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Don’t feel sorry for Jameis Winston; at least he doesn’t work in Hollywood

Winston will more than likely begin the season on the sideline.

As its becoming clear Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston is going to be suspended by the NFL for the first 3 games of the season, sentiment among Bucs fans is to cry foul.

Shouts of ‘its not fair’ are being heard on facebook and twitter, and maybe it isn’t.  Winston has denied any wrong doing, although his Uber account was suspended after the incident was reported. With no court date, no evidence hearing, Winston has been branded guilty by the NFL and sentenced. It’s not something were used to in this country where our innocence is supposed to be presumed.

But this is the private sector, and even the court of public opinion has weight in this jurisdiction. A conviction isn’t necessary as scores of fans think Winston is already guilty of bad sex conduct going back to his days at Florida State where he was accused of rape.

It was a charge he was exonerated for three time, although even the greatest fan can admit the evidence was poorly handled by Tallahassee police.

Truth is it could be worse for Winston, he could work in Hollywood. No not for the LA Rams, but for Paramount, or CBS, or Bad Robot; or any other film making company who fires employees when word of impropriety arises.

Ryan Fitzpatrick went 2-1 as Bucs QB starter last year during Winstons injuries.

Winstons ‘alleged’ transgression will cost him three paychecks, but it may cost others far more than that. For over a decade the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have started out slow in NFL seasons, facing an uphill battle each year, one they usually cannot overcome. Going in his place will be NFL Journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick who has had some levels of success throwing the ball in the NFL, and who went 2-1 last year as a starter during Jameis’s injuries.

Tampa Bay’s head coach Dirk Koetter barely survived with his job last season, as expectations were high for the Bucs to win coming off a 9-7 season and instead going 5-11. A fast start is critical to having a good season as Bucs ownership is not likely to retain Koetter after another losing season.

Then a new coaching staff would come in, which would make it the 6th head coach in 12 years; A recipe for even more continued losing. A new coach who will also have absoluetly no ties to Winston who was drafted by Koetter’s boss Jason Licht who could be held responsible for the vetting of Jameis in 2015. A new head coach may see another path for winning with a new QB, in what could be a preferred one besides the beleaguerd Florida State product.

Well, maybe the NFL isn’t that dis-similar from Hollywood after all.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2018 season will be far cry from Favorites they were in 2017.

Last year going into the 2017 NFL Season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the media’s darlings. That was coming off a 9-7 season and just missing the NFL playoffs by a tiebreaker. So the Bucs were chosen to be on HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’ program that shows the inner workings of an NFL franchise through training camp and preseason.  The NFL and its fans all watched the Bucs, and everyone predicted a winning season and playoff birth for 2017; and of course the Bucs listened to everyone tell them how great they were.

Fast forward to this year and judging by the early 2018-19 Super Bowl Odds on this site you’ll be able to hear a pin drop IF and when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are brought up in conversation. These Bucs are not only irrelevant, they 62-1 long shots to represent the NFC in Super Bowl 53.

Yet according to ProFootball Focus’ Mike Florio in this NBC.com video, the Buccaneers entire coaching staff will enter the 2018 season already on the hot seat in a ‘Playoffs of Bust’ attitude that Bucs GM Jason Licht readily acknowledges.

Time to face facts, these Bucs are not only  irrelevant right now, but that’s probably a good thing for players who admittedly were listening too much to all the hype last year and fed into it. Last year’s Buccaneers were simply too young of a team to be ‘given’ another winning season without having to work for it.

That’s not to say there isn’t a buzz about the Bucs this year, its just all local. Local Tampa Bay fans are very excited about what on paper could be the best defensive line and wide receiver depth in many years. Having grabbed rookie Vita Vea early in the first round of the draft, and penning Jason Pierre-Paul & Vinny Curry and others in free agency, the defense is getting attention deserving of a unit that finished dead last in many metrics. And on offense, the Bucs are also hoping to get ahead with a running game reminiscent of when their last top 40 Running Back draft pick was taken in 2012 and 2015, the last year Tampa Bay received rushing deserving of a high draft pick.

But with all this to excite up the local fan base, why are no outsiders buying? Because Tampa Bay is the only team in the NFL that just so happens to be in the same division with not 1, not 2, but three playoff teams from 2017.

A quick look on Bucpower.com, and they’ve finished in the cellar of same division 6 of the last 7 years; Considering this franchise fires its Head Coach every 2-3 season, its not hard to see where Jason Licht gets Idealism: 2018 is a Playoffs or Bust campaign for Bucs coaches, and training camp opens with all of them on the hot seat.

 

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With James Winston & Mike Evan’s mention in Top 25 on PFF, true potential of Bucs offense is realized.

Vinny was given the weight of the world on his shoulders, and no supporting cast.

As I await my 40th Tampa Bay Buccaneers season as a die hard fan, I can’t help but think back to all the times the Bucs were ‘on the verge’ of great offense; drafting a top notch QB like Vinny Testaverde, or Trent Dilfer, Two Ultra high draft picks thought to be can’t

While not considered great, Dilfer’s NFL career includes a Super Bowl win, and magical 1997 Bucs turnaround season.

miss. Yet a few years later, the Bucs were right back into the same mess, muddled in with the rest of the pack at 28th or 26th ranked on offense.

With Pro Football Focus naming  two Bucs players in its Top 25 under 25, it reminds me that the recent trend toward offense the Bucs have been enjoying, is not going to come to an abrupt end.

Think about the Bucs foundation:

From the start, Evans has dominated as a Buccaneer WR, he’s a fantasy elite player.

The Bucs have tried since forever to get a real 1st class Wide Receiving threat. More often than naught they would turn out to be Alvin Harpers, or Burt Emanuels. They never dreamed they would find one like Mike Evans: for 4 years Evans has been a Buccaneer, signing his second Buccaneers contract; he has NEVER had less than a 1000 yard receiving season; and he’s under the age of 25! The future looks so bright….

…because Evans has someone to throw him the ball with even more promise. Only just turned 24, Winston is eligible for this list next year too, a testament to how young Jameis Winson truly is.

But just being young doesn’t do anything for turning the luck of a franchise around. This does:

James Winston started his career with two 4,000 yard passing

For any knock you can find against Winston, you’ll have to be reminded hes still only 24.

seasons, and even last year with Winston missing 3 games, he still finished with just over 3500 yards!

All the numbers are on the rise for Winston. He plays the game on a different level, his love for competition is only superceeded by his love for football.

With an Offensive line being built in front of him, and the Bucs drafting a serious home run threat of a running back behind him, the future is….as Jon Gruden once said in a press conference… “so Bright, you have to wear shades”.

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Already “On the Clock” themselves, HC Dirk Koetter and GM Jason Licht begin 2018 on a HOT SEAT; and drafted accordingly

Jason Licht probably had every Running Back, DL and DB lined up in order in his head well before the draft even started. Dirk Koetter and Licht both knew their respected positions in the TEAMS  future just the same: Starting the season in the hottest position possible after having been given a reprieve from their anti-climatic 9-7 to 5-11 free fall when franchise expectations were at the highest in years.

