a mirage, unfortunately. I apologize for not seeing through the mirage and realizing that it was the defense that looked so bad – rather than the offense looking so good. The real problem is that I’m not the only Bucs beat writer that was fooled. Most of us were.

The reason why receivers were running wide open in practice is because the defensive backs have problems in coverage, evidenced by the fact that the secondary has just two pass breakups and no interceptions through three games. Part of the problem has been the lack of a consistent pass rush as Tampa Bay has generated just four sacks in three games and is on pace for only 21 this year after recording 35 in 2013.

Underwear football, aka spring practices when players can’t hit each other and line play really doesn’t exist, is nothing more than flag football. There’s not a lot to judge fairly or accurately. Some, but not much.

Chris Owusu, Jeff Demps, Josh McCown, Jamon Meredith, Oneil Cousins are among many examples of guys who (allegedly) looked good during the spring, only to wilt when it counted.

Joe often is pounded by readers asking, “Who looks good?” or “How does __ look?” when the pads are off in practice. Joe often responds by sharing the player’s height and weight, a sarcastic way to say flag football isn’t real football so stop asking.

Regardless, Joe remains confident that Lovie Smith and Leslie Frazier can stabilize the Bucs defense this season, possibly through staying the course and better coaching, and/or by making serious adjustments because of personnel failures.

If those two can’t craft a decent defense going forward, well, then they certainly won’t win games. And that could put their jobs in jeopardy quickly.

38 Responses to ““I Apologize For Not Seeing Through The Mirage””

  1. Jon Says:

    He is sorry for us signing Michael Johnson, even d-smith, verner, Anthony Collins? Was he apologetic for thinking the Bucs had a good draft, Simms, two offensive lineman in which we traded up for one and neither play? For trades and cuts of players starting for others, Joseph, penn, mike Williams, zuttah, Larsen? Or did he write, why didn’t the Bucs sign Michael Bennett back? Team had an offseason with that much money to get better and actually got much, much worse.

  2. RastaMon Says:

    Others have said it….but their bodies are not used to the contact the get on game day…because of the lacking of contact under the new Players Union rules. Even without “big hit” contact traditional padded football practices with hitting, banging,getting knocked to the ground,reaching….all thats stuff. If you can find the play when Mason Foster hurt his shoulder…it was merely an arm tackle that pulled at his arm

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Lovie must have thought our defense was ok because he drafted all offence.

    The problem is that we aren’t running an offense that looks any different than past Buc offenses……Run, Run, Pass, Punt

  4. Tom Edrington Says:

    Anyone who sees more than 4-5 wins is also staring at a “Mirage”

  5. Pelbuc Says:

    Good to see a writer own up to coolaid he was serving that us fans drank up. Lesson learned for all concerned. For writers, hold judgment until the regular season and as for us remaining fans, wake us up when it actually gets better. As for the players, shut up and let your play do the talking. As for coaches, no more excuses.

  6. MadMax ™ Says:

    Replace Leslie first….then maybe we’ll start to see some change….hell, try to bring Schiano in as DC at this point!!!

  7. Warthog Says:

    Unfortunately, Scott Reynolds is not the guy who should be apologising to Bucs. Fans here.

  8. John Valenti Says:

    The things this team was supposed to be was a rock pounding, ball protection offense and a bend dont break opportunistic defense. We haven’t seen any of this. The playcalling is too conservative and I’m disappointed in our lack of defensive depth. Injuries are not an excuse for such poor play.

  9. lightningbuc Says:

    Josh McCown was hitting 80 percent of his passes and throwing to wide open receivers? We’ve now learned why.


    LMAO! So sad, it’s funny!

  10. John Valenti Says:

    Rasta, every team has the same practice rules in place. We are not the only ones limited by number of padded practices. This defensive coaching staff is too talented to let these things slip through the cracks. Poor tackling and position technique are the least of our troubles. Sheer talent is the problem. 2nd stringers thrust into starting roles and starters who came from other teams as backups. It’s time to do a thorough evaluation because this roster will be turned over again this offseason.

