Who Should The Most Pressure Be On?

Saturday marks the first Tampa home game that has been blacked out since before the 1998 season. Regardless of the economy, the NFL isn’t MLB or the NBA in that fans don’t overwhelmingly support an inferior team.

Whether he was added to provide a different energy or he was simply a cheap hire, Raheem Morris certainly felt like an embarrassing choice for some fans who wondered why their franchise decided to hire the youngest and one of the least experienced coaches in NFL history. Those feelings were lessened by the marked improvement of the defense when Raheem took over the play-calling and brought back the Cover 2.  I think, as you watch the Greg Olsen offense buzz with quick passes to big targets, power runs and well-placed play-action passes, you’ll see that side’s play-calling is sufficient as well.

Look around the NFL. Count how many coaches are absolutely brilliant. I’m talking coming up with unpredictable gameplans and using a variety of different formations, disguises and blitzes with an impeccable success rate. Obviously, Bill Belichick comes to mind, as do Sean Payton and Mike Shanahan. I think Tony Sparano and Andy Reid could be seen as borderline, given Sparano’s tutelage and Andy Reid’s long run of success with the West Coast Offense but Sparano doesn’t call plays Reid has lost his only Super Bowl in 11 seasons. It’s also worth noting that Payton and Shanahan have not been able to get good defensive coordinators.

Getting players to play physical, disciplined football and to develop camaraderie are great, but I think Raheem succeeded late last year in doing his most important task, calling plays. After all, he was smart enough in the Cover 2 for Jon Gruden to give him that task himself. The defense looked a lot better once he took over during the season, allowing 20 or fewer points five times in the final six weeks.

Steve Logan, Todd Wash, Eric Yarber, and Alex Van Pelt are the coaches with most pressure on them. The playcalling is good enough that it is on the players to dominate their matchups. Trash your preconceptions about the caliber of this staff’s intelligence and look solely at their history of developing talent and whether or not they may be able to improve from their history.

The Bucs’ success depends on the ability of the positional coaches and surely the coordinators and head coach as well, to get these players to excel. Gerald McCoy, Josh Freeman, Mike Williams, Aqib Talib and, yes, even Kareem Huggins are all in position to complete the Bucs turnaround, and bring them back to a Super Bowl. They clearly have the measurables and desire, they just need to be molded on this level.


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