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Bucs may be most inconsistent team in league

Buccaneers' Freeman is pressured by Bears' Moore as Buccaneers' Joseph follows the play during their NFL football game at Wembley Stadium AP

We’re evaluating the “state of the season” when every team hits their bye week.

We’ve already looked at the Bears and Raiders this week. Now up: The maddening Bucs.

Yungry, with emphasis on young

The Bucs entered this year with the youngest roster in football. While they have solidified their 10-6 record from a year ago in some ways, their incredible inconsistency speaks to their youth.

The Bucs have impressive home wins over Atlanta and New Orleans. They also have stinkbombs like the blowout loss in San Francisco and the lackluster effort in London against the Bears.

Sometimes the two sides of the Bucs come out in the same game, like the comeback win in Minnesota. You never know what you are going to get out of this 4-3 team.  They can play a tight game with anyone, whether its the Saints or Colts.

Freeman’s foibles

No player symbolizes the up and down Bucs season more than quarterback Josh Freeman. He’s forcing too many passes, and starting games slowly. He’s throwing shorter passes and more interceptions.  (His ten picks lead the league.)

Part of the issue is certainly Tampa’s receiver crew: Mike Williams, Preston Parker, Arrelious Benn, and Kellen Winslow don’t get a ton of separation.  The bigger issue has been Freeman’s decision making.

Promising young defense

The Bucs envisioned their young defensive line leading the team.  They are on their way. Rookie Adrian Clayborn is a keeper. Gerald McCoy was showing signs of improvement before he was hurt.  Michael Bennett has quietly played well and rookie linebacker Mason Foster has seamlessly replaced Barrett Ruud.

Struggling secondary

The Bucs can be attacked through the air. Aqib Talib hasn’t had a great season. The same is true for cornerbacks E.J. Biggers and Ronde Barber.  The Bucs don’t rank in the top 20 in points scored or allowed. They are 28th in yards allowed.  They are -1 in turnovers.  How is this team 4-3?

Tough schedule ahead

Six of Tampa’s final nine games are on the road. That starts with a huge road game in New Orleans, then a home game against the Texans before heading to Green Bay.  It’s easy to see them 5-5 after ten weeks. The Bucs probably need to win in New Orleans for a realistic chance at winning the division.

The division schedule ends with road games in Carolina and Atlanta. Tampa has work to do before that finale truly matters.

This looks like a growing year for the Bucs, with 8-8 more likely than a playoff appearance.

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20 Responses to “Bucs may be most inconsistent team in league”
  1. nflfollower says: Oct 28, 2011 11:44 AM

    Reasonable analysis. They’re just lucky they don’t play in the NFC North anymore. Playing the Lions and Bears twice (haven’t fared too well vs. those teams) and throw in the Packers twice as well. That would be a bad recipe for this “yungry” team.

  2. tv426 says: Oct 28, 2011 11:45 AM

    “This looks like a growing year for the Bucs, with 8-8 more likely than a playoff appearance.”

    Exactly what I said in the off season and the Bucs fans ripped me for it.

  3. ravensfan4life52 says: Oct 28, 2011 11:46 AM

    um I think the Ravens win the award for the most inconsistent team in the league.

  4. str8cashomie2 says: Oct 28, 2011 11:50 AM

    duh

  5. jimbobobjr says: Oct 28, 2011 11:50 AM

    They don’t know whether they’re coming or going (to London.)

  6. slammincamnewton says: Oct 28, 2011 11:54 AM

    The Bucs had the easiest schedule in football last year, next to the Steelers. Remember when the Dolphins went 11-5 way back when? It’s because they had the schedule of a 1-15 team. If the Panthers had last year’s Bucs schedule, they’d be undefeated.

  7. Robert says: Oct 28, 2011 12:32 PM

    It’s time for the throwbacks of 79!

  8. brock29609 says: Oct 28, 2011 1:17 PM

    As a Bucs fan who’s seen every play of every tame this year, I couldn’t agree more. I wouldn’t consider 8-8 to be a failure for this young team. We’re going in the right direction. The defense is showing promise, but they have a ways to go. Our receivers are worrisome. Hoping we don’t have a bunch of Michael Claytons on our hands.

  9. frugalghidorah says: Oct 28, 2011 1:50 PM

    How are things going for Demoff in St. Louis?

  10. hateithere says: Oct 28, 2011 2:03 PM

    You guys still missed the 49ers, Bills, Bengals, Eagles, and Patriots… and yes I will comment on every post until this is rectified.

