MINNEAPOLIS, Mn. – An adage as old as the game of football itself says a team plays like it practices. Apparently, that was the case with the Buccaneers during their 34-17 loss to the Vikings on Sunday.
From center Ali Marpet to linebacker Lavonte David, the Bucs walked away from U.S. Bank Stadium saying their performance there mirrored those turned in during the week of preparation back at One Buc Place.
“I don’t know if this past week in practice, we were good enough,’’ said Marpet, whose game-day effort included a pair of bad snaps. “We weren’t as good on the details this week. We have to be more consistent.’’
David concurred. He said the game on Sunday went the same way that at least two practices went during the week, with the Bucs starting slowly and picking up their game near the end.
“We started out flat and then we picked it up toward the end (in practice) and that’s kind of what happened today,’’ he said. “We started out flat, then we started to pick it up toward the end.
“But towards the end is too late, because this wasn’t practice, this was a real football game. So we got to be able to start fast right away. We didn’t do that today and we got our butts kicked.’’
It wouldn’t be accurate to say that poor practices have become commonplace at One Buc Place, but there’s no question coach Dirk Koetter has expressed concern with the way his team has worked this year.
There was a stretch near the end of the preseason when Koetter said more than once in a week that he was unhappy with the tempo and intensity displayed in the workouts and that it had to get picked up.
Now, practice certainly didn’t appear to be an issue with the Bucs last week. Marpet said the team practiced well and it showed during the Bucs 29-7 victory over the Bears.
Clearly, though, there was a letdown in practice this past week and it showed up on the field and you have to wonder if yet again the Bucs maybe got a little too full of themselves.
This is a team that has been pegged by many to be one of the darling teams in the NFL this year, a team that seems destined to get to the playoffs for the first time in a decade.
It’s a mostly young team, though, one that has very few players on it who truly know what it takes to be consistent week in and week out, which is what’s required to make the playoffs and advance in them.
It still seems as though the Bucs have a tendency to let up a bit when things go their way. After all, that’s what seems to have happened in practice this week and it carried over to the game.