Give credit where it's due.
Greg Schiano said that he and his staff would take the bye week to figure some things out, do a firm self-examination of the first four games and find some answers.
They found some good ones and 38-10 speaks louder than any coach, any player, any writer, any critic.
This is why you need to keep an open mind about this football team, these Tampa Bay Buccaneers, keep an open mind about the staff and the players.
Josh Freeman showed on Sunday why you shouldn't judge him after four games. Give him a chance; his coaches finally did and showed some trust. When was the last time the Bucs came up with 28 second-half points?
When you look at how this defense was abused last season, how teams ran early and often, how they piled up yardage the way the federal government piles up debt, well, you can't say enough for the job everyone's done over there at One Buc Place.
This team can flat out play some run defense.
When you see Ronde Barber doing what Ronde Barber does, if you're not inspired, then perhaps you need to find another sport.
Schiano promised to clean things up over the bye week.
One thing no one's really talked about is how the Bucs avoided big penalties; in fact, they mostly avoided even the little penalties.
In the first quarter, Demar Dotson was called for illegal use of hands, but it was declined. Quincy Black was flagged for a neutral zone infraction. That was it for the first 15 minutes.
In the second quarter, the return team wedge was called for joining their hands. Jeremy Zuttah was called for a hold and Michael Bennett had a neutral zone infraction. That's it.
In the third quarter, Freeman had a false start. Now there's one for you, a QB false start.
In the fourth quarter, Erik Lorig was called for an illegal block on a punt.
That's it boys and girls, that's all. No drive nullifying holds, no real, real stupid stuff.
Now that's a cleanup.
Schiano said he'd find a right guard. Jamon Meredith was his man. You didn't hear his name called the entire game. Now that's how you play right guard.
For the first time this season, they trusted Freeman to throw long between the hash marks. That was fun, wasn't it? He ended up with a 124.7 quarterback rating and if you don't want to give him more time to prove himself, shame on you.
Freeman still had some trouble making short throws in the first half. They'll work on that, that's next.
Schiano kept promising more LeGarrette Blount. You got some.
Schiano promised to find better space for Doug Martin. Did that too, didn't he?
The most important fact is that this team showed it could close out a game impressively.
Remember, "coffee is for closers only" so open up the machines at One Buc Place.
Sunday, they didn't just close, they slammed it, hard, shut.
One more nice thing is that Schiano wants to keep teaching this football team how to get better.
The defense line is getting better, the beastly linebackers are getting better and the Talib-less secondary was fine, the safeties are something to brag about.
Remember, there was a lot of work to do with this football team.
We now know how good Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson can be if they'll just let Freeman throw them the damn ball and let them do the rest.
This breaking news just in: forget Arrelious Benn. It's Tiquan Underwood to the rescue, he's stepping up as the guy who wants to be the third receiver. With Jackson and Williams destined to get more attention as teams watch tape from this just finished game, Underwood will get more chances and we haven't seen the best of him yet.
The tight ends are still missing in action but that's okay. Let Freeman go, set him free, let him do his thing with Mike and V-Jax, Tiquan and Dougie, just to keep the linebackers busy.
That's a lot to think about.
When all is said and done, hats off to Schiano. He did fix things, didn't he?
Now if they can just keep getting better.
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