It was a given, there would be no trading up and giving up picks to get a kicker, not even close. For the record, the picking of Agquayo wasn’t completely without merit. He was the most accurate kicker in the history of NCAA football, for a major program in a conference that sends many players to the NFL, for a team with a history of losing games because of a bad kicker.

But the biggest problem with the move was the Bucs were more than just a Kicker away from turning their cellar dwelling around.  Far more than just one player at ANY position.

So Licht and Koetter deserve even more credit for this draft, because they could have played it SUPER SAFE and just took what they had available: #7, and #38… then the 4th round where you can still sometimes land a starter if your good.

Instead of staying put, they put their coaching lives on the line and gave up No. 7 to Buffalo who was ready to invest in a QB, exactly what the Bucs were hoping for, a desperate QB hungry team with extra picks to spare.

Now armed with 53 and 56 as well as 38, the Bucs took their prized RB, got a Corner they coveted and entered the 3rd round to get an offensive lineman they can groom. Looking at the draft, the talk for the Bucs was how to get a DL, RB, CB, or OL.

They got them all.

For Licht it makes up for a few mistakes made here and there, but overall Jason Licht has been a solid GM for Tampa Bay. Even the immortal Rich McKay made mistakes; more of a talent finder, less of a Dollars $ cents guy; Licht is more compared to his predecessor who was fired along with HC Raheem Morris.

But Morris wasn’t the problem, the Bucs failed Morris, Raheem did not fail Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers immediately went out and spent money in Free Agency as soon as Raheem was replaced, the GM who did the hiring and drafting and cut ties with Doug Williams, perhaps for the last time with the Tampa Bay organization…Mark Dominik held onto draft picks and free agency mistakes FAR, FAR too long.

Give credit where its due.. this regime cuts ties with players who are a wrong fits. And while it will be years before anyone can grade this 2018 draft.. the immediate effects are positive from Round 1 on.

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Jason Licht’s 1st Round NFL Draft trade was greatest value swap of the day for Tampa Bay Buccaneer GM

It made up for the ‘moving up to draft a kicker’ fiasco that almost cost Jason Licht his job. Instead, Licht took an offer from the Bills to move down from 7 to 12 after the 3 best impact players Tampa Bay were interested in were all gone. For the 5 spots Buffalo moved up, it paid dearly, two prime 2nd round picks at NO. 53 and 56, giving the Bucs 4 potential starters for next year.

Here are some players taken aproximately between no. 50 to 70 over the last decade:

Alvin Kamara RB New Orleans, Ali Marpet OL Bucs, Tyler Lockett WR

Imagine getting a free Ali Marpet for getting the same player you wanted anyways

Seattle, Yanick Ngakoue DE Jacksonville (probowl) over the last 3 years.

 

In 2014 with time to develop, three WR were taken from 53-63; Devante Adams Green Bay, Allen Robinson KC, and Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins. In 2013 Travis

Of course it all relies on your GM finding a GEM. If todays pick turns out to be a Le’veon Belll

Kelce was taken with the 63rd pick in the 2nd round, the ultimate steal may be pick #48 Pittsburgh Steeler RB Le’veon Bell.

The NFL has a value system to the draft, and there are different ways of weighing that value. One of the most down to earth approaches is the money value system   that Chase Stewart created for Football Perspective. As reported by Tampa Bay Times staff writer Thomas Bassinger, the Bucs gave up $1.00 and got back $1.67, more value than any other draft drade on draft day #1.

Going back farther: Lavante David, Randall Cobb, Carlos Dunlap, Sean Lee, Golden Tate, LeSean McCoy, Calais Campbell. Or of course, it could turn into another Roberto “Oh No” Aguayo; Lets hope not for Jason Licht’s sake

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PFF Mock Draft 5 could be silliest yet for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Make no mistake, secondary help is high on the Bucs needs and wants, but its not as high as some people think it is, and Ill go on record as saying the current group of Bucs DBs have not been given a fair test yet, and Ill tell you why.

As Great as Ronde Barber and Donnie Abraham/Brian Kelly were at corner, great as John Lynch and Dexter Jackson/Damien Robinson were at Safety; They may all have the nickname “Toast” applied to their names if not for Warren SAPP, Simeon RICE, Booger MCFARLAND and a host of other pass rushers that set an NFL record for consecutive games with a sack (it went on for seasons).

An edge rusher to go along with the return of a healthy Noah Spence could make all the difference in the Bucs secondary.

Those Bucs teams had opposing QBs with QB Ratings down in a barely usable level; because if the opposing QB was getting sacked, he was being hurried which caused more turnovers. It wasn’t a gimmick, it was fundamental football. No corner, not even a Reavis in his prime, can cover a WR for 6 seconds; The WR knows what he’s doing, the DB has to guess.

PFF has the Bucs taking Florida State Safety Kerwin James, who no doubt is going to have an electric career in the NFL. But in taking James the Bucs pass on Pressure from the outside in Bradley Chub, and RB Saquon Barkley. Notre Dame Guard Quenton Nelson goes 2 spots prior in this imaginary take.

Its been proven time and time again, drafting for need results in a future when people look back 5 years later (sometimes not that long) and say “wow, we could have had him” … and it was a player even  5 years prior everyone knew was going to be a stud.

The Bucs cannot afford to pass on one player that not a single poor word has been said about him; thats Guard Quenton Nelson. This is a chance for the Buccaneers to finally have an elite offensive line with two all pro guards, a stud at Center, a LT the team is sold on and a replacement for RT away from that dream.

Imagine Marpet and Nelson in a Bucs nasty interior Line that could rival any in the NFL.

Being 4 deep at Wide Receiver is impressive, have two unstoppable Tight Ends going out in routs is an amazing advantage. But having these and a QB who is given all day to stand in the pocket to make his choices, is the difference between a 9-7 team, and a potential Super Bowl  one.

The Bucs have addressed the deficiency on the Defensive Line by bringing in several free agent linemen, and Noah Spence returns to the fold. But add in Bradley Chubb to the opposite edge of Spence could make the Bucs current secondary players into household names like the list of Tony Dungy’s guys.

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3 Signs Tampa Bay Bucs will do good in 2018; 3 reasons they might not

The 2018 Tampa Bay Buccaneers season will be my 40th consecutive year following the Bucs as a diehard Bucs fan. And while one year may have little effect on another in the grand scheme of things, history repeats itself, and trends can give a lot of information if you look for it.

Here are three reasons why the Bucs can become a winning, in the playoff race in December football team in 2018…

…and 3 signs they may not.

NEGATIVE FIRST: 3 signs Bucs not ready to do what it takes in 2018

CLEVELAND SOUTH: Going into 2017 the Rams (32) and Jaguars were two of four teams with worst record over the last decade combined. Now its the Bucs and Brows, as the other two made the playoffs leaving the Buffalo Bills as NFL team with greatest Playoff drought. (not to forget the Bucs have gone 10-6 {2010} and 9-7 {2016} and missed tiebreakers each year.
Draft Party? Bucs have history of Draft Hangovers

Tampa Bay has only one starter left from the draft only 4 years ago. At a

Kenny Bell, one example of poor drafting done at one Buc over time.

time when a player should be becoming an NFL stud on pro bowl breakout player, the Bucs only have Mike Evans to show for 2014 draft. Charles Simms is on the bubble each year. 2016’s top pick Vernon Hargraves on shaky ground, and Noah Spence will hopefully be a repeat of Gerald McCoy who ended his first two seasons on IR but healthy ever since. Neither is a starter, and kicker Aquayo is out of the NFL. Bucs hope Ryan Smith or 2017’s Justin Evans will pan out as future secondary stars. Bucs need to hope 2018 draft will be a repeat of 2016 where Rd 1-4 are stars/starters.