  11. Dean Says:

    Defense: 4 big short-comings exist.
    1. No pass rush….’nuff said.
    2. Protecting the ends. RB’s catching screen passes or running outside are gone for 10, 15 yards or more.
    3. Remember the great Bucs defenses of the past? A hallmark was gang-tackling. 4 or five guys punish the receiver, TE or RB. We don’t have the speed of the days of old to get that gang there quickly enough to punish.
    4. No tight pass coverage. You will constantly give up 75 or 80% completion rates, if no one is pressing the ball catchers. That is ridiculous.
    Change those 4 basic elements and you go from a sloppy, unorganized defense to one of the best in the league.

  12. Jeff Says:

    I appreciate Reynolds saying that. Now I want to hear an apology from our washed up coach and sleezy owners who only care about their soccer team.

  13. gotbbucs Says:

    I am beyond pissed off at what this regime has put on the field. This is the earliest I have ever checked out on a season. I could really give two sh!ts at this point if I watch another game. Sadly, I think I’ll what until this team has proven that they can at least compete before I waste my time again. Six years now and 4 games at the end of the Gruden tenure since this team has been anything other than a mirage. Absolute bullsh!t.

  14. dick2111 Says:

    Per Scott Reynolds …

    “…the secondary has just two pass breakups and no interceptions through three games.”

    I’ve been at both of our home games, and saw lots of opposing receivers running free. Admittedly the Bucs looked bad, but was it really THIS bad?

    Verner, Banks, Goldson and Barron may not be the best secondary in the NFL, but that’s ridiculous. It has to be the defensive strategy and scheme that they’re being asked to play in.

  15. Kevin#1 Says:

    Pretty simple. They have to play man coverage and blitz every play….unless it’s third and long than maybe play some zone….only problem with that is our over payed and prematurely drafted safeties back there seem to have forgotten that you have to keep the ball behind the first down marker in order to proven a first down. Seems like a professional DB would know this….yet all of our dbs continue to play 5-15 yards off of the receivers with our safeties sitting 25 yards back rather than close enough to be able to make a play. If we play man coverage and a blitzer at least we would have a slightly better chance at getting some more three and outs. But that is not Lovies way. He will continue to run this D until next year when he scraps DGoldston and Barron. It just really sucks knowing there is nothing to cheer for, nothing to get excited about. I’d sure like to be proven wrong!!!

  16. JayBucBoi Says:

    So called Bucs fans kill me Joe. Quick to call for a coach’s head. We won’t find a better coach than Lovie people, he’s still well respected & will get our Bucs back to being consistent competitors! Leslie Frazier should not go anywhere either. Are you guys serious??? Keep changing coaches and schemes, yea that’s gonna get us back to being Superbowl contenders. How did Dungy & our team of Buc legends start off their era of dominance again? Right..

  17. poorglennon Says:

    Wtf do the Glazers have to do with this debacle. If they are cheaping out on salary’s. Then maybe they have a hand in this wreck. But that’s not the case. L and L are guiding this ship. We are easily the worst team in the league. They better take the shakles off #8. With this defence we need a gunslinger not a game manager. Last preseason #8 was slinging it. But they shackled him down in the regular season. Conservative playcalling at this point is quitting. Not even to start a game or if it’s close. This defence can not be trusted. If we run on 3rd it better involve a lateral.

  18. nate Says:

    I told e eryone this team was garbage after week1 loss… I think lo iovie should get some time to build a better team he has been to a superbowl.. but for the rest of team pretty much needs to go mccoy and david on defense can stay the rest HAVE to go…offense everyone needs to go ex ept for this years draft class and maybe mike james….. the rest HAVE to go… next draft qb number1 overal then defensive ends! Rounds 2, 3, 4, hope one of them pan out.. rounds 5 6 7 dont really matter to me…Hello rebuilding time!

  19. buc4lyfe Says:

    More access to football in the off season equalled the worst Foosball media coverage I’ve ever witnessed and yes I ate it up well some of it MJ name not being called at all in the off season or preseason was a clear sign he would be a no show game one. I was more excited for the news than I was the season hmmm I wonder why. Thanks Dominick were rock stars in the off season

  20. d-money Says:

    The offense isn’t good…or even average…or even..below average.

    But a new offense doesn’t just appear overnight. We all knew it was going to take time to gel none of the issues on offense are anything we didn’t talk about the entire off season.

