The Buccaneers lost a fourth straight game on Sunday and frustration boiled over during the game when linebacker Adam Hayward and assistant coach Bryan Cox had an altercation on the sideline.
It also boiled over after the game with a Buc player wondering whether they could send their coaches back to college. Taken together, they paint the picture of a team struggling to get on the same page. Quarterback Josh Freeman tried to shoot down that notion during a conference call on Monday.
“We are unified. I think that we still have a lot of young components, we still have a first-year system. We had some success. But at the same time, we’ve got to find a way to take it to the next level. You hate to see it come down to a game like that, but I think this is going to be a great time for our team to come together. We had a rough one. We dropped the ball yesterday. But it’s how we respond to adversity,” Freeman said, via the Tampa Bay Times. “When everything is going great, anyone can stand up and go to practice and have a high energy level and be up tempo, go home and want to study film, because you’re doing great. But it’s times like these where you really (find out where you are). Judging by the number of guys that are in the building on this off day, I think that mentally guys are not only unified but heading in the right direction.”
The grumbling is something you expect during a losing streak, although it’s hard to see signs that things are heading in the right direction right now. They were worse against the Saints than they were in the previous week’s loss to the Eagles and worse in that one than they were against the Broncos. Coach Greg Schiano almost certainly isn’t going anywhere after one season, but it still wouldn’t hurt to show some more readily apparent signs of progress in the final weeks.