Alan Dell

Commentary | Tampa Bay Buccaneers revisit old nightmares in preseason debacle

So much for toes on the line.

Greg Schiano's Freudian, Type-A-personality style of coaching took a hit Friday night in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 30-7 preseason loss to the Tennessee Titans.

It shows what we really already knew: You can lead the flock to water, but you can't teach it how to drink.

Discipline looks nice and feels nice. But it can give you a false sense of security.

The good news is that it's preseason, so really it didn't happen.

Unfortunately, those prone to nightmares didn't sleep well after the game because at times Schiano's new Buccaneer men looked an awful lot like Raheem Morris' motley crew that limped to the finish line in 2011.

The Bucs defenders had too much trouble shedding blocks and looked dispirited and confused at times. Eric Wright did a good imitation of Tanard Jackson and the others who helped the Bucs lead the league in missed tackles last season.

He showed why some are saying Wright pulled off the greatest heist since the Brinks Robbery by getting Bucs GM Mark Domink to throw all that cash at him.

It proves something we already knew: Discipline is like fool's good, and talent and heart are a lot more important.

Schiano's Napoleonic method of coaching still has his players' attention, but if the team doesn't show an improvement in

victories they will tune him out.

We don't want to panic. This is only the second preseason game, but the Bucs' psyche is extremely fragile. It won't take much to send them back into the abyss.

"It really was a (first) half of missed opportunity. We had some chances to make some plays that weren't tough plays and we didn't make them," Schiano said. "We need to play our brand of football and just keep doing it. It's a process, and we just have to keep after it."

If you are looking for a bright spot, see Doug Martin. He broke four or five tackles on two runs and had a 21-yard gain called back on a holding penalty.

With LeGarrette Blount limping off the field in the second quarter with a bruised knee, Martin may have inherited the starter's job at running back. But in reality he locked that up before Blount's injury.

Bucs backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky had one of those games you want to burn in effigy, misfiring on his first three passes while throwing an interception and committing a fumble that led to 10 Tennessee points. He finished 1-for-5 for six yards.

We saw that even when quarterback Josh Freeman plays poorly, he is better than anyone Schiano can put into the game.

Freeman played five series and looked rather pedestrian, missing some open receivers while completing 4 of 10 passes for 21 yards, including a two-yard TD pass to Mike Williams. He got pressured and wisely threw the ball away a few times, which is an improvement over last season.

Schiano went into the game with the idea of emphasizing the passing game. Now he will have re-evaluate that whole phase of the offense.

"I don't think we protected very well, so we'll have to see where the problem is. Plus, Tennessee did a good job, so we give them some credit," Schiano said.

Florida product Ahmad Black gave Schiano something to smile about with an interception he returned 29 yards to set up a touchdown and later had a touchdown-saving tackle on a punt return.

A scary thought is that the Bucs defense made Chris Johnson look like the Chris Johnson of 2010, allowing him to score two touchdowns on runs of 14 yards each. Or maybe Chris Johnson is just back.

Time will answer that question, which is another reason the Bucs coaching staff won't sleep well for awhile.

Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7080, ext. 2112.