Do Bucs Still Have Swagger?

Bucs face big challenge regaining confidence and remainder of season

As the Tampa Bay Buccaneers enter the do-or-die game against the Washington Redskins, one of the many questions the Bucs will have to answer is, ‘Where's the Swagger?'''

Championship teams don't walk onto the field; they strut. They swagger, king of the domain, and, most importantly, Defender of the House.

In a 34-14 loss to the Carolina Panthers last Sunday, the Bucs showed none of those attributes. They were beaten, bullied, and pushed around by their divisional; rivals in front of their home crowd. It was a humbling experience for a Bucs team that started the season at 5-1 and it was never more disturbing than when offensive tackle Kenyatta Walker was offsides three times in four plays in the third quarter when the Panthers had started to take control. Walker was jumping to avoid the rush of Carolina Pro-Bowler Julius Peppers, but that's not he point.

Three years ago, during that magical run to the Super Bowl, the Bucs were the intimidators. They were the ones that strutted onto the field in Philadelphia and bullied the Eagles out of the Super Bowl.

Things have changed. No longer are the Bucs the master of the house. With a road game at Atlanta next week, the Bucs need to find that swagger in a hurry. Washington will not be easy. The defense can be dominating if you remove the 36-0 hiccup loss against an inspired New York Giants team two weeks ago. The offense is much like the Bucs. It's anemic at times, but Mark Brunell is a veteran quarterback who knows how to win if he gets time. Brunell used to be one of the most mobile quarterbacks in the NFL, but he is playing on gimpy knees and the Bucs can have a field day if they blitz successfully.

It still comes down to attitude for the Bucs. If they don't make mistakes, if they can give quarterback Chris Simms time to pass, it's a winnable game at a time when a win is desperately needed.

Otherwise, if the Bucs don't show up with an attitude, it could be a long day.


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