We've heard defensive tackle Gerald McCoy call out his teammates for their performance. He has even called them out for not show much emotion or passion after a loss. So could the problem be that this team does not care to play for Lovie Smith?
That is a very bold suggestion. These are professional athletes who get paid to do their jobs so to say they don't care to play is hard to prove. But they often look that way on the field.
“Well first off, I think we have to be careful about how we say people feel," head coach Lovie Smith said when asked if he needs to better motivate the team. "'It doesn’t hurt enough.' Now, I’ve been in all those locker rooms afterwards and our players – for people that don’t think we’re hurting [or] they’re hurting: they’re hurting. When you’re hurt, you’re trying to do something about it – that’s what I’ve seen. So I don’t think that’s the case at all. I think it really hurts really bad right now and I don’t think it needs to hurt anymore. But that naturally happens when you keep losing games. And eventually, if you keep pounding, there will eventually be a crack. So that’s where we stand.”
Smith's tool for motivation includes his constant reference to being three games out of the NFC South. It's a tough hill to climb especially when the number in the loss column of their record continues to increase.
The team's mental lapses are also a problem. Penalties have been a huge concern and many attribute that to a lack of motivation.
Professional athletes shouldn't need much motivation. Smith's reference to the division could be a form of motivating the players but it has not worked. Smith needs to figure something out because they are trying to build momentum for next year and nothing is working. With a team that looks like it's regressing weekly, it's hard to believe this team will be able to even carry any sense of optimism for next season.
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