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Carmen Catches Up: A Bucs Social Justice Event and JPP Gets Real on the Radio

-Though it was player’s day off yesterday, some Bucs players took their time to visit Abe Brown Ministries as part of the Bucs’ Social Justice Initiative. Abe Brown Ministries is a faith-based organization that focuses on helping ex-offenders integrate back into their communities following incarceration. Multiple players sat in a classroom with clients of the Ready4Work program that provides employability training. There was also a powerful discussion surrounding biases and testimonies shared by clients and players alike. The passion and participation of these guys to make a difference in the Tampa Bay community is really evident in these events. Players were fighting back tears listening to some of the stories and situations of people in the room. My glasses were foggy, I’ll tell you that much. It’s situations like those that I think a lot of these guys realize the magnitude of their platform in an incredibly humbling way. If you want to read the full story on the day, click here.

-Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul took accountability for improvement needed on the defense, in particular, on the Bucs Total Access radio show on Monday. He said the change starts with the players, especially after the major coaching change made this week at defensive coordinator. “It’s up to the players to play,” he said. He acknowledged coming out ‘flat’ for the Atlanta game until the second half. From what he noted, the players talked on Monday about how they should have played in the first half how they played in the second half and to expect changes from here on out. He also attributed the discrepancy between first and second half play this season to attitude and miscommunication – which are fixable, most importantly. Considering the Bucs have allowed just 20 second half points all season, if they can come out playing like that in the first half, their high-powered offense can take care of the rest to stack up some wins.

-It’s interesting to think about the variables between the first and second halves, collectively. The stats show that aforementioned discrepancy as clear as day, but there are other factors that go into why it’s so stark. Because of the slow starts, the Bucs have dug themselves into a hole, which undoubtedly affects how the other team plays. When you go into halftime down multiple scores, the sense of urgency by the opponent has to go down. No one will tell you that’s the case – but even football isn’t immune from human nature. Does that play into why the Bucs’ defense plays better in the second half? What does that do for the Bucs’ attitude? JPP said at halftime of the Atlanta game, the defense understood what was needed in the second half. He also said even if the Bucs are up, they need to always play like they’re down. Those intangibles seem to be the difference here, so it will more than likely take a true shift in attitude to remedy, which JPP also said was coming.

-Another fun little tidbit that came from Bucs Total Access is that Pierre-Paul’s nickname of ‘JPP’ came from his college coach at USF… because he didn’t want to have to say Pierre-Paul’s full name all the time. You have to admit JPP is much more convenient and less of a mouthful.

-There seems to be more understanding and clarification with the NFL’s roughing the passer penalty. Following a clarification by the league, the amount of roughing calls has been cut almost in half. According to an article on ESPN, the first three weeks of the season saw the penalty called 34 times. In contrast, it’s been called 19 times the last three weeks. NFL football operations chief Troy Vincent said in the article, “You hope that no player is thinking about a rule. We want them to play [with a] free mind where you're just free and you play.'' The Bucs saw the penalty called four times in their Week Three Monday night game against the Steelers, two on each team. It was immediately following that primetime game that the league took another look and attempted to clarify the rules.

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