Practice Is Not A Game

November 7th, 2023

The mirage of practice.

Joe remembers a story that former Bucs commander Greg Schiano told about practice and games.

This came to Joe hearing Bucs coach Todd Bowles speak about practices yesterday.

Schiano was once asked about performance in practice versus in games. Schiano recounted a story he heard about college football coaching legend Bear Bryant saying practicing well doesn’t mean a team or player will play well on gameday.

Bryant had seen too often where a team practices well but come gameday they shat the bed.

Schiano added that if Bear Bryant couldn’t tell how a team will play based on practice, then he wasn’t going to try to tell, either.

So this subject arose at One Buc Palace about the team playing well, then throwing up on their shoes on Sundays.

“You’ve got to carry it to the game,” Bowles said Monday. “We practice hard all week, we practice [well] all week, and in the game, we’ve got to make plays. We’ve got to make plays, we haven’t made them.

“It’s been a struggle. It’s been a struggle. We didn’t play well yesterday at all – giving up too many big plays – I think there were nine big pass plays over coverages we have been doing since day one.

“It’s not a communication thing. Sometimes you have to look yourself in the mirror – as a player, as a coach, as a team – and we’re doing that. We’re doing that today and we’ll make sure it gets done.”

Let this be a cautionary tale. If Bear Bryant couldn’t predict peformance after a week of practice, and the Bucs have demonstrated they can practice well but not play well on Sunday, maybe it is time to not put any stock into when coaches crow about a great practice.

51 Responses to “Practice Is Not A Game”

  1. Larrd Says:

    Bowles is talking too much, imo.

  2. Curse of Gruden Says:

    Has Bowles been fired yet?

  3. Jeff Says:

    Clueless Todd’s now blaming the players. Pathetically weak leadership.

  4. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Can they practice having Vea in the lineup when the game is on the line?

  5. Usfbuc Says:

    Same excuses constantly going back to when he coached the Jets. They had many of the same failures too.

  6. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    Still need to practice, though, and practice well.

  7. Boss Says:

    Lovie still yap yap yap…….all I hear is blah, blah blah

    He is so FOS..

  8. Popcorn Mike Says:

    As I have said many many times. It time to start taking a look at position coaches too. Not defending Bowles, he’s the HC but all over sudden the defense is bad. I do know 1 LB coach left and became DC for Jacksonville and Jacksonville defense is doing a pretty good this year. Another defensive coach was fired by Bowles. The CBs on this team has never been very good so if Bowles do get another chance which I doubt , he need to re do his defensive staff

  9. power sweep Says:

    Thanks for making my point that limiting Kyle Trask to practice does not tell us how he will perform in a game with the starters. 🙂

  10. teacherman777 Says:

    eing a “players coach” doesn’t work.

    The players take advantage of the coach’s kindness and mercy.

    They love to take it easy at practice and take plays off during games.

    Spoiling players, like Bowles does, is disastrous for teams.

    Raheem Morris was so nice and chill with his players, he thought they were his “brothers.”

    In reality, they manipulated him, took advantage of his kindness, and used him.

    The same thing is happening to Bowles.

    He cares too much if his players “love” him rather than respect him.

    It’s the same problem for teachers of teenagers.

    If you are too nice to them, they will manipulate you and take advantage of your kindness.

    “If you give them your hand, they will take your arm.”- An Albanian proverb I learned when I was teaching in Albania.

    I feel bad for Bowles.

    His players are betraying him and taking advantage of him.

  11. ModHairKen Says:

    Practice firing Bowles.

  12. FortMyersDave Says:

    Bowles is saying anything to deflect scrutiny. Reminds me of Lovie and Koetter in their last seasons; dead man walking. Bowles might get a bit of credit if instead of just talking about the great practices and horrible play on Sunday, he actually mixes the schemes up a bit, benches a few of the starters who are part of the problem and make adjustments at half time. Gee it did not take the Houston coaches too long at halftime to notice that sieve Ryan Neal was playing on 1st and second down but was rotated out for Delaney on passing downs so they had Stroud dial up a strike on the first play of the Texans’ O to start the 3rd which Neal predictably whiffed on and the Texans got the momentum in the game and the Bucs D fell apart. Against Buffalo, Bowels D let the Bills march right down the field and score a TD to start the 3rd quarter. Predictably bad D in the 3rd quarter with no adjustments! Glazers: take play calling ability away from Bowels!

  13. Popcorn Mike Says:

    Teacherman777: I totally agree with your point I was listening to one of his press conferences the other day and you can clearly see he is covering for his players or just refuse call out his players for bad play. B Arians call out the great T Brady and we all see what the results were

  14. Breadwinnerbob Says:

    I’m fine with Jim and JJ but if we’re thinking in that line why not coach prime and his sons ?

  15. NE Fan Says:

    Not sure what he’s practicing but it ain’t football and it sure as heck isn’t discipline and preparation. Ready 18 hut, hut, this is how to loose with 40 secs left. Great job guys, you perfected the play. Davis gets the gold star for the day.

