TAMPA — The Bucs didn't handle the deafening noise at MetLife Stadium because they had not worked enough on a silent count.
That's according to Pro Bowl guard Davin Joseph, who was on the field during the first possession of Sunday's 18-17 loss to the Jets that included a timeout, followed by consecutive delay-of-game penalties, a 10-yard sack and two false starts (the last one declined).
"Some of the things that happened in training camp and in practice caught up with us. It kind of opened all of our eyes, really," Joseph said. "I don't think we did enough to be ready for it. Our focus was on the cadence, and we need to be able to go on the silent count."
Complicating matters was the helmet transmitter that went silent for quarterback Josh Freeman after four plays.
The Bucs called timeout, and Freeman went to the sideline but appeared not to change helmets until the problem recurred.
It's not unlike the issue that happened in Week 3 last season at Dallas when Freeman opted to call a running play on second and 9 with the Bucs trailing by six points in the final two minutes.
"There's a communicator issue, but you know what? That needs to be overcome. We have mechanisms in place for that which we didn't employ efficiently," Bucs coach Greg Schiano said Monday. "We did have an issue earlier this season, so we even upped our pregame preparedness stuff with the communicators, added another step to the regimen to make sure they were working.
"You need to first communicate that you're not hearing anything and then after that, a string of procedures occur. Part of that is Josh has the ability to call his own play, rather than burn a timeout or take a delay of game. I would've preferred to use the step before that if worse comes to worse. That's the last resort. He knows what to call. But I'd prefer to get the call in by another method."
Could the Bucs have signaled a play to Freeman from the sideline? "That's one method, yep," Schiano said.
The Bucs were penalized 13 times for 102 yards, including nine during the first 19 minutes.
The most egregious penalty was linebacker Lavonte David's shove on Geno Smith as the Jets rookie quarterback was running out of bounds near midfield with seven seconds remaining. The 15-yard penalty led to Nick Folk's winning 48-yard field goal.
Noise might have been the culprit in the second series when center Jeremy Zuttah snapped the ball past an unsuspecting Freeman, who kicked it out of the end zone for a safety, resulting in another penalty.
"A little bit of miscommunication. We thought we were ready to snap it … and just wasn't," Zuttah said. "I got kind of a signal, but he wasn't ready, so that's on me."
Safeties Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron each had 15-yard penalties after hits on receivers. Schiano said he wants his players to continue to play aggressively but within the rules.
"The false starts, they're inexcusable, we can't do that stuff," Schiano said. "The physical penalties? Those? You better be careful. We've got to play on the edge, that's the way we play.
"You've got to be smart about it. The strike zone is decreasing in the National Football League. We've got to make sure we stay within the rules. It doesn't mean we can't be as physical, but we have to try to be better that way."
Overall, Schiano was excited by the defense, which sacked Smith five times, intercepted him once and forced a fumble.
"I want us flying around the way we flew around because that was as hard of a hitting Buc defense as has been here in a long time," Schiano said. "We're going to keep doing it, we're going to try to keep doing it within the framework."