Two pre-season games in to the 2011 exhibition season and the Bucs have taken on a Jekyll and Hyde complex. After drubbing the Kansas City Chiefs on the road the team returned to the friendly confines of Raymond James Stadium only to be shellacked by a veteran laden Patriots team.
P Michael Koenen – After only one punt in his Buccaneer debut Koenen was the best player on the field for the Bucs. He had 4 punts – with an average of 42.5 per punt and a long of 59, had solid hang time and show cased a strong leg.
Preston Parker – who’s in a dog fight to earn a roster spot and fight to become the teams’ fifth or sixth receiver had a good game and showed his versatility and elusiveness with 2 receptions for 43 yards and 1 kick return for 30-yards.
Tempo – The Bucs were out tempoed against a seasoned Patriots team. While the Bucs have youth on there side they were continuously beaten badly by a team that scripted its plays in a high tempo efficient manner.
Penalties – For the second straight week mental mistakes were prevalent. The team was flagged 12 times for 95-yards. Most notably the offensive line was penalized 6 times for 50-yards (4 Holding & 2 False starts). James Lee who has had a rough start committed 2 holding fouls and continues to give up pressure.
Run Defense – After holding one of the best rushing attacks of 2010 to under 90 yards a week ago the flood gates opened against the Patriots as the Bucs were gashed for 200-yards on the ground and gave up 5.6 yards per carry.
This was a clear and decisive message to a youngry Buccaneer team who might just be reading the headlines a tad bit too early. Like Dennis Green said following the epic fail that was the Cardinals vs Bears if you want to anoint there ass then go right on head and anoint their ass, but we know who they are.
I caution fans to remember that statement, as the Bucs are still rebuilding and while they completely overachieved last season it won’t be as easy this season. Mental focus, run defense and tempo are all correctable facets with good coaching. But there are sure to be peaks and valleys with the 2011 team.