Tampa Bay Buccaneers: This Team Is a Chameleon

Tom EdringtonSenior Writer ISeptember 21, 2012

Does this staff fully trust Josh Freeman? (photo courtesy Buccaneers.com)
Does this staff fully trust Josh Freeman? (photo courtesy Buccaneers.com)

When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head for Dallas to face the Cowboys on Sunday afternoon, the only thing we know for sure is that we are not sure.

We are not sure about the personality of this football team: these Buccaneers under Greg Schiano.

We are not sure about the identity of this Buccaneer football team.

Through two games, a win against the overblown, over-hyped Carolina Panthers and a heart-breaking loss against the very, very solid under-hyped New York Giants, we've seen a football buffet, Buccaneer style, a lot of stuff, some good some bad.

Here's what you have witnessed:

First half against Carolina: the good Buccaneers.

Second half against Carolina: the not-so-good Buccaneers.

First half against the Giants: the really, really good Buccaneers.

Third quarter against the Giants: the not-so-good Buccaneers.

Fourth quarter against the Giants: the really, really bad Buccaneers.

It is that mixture that has most of us a bit confused. We don't know what color this thing is; it keeps changing, just like a chameleon. You think you know what it is and it changes colors. 

When Greg Schiano was hired, he talked about a running team. Thus far, the Buccaneers haven't established that they are a running team. No one on this team not named Doug Martin has run for any appreciable yardage.

Martin, the workhorse, has amassed 161 yards in two games, if you want to refer to that as "amassing" but it really isn't, is it? He's gotten 44 carries, so an average of about 80 yards a game isn't going to earn any team the "running team" designation, is it?

So we really don't have a running team, do we?

Passing team? Here's where it gets even more interesting. No wide receiver not named Jackson or Williams as in Vincent and Mike, has any appreciable receiving yards. Together they've got 241 yards catching passes from Josh Freeman in two games and all that is, is one good quarter for Eli Manning against the Buccaneer secondary.

We really don't have a passing team, do we?

How about a defensive team?

The defense held the Panthers to 10 yards rushing. That sounds very Baltimore Raven-like.

The defense gave up 605 yards total offense to the New York Giants. That sounds very Raheem Morris-like.

So we really don't have a defense-oriented team, do we?

The mystery fact through two games is that this Buccaneer football team is in fact that, a mystery.

We simply don't know what it is.

What we do know is that it's akin to a home remodeling project. It's not a complete tear-down, but it does need work.

Schiano came in and has immediately slapped on a new coat of paint and that's made an immediate difference in curb appeal. This team is watchable. It is exciting, thus far.

But there's so much it's lacking. Needs landscaping, pot holes in the driveway and the interior hasn't been overhauled since the mid '90s. Needs new floors, granite countertops, tear a few walls down, open up the inside, new appliances and more.

It's a decent-sized project and it's not going to happen over the next 14 weeks.

Here are a few questions, about this project, going into Sunday:

Does the staff trust Josh Freeman?

Freeman couldn't look better than that opening series against Carolina, could he? Maybe they need to trust him more in the second half. The easiest down to throw on is first down, not third down. 

What's Schiano got against LeGarrette Blount?

Yet another mystery on this team. When asked, Schiano is very evasive when it comes to Blount.

Is the defense any good?

It's obvious that this staff is trying to game-plan around the weakness of the defense and that is the pass rush. Will the front four be able to apply some pressure on Tony Romo without those ridiculous one-every-minute blitz packages?

Is there a third wide receiver?

This position has been turned upside down. Outside of the stability of Jackson and Williams, everything was shaken up this week.

Preston Parker was cut, Sammie Stroughter was banished to injured reserve and they brought back Jordan Shipley and Tiquan Underwood, then added Chris Owusu from the Chargers practice squad.

Is anyone ready to step up and help Jackson and Williams? Another mystery.

Will they target Dallas Clark more often?

This one explains itself.

Too many questions without answers.

The good news is that this football team is 1-1 and not 0-2.

Thank goodness for the little things in life.


Gerald McCoy says the front four has to do better: OneBucSite.com


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