Sep 15, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Rian Lindell (4) reacts after he missed a field goal during the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Raymond James Stadium. The Saints won 16-14. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The national and local media have placed a spotlight on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their locker room over the past couple of weeks, speculating about unhappiness, distrust, sabotage, mutiny, and a plethora of other topics that send diehard fans into a panic attack.
No one wants to hear that their team is in a state of chaos, and hearing it from national media types citing unnamed sources only makes it worse.
And while I’m not saying that it’s all untrue, I’m also not prepared to say it’s as bad as it seems in the One Buc Place locker rooms. The players probably question Greg Schiano now and then, but only in the same way a sales rep questions his superiors when the leads are weak and the money and commissions aren’t flowing in.
It’s just like any job and any situation in life. The Buccaneers are frustrated because they know it could be better.
This is a talent-laden team with a strong veteran presence. There are players in Tampa Bay who have played in the playoffs with successful teams, and know what it’s like to win on the biggest stage.
The Buccaneers also have a stable of young talent. Among them are players who succeeded in high school and college, and have yet to experience the same success with Tampa Bay.
So the frustrations you hear about and read about in the media are a manifestation of what is likely a real sense of disappointment at One Buc Place. The Buccaneers are 1-7 in their last 8 regular season games. That’s just not good enough.
Is Darrelle Revis really mad at Greg Schiano? Does Josh Freeman really want to be traded? Was there a rigged captaincy vote? We’re never going to know for sure, and the only reason we have any suggestions that any of these things are true is the general state of unrest in the organization because there are expectations that aren’t being reached.
If the Buccaneers blocked both game-winning field goals that have been attempted and made against them in 2013, we wouldn’t have heard a single word about trade requests and not playing enough man coverage. And if the team defeats the Patriots and Cardinals, the bye week is going to be a time of quiet reflection on the season, rather than a chaotic week of speculation and more rumors.
That’s because winning cures everything in sports, and losing breeds frustration.
The team knows it could be better than it is right now, and that’s a frustrating concept to handle. Elite athletes who train hard every day expect more out of themselves and each other than any fan ever could. Many players have talked about the family atmosphere within One Buc Place, but that family is only as functional as its members are content with their current situations.
So don’t be so quick to dismiss the rumors and reports that they team might not be happy. Because as upset as you get watching your beloved Buccaneers lose, you should understand how the players feel when they fall short of their own lofty goals and expectations.