For Lovie Smith, the honeymoon is over.
There is no reason to lament. Sooner or later, we all have to deal with reality.
Unfortunately, the higher the hopes the harder the fall, and you get a crash landing.
It's tough for those who saw playoffs in the rose-colored glasses they purchased at the dollar store.
This is not a playoff-caliber team, and bashing Lovie is a way some deal with frustration.
But no matter how you explain the Bucs' 0-2 start it always comes back to the Josh McCown panic.
It has become contagious.
Despite all the injuries and defensive misdeeds, if McCown doesn't commit boneheaded turnovers, the Bucs are likely 2-0 and Lovie is drawing praise from his current detractors.
"You have to protect the football. If you talk about the quarterback, sometimes it's good to just bring the ball down and live to see another down," Smith said.
McCown is athletic, but he easily gets lost, forgets who he is and panics.
The Bucs are next to last in passing and 28th in total offense.
Suffering from shell shock, Smith and his offensive staff get conservative, and critics are spawned.
"You can't turn the ball over. Where he (McCown) is pressing or he starts out on fire and thinks he can complete every pass, we just can't have those happen," quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo said.
McCown still hasn't found those Dunkaneers we were told could fly without wings. He doesn't realize receiver Vincent Jackson can be his lifeline.
If you have a chance to win a game by holding on to the lead, calling a pass play for McCown is risky. You can't be certain he will avoid a colossal mistake.
Using backup Mike Glennon presents an uneasy scenario for other reasons.
It's legitimate to question Lovie for signing McCown after one good season that involved five starts in Chicago.
Smith has a better resumé as a coach that McCown and Glennon have as players. He never started an NFL season 0-2 until now.
In a season only two weeks old, he has enough injuries to open a Red Cross Center and has never had offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford fully involved and calling plays because of health issues.
Arroyo, who has been handling the play-calling with input from the staff, says the Bucs researched McCown thoroughly before they signed him, going through every free-agent QB in the league during the offseason.
He said McCown came out the best.
"Last year was his most recent, and in my opinion was what he did most recently was the most pertinent. There were a lot of good things he did that come out on tape, a maturity that looked like it kicked in over the years and that was what we based it on," Arroyo said.
Arroyo insists McCown's blunders have not influenced the play-calling.
"I trust Josh. He makes checks in games that only us back here would really know," Arroyo said. "He's done a really lot of good things that are part of him making decisions and it may not just be when a broken play happens. The play calls are what we believe are the best for us and they hold no bearing on what he's done at this point."
Arroyo says McCown has that "escape dimension," which he calls a bonus.
"That's definitely on our checklist as far as Tedford and myself. A guy with escape dimension adds pressure to a defense and when things break down we see that he can make some plays," Arroyo said.
We won't disagree about the accolades. It's the McCown panic that scares us.
Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7056. Follow him on Twitter @ADellSports.