Culture. The teams that win and lose consistently in the NFL are separated by more than just talent and the ability to make a big play at the right time.
There’s an intangible factor, an “it’’ factor if you will that the winners seem to have and the losers always seem to be searching for and the Buccaneers have yet to find it.
Bucs coach Dirk Koetter admitted as much in the gloomy aftermath of his team’s 37-32 home-opening loss to the Rams at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday night.
“Our culture is not where it needs to be and that starts with me,’’ Koetter said. “I’m putting that squarely on my shoulders. There’s something about our culture, I wish I could grab it.
“I’ve been on teams that had it and when you have it you don’t want to let go of it, but when you don’t have it, I don’t know, it’s hard to figure out what it is, but there’s something in our culture.
“And it’s my job to fix it along with the coaches of letting games like this get away,” Koetter continued. “And (I’m not) taking anything away from the Rams. But I’m concerned with what our team does and we’ve got to get over that hump. We’re not there.’’
Clearly they are not. The Bucs could have won Sunday’s game in a lot of different ways and were actually in a position to all but put it away at one point but as usual they couldn’t quite get out of their own way.
Whether it was a missed field goal or extra point, missed opportunities on offense or missed assignments on defense, the Bucs allowed the Rams to stay in this game and eventually take it from them.
As Koetter said, that’s what losing teams or teams that lack that winnign culture, that it factor, have a tendency to do, and the Bucs certainly did it on Sunday.