Simply Looking For A Few Good Men …. Can You Handle The Truth ?

Simply Looking For A Few Good Men …. Can You Handle The Truth ?

By tophatal ………..

There’s no denying that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had one of one of the more disappointing seasons in their recent history . So much was expected from this team after their breakout year in 2010 . Narrowly missing the postseason by the slightest of margins . Last year for the Buccaneers as coached by Raheem Morris led to an unhappy tidings not only for the beleaguered coach but also for several of the players , most notably starting quarterback Josh Freeman , LeGarrette Blount and specifically the Buccaneers’ defense .


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Slide show for your perusal .

It’s hard to comprehend how the Buccaneers could end up losing 10 consecutive games as their season wound up in flames in 2011 but that is exactly what was achieved by the team that essentially led to Morris’ dismissal by GM Mark Dominik at the behest of the team’s owners the Glazer family , led by patriarch Malcolm Glazer . Not necessarily shocking as to the abrupt firing of Raheem Morris but it was plain to see that the young coach had lost the confidence of a young and ill-disciplined team . Furthermore , veteran players such as Ronde Barber and Kellen Winslow Jr simply showed a lack of real leadership , all this from two of the team’s more recognizable faces . But alas, this is what tends to happen to players who are now simply past their prime and who as such are being richly rewarded while being unproductive .

In light of Morris’ departure , Mark Dominik had something of a major search on his hands , in gauging a likely successor for Raheem Morris . After conducting several interviews of a wide and varying list of candidates , Greg Schiano was hired as the head coach . The former Rutgers’ head coach then went about assembling an assistant coaching staff with former Tar Heels head coach Butch Davis being hired as a special consultant to assist Schiano in whatever capacity is sought by the new incumbent head coach. As good a hire as that might appear to be on paper , I am not so sure with the experience of Davis we will actually see any great improvement from this team in its present guise . And given that Butch Davis’ career with North Carolina ended in a great deal of controversy I certainly don’t believe his hiring was an appropriate one ! Davis’ candor , and lies to members of the schools faculty leads me to believe that he is simply a man with little credibility or integrity . And even though his actual apology to the school came after his initial denials of any wrong-doing on his part that led NCAA violations concerning recruitment policies and a lack oversight by the coaching staff as it related to players’ conduct and what is believed to be the lack of monitoring academic standards by players on the football team .

For a team that was simply lacking in so many facets of the game it is easy to understand why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers failed so miserably last season . Not much of a defense and even more so their run and pass offense was simply mediocre within the NFL . Clearly the Buccaneers have issues on both sides of the ball and they need to addressed either through free agency or via the upcoming NFL Draft .

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will have the fifth pick in the Draft and it remains to be seen what decisions will be made by Schiano in conjunction Dominik and the scouting department of the team’s front office . I’m not about to boast any type of prognostication as to which direction the team is liable to go in terms of that first round pick but I would like to think that if the organization’s draft history is anything to go by , then I hope it will be a prudent and insightful choice ! It has been a number of years since the Buccaneers have had a first round pick that has actually gone to make a big impact within the NFL . Carnell “Cadillac” Williams was thought to be a player who would be a great impact for this organization , only for the running back to literally disappear from the landscape after his first four games of his professional career within the NFL . From thereon-in , it was simply downhill for the player who is now languishing as part of the St Louis Rams’ ….. offense .

Buccaneers’ quarterback Josh Freeman in the aftermath of a down year in 2011 with there being little to suggest that the his regression was nothing more than his opponents are now aware of the player’s limitations and capabilities. Quarterbacks taken in the same year (2009) as Freeman and in subsequent years have had their ups and downs , as can be expected . And as the off-season begins to gain momentum with the free agency status slowly coming to into its nascent . Now the ” movers and shakers” are beginning to make their intent known .

Now as the NFL watches and waits to see the ultimate destination of quarterback Peyton Manning , it will be interesting to see the decision made by the renowned quarterback . Having met with the executives of the Miami Dolphins , Arizona Cardinals , Denver Broncos , Tennessee Titans and it’s said the Washington Redskins . I do believe that the two franchise best suited to the player’s skill-set are the Broncos and Cardinals ! . GM Rod Graves of the Arizona Cardinals and Brian Xanders in conjunction with John Elway of the Denver Broncos will make a full court press to sell the virtues of their respective organizations. Manning and his agent Tom Condon will certainly be looking for the best fit that suits the player , and I for one doubt that Manning has a real desire to ply his trade within the NFC but then again I may well be wrong . And given the quality of the quarterbacks to be found within the conference could the four-time league MVP still be a resounding success playing at a high-caliber at this stage of his already unprecedented fourteen year career ? Your thoughts ?

