So ends the season, one of the most disappointing in team history.
It’s over. It’s blessedly, mercifully over. Ten straight losses, five straight blowouts, and the end of a sixteen week torture session. Rejoice fans, you get a whole eight months without having to watch Jeremy Trueblood whiff on blocks, Kellen Winslow draw offensive pass interference flags, Tanard Jackson bounce off opposing running backs like a rubber bullet against a refrigerator door, and Roy Miller drop back into coverage.
The Buccaneers didn’t finish with the worst record — hell, they claim victories over the Saints and Falcons — but their early season success betrays their late-season ineptitude. They were the worst team in the 2011 National Football League, and for the first time in years, the season’s final gun brought more relief than remorse.
The house Raheem Morris and company built in 2010 has crumbled. It needs to be demolished — the walls, the floors, everything. Those building blocks we thought we had in players like Mike Williams, Gerald McCoy, and LeGarrette Blount may not survive the purge. No one from this regime is safe, not Josh Freeman, not Mason Foster… and after the performance they gave to close the season, it’s no wonder.
A new coach brings a new philosophy, and if (when) Morris and Greg Olson are fired, it marks a complete removal from the Jon Gruden and Monte Kiffin era. Farewell to the horizontal West Coast offense, so long to the Cover-2 (though Raheem claims to have abandoned it already). And say goodbye to the players who fit those schemes: your Tanard Jacksons, Geno Hayeses, and…
You know, no one on the offense really fits that short-throwing West Coast scheme that Greg Olson employs. No wonder it doesn’t work.
Has a team ever so blatantly surrendered halfway through a season? What happened out there? The Buccaneers were run ragged through the gauntlet of NFL elites — six consecutive games against San Francisco, New Orleans, Chicago (with Jay Cutler), New Orleans, Houston (with Matt Schaub), and Green Bay — and came out, understandably, 1-5.
The turning point came in Week 12. They rolled into Tennessee a respectable 4-6, showed some serious fight, but lost a close one to the Titans late in the fourth quarter. The team left their vigor and energy in Nashville, because they were destroyed in the following five weeks. The Buccaneers didn’t even bother showing up after their loss to the Titans. They bristled at comments attacking their effort, and every week, we got a new chant about how things were turning around, but come game day, the team fell flat. Deflated. Exhausted. Disinterested.
It’s like no one told them they were accountable. No one told them they were professionals. The only man in the building who seemed to care was the head coach, and their apathy will cost him his job.