With this weekend’s big game in London on tap, we reached out to not one, but two bloggers that follow the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Niko Houllis covers the Bucs for Buc ‘Em – SBNation’s home of the Buccaneers. We also reached out to Bucs Central – a very impressive blog and information source for Buccaneers fans.
1) Raheem Morris has obviously not got off to the start to his head coaching career that he would like, will he be a good NFL head coach, or was he rushed into the position a little bit?
BucEm: I was a big Raheem supporter back in 2007 when he came back and rescued our secondary. He is a hot young coaching prospect whom the Bucs decided to go with before someone else did. Was it done too early? Well, Bill Belichick would not be able to get these guys to win. There simply isnt enough talent on this team, and it was doomed for a 3-4 win max season. Morris has made a few mistakes, but this is the season to get them out of the way.
BucsCentral: The cupboard was left bare when the team decided to go in it’s current direction. Then they had the purge of veterans and vocal leaders along with two new schemes being deployed along with the teams desire to go by the way of a zone blocking scheme and a young roster with players trying to find themselves. Factor in a head coach who was going to be in over his head from the start, the lack of spending, the team wanting to start from scratch and no identity on either side of the football and it’s easy to say the Glazer’s were trying to capture lighting in a bottle. By that when you look at who they hired in the past in Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden – the expectation by some fans seemed unrealistic at best. Bottom line is there is no doubt that Raheem Morris was rushed into the position before he was ready. Is he a good coach? the jury is still out, but at the moment things aren’t looking good for his future in Tampa in 2010.
2) The Bucs seem to have quite a bit of talent, especially on offense, what’s gone wrong thus far?
BucEm: The defense was a complete embarrassment in the first few weeks, putting the offense 2 or 3 scores behind before the 1st quarter! Thus ending the game plan for running the ball and setting up the play action. Teams got good video on Byron Leftwich and how the Bills blitzed up the middle where starting center Jeff Faine was absent. Everyone else copied that game plan, and Morris made the choice to remove Leftwich for a 2nd year QB, which is also going to set the offense back. He has shown promise, but this team has married itself to Josh Freeman, and his time is coming soon. There are some bright spots on the offense, Cadillac Williams is back, and Kellen Winslow is dangerous. But none of it will matter until next season.
BucsCentral: The wind was effectively taken out of their sails, when the decision was made to fire offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski 10 days before the regular season opener. Then the teams best offensive lineman Jeff Faine goes down in the season opener and a revolving door under center with a young quarterback taking a gigantic leap in competition levels in Josh Johnson, along with an offensive coordinator willing to abandon the running game to quickly and have an inexperienced signal caller shoulder the load and viola! You get a cluster fudge of epic portions’. Couple that with a porous defense trying to two gap with it’s interior defensive lineman who are better built to be one-gapers and its easy to see why the team is zero-dash-six and facing the likelihood of a franchise suffering through its second winless season in the not so storied history of the organization.
3) Bill Belichick had praise for Aqib Talib this week. Is he a shutdown corner?
BucEm: So far he is proving himself to be one, and a player the Bucs can build a defense around like they did Derrick Brooks and Hardy Nickerson in 1996. He has held Steve Smith and DeSean Jackson to two catches total in the last two games. Before that he had 3 picks vs the skins. His true exam comes Sunday vs Moss.
BucsCentral: The last three weeks Talib has really elevated his game. He has held the likes of Steve Smith and DeSean Jackson to two catches for 9 yards, throw in his three interceptions against the Redskins and one can see where the praise is generated from. The problem is that he’s very susceptible to double moves and sometimes will play down to his level of competition. But he has the size, speed and ball skills when he’s motivated to be a very solid corner with the skills and athletic ability to become mentioned with some of the leagues top corners.
4) What things have you been encouraged by thus far this season? Where might the Bucs surprise us?
BucEm: If the Patriots overshoot the runway and land in Berlin. No seriously, the Bucs are hopelessly outmanned here in this game, but they say on any given Sunday because Men play this game, and this game, being in London, England, could have something in it that gives the Bucs a chance to keep it close.
BucsCentral: The teams seventh round draft pick, Sammie Stroughter* has been a bright spot to an other wise uninspiring start to the season. The heart that it takes to rebound from not one but two major knee injuries in back to back seasons the way Cadillac Williams is running the football when given a chance has looked explosive and nothing short of a miracle. It’s return game and coverage units are top notch and do a respectable job when called upon.
*Editor’s note: Does the name Sammie Stroughter sound familiar? It should.
5) Any ideas on why Joey Galloway didn’t fit with the Patriots? What was his rep down in Tampa during his time there?
BucEm: Joey Galloway was the only Bucs receiver ever, not Kevin House, not Mark Carrier, to ever have 3 x 1000 years. He was the deep threat Tampa Bay was looking for, and he stretched the field because the Bucs had nothing else. The Pats have that someone in Randy Moss, so I think you guys were trying to use him as an ordinary Wide Receiver. Joey was no saint, he had his share of drops. But when your job is to stretch a Defense, its forgivable. Joey’s drop in the Atlanta game did not sit right with Tom Brady, and he is the undisputed leader of the Pats.
Plus, Joey was at the end of a career that never really allowed him to reach his potential. He accounted for only a handful of plays for the Bucs last year.
BucsCentral: Galloway was a player that was fed the football a lot and the focal point of the offense, but was always nicked up with injuries. Galloway in his last season in Tampa loafed a lot and showed signs of wearing down and not willing to go all out. Even seemed disinterested at times failing to run routes full speed and even openly pouted when he was not the primary receiver.
BucEm has posted our responses to their questions here: Conversation with Pats blogs