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Just about everyone knows someone who has been bullied, in ways big and small. Understandably, though, many victims are reluctant to speak about their experiences. We found some who aren't.
By Taylor Gaines, Newsome High
During the Bucs bye week, I discussed some things that needed to change in order for them to be successful throughout the second half of the season. Four weeks later, the Bucs are 4-7 and riding a five-game losing streak. Since my advice didn’t work and I feel partially responsible for their abysmal performance in the last couple of games, I would like to deflect the blame back to those more deserving of it. Here are three reasons why the Bucs are dropping to the bottom of the NFC South cellar:
Head Coach Raheem Morris . . . Well-coached teams don’t commit a lot of penalties, don’t commit a lot of turnovers and don’t fall behind in every single game.
While penalties have not been a huge issue for the Bucs, they do have 28 for 214 yards in their last four games. According to teamrankings.com, they are 28th in the league in penalties on the season (in the bad way), with 8.3 per game.
Turnover-wise, the Bucs have committed 11 during this four-game losing streak, with five fumbles and six interceptions. They rank 23rd in the league on the year, averaging 1.8 giveaways per game. Most important, the Bucs have trailed at halftime in nine of their 11 games so far. Morris has to get them more motivated to play from the outset of games if they are going to be successful. The bottom line is that if Morris doesn’t turn this young, talented team around soon he deserves to be on the hot seat at the end of this year, if not sooner.
Josh Freeman . . . To be frank, the Bucs quarterback has been a different player this year. His drop-off hasn’t been as bad statistically as Philip Rivers’ in San Diego, but things have been rough for the third-year QB. He hasn’t completed the fourth quarter comebacks like he has in years past; he’s thrown a ton of interceptions (15 through 11 games), and his quarterback rating is down more than 20 points from a year ago.
With three games in the next four weeks against teams with records below .500, the Bucs have a chance to get on a hot streak. However, if Freeman doesn’t start playing to his full potential, the Bucs will continue to lose.
The defense . . . The defense doesn’t get enough flak for their poor play, as they rank 27th in the league in rush defense and 29th in the league in pass defense. They’ve been allowing 133.5 rushing yards per game and 265.4 passing yards per game. Led by the always undisciplined Aqib Talib, that’s an average of 398.9 yards per game in total. Morris, who also serves as the defensive coordinator, really needs to get his guys playing, and fast.
All stats provided by teamrankings.com and ESPN.com.