TAMPA, Fla. – In one of the more bizarre years for Buccaneers football, the team is playing lousy, and yet Tampa Bay sits atop the NFC South at 6-7. Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich isn’t apologizing.
“I don’t know how we’re in first place, but we are, ” Leftwich said. “We’re in first place. We’ll take it. “A lot of people would love to be in first place at this point. We’ve got four games to try and improve and win football games and try to get into the tournament.”
The tournament is the NFL PLayoffs, and the Bucs sit atop the NFC South with a game lead on the Atlanta Falcons and the rising Carolina Panthers, both at 5-8. Whoever wins the NFC South is guaranteed a home playoff game.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady sees it a little differently. Brady says the Bucs deserve to be below .500.
“The one thing about football is you get what you deserve,” Brady said. “You’ve got to earn it. The Rams won the Super Bowl. They were Super Bowl champions last year, this year, they’re not having the kind of year they want. It’s a competitive league. Everything brings you back to .500.”
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The Bucs come into Ray Jay Sunday facing a Bengals team that’s won five in a row and 9 of their last 11. Tampa Bay has struggled in all phases of the game and especially on offense. The Bucs are averaging 17 pts a game, quite a drop from the 30 pts a game they averaged the last two seasons under Brady.
“Maybe we’re fooling ourselves, but we’re going into these games feeling as though we’re going to do what we’ve always done,” Leftwich said.”Put up 30 or whatever it takes to win the football game. We just haven’t done that.”
Hearing from Brady and Leftwich and some of the offensive players, they just don’t seem to have an answer as to how to try and turn this around with 4 games left in the regular season.
“We’re just trying to show up every day and try to do a better job.”, Brady said.
It’s a different team than in the past.”
Leftwich was asked what they can build on, and again he went back to where they sit in the NFC South.
“Well, we are in first place,” Leftwich said. “We’re doing some things well; it’s just not showcasing itself because of what we’re not doing well.”
Bucs head coach Todd Bowles said weeks ago talk is over; it’s time to play better.
It appears the Bucs aren’t doing either well, right now.