HOME SOUR HOME- Bucs dont win where they’re supposed to.

Tampa Bay was 4-4 last year in home games, and after starting 0-4 in 2016 they ended up 4-4  then too. Going back three years they were 3-4 in Koetter’s first year as OC. The NFL standard is to go 6-2 at home, and break even on the road, which will put you at 10-6. Of course before the last three years the Bucs were 0-8 (2014), 3-5 (2013), 3-5 (2012) so they’re heading in the right direction, barely.

THEY GOT THE RIGHT STUFF BABY… 3 signs that point to WINS in 2018

Overall, its a positive 4 year trend for Dirk Koetter

2-14 in 2014 gives Bucs the No.1  pick and they take the single biggest player pick up in the last decade.

6-10 in 2015 wasn’t enough to save Lovie Smith’s job, but it saved Dirk Koetter as Offensive Coordinator to Head Coach.

9-7 Tampa Bay finally does it, and behind leadership of Jameis Winston has a winning season, missing playoffs by tie breakers.

OF course we know last year the Bucs fell to 5-11, but franchise QB Winston
missed 5 games with injury, which could have been less as the idea he was returned too soon has been discussed. Rather than hype the numerous close games the Bucs lost, its more important to look at the reasons they lost them, and how they’ve addressed them… so far.

KICKING- Single handedly cost Bucs the Patriots game and chance to go 3-1.

DEFENSIVE LINE- Bucs haven’t had a double digit sacker since Simeon Rice. Noah Spence may be healthy, but Bucs went out and got an endless motor in Jean Pierre Paul, and perhaps new blood in the draft.

OFFENSIVE LINE- Considered their strength (the Bucs won games with 3 of 5 starters on IR) but with a STUD at Center, Marpet back at guard, the Bucs may go over the top with another  STUD at Guard in the draft from Notre Dame.

James Winston  trending right direction.

Even though he missed 5 games, Winston continues to brake franchise records, taking over the Bucs media guide one page at a time. Prior to 2017, 4 was the most 300 yard games a Bucs QB had in a season. Vinny Testaverde did it twice (88,89) so did Doug Williams (80,81). Brad Johnson was the most recent with 4 in 2003. But Winston set the Bucs franchise record with  6x 300yd games, in spite of only playing in 11 (or 10 really).

The fact that Winston is only 24 years old, and already OWNS the NFL record for most TDs before the age of 24, is enough for me call him the greatest Buccaneer QB since Doug Williams, and he will probably surpass him soon. Its more than ability, and yes he has a way to go still;

  • calm down the passion during games so he doesn’t lose his head and hurt the team.
  • increase accuracy on deep balls

Winston is not fake, he really lives and breathes NFL Football; he is the undisputed leader of this football team, and over the next few years, the Bucs will go how Jameis Winston goes.

BAD YEAR ALWAYS FOLLOWS THE BREAKOUT SEASON, and comes before the real deal!

Its very common in sports to see a team come out of nowhere and have a great season… only to fall the next year causing many to question the legitimacy to begin with! But the good teams, they get over that poor year, learn from it, and come out better than ever in the 3rd season.

This has happened to the Bucs not once, but twice in their franchise history.

WORST TO FIRST: The NFL knew no losers like the 76-78 Buccaneers. But in 1979 the Bucs started out 5-0 and won their first division championship. They went to the playoffs, and won their first playoff game against Philadelphia Eagles, going to the NFC championship game in only their 4th year of existence. The next year they went 5-10-1, and the defense was a shell of the ’79 team. Still, coach John McKay saw the NFL going to a passing league, and adjusted his defense accordingly. The Bucs went 9-7 in 1981 and won the NFC Central division championship for 2nd of 3 years, and Bucs went to the playoffs 3 of 4 seasons.

Drafted #1 and #2 in 1995, perhaps the best draft in Bucs history to date. Will 2015 be remembered that way too?

DUNGY RESTORES LOST ART: after 14 double digit losing seasons, the Bucs new ownership hired  Tony Dungy to coach the Bucs. Concentrating on fundamentals and overcoming years of losing mentality wasnt easy, but in the second season, first in new PEWTER uniforms, Tampa Bay started out 5-0 in 1997 (same numbers as 1979!) and went 10-6 and a wild card birth, including a HOME PLAYOFF WIN over Detroit Lions for the first time since that 1979 playoff win. But the next season the Bucs started 3-4 and ended up going 8-8, the worst record under Tony Dungy.  The following year however, the team came back with a vengeance: 1999 was the year the Bucs won 6 games in a row, won the Division for the first time since 1981, and went to the NFC Championship where they shocked the greatest offense the NFL had ever seen, the St. Louis Rams holding them to one TD, scored with only 4 minutes to go ending Bucs season.

Both times, the Bucs were a YOUNG team, and were not able to handle the pressure of the expectations. Not only brought on by the fans who expected not only the SAME, but better; but by the media who called the Bucs the next best thing.

Sound familiar? Last year the Bucs heard about how great they were going to be every time they tuned a radio or TV station in. HBO put them on Hard Knocks, and the talk was, the Bucs were going to continue from their 9-7 record and get even better.   Clearly, it was too much to handle for a young team still learning how to win; But last year when the Bucs cost themselves a win vs Caroina due to a stupid offsides penalty by a player laughing it up after the game, the Bucs found their leadership in the locker room. Is it enough to get the team focused back on winning?

The draft is coming up.

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Why were the Tampa Bay Buccaneers failing at practice?

 

To quote the immortal Allen Iverson “Practice… were talking practice.”, was his rant on how unimportant practice was to him.

Iverson played in only one NBA championship series, and has ZERO championships.

While Basketball differs from football in many ways, we all know in the NFL the way you practice is the way you play.

Last week JoeBucsFan.com’s Ira Kaufman let go on his podcast that before the Monday Night Game where Jon Gruden was entered into the Ring of Honor, a celebration night was held. Kaufman, who is a favorite of Gruden’s, asked the former Super Bowl champion if he saw the Bucs practice and what he thought of it.

“Awful”

Coach Dirk Koetter complained all preseason and training camp that the Bucs were not practicing up to par. Turns out many should have heeded the warnings, and not the built up expectations of the media based on last years results.

Of course when there is a bad practice, there is usually a distraction not that far behind it. What was last years big distraction? Its not too HARD to KNOCK down the door of a division champion… each year a few surprise teams are doing it. but you practice good, and during the camp/preseason days, more than a few reports were coming out about bucs  hamming it up to the cameras.

Next year, that won’t happen. It can’t happen, because in the NFL, ‘How you practice, is how you play’.

