Assign blame only where it is truly deserved
Moral victories, close but no cigar, playing tough to the final whistle. So many words have been written about last weekend's loss to the Giants that I do not want to dedicate a whole column to reviewing it once again. But a few points that do stick out days after the final snap in the Meadowlands.
The sheer naiviety of some American message boards fans has to be seen to be believed when it comes to defensive blame. As soon as they see a defensive back chasing a player into the endzone, then it must immediately be that Buc's fault and he should therefore be cut on the spot. Do they not even understand the technicalities of their own sport?
The number of people who have laid into Aqib Talib and Brandon McDonald has been excessive to the extreme. Neither had stellar games but go back and watch the game film and check out the amount of blitzing that the Bucs were doing and how often they were left on an island.
And for all the pot-shots being taken at Talib (insert your own obvious ironic comment here), it seems as if Ronde Barber is totally untouchable when it comes to criticism. But two of the Giants' touchdown passes were down to his positioning and gambling on the play. He obviously gets a pass on these things on account of age and experience.
So we now head down to Dallas where you know the Cowboys' offense will be thinking huge numbers having seen the five-spot Eli put up on the Bucs. Even their sixth string WR is likely to get a start in some fantasy leagues expecting more of the same.
Will the Bucs blitz as much Sunday? I expect not and I hope not too. It worked against the Panthers and it worked for 30 minutes at Met Life Stadium but then the old adage of "live by the blitz, die by the blitz" came true. Look for a slightly more conservative defensive game call in Texas and the likes of Adrian Clayborn being turned loose rather than play containment from the right end.
Going into the season Buc fans, would you have been happy with a 1-1 start? How about a 1-2 start? Even the most blinkered fan with pewter glasses could not have expected two wins from the first three games when looking at the schedule. So does that mean you start laying into the new coaching staff if things go awry Sunday?
In the 2012 message board world then many probably do. Results do not always tell the true story but results are the name of the game. I am impressed with what I have seen so far in 120 minutes of competitive football from Greg Schiano's Buccaneers and I realise this is a work in progress, a long way from the finished product.
When I think back to early days for other Buc coaches, I think back to Ray Perkins' 1987 Bucs looking really good early on, and Tony Dungy's 1996 Bucs stinking up the the joint at 0-5 and then 1-8. Which one turned out to better in the long run?
So win or lose Sunday in Dallas, we just want to see more of the same hard-nosed football and perhaps a little less of the 16-man blitz defense employed in New York. And should either team be taking a knee near the end of the game, the most attention ever paid to that kind of snap in NFL history.
You've been great, enjoy Hollywood Beyond.