What do we have in Tampa Bay?
Let's open it up and take a deep look. The last four weeks, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have played the two division leaders (from the two best divisions mind you) and split ROAD games against them, losing to the best team by a FG in overtime, and beating the other. That is pretty impressive.
Problem is, we canít just forget about 0-8, but doesnít that team seem like a distant memory? Can you picture the Bucs losing 31-13 this Sunday? Did you think we would lose by that score BEFORE the last Carolina game, which incidentally was the exact score?
What else have the Bucs done? They have beaten two poor teams, including one complete dissection of Atlanta. In other words, did what they were supposed to do. Canít penalize them for that.
What we have here is a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that is improving. Its now painfully obvious that Josh Freeman was a cancer. It sure didnít seem that way; Josh was so low-key. But just being in there, and knowing him like the Bucs did, they probably had no clue which side to be on. It had to be a locker room quite divided; like Freemanís attention.
Is it any wonder the disastrous start to the Jets game happened knowing what we know now? And to think we blamed coaching on that. You get the feeling if coaching had done the right thing, they would have traded Freeman in the offseason and started Glennon, but that would have alienated Bucs fans, and without a doubt, the Bucs top guard were probably still on #5ís side. It took 4 weeks for the Bucs players to straighten their thoughts out in their heads.
After the last second loss to Arizona when Glennon had managed the game until he was asked to do too much too late, Bucs players had to feel like the season was over. It was probably the coaching staff that KEPT the Bucs heads in the season, not take them out of it. Because after the Carolina drubbing, with everyone calling for Schianoís head, the Glazers gave the beleaguered coach a message, which he delivered to his team.
His perseverance, his toughness, inspired the team, and they showed it by coming out and playing lights out against the best team in the NFC.
Could a change happen again? If players didnít quit then, they wont quit now. I expect the Bucs to play their hearts out over the next 5 games. I doubt they will win them all, with players still falling like flies, itís even harder to win; TE Tom Crabtree is on IR, and Darrelle Revis is an unknown. But the next man up mentality that Raheem Morris preached is working for the Bucs.
Is this 1996 all over again? Time will answer that question, time for the Bucs to grow with each other, time for the Bucs QB to grow on us, time for Greg Schiano to continue to change some of his ways, and time for us to change some of ours.