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Was Chucky a target? We may never know, history will show passing on him as a good move

It was over 150 years ago when Lord Acton announced “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Not so much the corruption were  worried about, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a perfect example of how a head coach who is given ABSOLUTE AUTHORITY over an NFL franchise, tend to not coach long because it cant be done.

Wether its too many hats, or not enough time to go around, or the fact some people just cant pick the winners like some others. History shows us the best franchises have a separation of power: a General Manager who picks talent, and a Head Coach who takes care of the team given him.

Of course a successful team  will know how to make the two sides mesh well together, a GM who picks the right players for the Coach’s system, but who knows how to get good players.

Both GMs the Bucs had were terrible w/Gruden: Rich McKay could spot talent but it didnt always mix with Gruden’s system. Like picking  a left handed QB in Chris  Simms. Gruden will no doubt want to be the Boss, and his track record has shown  he’s not good as a talent picker.

If Gruden is paired with a strong GM who will yield to   Chucky’s  system knowledge but stand his own with his convictions on picks.

 

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2017 Buccaneers offensive problems are now obvious, could be cured in one year.

Mike Evans never got in the grove in 2017 with 117 Targets so far (2 games remaining); He had 173 last year.

Dont despair Bucs fans, as Jon Gruden once said after a disappointing loss in 2006 “Futures so bright, you gotta wear shades”!  Well   Dirk Koetter should say the same thing, IF he’s allowed to hang around until then that is.

For starters, and for a future article, the 2011 CBA was a disaster for football. It was great for the players who no longer have to deal with 2 a day practices in pads. In fact, the CBA has practically made padded practices disappear; and I fear thats why you see so many injuries. NFL players need that contact during practice to stay in  game shape all year. But thats not the reason the Bucs offense hasn’t been able to get going on offense.

Winston and many other Bucs on offense fell victim to the injury bug.

We’ve spent so many draft picks acquiring talent on offense, when the defense is where the Bucs need to go with badly. You’ve heard of complimentary football, where the Defense helps the Offense score, and the offense helps the defense by keeping the ball and letting the D rest, and special teams helps both out by giving Offense the Ball in short field (from good returns), or taking the other team out of scoring range (with good punts). But the offense needs to  sue the defense in 2017 for non support, and here is why; The Bucs have too many weapons now on offense for the limited amount of snaps the team has with the ball.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2017 have one of the worst 3rd down defense in the NFL. Opponents convert more 3rd down opportunities, keeping the ball longer, PREVENTING the BUCS offense from doing the same.

It took most of the year, but Howard and Brate have now emerged as dual threats; each with 6TDs

Last night vs the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football, TE OJ Howard and WR DeSean Jackson went down and out with  injuries, leaving the offense to its 2016 form more or less: Winston, an RB (Peyton Barber instead of  Doug Martin) , Mike Evans and Cameron Brate.

The offense looked like last year again, Jameis Winston to Mike Evans. Winston to Brate; and it was clicking again because these three players got into a groove. But the Bucs added another WR and TE to improve but they dont have anywhere NEAR enough snaps to develop any kind of groove with these extra weapons.

Last year, the Bucs were 94/214 or 44% on 3rd down conversions by the offense.  This year? Not so hot people.. 66/167  or 39.5%   a far cry from last year.    Thats when the Bucs DO have the ball, when they dont have the ball the defense cant get it back for them, so they dont get the reps needed with more stars on the field.

This year opponents are 94/191 or just under 50%. Last year? 67 out of 195; 34.3%, which explains why the Bucs offense was so good last year compared to this year; they simply have less plays in a game than they did a year ago.

With less plays in the game, and the Bucs not keeping the ball when they DO get it back, but instead punt it right back to the other team, they are in essence playing complimentary football….for the OTHER TEAM.

Next year, the Bucs front office MUST put defensive talent on the field; specifically defensive line talent.

In 1979 A coach took over the San Francisco 49ers and improved their offense immensely, but they had the worst secondary in football. They were bringing players in off the street in 1980 to try to improve the secondary. The answer was obvious, the 49ers drafted 4 DBs in the 1981 draft;

  • 1st Round Ronnie Lott DB USC
  • 2nd Round Eric Wright DB Missori
  • 3rd Round Carlton Williamson DV Pitt
  • 5th Round Lynn Thomas DB Pitt

When the 1981 49ers came out of the Tunnel in the Pontiac, MI  Silverdome for week 1 meeting with the Detroit  Lions, they started 3 rookies in the secondary, and 3rd year Free Safety Dwight Hicks.

There was trial, there was error, but at the end of the year, the same 49ers came out of the Pontiac Silverdome tunnel one more time that year. The Super Bowl was played in the Silverdome in 1981, and the 15-3 49ers beat the bengals.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers should trade, maneuver any way possible to get pressure on QBs next year, to get other team off the field on 3rd downs (like they did in the last minute last night), to give Jameis Winston and the Bucs offensive weapons more reps to get into some kind of rythym so OJ Howard and DeSean Jackson AND Brate and Mike Evans can get some more balls thrown their way, and work off the rust!

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More talent must be added on Defense before Mike Smith can be judged

Can we get a clever saying for why Chris Conte isnt playing?

We often mis-use clever descriptive words, like “Caught between a rock and a hard place” is supposed to describe having two poor choices confronting you, but people will always mess it up and say it in the wrong context. Catch 22 is another one, the true nature of a Catch 22 is a conundrum, a ‘no way out’ cycle of logic.

Military wont let you fly combat missions if your insane, but applying for insanity to avoid a combat mission means you are fit for duty because anyone who would do that to get out of going on deadly mission has his wits! (That by definition is Joseph Heller’s Catch 22).

So here’s the Bucs versions of those two:

CATCH 22

Julio Jones rips us a new one two weeks ago, would he do it to Minnesota too? Read this excerpt from Chris Wesseling on NFL.com:

After watching Atlanta’s All-Pro receiver explode for 253 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 12 receptions last week, Zimmer told FOX’s broadcast crew, “We are aware of how great Julio Jones is, and I think we’ll cover him a little bit differently than Tampa Bay did.” Pro Bowl cornerback Xavier Rhodes joked that he would shadow Jones to the point of aligning at linebacker if Jones were to moonlight in the backfield. With help from Minnesota’s safeties, Rhodes limited Jones to a negligible 24 yards on two catches and six targets.

Is it that Bucs Defensive coordinator Mike Smith stopped knowing anything about defense? Or is it the Bucs dont have a Xavier Rhodes on the team to shadow a star like Julio? Brent Grimes is a great DB, but we played zone and Jones just stayed  on the  other side most of the time.

Even Rhodes wouldn’t be able to cover Jones if the Vikings couldn’t get to the Falcons QB! Tampa Bay has no pass rush to speak of, a familiar statement on Bucs articles since 2006.

Tampa Bay found ANOTHER great linebacker in rookie Kendall Beckwith, to add to the FIND of Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David. Maybe the best linebacker trio in the  NFL, the Bucs need to focus on Secondary and pass rush before they can compete on defense, or offense for that matter. If the defense doesn’t get the stop on 3rd down, the offense losses another potential possession.