  16. SB~LV Says:

    46 seconds

  17. dbbuc711 Says:

    In practice you go against your own players. In games you go against another teams players. That is why practice does not equate to games.
    Not really difficult concept.

  18. Bee Says:

    Of course this team practices well. This sorry defense is going up against a sorry offense. Think about it. They don’t target Mike and Chris in practice so the defense must look good with Baker throwing the ball 4 yards a pass. Smh…please nuke this team from orbit. It’s over

  19. DBS Says:

    power sweep do you know the definition of practice and game ? They practice during the week. They played the game on the weekend. The one you use to say last year he played better than Brady and should have started or been the backup. Now this year pushed the team down field, thew beautiful passes on a rope and should be the starter right no questions at all. He out played Baker w/o the starters. So why does he need the starters? You keep crying every time I ask you. He needs the starters.
    69 passes to Bakers 15. How many td did he score? I. The coaches know and from what Joe has told us being there at practice that is why he is the Backup. Until Bowles says wise.

  20. Mark Says:

    Criteria for our new head coach:

    OFFENSIVE background: of the ten top teams by record this year, only one – Baltimore – has a coach with a defensive background.

    Interestingly, of the top ten defensive teams through week 8 (based on yards and CDs allowed), only the Ravens, Browns, and Patriots have head coaches with defensive backgrounds.

    Defensive coaches focus on winning with defense: they like close games, field goals, playing conservatively.

    Offensive coaches focus on winning.

    The Glazers have been trying to rehire Tony Dungy for two decades: Raheem Morris, Greg Schiano, Lovie Smith, and now Todd Bowles.

    It’s time to set aside the Bucs legacy of stubborn, defense first, “my system” coaches!

  21. DBS Says:


  22. Jack Sparrow Says:

    Practice ? Does this lousy team really practice ? looks like they are allergic to the term practice….. jeeeeezzzzzzzz

  23. gotbbucs Says:

    You wanna know why the Alabama’s and Ohio State’s of college football are so much better than everyone else every year? They have 4 and 5 star players on their scout teams. Every team at the top of college football has great players starting, but iron sharpens iron. Roster depth matters.
    It’s easy for your starters to look great in practice if they’re clobbering turds all week. This is how you fail in self scouting your own team. If your practice squad and two’s and three’s suck, then you’re going to have an inflated confidence in who you’re trotting out there on game day.

  24. BucU Says:

    I really don’t care to hear this guy in front of a podium ever again.

  25. Cobraboy Says:

    Actual players KNOW practice does NOT equate game performance.

    Even coaches know this if they were once players.

    That is coach excuse-talk.

  26. Cobraboy Says:

    Riskit Biskit looks better every day.

  27. Couch Fan Says:

    Maybe they are over practicing just like they are over prepared, right coach?

  28. power sweep Says:

    DBS Says: “He out played Baker w/o the starters. So why does he need the starters?”

    Glad you agree that Trask outplayed Baker but Baker was gifted the job as per the terms of his signing. Trask needs the starters to show he’s better than Baker with the starters. Which he will show. Which is why so many are terrified of giving Trask that chance. Trust me, the Trask haters would rather Trask be released than give him a couple games with the starters. They have too much riding on their narrative.

  29. DBS Says:

    Ok once again you avoid the question. The entire preseason he scored ONE TD. He got in the Red Zone and couldn’t score. The rest were field goals. Uless you want to use the excuse he was ordered not to because the kickers needed tryouts.

  30. DBS Says:

    Or runs

  31. Bucnjim Says:

    If the 28th ranked defense is outplaying the 29th offense in practice are they really playing well? I’d dare to say no on both accounts. They are just lucky they didn’t do much joint practice with the Jets they’d have found out early the Bucs aren’t really good at anything but punting.

  32. DBS Says:

    That is basically the same problem we have in the Red Zone now. That is why I say give him a chance. Maybe he could change that. But he will be facing the Big Boys now.

  33. Show Me the TDs Says:

    I remember when Gruden was here. Good practices seemed to align with good game day performance. Maybe Gruden was more honest about his practice assessments or maybe he knew his players better. Seems like a Bucs lifetime ago.

  34. Bucnjim Says:

    Also not sure why Mayfield is even in this discussion. Bowles takes pride in being a defensive coach. The Falcons (if they didn’t fumble) would have be us by 21!

  35. power sweep Says:


    Q: Can you – contrary to this very article and the professional coaches quoted in it – assess how Kyle Trask will perform with the starting offense in a game without letting him play with the starting offense in a game?

    A: YES or NO

  36. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    Todd Bowles is a football genius.

    The Bucs should write “We highly recommend Todd Bowles” on the bottom of his pink-slip.

