Those cracks in the ceiling are starting to leak again as the Buccaneers head into the stretch run of the season.
It makes you wonder if head coach Lovie Smith would like to take back his words that there is no margin for error.
Maybe someday, but right now it's a dictum that the team is not capable of living up to, which was evident in Sunday's 25-12 loss to Indianapolis.
For starters, the Bucs lead the NFL with 9.9 penalties per game and 127 total flags after committing 12 against the Colts. Worse, they lead the league with 43 pre-snap penalties.
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Then there is bandage fixed secondary, which is losing its grip and could be ready for a blood let.
Matt Hasselbeck, the crafty 40-year-old quarterback who seems to be standing between a rocking chair and NFL immortality, made cornerback Jude Adjei-Barimah look like the undrafted free agent rookie that he is. Adjei-Barimah was targeted 11 times and allowed 71 catches and a touchdown while missing three tackles. In this copycat league, the 23-year-old from Bowling Green can expect a lot of busy days until he can prove that Hasselbeck just got lucky.
Adjei-Barimah's off day was just one part of a bad game for Tampa Bay. The Bucs had 10 missed tackles thanks in part to rookie linebacker Kwon Alexander, who added five to his league leading total of 25.
The Bucs are 2-2 since Adjei-Barimah and Sterling Moore became the starting cornerbacks. Moore also got roughed up Sunday and gave up some big passes, including the go-ahead touchdown to T.Y. Hilton in the third quarter.
There is a very good chance Alexander will be missing more than tackles in the upcoming weeks when he gets hit with a likely four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy. He has appealed but that's a Hail Mary expected to fall harmlessly to the ground.
Lovie was evasive when asked if he expects his secondary to go back to its game of musical
"The guys that we put out on the football field are the ones that we think we need to have out there that give us the best chance to win," Smith said. "That's what's going on. We're trying to have a successful play every down and if that guy is out there, we think he gives us the best chance.
Smith hasn't shown he is about to go back to Johnthan Banks or Mike Jenkins. He is looking for corners that play his style and right now Adjei-Barimah and Moore apparently fit that mold.
Lovie gave Adjei-Barimah a vote of confidence, which isn't necessarily a good sign; just ask former kicker Kyle Brindza.
The Bucs have played some of their best football this season when their backs are against the wall and the season appears to be on the brink, which is typical of a young team. Being able to handle success and keep themselves relevant the rest of the way is now the team's biggest challenge.
At 5-6, the Bucs are only a game out of the final NFC wild card spot but need a victory over Atlanta (6-5), which comes into Tampa on Sunday reeling with four straight losses, though three of those were by a combined seven points.
"There is no margin for error as we see it now," Smith said. "This is the final stage of our growth, rebirth, whatever you want to call it. We went 1-3 the first quarter, 2-2 the second. We have an opportunity -- no, it's a must -- that we go 3-1 this third quarter finishing up with a 4-0 in the last. In November, you want to get in position and now it's who gets hot at the end.
"We think we are going to be one of those teams."