Excruciating Pain Follows Numbness

October 6th, 2014

“We thought it would be unfair to ask the fans to be patient with us,” Jason Licht, March 2014

“We just decided that we couldn’t ask our fans to be patient anymore,” Lovie Smith, July 2014

As a passionate Bucs fan, Joe is really struggling this morning. This Saints loss was especially painful. Joe is no masochist.

The toll of the Bucs winning just 12 of their last 47 games is weighing heavy.

That long ugly stretch surely isn’t the fault of Jason Licht and Lovie Smith, but they must live with its fallout. So do all the folks who earn their living selling tickets and more at One Buc Palace.

Lovie and Licht also must live with their words of earlier this year, when they each said, multiple times, that asking fans to be patient wasn’t part of the Bucs’ plan.

And when you don’t seek or expect patience, well, then it’s hard to plead for it later.

It’s October 6, and the Bucs have no realistic shot at the playoffs with a 1-4 record and three division losses. Like it or not, that requires a lot of patience, especially when the quarterback situation still represents an organizational question mark.

Why be confident in a Bucs’ turnaround? Is it some combination of Lovie Smith, Marcus Arroyo, Leslie Frazier, Mike Glennon, Mike Evans, Jason Licht, Doug Martin, team discipline, Gerald McCoy, Michael Johnson and Lavonte David? It’s easy to believe (aka be patient) when you have faith. Joe just doesn’t know where to find the faith today.

Joe was confident entering the season that the Bucs’ defense would be fine under Lovie and Frazier. But the defense is the opposite of fine. It’s been brutal and getting worse — 31 points allowed per game.

One thing is certain: Lovie won’t panic or alter the 2014 plan. He’ll be the patient one in all this no matter how tough things get.

47 Responses to “Excruciating Pain Follows Numbness”

  1. Louis Friend Says:

    This season is definitely something I didn’t expect: A Bucs defense so bad that the offense is suddenly looking light years ahead by comparison.

    I never thought it was possible to see a defense on the field for 90+ snaps in the NFL until yesterday. The Bucs nearly did the impossible (even in college) – let an offense get to 100 snaps. I’ve never seen that in my life in an NFL game. It should never happen. What does it mean?

    For the second time in 3 weeks they completely and utterly dominated. One time is a fluke. 2 times, along with the rest of what we’ve seen in other games tells me this defense isn’t going to get better this year. They aren’t making progress. They are actually getting worse.

    How is that even possible? How??

    These defensive minded coaches are being run over like cattle. Their players don’t have enough talent to run this scheme. Stop it!!! For the love of God, change it up to where they have a fighting chance!

  2. Louis Friend Says:

    And I don’t care about the turnovers! A stupid QB decision doesn’t mean a scheme is working. It’s just a stupid QB decision.

  3. theodore Says:

    Installing McCown as the starter wasted this season and has now put this team back one year. That is the biggest negative from L&L.

  4. bucsQcCity Says:

    What did you expected? Lovie inherited of a complete mess. They gone in FA by signing the best DE available (available is the key word here), a pro-bowler CB and they trade for Logan when they saw that the Oline was a mess.

    I see improvements. I see a QB on the rise, a tougher defense, Barron actually stepping up and a pass rush that is improving. I see talent at WR and TE but when you expect all rookies to be savior you are delusionnal. Even Omameh is getting it done

    McCown was a reasonable bet they lost (in part I think because they lost Tedford which did affect the Offense), Fletcher-LJ-Dashon Goldson are really awful and we still have to see how Simms can finally give us a complete back that can do better than Mr 3 yard Doug Martin..

    Penalties killed us. Injuries hurt us. We’ll be fine if we can convince our stars LVD and GMC to stay in Tampa. I now think QB isn’t the most pressing need. We need FS, Nickel CB, MLB and OL.

  5. Buccfan37 Says:

    I agree that this loss is very difficult to find much positive longterm hope going forward. History sure repeats itself around here, I don’t know exactly why, but on and on it goes.

  6. Mike10 Says:

    Poor offseason decisions/lack of leadership of the players on the field = bad team and no different than what we’re used to

  7. billy buckaroo Says:

    Its easy to be a “Great” coach when your team is full of TOP NOTCH players.
    “Great” coaches in reality are ones that take regular players and make a great team out of them.
    Then you have poor coaches which take a team full of regular players and a few excellent ones and the team does not do well.