The most compelling CON view of Bucs coaching staff is a simple one; Mike Smith was Julio Jones Head Coach, he drafted him. Julio’s offensive Coordinator at the time? That would be Dirk Koetter, current Bucs head coach. Its not that Julio had a good game, he destroyed you, and you two coaches should have no only been able to prevent a slaughter by him, but at least come up with half time adjustments to prevent it from getting worse?

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans need to take a harder look at Jameis, Fitz

SuperHigh expectations, wasted draft picks, injuries to team without depth, all spelled doom; but Bucs fans should want to see the good Koetter/Jameis days again, not just change for Changes sake.

You’ve read the comments on PewterReport.com and JoeBucsFan.com, everyone is frustrated with the losing, and they are taking it out on the players, some of which deserve it.

But not Jameis, and not yet. Bucs FRANCHISE QB Jameis Winston is a bonafide fantasy weapon, which translates to he’s a pretty good Quarterback. He’s not great…but he’s pretty good. Know what else he isn’t?

He isn’t 24 yet.

He has NFL records, good ones like first NFL QB to post 4,000 yards passing in his first two seasons (and was on pace to blow that away), and he’s in his 3rd NFL season. The Bucs got him so young, that he’s not going to be 24 until he’s in his 4th NFL season!

Want to know how young that really is? I could compare him to other NFL QBs like Drew Brees and say Brees was throwing TDs at Purdue when Jameis started Kindergarten. But Ive got a better one: JOSH FREEMAN.

Surely if you want to bench Winston for…. anyone, you’ve been a Bucs fan long enough to remember Josh Freeman right? The Bucs got him young too, and he had some success early too. That was a long time ago, those Josh Freeman days.

Josh Freeman is 29.. he could not only still be playing in the NFL, Today good QBs aren’t considered old until their late 30s. Thats how long the Bucs could be enjoying the services of Mr. Winston and his record breaking feats in his first two years.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is an excellent backup QB at this stage of his life. He has lost arm strength, you dont see that, because the Bucs have two dangerous receivers that teams need to watch out for, so they stay back. Without Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, defenses would stack 8 in the box and dare him to throw. Doug Martin would get even less than his 2.0 yards per carry.

Stop with the “we should cut ties with Jameis Winston, because it makes you sound like you dont know much about football, and if you find people who agree with you, they dont know much either.  Now if something comes down the Pike Jameis had a problem with that Uber driver, thats strike ONE on him, and only 1. Franchise QBs are hard to find, ask about 10-15 NFL teams who are either looking or soon to be.

In 8 games, Winston has 1920 yards, thats playing with a bum shoulder at least two games, more if were to believe latest talk about this. Fitz has 1100 in 6 games; the passes dont go that deep anymore for Fitz. If you think the bearded one is better on his feet… he is, at 5 yds a carry to 3. Thats what you get when you have been playing for 13 years under different coaches; you pick up different things.

Look, in a world where Blane Gabbert is starting at QB, Jameis  Winston will be playing football for a long time to come, lets keep him in a Bucs uniform so we dont have to see him change it over and over. Because Jameis isn’t the only Buc the fans want to dump in the Bay.

Next: Dirk Koetter, juggler, must remove some side dishes from his plate.

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What to do about Jameis Winston for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

James is Innocent until proven guilty. But if he did it, its over for him.

Amidst all the allegations of sexual misconduct that has hit political representatives, Movie/TV show makers, basically people in authority who mis-use that authority to get something from women in return for a favor they can provide. Or..it comes from sexual deviant behavior or a combination of both.

Some people wonder why were hearing so much of this; in my opinion, looking back at history, whenever an ILL or bad policy/ Wrong has been removed from society for good, IE Slavery, there is always a last push. A last vestige of our world perhaps not even knowing its destruction is imminent, lashes out in one last attempt. Call it a ‘Battle of the Bulge’ …. perhaps Charlottesville is one other such gasp for  air for racism.

But this isn’t about racism, or sexist advances, its about the Bucs QB, Jameis Winston. The question is: what do we do  with him.

The answer is simple; nothing. The man is innocent until proven guilty, we cannot change this, not even for a moment. Famous or not, ZERO Tolerance or not, Winston cannot be looked at for a wrong doing if we dont know for sure wether he did it or not; so lets look at the options otherwise; because                                                                                                              one way or another something is going to come out.

HE SAID SHE SAID

This is clear cut.. she said Jameis was the only one in the car. This cant be too hard to figure out. If it shows an extra  person than this driver is Uber Toast, I dont want to hear anythng else from her, I dont believe a word she says.

If it turns out Jameis was in the car alone, thats very. bad for Winston, but not irrepairable. But if it comes out that Jameis actually DID grope her, the Bucs need to move on from Jameis, and Jason Licht- and you may as well give Dirk Koetter a discount on u-haul.

Why clean house? This happened 20 months ago, or March of 2016, just after the rookie year of Jameis Winston, who barely survived rape allegations at Florida State. So bad were they, the Seminoles were moving on without Winston after paying 1 million dollars in hush money to the girl and worse yet, submitting to 5 years of Rape awareness programs and publishing annual reports on these programs.

Winston escaped, the New York Times agrees after an examination, because  of a NUMBER of shortcomings in the investigation by the police; and that Florida State and the Police did little to really determine what happened. To be clear, and thats 100% clear, I do not think that means he did it. I think that means they didn’t want to know, but any way you look at it, was   TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT. …

…and then a year after getting drafted Winston grabs some Uber driver’s crotch??? One year?  You have no choice but to admit your vetting team was flawed, they got duped by Jameis, or people they talked to fell for the act of an individual who is going to spend his life making stupid decisions. When we see the finger pointing POKE and the HEAD BUTTING of a Dallas Cowboy shows he cannot stop himself when passion gets the best of him.

Again, to be very clear.. this is a WHAT IF scenario. What IF we find out           Jameis DID IT. Licht is gone for drafting him and hiring the quack firm that did the ‘research’ into vetting him. It means you have to find ANOTHER Franchise QB after the last TWO you drafted didn’t work out for NON FOOTBALL REASONS (Josh Freeman).  And maybe its time for the Glazer boys to look for an ownership group thats local to buy the  teams majority stake, and have the controlling majority find a good football mind.

 

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What we learned about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from their week 10 Win over New York Jets

For all the talk from Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com about the possibility of Jon Gruden coming back to coach Tampa Bay, it felt more like it was  Tony Dungy roaming the Bucs sideline. 6-3 most of the game, Field  Goal kicker MAKING Field Goals, defense getting turnovers, Bucs QB throwing a Pick the next play !

Dirk Koetter tried to get the message through this training camp: Start off fast so you dont have to crawl back into it, then find yourself short at the end. The Bucs didn’t get it, but they’re crawling back.

Charles Sims has a role in the offense, and its caching balls out of the backfield.  A Running back should be a priority going into next season; Free Agency or not.

The Bucs may not make the playoffs, they probably wont. But if they lost this game that would have been a guarantee.

FANTASY CORNER

With 5 Sacks on the day, Tampa Bay had one of the top Fantasy scores on the Main Slate. Ownership of the Bucs Defense? 1/3 of 1%.. if you had Tampa Bay’s D, you scored when NO ONE else did. The Exact OPPOSITE of the top owned player on most slates, RB Bilal Powell who had 37% ownership in most slates, up to 65% in the 600K luxury box on Fan Duel.

