Buccaneers fans are in a class of our own
We can take a 2-0 record and tell the world how we deserve to win the Super bowl, while taking this 0-2 start and swearing the sky is indeed falling! The truth is somewhere in between…this is a team that has lost two paper thin games by the slimmest of margins, and as a result, are one game behind the NFC South lead…not a game closer, or farther, which may be surprising to many!
The Question is, how close are the Bucs to turning this thing around, or are they closer to having it all fall apart at 0-3? Because as Bucs fans, we know all too well how fast 0-2 turns into 4-12. But it doesn’t have to happen that way; the 0-3 Bucs of 1982 won 5 of 6 games to finish 5-4 and make the watered down playoffs.
But that was a generation ago, and this is today, 2013, and the Bucs do not have a QB who led his team to the playoffs (although it should be mentioned that the 2010 season was a 10-6 campaign that should have been a playoff run). Indeed, the Bucs are approaching a huge “Cracker Barrel” size FORK in the road, and how these players handle the game will have an even larger effect on the overall result in the standings.
The past two preseasons, the Bucs were simply manhandled by the Patriots. It’s almost as if the Bucs are the infant little brother of the Pats, and big brother beats up on us just because he can. Of course those games are irrelevant, because they are preseason; but with everything in the Bucs heads, can you really say for certain this is something that definitely will stay out?
The Patriots are most definitely NOT the Pats of old. They have no wide eeceivers to speak of. Gronkowski and Amendola will most likely NOT play against the Bucs, and those are their two best weapons for Tom Brady to throw to. Meanwhile the Bucs actually have a defense this year, plus its September so there will be no frozen tundra to speak of. Just like the Bucs are losing by the slimmest of margins, the Pats are winning by the same manners but New England did have an extra three days to practice for the game since they last played Thursday prior to the weekend.
The most dangerous aspect of this game is the mental angle, because we’ve seen Tampa Bay seasons go up in smoke once a week three game takes the same path to the sky. 2006 comes to mind, when expectations for the team and QB went up in smoke with losses in the first two games behind poor QB play. Mind you, unless Josh Freeman loses a spleen, we can’t really compare the two seasons further, but there were other problems besides spotty QB play, and those remained a constant theme for the rest of the year.
2004 would be a closer example, after a 2003 season that showed the Bucs a top 10 offense; the first two games were abysmal. After 4 games, Jon Gruden had no choice but to turn the offense over to Chris Simms. Greg Schiano may feel like he has no choice but to do the same soon. But in each of those occasions, the QB for the Bucs either had a season ending injury or reached the twilight of his career. Freeman suffers from neither of these. But its not too late for Josh to get over whatever funk has the clouds swirling in his head. The Bucs are overdue for the bounces of the ball to go their way, and the Patriots are ripe for a losing streak to begin to dethrone that franchise as age and time have ravaged their roster.
Tampa Bay has a defense that is right around the corner from reaching its potential, and Josh Freeman, whatever his future may be here in Tampa, is too fresh into a new season to slip that far into a funk so early. If he is going to overcome his personal demons this year, this is a great week to do so. Because the alternative isn’t going to be pretty for anyone who has “Buccaneers” associated with their name.