    Forget about the last 5 games and talking about them, We all seen what happened and already know whats going on.
    I will be more interested to hear what the plans are for moving forward instead of dodging that by talking about “old stuff”.
    Whats going to be fixed?
    Coaches – players — what?

  8. bucrightoff Says:

    Defense is much worse than last year. This years offense with last years defense is 4-1 right now instead of 1-4. Lovie made this his defense, with his guys. Inexcusable to be this horrible.

  9. Tom Edrington Says:

    For the Bucs to commit penalty suicide, well, it shows what could have been and what can be with this group.

    They need some more talent, they are playing with a sub-par running game, one receiver and still competing with a super offense like New Orleans.

    Still a lot of dead wood to weed out, but they fought to the bitter end, as the Tribune headline indicated.

    OBW, had to listen on the radio, and Gene Deckerhoff is the world’s most horrible homer……he makes it sound like the Bucs should have won 64-7. Every missed pass is “Oh so close” every completion could have gone all the way, every catch by the other team is a near-drop, you simply cannot get a grasp of the real game action listening to that guy.

  10. NewTampaChris Says:

    Positives: Good pass protection, pretty good play from Glennon, 55-yd field goal from Murray, ability to put up 24 offensive points.

    Negatives: No running game, a punter with a dead leg and the defense STINKS!

    Every time Brees yelled “Kill, kill!” to change the play, he changed it into a winner. Whatever happened to the days when the Bucs defense would respond to an audible with one of their own?

  11. Buddah Says:

    Sorry but I refuse to submit to Group Think. If you want to blame anyone, blame yourselves for setting unrealistic expectations. Sure, l&l contributed by saying win now but Lovie also said we’re a 4-12 team and they proceeded to get rid of p,ayers they thought were unlikely to improve. The golden standard of veteran teams is how many players have been with the team for three years or more. The Buccaneers started one on offense yesterday and one on defense. That’s pathetic. Aside from the game against Atlanta, they’ve could have won every other game. They fought hard yesterday against the NFL’s best home team, intercepting Brees three times and holding the Saints to field goals in the red zone on three occasions. If you can’t see improvement then you need your eyes examined. The Bucc

  12. Snook Says:

    Its pretty sad. Even if you set yourself up to think this team would only win 3-4 games, its still pretty depressing. Going into OT, I didn’t really have any hope that the Bucs would pull it out.

    That’s what we’ve come to.

  13. biff barker Says:

    The Bucs offense has shown some signs of life and should get better after players return from injury. There is noticeable progress even without an OC or experienced QB.
    Conversely, the defense continues to regress, while clinging to it’s antiquated scheme. A shameful job from the players and coaches alike.

  14. NewTampaChris Says:

    Zero tackles from Michael Johnson in 82 snaps! Zero from Da’Quan Bowers in 30 snaps. I’m having a hard time digesting that….

  15. Soggy Says:

    Lovie needs improvement on how to call a time out, It is plain to see when and easy to do..

  16. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I think anyone that didn’t expect an adjustment period was fooling himself.

    I think the defense has been worse than last year in earlier games, but in the last game it was just about even. It IS getting better.

    I also think fans have very short memories.

    I’m not panicking. Why? Tony Dungy.

    I know, I know, plenty will say “Lovie is no Tony Dungy!” or “Tony sucked too!” (those are twits). But Tony lost his first 5 games. Did Lovie? No. He won one. But the point isn’t to compare them. The point is that Tony ran a similar system, and things worked out.

    Things will work out here too. The biggest difference is that fans did not expect the playoffs in the first year under Dungy. 21 losing seasons (his first year was the 22nd), there was not a lot of pressure like Lovie is under.

    Now, Tampa Fans have a taste of what they want, but they have lost their patience in getting it. The defense has gotten better from game to game (except the Atlanta game; which seems to have woken up certain players).

    We are starting to see the speed develop in the defense. This stuff doesn’t happen overnight.

    And Joe, did you really think the Bucs would make the playoffs with the 7-9 record you predicted? Why the sudden habit of complaining? You predicted a losing record, and suddenly you are upset about it?

  17. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    NewTampaChris Says
    “Negatives: …a punter with a dead leg…”

    There were those who wanted him replaced in the off season. I didn’t, because he had been top notch last year.

    That said, he has truly been bad this year, and when the season is over, unless he steps things up (and maybe even if) I feel he should be replaced.

    I don’t look forward to musical punters again, but it might have to be done.