    The reason it’s so noticeable is that the defense and special teams haven’t lived up to their billing.

    Seriously people it’s only 3 games… If you we’re expecting playoffs I can see how you might be ready to jump ship but if you are actually assume person and knew they were probably going to finish below .500 the. You shouldn’t be surprised by any of this…it’s a process and it doesn’t happen overnight.

    And yes the total ass beating, as pathetic as it was, can be just part of the process. If these coaches and players have any pride at all they will learn more from that loss than any win or practice they’ve ever had.

    Nothing like a trip to the woodshed to change your outlook.

    If they come out tomorrow and play inspired then it wil say a ton about Lovie and this team…if they lay another egg then I might start to agree that we have a problem.

  21. BoJim Says:

    Yeah. Let’s rebuild the team every year, then we’ll have an excuse. Duh.

  22. Louis Friend Says:

    Absolute worst thought of the day: If we had Schiano’s defense we’d be 2-1 right now. 16th ranked (what they were in 2013) – or average – would’ve been good enough to win the first two games. That makes me want to puke.

  23. Bird Says:

    That s not good when Scott Reynolds gives up

  24. Bird Says:

    Word of advice. Glennon run as fast as u can

  25. Delson Says:

    Its easy to say what needs to be done. Its easy to point out what the players are doing wrong indiviually. But it isn’t easy trying to teach guys to play as a team when they cant individually understand the concept of the defense.

  26. IdahoBucsfan Says:

    I miss Schiano!!! 🙁 Does anyone think we wouldn’t be 2-1 right now had he stayed?

  27. buc4lyfe Says:

    ““I Apologize For Not Seeing Through The Mirage””

    @Scott Reynolds
    You just apologized but then you get in your fab 5 saying we need to continue to feed the guy who potentially fumbled away game two and was benched for fumbling but lol he looked better than Martin in training camp…. I’m sorry what mirage are you apologizing for again? Are you gonna apologize for the Rainey comments to? No one starts a guy who can’t hold on top the ball hmmm guess that’s why he went undrafted but hey great website even if we have to ignore your insight

  28. buc4lyfe Says:


    If I remember correctly we were being in all I our games, come from behind victories was never in schiano’s playbook. He only gives up leads he doesn’t know how to gain one or hold them because college playbooks don’t work so well in the nfl

  29. Architek Says:

    Michael Johnson owe the Glazers money back! That was a robbery in broad daylight!

  30. Boomer33 Says:

    If I read one more person on here complaining because we didn’t try to sign Michael Bennett, I’m going to scream. Bennett wanted to stay with the Seahawks. Why would he leave a Super Bowl team to come back to a team that did not want him? Duh.

  31. Oahubuc Says:

    That’s what I was afraid of all along. Leslie Frazier is a joke and that’s no secret.

  32. BirdDoggers Says:

    Training camp doesn’t tell the whole story but it’s crazy that none of the positive press from training camp has translated to the regular season. None of it. The team is turning out to be worse than the hard core skeptics thought it would be. However, it’s still early and the team has a chance to play competetive football and possibly string some wins together.

  33. sam Says:

    Im beginning to wonder if we should have gave schiano 1 more year. Back to square one

  34. Harry Says:

    “…Joe remains confident that Lovie Smith and Leslie Frazier can stabilize the Bucs defense this season…”

    I will believe it when I see it. When you are missing the likes of Greg Schiano, things are really bad.

  35. sam Says:

    Think about it, what was our biggest fear of keeping Schiano? Anyone? It was Mike Glennon! Well guess what people, new coach and we still have Glennon, only now we have a whole lot more problems to go with it.

  36. Gt40bear Says:

    He’s not the only one who should apologize. Other than a few examples, most if not all local media was selling us a bill of goods about this team. I’ve been saying for a couple weeks now that we were lied to, well maybe the locals weren’t lying to us, they were just duped!

  37. squadoosh Says:

    If another jackass says I miss Schiano I am going to puke…this is freaking loserville! Do you remember we were 4-12 last year and everyone hated the guy ??

  38. Rex Says:

    D-money, that is probably the most sense I’ve ever heard anyone comment on this lol. For once someone actually knows what they are talking about