One for all and all for one
Firstly let me just say that I have no inside information. My column last week somewhat calling out Coach Schiano on why Aqib Talib hadn't been cut loose was pure coincidence. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Aqib if you're reading this it wasn't my fault, I even resisted the temptation to use the line, "Taxi for Talib".
I sat watching with weary eyes as Sunday night became Monday morning wondering if I'd dropped off and started to dream. Doug Martin over 200 yards rushing? 4 TDs? What next Kelly Brook wandering into the front room? Sadly not on the Kelly front but the rest of it was real as real can be.
As I watched the Buccaneers' offense doing things that Buccaneer offenses just don't do I couldn't help but think back to the Talib story from last week. This right here is why Talib had to go. Its why Jackson had to go and its why Winslow had to go. Its "One for all and all for one".
In the week that was Tampa Bay lost their best lineman, possibly their best player. Most thought this would see the end of Doug Martin's big numbers, some thought Josh Freeman would be sacked left, right and centre.
For a long time now the phrase, "Next Man Up" has been thrown about in Tampa, its never been more accurate than it was on Sunday. Jeremy Zuttah, who has been the number one centre since Jeff Faine's release moved to a new position of left guard. Ted Larsen who hasn't played much and when he has played he's played at guard ended up at centre. No fuss. No diva like superstar strops. Just go to work.
Behind that new look O-Line, probably none of which (except Donald Penn) would have started last year helped a rookie running back go for a franchise record in terms of yards and touchdowns. That only comes from having a unit, in this case the Offensive Linemen, that plays for each other, are willing to do anything for their team mates and their team and a unit that is willing to adapt. There is no room for anything but team players. Its "One for all and all for one".
When the Buccaneers lost Adrian Clayborn for the year they didn't jump onto to the league waivers and pick some free agent veteran to fill the void. Instead Daniel Te'o-Nesheim stepped up and with the timely return of Da'Quan Bowers to action the Buccaneers D-Line carried on in the same vein as its O-Line brothers.
They continue to be strong against the run and, although you'd always like more, get a good amount of penetration to the opposing quarterbacks. The guy isn't Jared Allen but he is doing a decent job and helping the team to succeed. Its another case of a tight unit full of guys who want to play for each other and win together. Te'o-Nesheim wasn't giving interviews before getting the start moaning about anything, he just got his head down and trained to get better. Its "One for all and all for one".
Coach Schiano made the right call in getting rid of Talib and for that matter all the other troublemakers. This team is young and hungry (no not Yungry!) and needs to stick together and grow as a unit. In the early days of the Schiano regime I'd rather have a team who is consistantly good full of guys on the same page and pulling in the same direction than a team that can win big one week and get thumped the next full of bad apple superstars. I love seeing this team developing every Sunday and with guys who are there for each other, its "One for all and all for one".