    At least our young kicker is improving.

  18. Patrick in VA Says:

    The bit about not expected fans to be patient and wanting to win now had to have been a mandate from ownership to capitalize off of the buzz created from the new coaching staff that everyone was intrigued by. If they really believed that we were ready to win now then they wouldn’t have gutted so much of the team and brought in so many new faces. Lovie has been through a tough first season before and he knows how implementing a new system in to a team is not a quick turnaround sort of thing. I’m not holding Licht or Lovie to what was said at the beginning of the season. I’m interested in what they turn it in to next year. Now that we’ve seen these men on the field, how do we fill the holes and make the team better.

  19. SAMCRO Says:

    What Buddah said!

  20. bucrightoff Says:

    Dungy in 1996 = Rookie head coach
    Lovie = 10 year NFL head coach

    Completely uncomparable. That Lovie’s defense looks like it’d be bad in the arena league is not a good omen, suggesting he once again refuses to adapt to modern NFL football. it was why he was run out of Chicago and why he won’t make it to year 3 unless he changes. His scheme only works when he has Hall of Famers in it. So how good is the scheme really?

  21. Jim Says:

    Wow only won 12 out of the last 47 games! Pathetic!

  22. NewTampaChris Says:


    I didn’t think they’d make the playoffs and I was thrilled to watch a competitive game yesterday. But my god, the delay of games and other penalties, and all of the other Keystone Kops stuff — I just don’t see it from other teams and you certainly don’t see it from well-coached teams. Maybe it’s the effect of Tedford-Arroyo but I’m tired of friends from around the country asking me how I’m enjoying my Pop Warner team.

  23. Lou. Says:

    @ Bonzai has been consistent– and right.

    This team stopped stockpiling talent in 2002. Gruden was a fine coach but a lousy draft manager.

    The “build through the draft” regime of Rock Star wasn’t — the team did not get in even an average load of good players. We are now paying for a decade of poor management. Schiano did help right the ship, though the Revis trade set us back considerably (two picks blown for no return).

    I expect Lovie to get this right next year, though that will require a lot of work and good fortune.

  24. 911bucs Says:

    It’s probable that coaching is the issue or the defense is just to difficult to learn. There’s plenty of coach’s that go into new systems and coach their teams to respectability in the first year, while showing improvement each game. I along with others am sick of this mess that we have to continually have had to endure over the past years. I don’t know where the answer to this atrocious defense is, but they are not improving and are getting worse each week.

  25. Buddah Says:

    Brees is extremely hard to sack. He’s been sacked only once all season. He was repeatedly harassed but he managed to throw the ball away to spots that didn’t get a penalty. the interceptions were caused by the pass rush. The game was lost largely because we couldn’t run the ball. We have lost time of possession in every game. Glennon played above average and threw a lot of good passes, only one poor decision. But we had only one long, sustained drive. I said that the team would be 2-4 at the bye and finish 8-8. That still seems about right to me. We are only one of three teams to play three straight road games, which is very difficult. If they don’t sign McCoy and then let Barron and other 3 year vets go, then I’ll lose faith. This team should improve.

  26. Lou. Says:

    @bucrightoff —

    The claim The game has passed Lovie by was the cry of Bears fans surveying their offense. He has been consistent and effective on the D. One year getting the team up to speed is not a bad or unexpected investment.

  27. Horice Says:

    After reading the post, one might think that as TB Fans we thought that the cover 2 could be learned and profecected in an offseason. Forget the FACT that GMC, Derrick Brooks, Rodney Barber, Warren Sapp, John Lynch, and Steve White told us different. What surprises me is how so many claim to be LONG Buc Fans. “IF” that’s true, then either you possess “short term memory”, or your optimism gets the best of you. Joe if there is something I fault Lovie for is saying the very thing you brought up in this article. Now was he told to say that? We will never know! Now some think I don’t like Glennon, not true! I have ONE problem with him “he has 5 left feet” aka he isn’t mobile enough. We don’t need Mike Vick mobility, but in today’s NFL you’d better have Andrew Luck Mobility. Defenses (like yesterday) bring Zero Blitzes. If your QB is a threat to run, it will tame that. Other than that ONE THING, I like everything else about Glennon. I will be patient, because I have seen Worst days as a Bucs fan.

  28. lightningbuc Says:

    The “rock star” gave Koenen a 6 yr, $19.5 million contract a few years back. nobody that punts 4-5 times a game should be making $3 million a year, no matter how good they are.

