My NFC South predictions for Tampa Bay’s first two games was a win in Atlanta and a loss in Arizona so why am I currently shaking my head in disbelief at an article by ESPN’s Staff Writer Jenna Laine? Well, according to Bucs Linebacker and tackling machine Lavonte David, he attributes the Bucs woes in the desert to ‘a lack of effort in mid-week training‘ and that the Bucs ‘were probably on their high horse‘ coming off a week 1 win against the Falcons.
Seriously? The Bucs, a high horse? You have got to be kidding me? This is the team who have finished bottom of their division for the past five years. This is the team who have not finished with a winning record since 2010. This is the team who lost their last four games of last season when the term ‘play-offs’ was being whispered by the masses at Raymond James after being 6-6. One win out of their last five games and suddenly they are swanning around like Billy Big Balls.
Don’t get me wrong. The Cardinals at home are a formidable test for anyone. The Cardinals at home coming off a loss against an under strength Patriots team in week 1 are even tougher. Did I expect the Bucs to win? No. Did I expect the Bucs to compete after a confidence boosting season opening performance? Yes.
It may be worth pointing out that this is a young Bucs side who have been notorious slow starters and therefore believing your own press is understandable but that’s where the coaching staff should be pointing out that the previous weeks result counts for nothing in the NFL. In my opinion, Dirk Koetter has not put a foot wrong during his spell as Head Coach in Tampa. He is as straight talking as they come and hopefully a few home truths will be told behind closed doors that this type of attitude will not be tolerated in this unforgiving league.
I will also add that it is not only inexperienced teams who get carried away. Perhaps one factor in the Cardinals surprise defeat in week 1 by the Patriots may have been that they expected the win. NFC Championship game last year, the Cards were opening the season at home against not only a Brady-less Patriots team but a Gronk-less one also. The stars were aligning themselves as far as Arizona was concerned. However, you can guarantee that a HC like Bruce Arians would not have allowed a repeat performance in week 2 and Bucs fans can hope that Koetter follows suit.
On the plus side, the Bucs have a chance to right the wrongs from their week 2 horror show in their home opener against the low scoring Rams on Sunday. If the Bucs play to their strengths and get back to what they do best then a win is highly likely. Just stay off the horse afterwards, Tampa.