Bucs coach Raheem Morris said some of his players blinked in Sunday's 27-20 loss to the Detroit Lions. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson indicated quarterback Josh Freeman and others lost their 'swagger.'
Whatever the reason, the Bucs did not look like a confident team in Sunday's 27-20 loss to the Detroit Lions.
"There was just a different feeling on the sideline a little bit,'' Olson said Monday. "That’s why I come back to that swagger. There’s no reason for this team to blink, you guys are a good football team and believe that. Tha's what our message is for our players. There’s no reason for anyone on this team to blink. You were a 10-6 football team, you won a lot of big games last year. You’re playing against a good football team, certainly, the Lions, but you’re a good football team yourself so there’s no reason for anybody on this team to blink and be in an “Oh, no,’’ mode. We’ll be fine. Just settle down, take a deep breath and play football.’’
Olson said he was concerned that Freeman had to leave the game in the third quarter suffering from dehydration. Freeman returned after receiving intravenous fluids, but Olson suggested it might have been related to anxiety.
“That was definitely a concern coming out, so we’ve got to look at what he’s doing to hydrate his body early in the week,'' Olson said. "For me, seeing that, I thought that was very early for him. Part of that, I think, is lessening the anxiety of our players and developing that swagger that hey, there’s no need for any of us to be nervous out here, you guys are a second-year group now, some of us have been playing together for three or four years. So let’s develop that offensive swagger and make sure everybody knows what they’re doing and go out there and play with a swagger.''
Olson cited one example of Freeman's lack of confidence in his receivers on the Bucs' first poseession Sunday. After Sammie Stroughter returned a kickoff 78 yards, the Bucs faced third-and-5 from the Detroit 16-yard line. The Lions were in man-to-man coverage, but Freeman did not give receiver Mike Williams a chance to make a play and wound up taking a sack for a 4-yard loss, forcing the Bucs to settle for a field goal.
"In that situation, you’re expecting man coverage from Detroit which is what we got and now it’s just a matter of executing it and having, to me, confidence between a quarterback and wide receiver knowing here’s the man beaters, this is the guy I’m going to go to and I’m going to trust that he’s going to make a play on the ball,'' Olson said. "We’ve got to develop that swagger as a unit, as skilled players and quarterbacks, that hey, if they’ve got their guy on the other side of the field, if he’s one-on-one, the ball is going to him. And that’s the way it’s got to be with you Mike (Williams), and you Kellen (Winslow) and you Regis (Benn), you’re one-on-one, the ball is going to come to you, you have to win and Josh will have that confidence to throw the ball to you and know you’re going to make a play for him.''