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Apocalypse Now

Buccaneers Gab Featured Contributor Chris C.

Think of a car that has been totaled.  Or rather, think of the 2011 Bucs, and then try to think of an analogy that captures them.  My guess is that a totaled car will be the least gruesome of the images that come to mind.

There is no need to rehash the grisly details.  We’ve seen them; they’re seared into our collective frontal cortex.  What we want to know is: How did this happen?

Think of the totaled car.  Sometimes the accident that produced a wreck is easily explicable: the driver was, as we say, “under the influence.”  The first thought we have, thus, is that perhaps the drivers of our team have not been in their right minds.  Olson calls an end-around, to Benn, which has never worked, on third and two, in the red zone, during a crucial drive, and loses twelve yards.  Question: Which game am I talking about?

It would be tougher to say if we hadn’t just witnessed it as the centerpiece inanity in a 38-19 blowout loss to the lowly Panthers.  Point being, we’ve seen it before – lots.  Consistent inanity bespeaks a certain football voodoo in the mind of Greg Olson that lacks any place in reality where “the rubber hits the road.”  It is easy to confuse Olson’s game plans with notes scribbled after an incense-laced Ouija board séance.  His horse sense has the kick of a crippled mule.

On defense, gap integrity seems to be about as comprehensible to our line as Hittite pottery shards engraved with Linear B.  Tackling appears to be as difficult a technique as the infamous Iron Lotus – thankfully, whatever decapitation we’ve suffered has been figurative.  Whatever bright spots there are – a Clayborn sack here, a Bowers bull-rush there – are like shards of glass and hunks of metal flying around willy-nilly after the vehicle’s already been smashed.  At any given moment, there looks to be about six Bucs on the field, as the linebackers in particular have mastered an art that is quite impressive – namely, the magic trick of disappearing on-sight – but unfortunately has nothing to do with football as known to mere mortals.  Why are the shards and shreds flying around?  Why has the vehicle been smashed?  Who is teaching our linebackers magic tricks?  Raheem Morris may not have much to work with, but he has taken his ramshackle automobile and turned it into a Pinto.  We know what happens to these on impact.

Ka-boom.

Back to the totaled car.  Sometimes it is not that the driver was intoxicated; sometimes, it is just that the crew in the car was distracting the driver, yelling, making a general cacophony, not being responsible, perhaps acting like children.  We’ve seen mental breakdowns before.  Chris Simms came back after a playoff season and had a few passes batted down in the first preseason game.  Then more in the second.  Then more.  Then more still.  It got to the point where, by the season opener, it was obvious to everyone watching that he had a monster in his head telling him to just get the ball over the defenders’ fingertips.  The Simms Model was totaled, and the cause was mental preoccupation with baby steps in a league of bigfoots.  The Freeman Model has also gone mental – the monster in his head growls constantly, “Don’t stare down the receivers;” “Don’t force it over the middle;” “Stay in the pocket, because that’s what Mr. Brady does;” “Oh, and don’t stare down the receivers.”  Our standard bearer has to complete an angst-filled, interior monologue fit for Hamlet before he can even decide to step on the gas.  Our receivers as well dropped one pass, then two, then twenty.  They have their own Hamlet-like mental nail-biting going on.  As all of these distractions compound among the passengers, and the driver – Coach Olson – continues to practice his mystic arts, the result is foreseeable:

Ka-boom.

Return again to the car.  We’ve noted the cases of the intoxicated driver and the irresponsible, disruptive passengers.  Yet there’s also cases where the crash was precipitated by malfunctioning machinery – a wheel shoots off, an engine burps, the lights blow out.  A mediocre defense with Cody Grimm, Gerald McCoy, Aqib Talib, Brian Price, and Michael Bennett has seen the first two break down completely, the second two go creaky and corroded, and the last flare out at least temporarily.  The line between a fender-bender and a totaling draws perilously nearer with those facts alone.  Add in the Pintoing of the gang left standing by the coaching staff and another series of mental monsters morphing the players into eleven Hamlets pacing around nervously, and the line is not merely crossed but left so far behind that we forget we even crossed it in the first place.

So, picture the car.  The driver’s seat is occupied by an incense-minded OC plus a DC who turns fundamentals into impenetrable enigmas while ghosting as a Head Coach, the other seats are filled by fifty or so Hamlets haunted by their own inexperience, trauma and insecurity, and the trunk, meanwhile, is packed with the bodies of the fallen – and they’re all yelling at each other, yelling at themselves, but somehow in dulcet tones suggesting they’re just having a good time.

Is this likely to be a smart, tough, and consistent drive?  No Magic 8-Ball necessary – the answer is: “Not Likely.”

What happens as this vehicle barrels down the road?

A six game losing streak that feels like sixty, capped with a Parthian shot from the up-and-comers betting that their Newton Model is better than ours?  Sounds about right.

Ka-boom.

The only question remaining is who will survive the wreckage, who will emerge from the flames?  More importantly: Who is to blame?  Who deserves to survive?

The disturbing thing about the idea of the apocalypse is that it wipes everything out – the good and the bad alike.  A lot of us are – understandably – inclined to start thinking apocalypse right now.  It’s hard to see precisely who is to blame: everyone and no one.  Nonetheless, while the world has not ended, the car – our ultimate Buc Model – has been exploded.  We may see some pieces put back together by the end of the season, but the thing is just not going to run without wheezing along, pushed by anyone who decided to step up and take on the burden.

I do not know who deserves to survive, who ought to be around next season to aid in replacing the now destroyed vehicle.  I know, however, that it needs replacing, because this turkey is charcoal-buttered toast.

This is the end, my friends.

We see it.  Let’s hope that the powers that be see it as well.


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3 Responses to “Apocalypse Now”

  1. BucsFanAndaBudMan says:

    Recall the capsized, sinking ship The Poseidon. The truth that’s hard to swallow in times like these is captured by Kurt Russell: “Nothing’s fair about who lives or dies.”

    Triage in a crisis is quick and dirty, the objective is to help as many people as possible while preventing the waste of scarce resources on lost or questionable causes. A faint pulse and shallow breathing is marked “D” for “Dead” without hesitation. Olson and Morris have bulging bellies and blood oozing from every orifice; you do the math. It’s not fair that Morris has to go, he deserves the chance to be a pure head coach with new OC/DC, but nothing ever is fair when you’re riding shot gun on the Poseidon.

  2. Tampa Too says:

    I think If Morris wins out, or maybe if he just beats Dallas convincingly, he won’t be fired.

    I agree it’s too early to throw him out. I’d give him four or five games into next year, and if the same crap continues, he’s gone on the spot. The management should make it clear to him and to all of the players. It’s both merciful and harsh.

    However, this is a business, and it may be the case that Raheem at this point has already passed the point of no return as an investment. Judging from the crowd at the Panthers game, it’s probably so.

    We’ll know soon enough which way the pendulum will swing.

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