Bucs coach Raheem Morris said some of his players blinked. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson suggested they had anxiety and lost their swagger.
Whatever the reason, the Bucs did not play to expectations in a season-opening loss to the Detroit Lions.
But quarterback Josh Freeman simply says too much hysteria resulted from the Week 1 defeat in which the Bucs never were in synch.
"It's kind of like a Chicken Little complex," Freeman said. "Lose the first game, the sky is falling, you're never going to win again. You can't start, the defense can't do this and can't do that. I mean, within the building, we know what kind of team we are. We know we let one get away this past weekend. I mean, we know we can go out and play better football and win games.
"So there's no panic, so to speak, within this building, in this locker room. Right now, we're just grinding, working on this Minnesota stuff hoping we get a win this week."
By Morris' own admission, the Bucs got out of their game plan too early last week. The Bucs formula for winning 10 games a year ago was to pound running back LeGarrette Blount and then hit big plays in the passing game on play action.
But despite only trailing by a touchdown to start the second half against the Lions, Morris decided to go to a hurry-up, two-minute offense. The result was two three-and-outs that put the Bucs' already gassed defense back on the field.
Freeman, who had only six plays in the first quarter, took the blame for the Bucs offense sputtering last week.
"Ultimately, I'm the guy who calls the plays, I'm the guy who gets the guys to the line, pushes the tempo," Freeman said. "Whatever we've got to change, it's got to start with me. We've got to find a way to obviously start faster. It's become a big cliche, but at the end of the day, that's what you've got to do."
The Bucs will have a better matchup this week to help them stick with their game plan.
The Vikings will want to pound the ball on the ground with running back Adrian Peterson. The Bucs will counter by riding running back LeGarrette Blount, who had only five rushes for 15 yards in the season opener.
Meanwhile, the Vikings have to get more from their offense, particularly quarterback Donovan McNabb. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said McNabb is a work in progress. But like Freeman, he cautioned fans not to read too much into the Week 1 result.
"In the seat that I'm sitting in, you have to have perspective," Frazier said. "And I've been around long enough. I was telling one of our executives the other day I can remember a team a few years ago that started off 6-0 and everybody was crowning this team and saying how great they were. And they didn't even make the playoffs. So you have to be careful about coming to conclusions after one week into the season.
"There's so much football to be played and when you consider this off-season? If there was ever a year you don't want to overreact, this would be the year. I mean there are going to be teams, I really believe this, that are going to look so, so different in November and December than they did coming out of the block. Postive and negatively. So you have to be careful and I've kind of talked to our team about that. Week to week we're going to try and improve as a football team and come together at the right time. But you don't want to overreact at this stage, it would be a major, major mistake. But you have to understand the nature of Pro Football today. With all the outlets and the media demands for stories, you just can't get caught up in that from a player's standpoint or a fan's standpoint and that's a hard thing not to do."
Bucs caution against 0-1 overreaction
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