  37. Bobby M. Says:

    Defensive players look completely disinterested….Davis looks like he absolutely hates zone. Neal is apparently lost, not benching him has to kill morale, his CBs are expecting him to be there and he’s making the CBs look like they blew the coverage. White doesn’t seem to want to do anything but blitz, he’s literally the Ronald Jones of LBs. Talented but not well rounded for the position.

  38. The Beer Whisperer Says:

    If the Bucs are lucky, Todd Bowles will become HC for the Saints.

  39. Let ‘em bake Says:

    Something subtle, but not being able to huddle your defense on the sideline, bark some simple reminders, and check for understanding, hurts this team. Bowles knows what he’s taught all week, but as head coach, he can’t ( or doesn’t ) gather the troops , like a dc could , and anticipate what needs to be reminded n critical situations… I know they couldn’t stop the clock before the last play, but his passive style, almost professorial , maybe evident that he is the poster child for the Peter Principle.

  40. DBS Says:

    power sweep
    Are you a professional NFL coach who can assess how Trask should be the starter of an NFL football team? And make these
    Judgements unbiased after watching preseason football games and having no inside coaches information with out the staters?

    And do you have proof any conversation took place that Trask was lied to or guaranteed anything?

    A. Yes. No

  41. DBS Says:

    My answer to your question is No. Not to my knowledge. That is why I say Give him a shot. He moved the ball well. Maybe he could do better. With this OC if he keeps calling the same plays it is still a risk. But I am not going to cry day in and day out about it. Bowles does not hear or care. Injury is the only way it will happen.

  42. Davenport Says:

    At this point, why does anyone care what Bowles says?

    Its time for Licht to take over and dictate what this team does – and who plays – for the rest of the season.

    I like Licht but take away the BA/Brady years, and his job performance has not been championship calibre.

    Coaches on his watch: Lovie, Dirk, BA, Todd. Not exactly a list that screams excellence.

    Or maybe its the Glazers simply refusing to do what needs to be done.

    Either way, enough is enough.

  43. power sweep Says:

    DBS Says: “My answer to your question is No. Not to my knowledge. That is why I say give him a shot. He moved the ball well. Maybe he could do better.”

    There, that wasn’t that hard, was it? 😉

  44. Cobraboy Says:

    In a rare defense of Bowles, a good coach calls out players in private one-on-one sessions or team meetings, and never in public.

  45. Cobraboy Says:

    @Davenport: without the outstanding players Licht is responsible for bringing to the Bucs, Brady would not have come to Tampa.

    Brady was the cherry on top, not the entire ice cream sundae.

  46. DBS Says:

    power sweep
    That is not a victory. Yes he moved it well . But I also said he could not get it in the End Zone. 1TD. You can’t claim in the preseason he can be has enough to be evaluated to be the starter and know how he will perform but when asked why he can’t score it is because he didn’t have the starters. No nobody in the world knows how he will perform with this Oline ,OC. or HC.

    And as usual You avoid my question.

  47. power sweep Says:


    You fail to understand the fact that in the preseason games Baker got to play with more starters than did Trask. Better supporting cast. Look at who Baker threw to and who Trask threw to.

    You also fail to understand the fact that Trask successfully threw deeper balls in preseason that did Mayfield. Exactly what we need right now and into the future. Because the future is not Mayfield.

    Finally, I have never stated that Trask will – or will not – be successful. I don’t know, and neither does anyone else. Not unless and until he finally gets a shot behind center with the starting offense in a few games.

    That an NFL franchise would draft a quarterback in the second round and over the course of two full seasons and 8 games into a third season not give the kid a single snap with the starting offense – not even in preseason – is frankly mind boggling. I challenge you and everyone else to find another instance of such gross managerial incompetence.

  48. Toad Bowels Says:

    I was glad to see Toad bowels finally so show some emotion for the first time since he’s been here in his press conferences this week. I was a Tony Dungy fan but I hated to see such an emotionless reaction every week especially when the team was playing poorly.

    Jon gruden and Bruce Arians won Super bowls because they yelled at players they held them accountable they cheered for good things they barked a bad plays and at players who took off plays (I’m talking about you Antonio Brown).

    Let’s see if this sudden change in Toads demeanor results in a turnaround in this team.
    He has to be sick of seeing all the sloppy plays in penalties and lack of effort on the field and it’s about time he started to hold players accountable (yes I’m talking about you Carlton Davis)

  49. BUCS4LIFE Says:

    It’s always “we need to do this or that” well no $hit!. WE are all very aware what’s needs to happen. Bowles yaps way to much for me, captain obvious I say. Get it done! Quit stating the obvious. The man’s starting to irritate me.

  50. Seattle Buc Says:

    Oneilbuc makes more sense than anyone I’ve read here.

  51. Joe Hutchens Says:

    If the owners don’t fire Bowles then my 4 family members will cancel our season tickets. Bowles is not a HC and it looks like he’s no defense coach either loses games in last 40 seconds is no defense coach.