How close at the Bucs to being successful?

by Gary Shelton on October 31, 2019 · 0 comments

in general

Winston thinks the Bucs are better than their record./JEFFREY S. KING

Thursday, 4 a.m.

Coaches have their own way of counting.

The rest of us see a glowing mess as far as the Tampa Bay Bucs are concerned. Bucs' coach Bruce Arians, on the other hand, sees a team that is "two plays away from being 4-3."

Technically, of course, Arians is correct. If the Bucs had scored late against Tennessee -- a big if, since they were outplayed -- they could have pulled out a 27-23 defeat. They blew a short field goal or would have beaten the Giants, who edged them by a single point.

On the other hand, you could argue that the Bucs are also two plays from being 0-7. If Christian McCaffery gains a yard at the goal line, the Panthers

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probably win their first meeting. If the Rams had scored instead of fumbling the ball to Ndamukong Suh -- who scored -- they could have pulled that one out.

Either way, it's a bottom-line league, and the Bucs are 2-5.

"I’d say we’re two plays from 4-3, and everybody would be talking differently.," Arians said. "The guys are fighting their asses off – (we’ve) just got to finish games and win them.

"With all the things that happened, we had a chance to win the game. We didn’t get it done with fourth-and-one and going in to score. That part of it’s always going to be there – the growing pains – but once you find ways to win, you win, and it’s contagious. Everywhere I’ve ever been, that first year there are growing pains, but once you learn how to win, you expect it."

It's the curse of the Bucs' to talk about the games that got away. That hasn't changed over the years.

"We just have to do a better job at doing our jobs." quarterback Jameis Winston said. "This is what we get paid to do. This is what we grew up dreaming to be: NFL players. We are here and now we need to execute and just win. We’ve got to win together as a team. One person can’t do it. Everyone has to be on the same page, everyone has to execute and everyone plays an integral part in winning football.”

This season, the Bucs have lost games in the debut of Giants' quarterback Daniel Jones, a game against Carolina's Kyle Allen and a game against the Titans' Ryan Tannehill.

Now, they have to face one of the best quarterbacks in the league in Russell Wilson.

"Russell’s a really smart guy and he doesn’t take many chances.," Arians said. "He doesn’t take a lot of chances, but he is a great deep ball thrower. When he throws it, it’s coming down over the outside shoulder. When you get interceptions on him, or sack-fumbles – which have happened in the past – they’re rare, but he’s excellent.”

No one saw Wilson becoming this good coming out of college.

"I don’t think anybody did," Arians said.. "I think at N.C. State, it was a different style [of] offense. Once he got to Wisconsin, he got in that running game, and was a bootleg quarterback, you said, ‘This guy’s got some stuff – he’s really mobile, he’s got a great deep ball,’ but [from] his pocket stuff from N.C. State, you wouldn’t have guessed it."

Arians said the minus-six turnover ratio is disappointing.

"Totally, because we were plus-three or four two games ago, and you’re not beating anybody that way, except yourself," Arians said. "This one, we had to overcome it and then created that turnover. But again, we got the ball there with the rest of the game – we’ve got to go down and score and win the game. That’s the one thing that’s stopping us – we’re not finishing to win the game.”

A week ago, Winston was the team's leading rusher.

"I’m fine with the running game, other than our short-yardage stuff," Arians said. "They started playing two-man, and that’s a quarterback’s dream, if you can run a little bit. [If] the field’s empty just start running, because they’re all playing man-to-man with their backs turned, if they let you out of the pocket.”

Winston said it was mistakes that are haunting the Bucs.

"We can’t give games away, period. That is just us as a team. That is the pride that we have with being NFL players. If you are going to get beat, let them beat us. We don’t want to beat ourselves. I have to do a better job of living [up to that] and everyone has to do a better job of living up to that. It’s just a standard that we have.

“I believe we are a really good team but wins matter. That is what they judge you off of in this league.”

The Bucs play Seattle at 4:05 p.m. on Sunday.

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