Somebody please, please, please pinch Raheem Morris and Josh Freeman and tell them “they’re not in Kansas anymore.”
Change does not necessarily mean progress. After a 9 and 7 season, Tampa Bay hit the panic button so feverishly that at times I forgot they had a winning record. Tampa is looking to imitate what Atlanta did during last year’s off-season. The Buccaneers only think they stole a page from Atlanta’s playbook. They hired a coach who is unproven for the most part. They released a proven winner in Jeff Garcia and drafted Josh Freeman—an unproven signal-caller with the blessing of their unproven coach. They released pillars of the defense such as Derek Brooks, Lawyer Milloy, and Phillip Buchanon.
Some of the changes are understandable, but a good bit of the changes appear to be changes for no other reason than to change things. Jeff Garcia wasn’t losing games for Tampa Bay. For Tampa to release Garcia and draft Freeman, rather than fill key holes on the defensive line, is like me taking my car to the barbershop because I need my car tuned up.
A losing, abysmal organization like Detroit should change everything about the old Detroit from the ground up. They have so many reasons why they have been losing for so long that most changes they make would almost have to be an improvement. It doesn’t get any worse than 0 and 16.
A 9 and 7 team however, probably shouldn’t need an extreme makeover from head to toe. Tampa has made so many changes that in the future it may become difficult to decipher what changes worked and what did not. For instance, if the new, younger defense makes crucial rookie mistakes, then the offense will look worse. If Josh Freeman is playing from behind because the defense can’t get off the field, then he is going to get more blame than he deserves. Conversely, if Freeman is playing like a rookie (not like Matt Ryan, but like a normal rookie QB) then he is going to punish the defensive side of the ball. It is hard to imagine at this point that both sides of the ball in Tampa will not be punishing each other, terribly. If the Front Office of Tampa Bay has a gambling problem; then it just became very, very serious…
Read Tampa’s 2009 schedule, slowly…
Dallas Cowboys (H)
Buffalo Bills (A)
New York Giants (H)
Washington Redskins (A)
Philadelphia Eagles (A)
Carolina Panthers (H)
New England Patriots (H)
Green Bay Packers (H)
Miami Dolphins (A)
New Orleans Saints (H)
Atlanta Falcons (A)
Carolina Panthers (A)
New York Jets (H)
Seattle Seahawks (A)
New Orleans Saints (A)
Atlanta Falcons (H)
It is impossible to imagine them matching their record of 2008. It is difficult to figure that Tampa Bay will not get swept entirely by the NFC South. It is difficult to imagine Tampa doing any better than 4 and 12, and even that may be a stretch. That is, if Tampa can find a way to beat the Bills, Packers, Jets, and Seahawks. This is gonna get ugly folks; try not to feel too sorry for our heated rivals….
Unfortunately for Josh Freeman and Raheem Morris, being back in Kansas would be a nice alternative to getting their asses kicked beyond comprehension every single Sunday.