The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have problems. Something is just off with this team. Sure, the Buccaneers went through a very strange offseason.
An offseason which included the loss of several key players and their Super Bowl-winning head coach, but this team still possesses the main nucleus that made it one of the NFL’s best over the previous two seasons.
Video: Bucs’ Devin White says of Falcons’ comeback that “when you’re beating a team, kind of imposing your will on them, it can get boring and you can get less aggressive.” pic.twitter.com/0yZMLcHs5W
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) October 9, 2022
At this point it’s fair to wonder where the players’ heads are. It all started with Devin White’s comment from last week about the Buccaneers defense becoming “less aggressive” because they were imposing their will on the Atlanta Falcons. Therefore, things got “boring”, according to White.
In case people forgot, the Buccaneers had to withstand a second half comeback from the Falcons, who were dealt a crappy hand by the referees on the now-infamous Grady Jarrett roughing the passer call.
Now, head coach Todd Bowles is wondering where his own teams’ collective head is after a terrible loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
A team that was not only 1-4, but a 10-point underdog coming into the Week 6 matchup. “I think guys are living off the Super Bowl [and] are living in a fantasy land,” Bowles said after the game. “You gotta get your hands dirty and go to work like everybody else.
And we’ve been working hard, but we’ve gotta work harder. Nobody’s going to give us anything or feel sorry [for us]…
“The time for talking is over. You’ve either gotta put up or shut up.” Bowles showed a fire in his response that had not been seen through the first six weeks of the season.
Initially, it appeared as if the Buccaneers head coach was dishing out a message to his team. Calling them out, like his predecessor Bruce Arians would do after a dismal performance. But when asked to expound upon his statement, Bowles decided to walk it back.
“I didn’t say we were,” said Bowles. “I’m just saying … every year and every week, you’ve gotta go out there and earn your pay and earn your keep.
And if you don’t live like that then it’s going to be a result like today.” No one would’ve blamed Bowles for sticking with his message.
This team needs something to wake it out of the slog it’s currently going through. There’s nothing wrong with lighting a fire under his team and instilling a sense of urgency. Because, boy, if this team ever needed a jolt, a shake-up, a shot in the arm, or whatever dumb cliche you want to use, it’s now.
The team’s lethargic, ineffective offense is starting to drag the defense down. It’s an unsustainable model that is bound to collapse at any moment unless Bowles and the Buccaneers do something about it.
Bowles can continue to traverse down the path of non-answers and innocuous responses to questions that pertain to the failures of his team, but that’s unsustainable, as well. People are eventually going to get tired of the schtick, if they aren’t already.
Either way, something has to change. And it has to change quick. Or else this team can kiss its postseason dreams goodbye.