I would like to think that Greg Schiano can be a success with the Buccaneers and make this franchise a resurgent force once again . But herein lies the caveat for the organization , anything short of winning season and the fans will simply begin to desert the team in droves , leaving Raymond James Stadium simply looking fit for nothing more than staging a funeral or perhaps a Jonas Brothers for adoring teenage and preteen females . Attendance for the Buccaneers home games last season bordered on being abysmal with several of those being blacked out due to the lack of there being fans presence that met with the league’s criteria in order for the games being showed live within the local tv market . And one wonders why there has been a great deal of apathy concerning the Tampa Bay are professional sports’ franchises ? The Tampa Bay Lightning , Tampa Bay Rays and Buccaneers have all struggled to gain any semblance of acceptance with regard to fan attendance at their respective home venues .

As part of what appears to be Schiano’s first steps in bolstering the roster the organization has signed free agent wide receiver Vincent Jackson to a 5 yr deal that makes the player one of the highest paid wide receivers in the NFL . As how this adds to the core already on hand with this Buccaneers’ team remains to be seen and also which players will be deemed superfluous to the coaching staff’s needs .

Jackson , the troubled star on an under-performing …. San Diego Chargers’ …. team this past ….. season could well provide the Buccaneers with the productivity they need to make their offense more potent within the NFC West . And no doubt a player of Jackson’s caliber will see the Tampa Buccaneers as an environment where he can regain the momentum that made him a Pro Bowl caliber wide receiver within the NFL . Hopefully , the addition of Vincent Jackson can mean something tangible for the Buccaneers this upcoming season . If not , then it will be back to the drawing board once again , and nothing could be more disconcerting than having to see the franchise start afresh once again . Your thoughts on the matter ?

Apathy has and always will be the norm within this local market when it comes to all three franchises and it is easy to see why . Success has been fleeting for all three franchises in recent years. The Buccaneers haven’t had any real success since their triumph over the Oakland Raiders in the 2003 Superbowl . Their NHL counterpart the Tampa Bay Lightning in spite of the turnover in player personnel and change of ownership , hasn’t tasted real success in recent years even in spite of the Stanley Cup triumph in 2004 . Only recent years have the Tampa Bay Rays made their presence felt in the regular and postseason . And last season simply showed why the Rays came up short once again purely due to the fact that the depth of the roster simply wasn’t good enough at any point of their foray as a precursor to the 2011 World Series . .

Guy Boucher , Joe Maddon and Greg Schiano will have a great deal to prove during 2012 , no matter which way you look at things . So make of it what you will .


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Picture gallery for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have with regard to the salient points within this piece ? Chime in with a comment as you would deem fit and as always thanks for the continued support !


Picture and slide show details below .


(1) FILE – In this Jan. 8, 2011 file photo, New Orleans Saints’ Carl Nicks (77) walks off the field after an NFL NFC wild card playoff football game loss to the Seattle Seahawks, in Seattle. Nicks has become the first 2011 All-Pro to change teams in free agency, leaving New Orleans on Wednesday, March 14, 2012, for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. AP Photo/Elaine Thompson ….

(2) TAMPA, FL – NOVEMBER 13: Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (95) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sets for a play against the Houston Texans , November 13, 2011 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. According to reports February 15, 2012, the Buccaneers have released Haynesworth. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images …. …..

(3) Coach Greg Schiano of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers speaks to the media at an introduction press conference at the team training facility January 27, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images …..

(4) San Diego Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) stands on the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville, Fla., Monday, Dec. 5, 2011. AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack …..

(5) Josh Freeman (5) talks with Jeremy Zuttah (76) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after a play clock violation during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on January 2, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Getty Images North America / Chris Graythern

(6) Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon watches from the dugout during the second inning of a spring training baseball game in Fort Myers, Fla., Saturday, March 10, 2012. AP Photo/Charles Krupa …..

(7) Head coach Guy Boucher of the Tampa Bay Lightning speaks to the media after they defeated the Boston Bruins 5 – 3 in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at St Pete Times Forum on May 21, 2011 in Tampa. Getty Images /Justin K . Aller …….





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