There are two key phrases that resonate through the minds of nearly everyone that has followed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and both come from former head coaches: "Trust, belief, and accountability" and "Stats are for losers." Both of those quotes were provided by Greg Schiano and Raheem Morris and both apply here.
The organization put a lot of trust into Lovie Smith as they were given him control on the roster. They then believed he would put together all the pieces to make this team successful and relevant once again. From the coaching staff to the front office, Smith's control and influence on hirings automatically holds the ol' ball coach accountable for what happens with the team.
So where does Morris' popular phrase fit into this equation? Simple, the Bucaneers' analytics department.
This offseason, the Bucs brass put their trust in an analytics system which they believed would help them evaluate talent.
"Early on in my career, I was from the old school where it was you just watch the tape and that's what it is and that is the bare bones. You have to evaluate the player and what he does on tape, but [Lovie Smith and I] both feel that analytics help us, guide us and give us some - raise some questions that help us evaluate the player a little bit better. You might be looking at particular position and the analytics don't support taking him at that position and it makes you just - you want to make sure that you're making the right decision. It's a great guide, we use it all the time."
That was general manger Jason Licht in the pre-draft press conference back in April.
Licht went around and spoke often about analytics all offseason and how he and Smith fully supported the system for signing free agents and drafting players. But it didn't stop there. Interim offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo also referenced analytics when defending quarterback Josh McCown's play:
“Just the snafu’s and decision making, you can’t turn the ball over. Whether he’s pressing or he starts out on fire and thinks he can complete every pass, again, we just can’t have those happen, especially when we get that tight in the red zone and he starts off eight-for-eight and he’s rolling and then just that one little snafu. Those few things are the things that’ll help, but the success rate and the analytics that we’re looking at as far as what we believe at that position, he’s doing a lot of really good things and we trust that it’s only going to get better.”
Did you catch that? That "analytics" word is in there. Apparently analytics showed McCown was just fine after the first two weeks of the season, despite his bad throws and turnovers that resulted in points for the opposition.
Stats are for losers. This theory of following analytics to make the personnel decisions have turned the Bucs into losers. Their 1-5 record proves that.
As for who to hold accountable, well Smith and Licht both decided on this. They are the ones that decided to rely on numbers to sign football players as opposed to their actual play. Granted not all players have been failures, but their record may say otherwise.
For that reason, the coaching staff and front office are at fault for the team's misfortunes.
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