  11. skippynj says: Oct 28, 2011 2:03 PM

    Awful receivers, questionable running game at best, inconsistent defense with an ancient cb and a QB who acts more and more like his unprofessional, overly emotional, big-mouthed coach who draws an UC penalty ’bout every game. I love the direction in which this team is moving!

  12. tyelee says: Oct 28, 2011 2:22 PM

    Teams can go only as far as their leaders experience can take them… This is just a direct reflection of their coaches abilities, or rather inabilities!

    Bring in coach COWHER!

  13. nowillrepeat says: Oct 28, 2011 3:10 PM

    Raheem Morris’ arrogance offends me

  14. kingbuccaneer says: Oct 28, 2011 3:33 PM

    Talent wise, The Bucs are def. a top 5 team but it’s the very first word you mentioned in your article that makes us that 8-8 or 9-7 team. Being “Yungry” is really hurting us at the moment because we’re being too aggressive ALL the time and it’s backfiring at times.

    The two things that are our glaring weaknesses have to be all the stupid, ridiculous penalties (#2 in the NFL, I believe) and Josh just staring down a receiver and forcing it in there.

    Once this team grows up a bit, you’ll all be talking about the Bucs as perennial SB contenders. Just wait….

  15. bubbyfister says: Oct 28, 2011 3:50 PM

    It’s a QB league, and the Bucs don’t know if they have the answer in Freeman. He was a turnover machine his first year. He was great last year, but the decision making score some scouts appoint was low despite his low turnovers. This year Freeman continues to make mistakes. Whether it’s growing pains or a sign he’s not the answer, Freeman’s inconsistency is a big reason for the team’s inconsistency.

  16. chrisco4bucs says: Oct 28, 2011 5:33 PM

    As a 40 year old that’s been a fan of the bucs since I was in kindergarten, this has been one of the most frustrating years so far, poor play calling by G.O., questionable QB play at best from Freeman, and another Mike at WR, having to always come from behind it seems, damn it man, open up the play book a little earlier G.O., this team needs to concentrate on drafting or signing through FA one word and that is more……..SPEED, let’s go bucs, we own the saints in their building, let’s start the 2nd half strong

  17. tbf22 says: Oct 28, 2011 5:58 PM

    People forget that against the bears, we lost our best players at each level on defense… DT McCoy missed the entire game, MLB Foster missed 90% of the game, and Tanard Jackson missed about 50% of it.

    Then we lost our Center (who was already the backup) so we had 2 3rd stringers playing center and Guard for us.

    Legarrette Blount missed the game, Graham went down early. so we had absolutely Zero running game after that, being down to the 3rd stringer who has barely seen the field his entire career.

    Now you wanna say the Bucs looked like garbage against the bears, well yeah, the bucs had garbage players on the field. and were still just 1 score from winning that game.

    Sure you can those are just excuses, but lets face it, The bucs were far from full strength in this game, and were still very close to winning it. Just sayin.

  18. tbf22 says: Oct 28, 2011 6:05 PM

    slammincamnewton says: Oct 28, 2011 11:54 AM

    The Bucs had the easiest schedule in football last year, next to the Steelers. Remember when the Dolphins went 11-5 way back when? It’s because they had the schedule of a 1-15 team. If the Panthers had last year’s Bucs schedule, they’d be undefeated.

    ————————————————-

    The Panthers played the same exact schedule as the Bucs did except 2 games….. :facepalm:

    Wow, some peoples kids…

  19. bucforever says: Oct 28, 2011 7:56 PM

    Time is on our side! This team is going to jell sooner or later. One reason Freeman is struggling because the other guys have a lot more film on him now and have closed up his running options forcing him to use the pass more . Tebow and Newton will get the same treatment next year. The Bucs will have to adjust to the adjustments.

  20. gbizzle007 says: Oct 31, 2011 3:17 PM

    What TBF22 said is right on the money, except that Tanard Jackson was actually lost for 90% of the game as well.

    No offense to the writer of this article but when has Ronde Barber played poorly? He’s played phenomenal. There is no other CB who is a CB/LB like Ronder Barber. Let me ask this question: if Ronde Barber did not play this year, what would our record be?

    Lastly, let’s admit this: The offense has sucked this year. I can’t tell if it’s the Offensive Scheme needing better players or if the players have a sorry offensive scheme. Either way, Freeman is playing like a scrub this year. It’s hard to believe Benn was drafted in the 2nd Round. The kid is mad explosive but Dezmon Briscoe looks like the better WR. Will the Bucs EVER have an offense?

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