Saying bye-bye at the bye
It’s the Bye week, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers get to do a wonderful thing: Say BYE BYE to London and pretty much the first half of the season.
Yes the Bucs still have nine games left, but in the first seven, they’ve stumped everyone who has any inkling of sports knowledge: How do the Bucs constantly lose when everyone thinks they have every advantage in the world, and win when no one expects you to even be able to save face?
Answer? Youth. But this is nothing new, we already know this team is young, the coach tells us every week, and it’s going to stay young. Yes, we could have picked up some free agents to provide depth like when Earnest Graham goes down. But how do we know if Kregg Lumpkin can get it done if we need him to? (By the way, we now know the answer).
So at some point, were just going to have to accept the fact the Bucs are going to play these kids until they realize a kid cant play, and he will be replaced with another kid. It’s going to be great one day down the road when this team grows up together and learns how to be consistent in its play and attitude. So what do we have to look forward to?
Defensive Line is a big improvement on last year’s model, and it starts with Adrian Clayborn. He got another sack last week, and he is a real monster on the end. Frank Okam can play the interior, and when a team is running the ball, He’s perfect for the job. Gerald McCoy hasn’t grown into the roll as fast as Ndamukong Suh, but he is getting penetration, and Brian Price is too, as he slowly recovers from his major injury.
This Bucs team was 30 yards away from winning last week, even though they were down by three scores, and were playing their 3rd string center, 3rd string tailback, backup safety, and backup middle linebacker, the quarterback of the defense.
The bye week comes at a perfect time, the team can rest and heal its starters, and go into the rest of the year where they play most of their games on the road, including facing some tough offenses like Green Bay on the road, and Houston at home.
But Tampa Bay also has some competition it should be favored against, especially if they’re healthy. Tennessee, Jacksonville, and a couple against Carolina present the Bucs with a good, not great, but good opportunity to pick up their 8th win of the year.
That leaves Dallas and division rivals we’ve beaten already, New Orleans and Atlanta, to provide the difference between staying home, or playing a game, during the New Year's holiday season.
So far the Bucs have had some ‘lucky’ wins if you will, games they went wild and came from behind like Minnesota and Indianapolis. But remember, the two games we’ve won against our division mates, the Bucs took control of those games early, and kept control until the end. This is NOT a team that is hopeless or lost- They are in every game, and that’s something you cant take away from them in 2011.