Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Any more slow starts could derail the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Defensive end Gaines Adams, taking down Dallas quarterback Brad Johnson on Oct. 26, leads the Bucs with five sacks this season. But the team wants more out of the second-year pro.


Defensive end Gaines Adams, taking down Dallas quarterback Brad Johnson on Oct. 26, leads the Bucs with five sacks this season. But the team wants more out of the second-year pro.

TAMPA — If you're a glass-half-full type of person, the Bucs' come-from-behind wins at Kansas City and Detroit were positive signs of resiliency and resolve.

If you're a glass-half-empty type, it's a dangerous habit of being unprepared to start games on the road. Basically, the Bucs were just good enough to avoid getting tripped up by the bottom-feeders of the NFL.

Belief or relief?

"I guess the only good is that we have a very, very resilient team that really can overcome a very big challenge," C Jeff Faine said. "And then there's a lot of bad.

"To put ourselves behind the eight ball like we did in Detroit and Kansas City is something that we cannot do going down the stretch, something we cannot do preparing for the playoffs … or in the playoffs. It's something we've got to fix now, we've got to fix it quick, and it's something that just can't be accepted."

Facing a murderer's row of NFC South opponents the next three weeks — including two of them on the road — the Bucs cannot afford to sleepwalk through the first half of those games. Especially considering that the division teams are a combined 21-2 at home this season.

"I don't think it's wrong to look at what we have in front of us the next three weeks, just as long as we know where our focus has to be — this week, this game," QB Jeff Garcia said. "Any one of the four teams is capable of winning this division depending upon the streak that they go on. And so it's important for us to realize what we have ahead of us and the great opportunity we have ahead of us if we are able to take on this challenge and turn it into a positive thing for us."

There are three reasons for the Bucs' comebacks: The defense is good enough to keep getting the ball back, special teams has provided scores and field position, and Garcia excels in a two-minute offense.

"You don't want to fall behind. It's not like it's a good thing," LB Barrett Ruud said. "But it proves we've got some character and we play well after the first quarter or whatever. But we definitely need to get off to better starts because you don't need to be behind 17-0 very often."

Small gaines: Time for DE Gaines Adams to mash the accelerator. The Bucs' first-round pick in 2007 leads the club with five sacks — one fewer than all of last season — and has certainly had his share of impact plays, including two interceptions (one he returned for a touchdown).

But the team is looking for more. While Adams has improved against the run, he still tends to abandon technique for too many outside speed rushes and hasn't really made the step up as an elite pass rusher in his second year that the Bucs had hoped for.

"I told him we've got to find a way to get you four more sacks this season," DL coach Todd Wash said.

Any more slow starts could derail the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 11/29/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 1, 2008 1:28pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. SI ranks Quinton Flowers on top 100, above Deondre Francois


    Sports Illustrated's ongoing countdown of the top 100 players in college football includes some high praise for USF quarterback Quinton Flowers.

  2. Kentucky recruit, former Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox among top prospects for 2018 NBA Draft


    Less than 24 hours after the NBA Draft, analysts have already begun looking ahead to 2018.

    Tampa Catholic star Kevin Knox finishes a layup during the McDonald's All-American game in March at the United Center in Chicago. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]
  3. Illinois is recruiting a 10-year-old. Where will Lovie Smith be by the time the kid can sign?


    Today in ridiculous recruiting news, Lovie Smith's Illinois football team offered a scholarship to a 10-year-old.

  4. Rays series preview: Who are the Orioles?


    After an off day Thursday, the Rays remain at Tropicana Field for a three-game series against the AL East rival Orioles. Here's the information you need to know about Baltimore before the action kicks off.

    Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Chris Tillman, left, has posted the highest ERA of his career this season, while catcher Welington Castillo, center, has slumped recently.
  5. Harmeling first woman to receive lifetime honor at Sneaker Soiree in Tampa

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — For the last quarter-century, she has combined passion and meticulousness to keep the Gasparilla Distance Classic humming and evolving. Indefatigable and detailed, Susan Harmeling braces for every race-weekend contingency.

    Susan Harmeling gives a speech after accepting an award  during the annual Sneaker Soiree, at TPepin's Hospitality Centre, Thursday, June 22, 2017.