The Buccaneers have two more weeks to find their identity as a team under Raheem Morris.
They took the first step Sunday in their 24-7 win over the Seattle Seahawks. And darned if that identity under the first-year head coach didn't look a lot like the way the Bucs have won for more than a decade.
The defense kept receivers in front of them, intercepted four passes and forced a fumble. The offense was committed to running the football, rushing 34 times for 134 yards. And the pressure was taken off rookie quarterback Josh Freeman, who overcame another interception on his first attempt of the game to finish with 205 yards passing and two touchdowns.
It was the fewest points allowed this season by the Bucs, who won on the West coast for the first time since Super Bowl XXXVII in
"Raheem had on his play sheet: No Ego," said Bucs cornerback Ronde Barber. "Play Bucs. Play what we know and that's how it played out.
"Play Bucs. Make them catch the ball in front of you and tackle them. That's exactly what it was. They tried us twice in the fourth quarter and both of them were interceptions. That's the way we've won games here for a lot of years."
Morris is on the hot seat. There's no doubt about that. You can't fire both coordinators in your first year and look like you know what you're doing.
But in taking over the defensive play-calling from Jim Bates, he has returned the Bucs to the one-gap scheme they thrived in under Monte Kiffin.
There are a lot of decisions that have to be made in the offseason, like whether to retain offensive coordinator Greg Olson.
But Olson took over 10 days before the season opener from Jeff Jagodzinski and now says he wishes he had scrapped the entire plan.
"You look at all three teams (Bucs, Chief, Bills) that changed coordinators and there wasn't a lot of success there," Olson said. "I think there were a lot of reasons for Rah making the switch, but a lot of it was their recognition that this wasn't good right now. But if you think I was going to have a magic wand, I knew that wasn't going to be the situation. But I expected more, certainly."
Moving forward, look for Olson to scrap the entire zone blocking scheme installed by offensive line coach Pete Mangurian.
"Hindsight is 20-20, but you look at it and if you it was going to be this way, you would've said, "We're scrapping it and we're going to do things this way," Olson said. "But at the time, I didn't think it was the right thing to do. Just because I felt like if we did that, our players would say, "Gosh, we did all this work and now we're throwing it away?' That would give them no hope. Like everything we had done was a complete waste."
A strong running game will take some of the pressure off Freeman.
"The rest of the season is about establishing our identity,'' Morris said.
TRENDING: Late in the season, Cadillac Williams is worn down. Look for running back Derrick Ward to get more of the workload. On Sunday, Ward led the Bucs with 19 carries for 67 yards while Williams had 12 rushes for 66 yards.
UNDER THE RADAR: Linebacker Geno Hayes. Since the defense has returned to its
--K Conner Barth was 3 of 4 in field-goal attempts Sunday, making him 11 of 16 on the season.
--CB Elbert Mack had two interceptions Sunday, his first multi-interception game as a pro.
--QB Josh Freeman threw an interception on his first pass attempt Sunday for the second game in a row.
--S Tanard Jackson was forced to leave Sunday's game with a knee injury but tests revealed no structural damage and he should play next week at
--TE Kellen Winslow led the Bucs with six catches for 93 yards Sunday.