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Who says adversity will help Tampa Bay Buccaneers' young players?

TAMPA — A popular refrain at One Buc Place this week went like this: Dealing with the adversity of an eight-game losing streak will, ultimately, be good for young players.

The problem is that type of statement contains as many lies as the copied Christmas letters people send you in colored envelopes.

"We had a lot of rookies playing last year, and they got a taste of winning 10 games," RT Jeremy Trueblood said. "It's hard to do in this league. Nobody likes sitting here right now knowing you're not going to be playing in the playoffs or with two weeks to go you're not going to be in a tight race fighting for a spot of some kind.

"Maybe this will stick in guys' minds that it's awful; it's no fun to come to work knowing you're not going to play past the 16th game. Maybe it will leave a bad taste in guys' mouths, and they won't ever want to do it again."

It's easy to follow what Trueblood is getting at, but there's more baloney in that statement than a New York deli.

First, it assumes those players who didn't have a bad taste in their mouths after, say, five straight losses will get another chance. Just a guess, but many of the Bucs "young" players won't grow old in the NFL.

"You've got to learn through adversity," coach Raheem Morris said. "And what we've been able to do the last few weeks is shore up some issues. We've been able to get together and talk about some core beliefs. We've been able to actually go out there and play some situational football and get young players involved.

"You can't feel sorry for yourselves that you're not going to the playoffs. You can't go, 'Oh woe is me' and this stuff doesn't matter. Everything matters because this stuff is going to come up again, and you've got to be ready to deal and win these football games and put yourself in a position to win. All this stuff is big-time lessons for us, big-time lessons for our football team."

You know what's better than learning how to lose? Learning what it takes to win.

It's hard to imagine a rookie for the Packers is missing out on some good ol' adversity.

The Bucs have not made the playoffs since 2007 and have not won a playoff game since Super Bowl XXXVII — nearly nine years ago.

That's a lot of adversity.

The WHEELS GO 'ROUND AND 'ROUND: Morris likes to consider his offensive line the bus drivers for the team, but he didn't mind throwing them under one after last week's poor performance in a 31-15 loss to the Cowboys.

From the first series, there was Trueblood getting smoked off the corner, forcing QB Josh Freeman to flee the pocket. He fumbled on his second run-for-your-life scramble.

On the next series, there was a missed assignment by RG Davin Joseph on a third-and-1 run in which LeGarrette Blount was nailed for a 1-yard loss. LT Donald Penn yielded pressure throughout. Basically, the most experienced and highest-paid unit on the team held together like saloon doors.

"Obviously, it all starts with us blocking. So if we don't block anybody, you can't do anything," Trueblood said. "It's a group effort. We would like to think of ourselves as the bus drivers, but we, obviously, have to improve over what we did in the last game. We can't be doing that and expect to win."

Morris doesn't have to police the offensive line meeting room. There's more accountability by the nature of that position than, perhaps, any on the team.

"Obviously, we knew we didn't play well up front, and that's always a disappointing thing," Morris said. "When you lose the battle up front, it's going to be a long and tough day. And we lost the battle up front on both sides of the ball, and that's something we don't want our veteran core or our veteran crew to do.

"They didn't play as well as they wanted to play. They didn't play as well as they could play. And when that happens, it's going to be a long, tough day for your football team."

Morris can almost anticipate lapses at positions such as receiver and defensive line, where the most productive starters are primarily first- and second-year players. But that?

Several offensive linemen should evaluate their preparation, attention to detail and, to some extent, effort.

Said Morris: "It wasn't good enough."

Who says adversity will help Tampa Bay Buccaneers' young players? 12/23/11 [Last modified: Friday, December 23, 2011 8:19pm]

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