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Bucs look unprepared for opener

 
Published Sept. 9, 2013

Biggest omen

No one ever again tell me the preseason doesn't matter. The Bucs looked like a mess in the preseason, and they looked like a mess Sunday.

Yes, Bucs linebacker Lavonte David pulled one of the all-time boneheaded moves getting called for a personal foul to set up the Jets' winning field goal. But David doesn't deserve the blame for the loss. There's no way a team as bad as the Jets, with a rookie quarterback making his first start, should even have had a prayer to win that game. Heck, the Bucs had a chance to win only because they kicked a field goal in the last minute.

Go back and look at key stats — total yards, first downs, time of possession — and the team that deserved to win did.

In the end, the Bucs lost because it was their quarterback who too often looked like a rookie. The Bucs lost because their offensive line imitated orange cones. And they lost because their toes-on-the-line disciplinarian coach has a team that constantly puts its toes over the line.

The Bucs were called for 13 penalties for 102 yards, and the Jets didn't even accept all the Bucs' infractions.

Bad penalties, grumbling on the sideline, looking rattled when the headsets went out, an ill-advised center snap when the quarterback wasn't even looking — it's a wonder the Bucs found their way out of the locker room and onto the field.

Either this team is poorly coached or the players ignore the coaching they get. Whatever the case, the Bucs seemed totally unprepared to play Sunday.

Good news, bad news

Cornerback Darrelle Revis looked healthy and effective in his debut. That's certainly a welcomed addition to a pass defense that was among the worst in NFL history last season. Then again, how much did Revis really help? Jets rookie QB Geno Smith was an impressive 24-for-38 for 256 yards. If a rookie playing his first game can do that, what will Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Colin Kaepernick and Tom Brady do?

Depressing and telling numbers

Bucs QB Josh Freeman failed to complete at least 60 percent of his passes for the sixth consecutive game and for the seventh time in his past eight starts. In 30 of his 57 career starts, Freeman has completed less than 60 percent of his passes.

Three things that popped into my head

1. Did the Bucs sign Dashon Goldson or George Atkinson? I'm not sure the new Bucs safety deserved either of his two personal foul penalties for blowing up Jets receivers, but he had better cool his jets if he wants to stay out of trouble with the NFL. More important, he can't be extending drives for opponents.

2. After watching the Jets' defensive game, it's obvious what other teams are going to try against the Bucs: load up to stop running back Doug Martin and force Freeman to win the game. So far the formula is 1-0 against Tampa Bay.

3. A player faces his former team and has a tremendous day. Revis? Actually, I'm talking about Kellen Winslow Jr., the former Bucs tight end who had seven catches for 79 yards and a touchdown.

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Final (scary) thought

Sunday was an easy game. Now come the Saints and Patriots.