    Lovie/Licht also evaluated the punter position and decided Koenen was worth it. –Joe

  29. Pickgrin Says:

    Buddah Says:
    October 6th, 2014 at 8:43 am
    If you can’t see improvement then you need your eyes examined.


    Agreed Buddah. This team played much better the last 2 weeks than the 1st 3. Penalties, dropped passes and poor tackling on key plays lost this game – but the Bucs played hard, were very competitive and almost won on the road against a team with a HOF QB that almost never losses at home.

    Injuries have hurt this defense badly the 1st part of the season and the lack of depth (and starter talent in some cases) is really showing. L&L plugged every gaping hole as best they could in the offseason/preseason but you can’t fix a decade’s worth of bad drafting in 1 year. I am very pleased with the apparent talent of our 1st 3 picks this year and believe that the team will continue to improve with the players we have now. More and better will be added next year. Coach Smith’s defensive system and NFL track record are proven commodities. We need some better players than what Dominick left us with and time for the players to learn, develop and perfect the new systems. “Its as simple as that”. The sky is not falling. Those saying Lovie sucks and should be fired are either idiots or overreacting. The Bucs WILL become “relevant” again with this coaching staff and with a good # of these players. This loss hurt but the team will get back to work and continue to improve.

  30. Horice Says:

    Also for those who TRY and compare the learning of the Tampa 2, to other defenses, it’s not the same. Also in our blowout we played man to man for over a lot of the snaps (so Lovie tried to switch it up). I wish I could repost the article on here (maybe joe can) but if we’re the fans we claim to be. It might help if you study about your teams defense, the in’s and outs. Because yesterday on the open thread it was obvious that most don’t know a zone from a man, or a 3 deep zone, or anything. Because if we did it would make for more intelligent conversation instead of the ” switch the whole thing up” 5 games into a season.

  31. bucrightoff Says:

    The Tampa two was figured out at least 4 years ago. That any team continues to think it’s effective is pure delusion. It’s a terrible defensive scheme in todays NFL. The Bucs for instance have had few to no holding or illegal contact calls. In theory sounds good, but just showcases how soft this defense is. Receivers basically roam free, if the pass rush isn’t there within 3 seconds it’s a completed pass to an open receiver down the field.

  32. Vagabond Says:

    Penalties, missed tackles, dropped passes, all explained away as part of some growing process. A “cup is half full” explanation from an emotionless coach. It all points in the same direction. We HAVE the talent we need to win. They have the skill to win. They don’t have he will or the “edge” to win. Did anyone see Lovie grab anyone by the collar or mask yesterday and fire them up? Good or bad? LOVIE – LESLIE – you have speaking rolls in this game – this team needs some unity, cohesiveness, and to understand that playing disciplined football as a team – are the missing ingredients. It won’t just “come to them” coach.
    You need to instill it – we had the talent yesterday and the effort but we were missing that “edge” to take it to the house. THAT’S COACHING. I’m getting tired of the Glennon game – name him & let him take it as his! I’m tired of the “we improved” line too – fire them up coach! Otherwise – go back to your basement & watch film. It was all there yesterday – except the poise to close and keep a comeback from happening. That should’ve come from the sidelines & the booth.

  33. Brandon Says:

    Three losses in games that came down to the last drive… please, the Bucs of last season didn’t even manage to stay that close. We weren’t even competitive last season until week 8 or 9. This is a huge improvement and anybody that doesn’t think that is blind or has a seriously deficient memory. This is a team that was not competitive on the field or the scoreboard for 2 of the last 3 seasons. I’ll take last second losses over the crap we were subjected to in the past.

  34. Skyline Crew Says:

    I guess you can look at it this way. The offense has improved to the point that we can put up numbers. Part of that is due to drafting only offense this year. My guess is that next draft will be mainly defense. Unfortunately, we need O-Linemen and D-Linemen. Maybe we have a draft of just linemen.

  35. Skyline Crew Says:

    Also, if McCown wasn’t brought in and Glennon had started at the beginning we could be 3-2 right now.

  36. Buc1987 Says:

    Cut the penalties in half and this team will start winning THIS season.

  37. Aubpierce Says:

    If you continue to run the same defense you will have a very tired team in the fourth quarter and most likely the same result.

