By Tom Krasniqi
It was rainy Monday at One Buc Place and the players were back to work from the bye week. During practice, the Bon Jovi song “Living On A Prayer” was blasting on the loud speakers. Quite an appropriate song considering the circumstances.
The Bucs are searching for answers after a 0-4 start. They’ll host the Eagles this Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
Head coach Greg Schiano said the coaching staff and players did some self-evaluating during the bye week and some adjustments will be made.
“We talked about it last week-- I think throwing the ball down the field some more,” Schiano said after Monday’s practice. “It wasn’t from a lack of trying, sometimes defenses take you out of it by coverage and things like that.”
Schiano also mentioned that he wanted to get speedster Jeff Demps more involved in the offense moving forward. Schiano called Demps a “valuable weapon.”
Defensively, the Bucs spent a lot of time during the bye week on studying Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense. Schiano knows his defense has to be disciplined against the Eagles offense.
“It’s one of those deals where it can go—small gain, small gain, explosive play,” Schiano said of the Eagles big play offense. “They’ve gotten their opponents on their heels a couple of times and then they have weapons.”
The Eagles are 2-3 after a 36-21 road win over the Giants Sunday. Philly does have playmakers on offense. Running back LeSean McCoy leads the NFL in rushing with 514 yards. Wideout DeSean Jackson can certainly stretch the field vertically.
The Bucs needed the bye week in order to prepare for what Philly can throw at them--- and don’t forget their read-option game can also drive defenders crazy.
Bucs guard Carl Nicks believes that coming off the bye, the team can’t ignore its dreadful 0-4 start.
“No, that’s not real life,” Nicks said. “You can’t just say, ‘OK guys, whatever happened the last four weeks….’ No. You have to be adults about it—professionals about it—and keep it going. It’s a tough business and everyone understands that.”
Bye week is over. It’s time to get back to work. And for the Bucs, that means searching for that elusive first win when the Eagles come flying into town on Sunday.
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