The other day, Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith was asked about the lack of production and pressure from the defensive line, especially off the edge.
Then it happened.
“I think we have to do a better job of trying to put them in the best possible position,” Smith said. “They’re the players that we have.”
“They’re the players we have” is a variation on a theme explored by Bucs Dirk Koetter time and time again in his first two seasons in charge.
Remember this line?
“Our players are our players.”
Koetter has said that more than once. I remember it coming up last season when he talked about his overwhelmed offensive line.
Our players are our players.
And there was this from Koetter, I remember:
“The cavalry isn’t on the way.”
None of these statements mean something good is going on.
I suppose you could construct it into being a boost of confidence, kind of like a defiant Gene Hackman in Hoosiers, pointing to his runts and telling the gym crowd, “This is your team.”
But not really.
Mostly, it means there’s trouble. The draft is over. So is free agency.
This is your team.
They’re the players we have. Our players are our players.
And, as Bucs writer Rick Stroud noted, we haven’t even mentioned the hit musical, Our Guys Are Our Guys and Dolls.
“Our guys are our guys” is never a good sign.
Neither is “They’re the players that we have.”
There’s almost air of resignation to it.
We haven’t even reached the portion of the program when Bucs GM Jason Licht looks for a new contract and the Glazers look back.
These are the players that you had?
And some Bucs keep slipping into the “Our players are our players” vortex. Like the edge rushers. Like quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is now preparing to fill in for Jameis Winston against Buffalo, his old team, The Curse come full circle.
And then there is Bucs second-year cornerback and first-round draft pick Vernon Hargreaves. He has been getting shredded this season. He looks soft. I wouldn’t even be starting Hargreaves at Buffalo. He needs to have a seat, get some perspective.
Only who would start in his place in the amazingly thin Bucs secondary?
They’re the players that we have.
Our guys are our guys.