  38. Hawk Says:

    For the most part, I agree with BuccaneerBonzai.
    I said, during ‘Prediction Week’, that I would be tickled pink if the Bucs ended up with an 8-8 record, but not disappointed in 6-10 (as long as it looked like they were progressing).
    I’m not with the fire Lovie crowd. I cannot imagine giving a Coach less than three years. He needs time to get the players that he believes will work best in his systems (cannot be done in one year), and he needs time to get the coaches he believes will best teach/run his idea of what the offense, defense, and special teams should look like (cannot be done in one year). And then, in his third year, he should be fielding a team that seriously challenges for the division title.
    While I see improvement in some areas(QB, DL, pass protection), there ‘appears’ to be stagnation in others (secondary, run blocking, receiving). It is possible that it will take a few more games to be sure whether they are truly going forward or not, but I have enjoyed watching (yes, and cringing) at some competitive games by a team that was 4-12 last year. Last year’s team would VERY likely be 0-5 right now with no hope of that first win when looking at the remaining schedule. Penalties are a discipline issue and coaching/practice should have have a positive affect on that. Dropping balls is absolutely inexcusable. Since these guys have probably been catching passes since Pop Warner, practice isn’t going to help. The bench might, because at this stage, the problem is a lack of concentration.
    The Bucs MUST find a way to run the ball or their chances of winning are going to stay right where they are. I do not know what is wrong with Martin, but he does not look like the same RB as before his injury. When is Simms coming back(rhetorical).

  39. bucrightoff Says:

    Do people realize how bad the Saints are right now? This wasn’t prime New Orleans Saints the Bucs barely lost to, this is the worst Saints team in recent history by a comfortable margin. If they played in the NFC West their season would be over right now, but in the crappy NFC South they’ll have a chance until the end (though Carolina should comfortably win the division)

    And oh yeah Derek Anderson and Austin Davis. It’s not like the Bucs are losing to world beaters here in close games. They are losing close games they should be winning.

  40. Bill T Says:

    Penalties were their undoing for sure. Today’s paper showed 5 offensive penalties negated 98 yards of passing for Glennon, but worse than that, 143 net yards! 3 of those were for first downs. Also, 4 more drops of which 2 would have been first downs.
    Those extend drives at least 3 more plays (barring turnovers or scores) and keeps the defense off the field. So you are talking at least 15 less plays for the Saints and more points for the Bucs.

  41. Pierce Says:

    I pegged us as an 8-8 team and still do. We’re moving in the right direction. Go Bucs!!!

  42. phil Says:

    As long as Lovie is the coach I don’t see this ever getting better.

  43. Brian D. Says:

    It will almost certainly be too little, too late…but I think we have a very favorable schedule over the next 5 games and will be able to put together a run and get to, or close to .500. Even if we can do that, and build on it to a winning record, the tiebreakers from starting 0-3 in the division and 0-4 in the conference will certainly doom our season.

  44. Hawk Says:

    @ bucrightoff
    I’m not sure what your point is, but maybe this will help.
    After five weeks, the Saints have the #1 offense in the NFL (AFC and NFC combined). The Falcons are #3, the Steelers #5 and the ‘lowly’ Rams are #8.
    Not surprisingly, the Rams (#3), the Falcons(#4), and the Saints (#5) are among the worst in the category of ‘points allowed’.
    The Bucs should have scored a lot of points against those three teams. Apparently, everyone else did.
    Again, I didn’t catch your point, unless it was that the Brees led Saints should be worse than the Bucs with a second year QB.

  45. sho nuff Says:

    manu paid a 99 million dollars transfer fee for 1 player…the last thing i am is patient with this team…nope i dvr the game and catch later after i enjoy my sunday off…irrelivance is upon you

  46. AnotherJ Says:

    Even though we lost, We showed progress.
    We can live with progress. Now we just have to figure out how to run the ball!

  47. frog Says:

    Can’t say told you so because I didn’t but Lovey’s a looser. Has been, now is and always will be. Why do you think he and frazer were fired? Because they put winning teams on the field? Because they were winners in the playoffs? Frazer is best known for his hiring and playing the King of Swing in South Tampa, Big Dog’s Favorite Quarterback,Josh Freeman. Lovey, time to jerk a knot in Frazer’s ass and get him to get the defense in sink. It’s also time to quite playing prevent defense all game (tampa 2) and get back to smash mouth football. Lovey decimated our offensive line and now we have paid for it these games so far. Add that to insisting on McCown, well you know the record. Conclusion…….We’re Screwed! The bumper sticker will read, Losers with Lovey!