Bucs' Leadership Still a Mystery Heading into Bye Week

Luke Easterling

Heading into their Week 6 showdown in London against the Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians remarked that if his team had real leadership, they wouldn't lose two games in a row.

But following a Week 5 loss to the New Orleans Saints, the Bucs did just that by dropping Sunday's game to the Panthers, committing seven turnovers in a 37-26 defeat.

On Monday, Arians made it clear he's waiting to see how his leaders will respond after suffering back-to-back defeats.

"That's one of the messages we just talked about," Arians said. "It happened my first year in Arizona that we never did lose two in a row. But, I'll see Monday, how we show up, and I'll know from there."

The Bucs are in the middle of a brutal road trip, spending seven straight weeks without a game in Raymond James Stadium, including the bye week. Sunday's loss to the Panthers counted as one of Tampa Bay's eight home games this year, and though the trappings of the game were generated to give the Bucs a home-field feel, the crowd was decidedly in favor of the "visiting" Panthers.

Now sitting at 2-4, the Bucs face long odds to turn the season around and make a playoff run. Arians turned a 5-11 Cardinals team into a 10-game winner in his first season, but things will have to turn around in a hurry if he wants to accomplish the same feat in Tampa Bay.

Whether or not that happens will depend a great deal on how the leaders on his team respond to this losing streak, and how they attack the work in front of them when they return from a week off.