It was a Fade the Slate week if there ever was one. The top 4 projected running backs all but one had poor games with Le’Veon Bell underachieving with his 13.7 Fan Duel points. That came with a cost as he had 28% ownership and a $9400 price tag.  That not being bad enough, you had epic fails by Jordan Howard (30%) Bilal Powell (32%) and Leonard Fournette (24%) with high ownership and no results!      Howard had 5.4 Fan Duel Points, Fournette with 6.4 and the most owned player Powell with 3.4 points.  Meanwhile  Mark Ingram had the best fantasy day with 34.1 at only 3.2% ownership.  Ingram was 3 of the top 4 spots  in the  FanDuel Millionaire Maker.

This week our highest slate was 127.02 good for 2145th place out of 30k

QB. CJ Bethard. 2% Owned.  26.02pts

RB Fournette. 26.4%    and Jordan Howard 20.8%         (5.6 and 5.4 PTS)

WR Sammy Watkins 3.6%. 11.1 PTS  Robert Woods 7.1%.  33.1 O   Mohamed Sanu 10%  4.4pts

TE Rob Gronkowski 21.5%. 9.4pts

K Greg Zuerlein  11.6%. 17Pts

D LARams 10.5% owned.  15Pts

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It ALL ADDS UP to Irony- Jason Licht: “This franchise needs a new face”, yes…for yours.

You can add it up, and you can figure it out, its not hard.

This team was supposed to make the playoffs, it was supposed to grow from last years 9-7 Bucs team that came very close to failing if not for Jameis Winston grabbing the Bucs by the horns and pulling them up for a win.

At the heart of the Bucs Jameis Winston led franchise, the coaching of Dirk Koetter. Anyone who knows me, knows that I support continuity.
No, not the Apple feature on newer Macs, the kind the Packers have with Mike McCarthy at coach, or the Steelers with 3 coaches since 1969. But the great Derrick Brooks, Warren Sapp and John Lynch all taught us… The Tape doesn’t lie. “the eye in the sky, does NOT lie!”

Continue reading “It ALL ADDS UP to Irony- Jason Licht: “This franchise needs a new face”, yes…for yours.”

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Why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going the wrong way in 2017

Lets begin with a preface:

  • This season is over, the Bucs are not making the playoffs. However, that doesn’t mean tune out. There is a lot at stake.
  • I’m a Bucs historian, Ive studied, followed the Tampa Bay  Buccaneers since week 2 of 1979; There are people who know more about the Bucs locker room than I do, but there is only a handful who know the BUCS ORGANIZATION’s history like I do, and so that is the basis of this article.
  • It wont be short, so cop a squat and get your read on!

RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW

Without a shadow of a doubt, Jameis Winston is the leader of these Bucs. Dirk Koetter is not with some exceptions.

The concept that Dirk Koetter was the driving force behind the Bucs turning the corner, winning 5 games in a row, is pure fantasy. Jameis Winston started to take over this team right about the same time, and it’s not obvious this team ebbs and flows as Winston does. For all the good Dirk Koetter did as Offensive Coordinator in 2015 setting Bucs records, when he became the Head Coach he added on a world of responsibility he has never had to accept before and the offense hasn’t been the same since.

Continue reading “Why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going the wrong way in 2017”

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Tomorrows Column promises full break down on Bucs Break Down

Stay Tuned tomorrow for a historic look; Nothing is safe from my pen!

We may have an ownership group that is too spineless to make decisions without checking FarceBook for “fan” opinions.

We may have a head coach who has too many shoes on, certainly more than he’s ever had.

We’re seeing a team that was too young and immature to be told all offseason “You guys are going to be good”!

Before you judge Jameis Winston and Mike Evans, try to remember they were born when Hardy Nickerson, John Lynch, and Dave Moore became a Buc; Thats not an excuse, they’re old enough to know better, but if you remember the frustration Jameis felt when he couldn’t play at  Florida  State due to a one game benching; it was enough to scare him straight. You could see the frustration build up on his face. To date, Ive never see a closer comparison to Brett Favre; gunslinger who has to put the teams’ back, on his.

 

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Dirk Koetter was a lazy pick for Glazers in 2016; but its time for Bucs owners to stand their ground on Coach

NO.1 Passing offense leader…
No.2 Passing offense leader.

Which franchise is more successful? The one whose had 3 NFL Coaches since 1969, or the one who may contemplate a 6th Head Coach in 11 years? Answer before the break… First, a story!

Mike the Mechanic is a great mechanical mind. He can dissect a motor and move parts around to make a magnificent engine move forward again.

But when Mike the Mechanic opened his own shop, it closed in two years, because Mike knows Mechanics, not Billing, Advertising, or management.

Kerry the Cook was a great Cooking guru. Kerry could cook up a 7 course meal that could make your  mouth water. Kerry knows food, and cooking, Baking, and quick. But Kerry opened “Kerry’s Diner” and it crashed, because Kerry didn’t know more than cooking.

Dirk Koetter is a great offensive coordinator, and the Glazers felt the ire of Bucs fans who were tired of Lovie Smith so they took the easy way out and Fired Lovie, and Hired Koetter because they didn’t want to change up Jameis Winston’s routine having had a good solid rookie season.

Answer: Not a trick question; Pittsburgh Steelers 1969 Chuck Knoll, 1992 Bill Cowher,  2007 Mike Tomlin.     Tampa Bay Buccaneers  Jon Gruden fired 2008, Raheem Morris 2009, Greg Schiano 2012, Lovie Smith 2014, Dirk Koetter 2016, ??? 2018?

  • Pittsburgh   93-51 since 2008
  • Tampa Bay 55-89 since 2008

Note: While it may feel easy to blame ownership, Bucs spent more on Free Agents than Pittsburgh who developed their draft picks more than needed Free Agents, something impossible if coaches are on carousel

Continue reading “Dirk Koetter was a lazy pick for Glazers in 2016; but its time for Bucs owners to stand their ground on Coach”

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Buccaneers are stuck with him now, but is Dirk Koetter really that much better than Lovie Smith?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans are tired of the Head Coach that presides over the same old stories for losing:

  • Bucs keep it close on the road, but FG kickers misses makable key kicks
  • Bucs face a scrub QB, but defense can’t stop him from having a career day until its too late.
  • Bucs overcome a deficit to tie the game, but turn the ball over so other team wins.
Two 4,000 yard seasons in his first two not big enough? Jameis may pass 5,000 yards passing in his 3rd.

No folks, Im not talking about this current coach… these may sound familiar under Koetter too, but this is Love Smiths tenure Im referring to. SUPRISE! Not much has changed.

Whether its Brinza kicking (or missing) vs Houston in 2015, or Aguayo in ’16/17.  No matter if the backup is Langford, or Keenum (pick a Keenum win, any win), the defense is still losing to the Noobs. And no matter if its A.S.J. fumbling in OT, or sure handed Adam Humphries…its still getting done.

