Welcome to Mr. Schiano's neighborhood. Welcome to 1-3, welcome, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
You are not alone; you have company, it's a wonderful day in the neighborhood.
The Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2) are almost there.
The Cleveland Browns (0-4) and New Orleans Saints (0-4) wish they were there.
It's a wonderful day in the neighborhood. Do we have to put our toes on that line, Mr. Schiano? Is it OK if our toes go over the line? Not before the snap, you say? OK.
It's a wonderful day in the neighborhood, and Mr. Schiano's Bucs have the week off, only from playing. You can bet your cardigan sweater that they'll be pounded on, drilled and drilled again, no toes over the line UNTIL the ball is snapped. Get it?
The good news today is that the Bucs have today off; it's the traditional off-day for players in the NFL. More good news? They've got Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to practice, and you wonder out loud if Schiano will give the fellas Saturday and Sunday off. Some teams do for good play, good records and such on the bye week.
You wonder if there's a weekend off in Mr. Schiano's neighborhood? Probably not. The last thing Schiano wants to see is his players standing around on some college sideline on Saturday. Brings back memories, doesn't it, Greg?
Now that we've had our fun, let's get down to the serious business at hand. It won't take us two weeks to prepare for the Chiefs, so we'll spend this week reviewing and questioning and throwing out some food for thought.
Which part of the defense is strongest?
Today, we'll do the defense.
The reason the Bucs have one win? The defense.
The reason they have three losses? The defense.
The defense that played so well against the Panthers, went numb at the wrong times against New York, Dallas and of course, Washington.
The defense has given up 1,676 yards. That's a tough one to chew on.
Let's run down the lineup, shall we?
Gerald McCoy has been solid—very solid. In fact, better than solid, really good. We take back everything bad we ever said about Geraldini. He's SOLID.
Roy Miller has blossomed from a non-entity during the Raheem Morris era to an effective tackle with this team. Miller's been good.
Michael Bennett, for a guy thought of as a journeyman of sorts, he's been really, really good. He's made everyone notice him.
Adrian Clayborn was off and running, and then he's done for the season. This hurts bad and will manifest itself over the next 12 games. Costly loss, very costly.
Are you pleased with Bill Sheridan?
Those are the guys worth talking about. Jury's out on Daniel what's-his-name.
Lavonte David has been the best surprise, the most pleasant surprise on this roster through four games. Tackling machine! You gotta love this guy; it's as simple as that.
Mason Foster has been beastly, taking his cue from David, a really, really nice duo.
Quincy Black: David and Foster are so good that they've made Black look serviceable, so now you know how good those two youngsters are.
Aqib Talib has been an average corner at best, and that has hurt this defense. He missed about three games worth of tackles against Washington and got beat like a drum against New York. Talib just really hasn't shown much.
Eric Wright has been better than anticipated when he's healthy. Notice the word "when." We'll just go ahead and nickname him Eric "I'm not up-Wright," because sooner or later, you know he's going down. This guy is more fragile than Chris (Crystal Chandelier) Chandler.
Mark Barron's been the enforcer we expected. His guy can wipe people off the face of the earth if the rules didn't prevent it. Total hit-man. He's out of position on occasion, but that's to be expected. Great talent, great future.
Ronde Barber has adapted well to the free safety position. Might even add a year to his NFL career beyond 2012. Old man river just keeps flowing.
Defensive MVP through four games?
That is a lot of positives.
So why has this defense surrendered so much yardage? Well, it's not the fact that it has given up big yardage, it is WHEN it has given up big yardage.
Gave up too much in one quarter against New York. Too much in a minute and a half against Washington. One play against the Redskins would have put this team at 2-2.
Finally, here's the drawback to the defense:
Not sold on this guy, and apparently, neither are some of the players. Michael Bennett questioned some of his calls on the record.
This defense has been burned by Sheridan's blitz packages called at the wrong moment.
If the defense keeps surrendering more than 400 yards a game, Sheridan won't be on this staff next year.
That's it for now; we'll get to the other side of the ball on Wednesday.
And remember, no toes over the line before the snap!