By Joshua P. Mulvehill
I am a Tampa Bay Buccaneer fanatic (It’s ok, the first step is admitting). In fact, I drove home from Charlotte, NC to Augusta, GA listening to the season opener against the Panthers on a Charlotte AM station until the 4th quarter, 2 minute warning when the Bucs got their first down and the signal started to absolutely fade.
I am also proud to say I listened to the other four-fifths of the quarter to in-&-out static so that I didn’t have to look at my phone while driving. Not to mention I wore a John Lynch jersey (#43, the hardest hitting safety in football) to every game the Bucs played against the Panthers at B of A Stadium until the jersey was finally at its end. In short, I’m dedicated.
Yet, I am ashamed. I’d like to understand how we beat our division rivals in our season opener, but loose three games in a row to the Giants (understandable), Dallas (with head coach, Jerry Jones), and rookie quarterback for the Redskins. Is this seriously happening? Somalian pirates have better strategy than we do. AND WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BE PIRATES!
But it’s ok Josh, I have faith in you. After all, “Chucky” did say you’re an outstanding athlete and very well rounded. You’re still second in the NFC South, ignoring your 2-3 record; the only team in the division better than you is the only unbeaten team left in the NFL, which is comforting (sarcasm at its finest); and most of all, we at the Gridiron Gab have you ranked #24 in the power rankings right behind the team who doesn’t even have a head coach. Seriously, ‘Come on Man!’
So let’s figure this out. Saints in week 7 is a must win in order to begin to cement our spot as number two in the NFC South. Then two road games, first against Minnesota and Raiders, respectively; not necessarily easy games (I have met Raiders fans and frankly, Halloween comes every Sunday for them) but if the Bucs can link a four-game winning streak together, going 5-3, they will have all the momentum going against Phillip Rivers and the dominant San Diego Chargers at their home turf, a Week 1 rematch against Cam and Steve Smith in Carolina, and a possible unbeaten team, the Falcons in a home game that could mean a lot for the division itself. It’s a tough next six weeks but we have got to do this…and this is how.
First off, Doug Martin. The rookie out of Boise State has only 1 touchdown. There is absolutely no way that an effective offense can manage to pull out wins if their leading rusher only has one touchdown. Secondly, Josh Freeman has 5 interceptions. Whether it is his fault or not, his positive record against the Saints throughout his meetings with them will mean nothing if he continues to throw sporadically instead of just throwing it away.
This means, however, that the Bucs Wide Receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams have got to have time to get open and make a play. How do they do this? Refer, to the third sentence on running the ball. It must be done! But none of this will matter if our secondary cannot show up for a game. Seriously, we are 31 out of 32 teams in passing yards allowed, 312.2 yards/game. Who cares if we only allow 75.0 rushing yards a game if we are getting beat on the deep ball. There has to be changes and they must happen this week.
I am a fanatic. I am an addict. But I am getting extremely frustrated with the lack of attention to detail that was clearly apparent in week 2, 3, & 4. Please change, your fans depend on it in order for the “TAMPA…..BAAAYYYY” chant to continue.