So I ask you Bucs fans or NFL fans, whats REALLY the difference? Why have the Bucs really become competative in 2016 and 2017? The answer is painfully obvious and  two fold;

1) Theres more talent on the offense and players have experience in the system.

2)For the first time in 35 years, the Bucs have a leader on the team who is not only on offense, but is the QB. Thats right folks, Im saying it. Its not Dirk Koetter who turned this team around, its Jameis Winston.

Maybe its time for Scott Reyolds of Pewter Report and his cronies to admit- They jumped the gun with the Fire Lovie garbage. Thats not to say Lovie Smith would be doing any better right now, but we wouldn’t be doing any worse. Does anyone think Dirk Koetter is going to ever be considered coach of the year candidate? How.. his boss is his Defensive Coordinator up in the Box.

Ill say it again.. Dirk Koetter isn’t responsible for the turn around, the increase in talent on offense is, and the drafting of a true leader who puts the whole team on his shoulders… Jameis Winston.

Most Bucs fans dont know the ORANGE Bucs weren’t always losers. They started 0-26 as a new franchise, and then only 16 games later, went 10-6 and birth in NFC Championship game where they were a TD and FG away from a Super Bowl vs Steelers. Those Bucs started a 3 out of 4 year playoff run with two postseasons ending in Dallas where many a seasons have. Whats this have to do with anything? That was the last time the OFFENSE had the real leader on the team. Dungy/Gruden Bucs had Sapp/Brooks/Nickerson, but thats defense. You have to score points to win

You can’t compare his numbers to todays qbs, but he improved each year, could throw a TD on any pass, and team just won with him under center. Sound like NO.3?

games. Those Orange Bucs were led by a QB, Doug Williams, undisputed leader of the team. AFTER Doug Williams was allowed to leave to USFL, Bucs had BACK TO BACK 2-14 seasons, and 14 years of Double Digit Losing. All the coaches hired couldn’t change a thing, but get a born leader at QB and Bucs are in every game.
Dirk Koetter still doesn’t have game management down yet, and Defense can’t stop anyone when it has to. Sound Familiar? Now defensive players are speaking out about not getting enough playing time, something that would kill past Bucs lorckerrooms, but not Jameis’s.

I hope everyone lets ANYONE have it when the “Fire Koetter” posts goes up over there.

Winston blamers need to get real

As if it weren’t enough Jameis Winston has become a phenom by passing for 4000 yards in his first two seasons, it looks like he’s going to join the elite passers in the NFL, by possibly throwing 5000 yards this year. Its not out of the realm of possibilities. How do you stop him now that he officially has two stud Tight Ends to throw to. O.J. Howard had his first multi- TD game, and Cameron Brate is just Stud  City.

BURNING OF ATLANTA II

At least we can make fun of Atlanta…

I saw a cool sign driving through Atlanta . It said “US HWY 19, Atlanta 3 F

Seriously, Matt Ryan got locked out of his house last night after the game. Could not get into his own house! Someone painted an end zone in front of it

Atlanta Radio: ” Will the parents of the 11 children left at Gillette Stadium last night please pick them up at North End zone Gate 4, They are beating the Falcons 7-2 !”
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NOW is NOT the time to cut Nick Folk as Tampa Bay Buccaneers FG kicker

10:47 to go in the 4th quarter a 52 yard FG attempt would have been child’s play for New England’s Gostowski.  Coach Bill Belichick passed, and punted with the lead. 52 yards is only 3 longer than 49 where Nick Folk missed from last night, when with 4th and 2 the Bucs COULD have gone for it.

Of course second guessing the call based on the result is something Ive never been a big fan of.  But ill tell you what I am a fan of: making common sense calls, and  using your head not your heart to make decisions.

Lets look at some of the facts:

The Tampa  Bay Buccaneers are 2-2

Folk was 2 of 4 last week:

  • He pushed a 46 yarder just right from left hash.
  • He pushed a 49 yarder just right from the left hash.
  • This is after being perfect in practice kicks including a 58 yard one. Folk missed an extra point also pushed just right from left hash.

When Folk misses, the announcers quickly bring up how the Bucs are snakebit and over exaggerate the situation. If the Bucs had not experienced the whole Aguayo story, including the trading of the pick for him, the drafting of him so high, and all the misses.

Yes, the Bucs lost the game because Nick Folk missed a kick he should have. But he only missed ONE kick he should have, the last one, the 31 yard attempt. Your probably screaming right now “FOLK WAS 0-3!! THATS 9 points”!!  No… and here is a big mistake on coach Dirk Koetter – at the end of the half, going for a super long 56 yard kick that most  kickers are 50-50 on. That kick skews the results.

Look, Im no Nick Folk fan; he was brought here to add some competition for Roberto Aguayo to get his head back into the game. It didn’t work, and after one bad game, Bucs front office had seen enough and dumped Aguayo.  Folk was probably never part of the plan.

To be fair, Folk has never been a great kicker. He’s a career 80% kicker, down to 73% in the months of November and December, when the kicks count the most. Trust me, this was no free agent score. So when you trot this guy out for a 56 yarder at home in front of home fans who boo’d the Kid Aguayo at CAMP after missing extra points in a preseason game… you set  him up for failure: Kicking in the NFL is mental, not fundamental, and certainly not fun when your in a rut. (See Below for  one the Bucs better kickers in recent history; Connor Barth)

So you want to  cut Nick Folk around 8am this morning? Great..  Week 6 in the NFL, how many good kickers do you think are floating around unclaimed?  No… you can’t succumb to emotional response, you have to use your head.

Here’s what happens…

This is what NFL Free Agent Field Goal Kickers look like after you decide emotionally that Nick Folk will miss 80% of his kicks the rest of the year….

 

So then you Cut Nick Folk, and everyone is happy….then you have to go out and sign a kicker to kick the rest of the year, in all the big games you expect the Bucs to have.. here is what the pool of kickers looks like now..

 

I play DFS on a daily basis, one of the key features to winning in DFS is understanding Positive and Negative regression.

Nick Folk has been in the NFL for over 10 years; he is a veteran kicker; he is the opposite of Aguayo. He has battled slumps before and as an 80% kicker, he is now going to more than likely go on a tear of accuracy to move the meter back up to 80%.  Folk is NOT the rookie Roberto, he’s not an untested rookie, the dude kicked at a 87% clip last year, which is probably where this negative regression is coming from. Its all about numbers, nothing is about chance; you flip a coin 100 times, its going to go 50-50  Tails to heads ratio. Some points, heads will go on a 10-0 tear. Its not a conspiracy with the  universe going all heads up, its just as likely you’ll see 3-1 tails several times coming up soon. Positive Regression.

END OF THE LINE;  Jan Stenerud or MARTIN GRAMATICA ?

Sometimes kickers fade off the charts from surgeries or injury like Martin Gramatic who kicked the Bucs crazy accurate. If not an injury, an NFL kicker will maintain his accuracy level until well into his 40s. Morten Anderson, Garo Yepremien, Eddie Murray, Jason Elam, Mark Moseley (A TOE KICKER) John Carney and many more. Their distance diminished, and accuracy decreased slightly from lack of strength. But their accuracy maintained, and Folk should stay around until the offseason when you can target another kicker with a better chance of a being “The Answer”.

