Game On!…with Rob Kriete – NOVEMBER 11

In life, most lessons come after the tests, unfortunately. We do a good job in public education, making sure we teach before we assess, but the Bucs were sure taught a lesson against the New Orleans Saints. What was that last Sunday night? The Tampa Bay Buccaneers seemed to channel their inner creamsicle days in a rather weak effort in Week 9, reminding NFL fans that they may not, in fact, be elite in the NFC.

Bucs Head Coach Bruce Arians owned the lesson from Sunday, stating frankly about making sure it is an isolated occurrence. He said the Bucs would “learn from it. You don’t bury your head in the sand – you own it. You go in, you look at the tape, you figure out what went right [and] what went wrong, and then you move on to the next ballgame. That’s the beauty for players and coaches – it’s a 24-hour thing. You get to look at it, grade it, and then you move on. Fans have to eat it until next week, but we get to move on to the next one.”

At least we know what grade that lesson will be, huh, Coach?

Tampa Bay defensive star Lavonte David also understands the lesson the Bucs can take from Sunday’s game, saying, “The biggest lesson is we’re just going to need everybody. Week to week, we’re going to need everybody to be on their A-game – whatever it may be mentally [or] physically. Whoever is out there on the field, all 11 guys are going to have to be playing as one. Yesterday we didn’t play as one [and] we didn’t play as a unit. That’s just something that we have to get better at, and it starts at practice. Don’t get me wrong – last week at practice, coach said that our practice was great. But, for some reason, it didn’t carry over to the field. We just have to get that fixed, and everything else will take care of itself.”

Apply that lesson, Mr. David. I think it is reasonable that every team will experience hiccups throughout a sixteen game, rather grueling, schedule. However, when a high-powered offense is reduced to a three-point effort, it is beyond a hiccup; it seems more like whooping cough.

Lessons will always be more difficult when the test comes first. The Buccaneers have more tests on their schedule and will most certainly be tested in any potential playoff game. Let’s see how they apply these lessons before they get their next game on!

Be safe, everyone.

Thank you to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the use of the photos used in this column.