Fatal Sins Aren’t Culture

September 28th, 2016



There’s been a lot of talk this week about a culture of losing at One Buc Place.

Maybe too much.

A losing culture didn’t prompt kicker Roberto Aguayo to struggle in Sunday’s 37-32 loss to Los Angeles. A losing syndrome didn’t cause Dirk Koetter to disregard the advice of his clock management guru with the game on the line.

Those are sins of the present that shouldn’t be laid at the feet of Raheem Morris or Greg Schiano.

Two weeks after an uplifting victory at the Georgia Dome, a disappointing culture club sits 1-2 with a minus-31 point differential that ranks as the worst in the league, except for the bumbling Bears.

And here come the defending Super Bowl champions.

The 2016 Broncos may be even better than last year’s club, having made the wise decision to let Brock Osweiler test free agency. Like the Vikings, Denver is not a quarterback-driven team relying upon superior play under center.

If Koetter wants this franchise to shed it’s loser mentality, then upsetting the Broncos is a heck of a place to start.

“It would be a great way to turn our season around,” says Bucs left tackle Donovan Smith.

Smith was beaten by Rams defensive end Robert Quinn for a critical sack-strip that generated a touchdown Sunday and some Buc fans question his skills at a critical position.

I don’t.

Lethal Denver

The Rams have a very good pass rush and they had 60 opportunities to deposit Jameis Winston on his butt. They got him twice.

If Winston drops back to pass 60 times against the Broncos, he’ll be in a walking boot, holding a clipboard instead of a football for the Week 5 matchup at Carolina.

“If you want to come and throw 300 yards on us, please come and try,” said Denver linebacker Shane Ray, who dropped Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton three times last week in his first pro start. “I just don’t see quarterbacks dropping eight yards back and sitting in the pocket against us.”

The Broncos have gone 26 games without allowing a team to gain 400 yards on them and they started this season by holding the Panthers, Colts and Bengals under 200 passing yards apiece.

Ray’s breakthrough performance came one week after Von Miller sacked Andrew Luck three times, so it appears the Broncos have found a dynamic replacement for injured DeMarcus Ware.

But it all starts with Miller.

Why the Patriots and Panthers didn’t commit more resources to stopping Miller off the edge in the postseason remains one of last year’s enduring mysteries.

“There’s not much Von Miller can’t do,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. “He can beat you with speed, he can get underneath you, he can bull-rush you … he does it all.”

And with crafty defensive coordinator Wade Phillips pushing the buttons, offenses are never quite sure where Miller is coming from.

Smith will see Miller lined up off his left shoulder at times, and right tackle Demar Dotson will also be responsible for keeping the Super Bowl MVP off Winston.

When Miller charges up the middle, the interior of Tampa Bay’s offensive line must be coordinated.

“Trust is huge,” says second-year guard Ali Marpet. “To know everyone is going to win their 1-on-1 matchups and do their job, that’s important for us.”

Knucklehead vs. Evans

Cornerback Aqib Talib, a knucklehead off the field but a playmaker for 60 minutes on fall Sundays, is only one standout in a stingy secondary that will tilt coverage toward Mike Evans.

Wouldn’t you?

Denver’s 12 sacks top the AFC and teams are averaging only 5.7 yards per pass attempt, tied for the best mark in the league. Through three weeks, Tampa Bay opponents average 8.5 yards per throw.

The stats and the standings are all on the side of the visitors this Sunday, when Koetter can earn his first home triumph as an NFL head coach.

My advice? Run the football, stay close and win the turnover battle.

Simple as that.

Want to change the culture? Change the scoreboard — hearts and minds will follow.

8 Responses to “Fatal Sins Aren’t Culture”

  1. Tom Edrington Says:

    Kinda like telling the U.S. Ryder Cup team, if you want to win, then make some damn clutch putts!! Now there’s a bunch that has to overcome some losing….

  2. 813bucboi Says:

    thank you….I just said this in my last post regarding culture….this team is mentally tough enough to fight thru adversity and get a win….sunday I witnessed a team fight to the end no matter what….it was a hc meltdown that costed us that game along with an dc that must think he’s still sleeping in his basement….WAKE UP SMITTY….where’s the 34/43 looks….where’s the blitz…generate some pressure if the front 4 aint getting it done….dirk please stay committed to the run game….if you think jameis will beat the broncos throwing the ball 52(week2)58(week3) times then dirk needs to go back to being a oc…that culture comment may have rubbed a few players the wrong way…it wasnt there fault the hc goofed up the time….we’ll see how this team response but you cant just get rid of players…we’re not a super talented team….GO BUCS!!!!

  3. D-Rome Says:

    A losing culture didn’t prompt kicker Roberto Aguayo to struggle in Sunday’s 37-32 loss to Los Angeles. A losing syndrome didn’t cause Dirk Koetter to disregard the advice of his clock management guru with the game on the line.

    You’re right Ira. That being said a losing culture continually puts people in decision making positions who may not be up for the task. Raheem, Schiano, Dominik, ect…not the best people to hire at the time.

  4. unbelievable Says:

    There’s a lot of blame to go around for the loss, so you can’t put that all on Koetter.

    The defense gave up huge plays, AGAIN.

    Roberto missed 2 kicks, forcing us into 2 unsuccessful conversions, leaving a total of 6 points off the board. We lost by 5, btw.

    If Dirk does call that timeout, we maybe run 1 more play than we did. Lot’s of blame to go around, but it ain’t all on Dirk. If this defense didn’t suck out loud, we never would have been in that position. It was the Rams

  5. Pickgrin Says:

    Another good piece Ira.

    Wins are the ultimate barometer in the NFL. But even if the Bucs lose another heartbreaker at the end to Denver – it will be a good sign that the team is improving. As long as this team plays hard and competes week to week, and improves throughout the season – that’s what we should be looking for this year. The rest (record and “culture” shift) will take care of themselves.

    Nose to the grindstone men – Nose to the grindstone. Just follow Winston and Kwon and Humphries lead in the preparation and effort regard and things will all work out just fine.

  6. DanTheBucsFan(Atlanta) Says:

    “And with crafty defensive coordinator Wade Phillips pushing the buttons, offenses are never quite sure where Miller is coming from.”

    With that, I propose that we get Smitty a new set of buttons!

    Go Bucs!

  7. Mike Johnson Says:

    Of the 40 plus seasons we have played in the NFL, The Bucs have only had 11 winning seasons. And they did not make the playoffs in all of those seasons due to others in the conference having better records. So we have not established a winning culture here. We just have a team who wishes and hopes..to win. You Buc fans are gonna see again what a superbowl champ looks like come Sunday. Yes, Denver has edge rushers and they are..big, fast , quick and strong. I think we will play valiantly. But we will not win. Even Denver knows we will not win. Because they know, they are a better TEAM than us. KEEP’EM COMIN IRA!

  8. Negative Jeff Says:

    Just start Glennon. We can’t afford to lose the franshise over an unwinnable game. That’s right folks. This will be a blood bath. Final Score 34-9. And Winston will get injured. If and when he does, let’s pray it’s not career ending. I’m really concerned about facing Denver.