It’s no secret that the 2011 season was a terrible one for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After starting the year 4-2 with some quality wins against division rivals Atlanta and New Orleans, the Bucs forgot how to win football games and ended up 4-12 with a top 5 draft pick in April.
There are many reasons for the bludgeoning the Bucs received on a weekly basis and now it looks as though you can add another to the list.
While Campbell’s story had unnamed sources praising quarterback Josh Freeman for his work ethic, those same sources criticized both Williams and Blount for not putting in the effort to be ready on Sundays.
Sources said both players were not spending the right amount of time preparing their bodies for Sunday. Neither one was hitting the weight room or training room as they should. Former coaches said both players needed to spend regular time in the cold tub and build their bodies in the weight room to play better on Sundays.
Former team staff said Williams in particular was a mess. In the beginning of the season, Williams was struggling to get separation from defensive backs. He thought he was too heavy, so he started losing weight, and by the end of the season, sources said that Williams was too frail and didn't have the strength to fight off jams and re-routes. Williams also was said to be partying a lot at night, and as a result, he was falling asleep during meetings.
As a rookie in 2010, Williams caught 65 passes for 964 yards and a franchise record 11 touchdowns. Last season, Williams still caught 65 passes but for only 771 yards and just three touchdowns. He also was one of the league leaders in drops in 2011.
Blount also saw his stats nosedive last year. He rushed for 1,007 yards with a 5.0 per carry average as a rookie in 2010. However, Blount struggled with ball security and pass protection last year and had a miserable sophomore campaign with just 781 yards and five touchdowns.
To be honest, the claims in Campbell’s article should not surprise anyone. When one drafts players with questionable pasts and a history of problems – like Williams and Blount – those same problems tend to pop up once they make it big.
Williams missed a season in college due to academic issues and also “quit” the team while at Syracuse. He was also arrested for DUI his rookie season just one night before a road trip to San Francisco, but the charges were later dropped.
While Williams carries around a bad rep, Blount’s is much worse. He was suspended nearly the whole 2009 season at Oregon after punching a Boise State player. Upon arriving in the NFL, he punched a teammate at practice when he was with the Titans. And just a few weeks ago, reports surfaced of Blount allegedly orchestrating an attack against two Bucs fans in a parking lot.
Also, don’t forget the story Buccaneers 101 broke a few months ago about the Bucs’ brass not trusting Blount because he just didn’t know the playbook.
You can also add guys like Aqib Talib, Geno Hayes, and Tanard Jackson to the list of players with off-the-field issues.
And while Freeman may get a free pass because he’s the franchise quarterback, numerous sources have told Buccaneers 101 about Freeman partying around town.
These players are young and allowed to do what they want, when they want and that’s fine – as long as they are still putting in the work to be good at what they get paid to do, which is playing football.
Hopefully, these reports light a fire under guys like Williams and Blount because they won’t get the same treatment from new head coach Greg Schiano that they did from former head coach Raheem Morris.
Tags: Football, Josh Freeman, LeGarrette Blount, Mike Williams, NFL, Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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