 

How about a History Lesson? Subject Connor Barth

In 2009, Connor Barth missed his first kick with Bucs wide right (38 yards), three games later he missed a 51 yard kick Wide Right, the following game he missed two more, hitting the left upright on a 36 harder and Wide Right on a 42 yard kick. Two games later after making one kick, Barth missed his first kick of the game, 38 harder hitting the right upright. Sandwiched in between the first three games, Barth hit three FGs in a row against Miami.  Overall, this description sounds like a kicker far worse than Folk.     Barth went on to nail three in a row to upset the Seattle Seahawks on the road, then kicked 2 of 2 to help upset the Saints, winning 2 of 3 games that helped the 2009 Bucs go into 2010 with an attitude and accomplish a 10-6 record.

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Thursday Night Football for Buccaneers represented a gigantic bag of MIXED NUTS!!

GOOD CALL, BAD CALL

Jameis launches into the end zone on the last play…Too many times the result of the play is branded Great or Not based on the result.

Your going to hear “poorly called game”… The game ended with Jameis throwing into the end zone to O.J. Howard who wasn’t looking. Being a rookie, you almost can’t blame Howard. Almost. Jameis of course took the blame for it. It felt like the play was forced to exist within 3 seconds, rather than let it develop, but always remember, NEVER JUDGE A PLAY BASED ON THE OUTCOME. Its too easy to say “Bad play call” if it doesnt work, would you have said the same thing had we scored??    AHHH NUTS!! 

If were going to second guess, onsides kick has a very slim chance of working. Letting your defense stop the Patriots when they’ve stopped them the last few drives.. not as slim. Quite fat actually. Again, Ive said it once, Ill say it again. To all the “Fire Lovie” promoters like the Scotts and Pauls of the world, game management continues to be just as suspect, and the REAL reason for the turn around and competitiveness is Jameis Winston and Jason Licht.  AHH NUTS!!

A NEW CURSE

Nick Folk may have kicked his way out of Tampa Bay Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

For decades, the Bucs searched to find a QB, having been hit with the Doug Williams Curse! Letting QB Doug Williams leave for the USFL only to resurface in the NFL with the Redskins and win a Super Bowl with them, Tampa  Bay spent decades looking for a Franchise QB. With 200 yards in the 4th quarter to go over 300 again, Jameis Winston is that man.

Well, the bucs have a new curse. The Matt Bryant curse!  Being let go by the Bucs after the 2008 Jon Gruden final season because his long FGs were not that consistent  In spite of being the kicker to kick a 61 yard FG to win a game in 2006, a Bucs record still to this day.  Since then, the Bucs cannot find a steady FG Kicker..from  ANY RANGE. ( This is the Atlanta Falcons’ Matt Bryant were talking about; do YOU think his kicks longer than 40 yards are consistent?).f AHH NUTS!!!

This is a Bucs team that should have beat the Giants by 11 Points if not for Nick Folk, and now has lost a home game after going 6-0 at home (AHH NUTS) because Folk has missed 9 points vs Patriots.

WHY THE FOLK TALE?

Why exactly did the Bucs go after Nick Folk? Well that was to add competition for last years draft pick Roberto Aguayo. Instead, Aguayo FAILED, was released and the Bucs were stuck with their insurance plan, which is only a catostrophic injury plan we’ve just found out!  AHH NUTS!!!  The Free Agent kicker who should be a free agent in a few hours, wasn’t exactly a Catanzaro or one of the many solid FG kickers who left their team last  rgrseason for  Free Agency.  Lets remember, Nick Folk is an 80% career kicker, 71% lifetime in the month of October. Folk is NOT a hero, to be sure.

Even after 2 misses, the Bucs go from their own 2 yard line to the other end of the field with an ” AT LAST moment of DeSean Jackson connecting with the Bucs and almost scoring if not for a great tackle by Pats. But the Bucs cannot score a TD once again, and Folk missed a 30 something FG which probably cemented his fate. ( Nick Folk say “AWW NUTS“!!)

This is a team that could have beat the Patriots if not for 3 misses. Folk was 27 of 31 last year, but if  lifetime stats matter a little, That was an aberration. Nick Folk was supposed to be inspiration and perspiration for Aguayo. Once the 2016 draft pick was released, Folk should have been in pre-release mode.

DEFENSE, DEFENSE, Where art thou Defense?

Basically, this is what other teams see when they want to run on the Bucs…

Right here.. The last time the Bucs were forced to start so many youngsters and they turned out to be very good players, it was with guys named Brooks, Sapp, Barber, Quarles, Dexter Jackson, Alshermon Singleton.

Today, its guys like Beckwith, Bond, Glanton; and they took the Patriots who led by all world QB Tom Brady has QB ratings over the last 4 weeks of 139.6, 146.2, 104.6 and then in Tampa 94.1. Whose TD/INT like looks like 5-0, 3-0,2-0 and vs the Bucs 1TD and 1 int.

That one TD pass, to Hogan, the only TD for New England all game, could be the sign of the defense tightening up some 5 games earlier than last year. … and Levante David and Kwon Alexander are only afterthoughts at this point.

BELL COW? OR MUSCLE MILK?sfaffc

Who is my favorite Martin?

Doug Martin returned to the Bucs backfield, and the thoughts on everyones muscle hamster was what year version of #22 would we get. After last nights 13 carries for 74 yards and a TD, that answer would be 2012 and 2015. At 5.7 yards per carry, greater production from DeSean Jackson and company won’t be too far off.

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[Jameis Winston on why Bucs lost the game “Quarterback has to make a play at the end”] is why the Bucs will be fine in time

At the end of the game, you have to make the play.

The QB has to make the play.

“What went wrong”  … “Incomplete pass”

Jameis Winston is who he thought he is. “Defense played phenomenal,

..”the Offensive line blocked great…”

OLine protected great, Receivers caught the ball, running backs ran hard… The QB has to make a play!”

As Famous Jameis continues his trek through the NFL, he will win more of these than he loses, and this is why the Bucs are in good hands; instead of  the other men the team has drafted in between the winning Franchise QBs of Doug Williams and Jameis Winston, there was no “We” referring to bad plays and “I” referring to good ones. There were no excuses, no blaming other players, and if there was any focusing on one play, it was the last one.

Bucs fans can console themselves with the knowledge that Winston is the QB the Bucs have been searching for; and sure he has touch issues to work on, but you saw touch passes in the game. He has deep balls to work on; you’ll see deep ball chemistry with DeSean Jackson before the season is done.

There are no issues to work on for Jameis with intangibles, the leadership, the selflessness, thats been there from the start.

6-1 in the last 7  home games, thats the evidence of it.

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No Folking around…These Tampa Bay Bucs are FOR REAL!

The Bucs like to play it close, no one has ever accused them of otherwise. But that closeness is because Tampa Bay has been in search of a Field Goal kicker for the better part of a decade. What they are NOT looking for, is the piece of the puzzle that has eluded them since the Ronald Regan was first elected into office: A Quarterback…..and an Offense!

While your nails may be gone because of one Buc’s right leg, the rest of the Bucs ran passed and caught their way to 434 total net yards of offense. How offensive was the show? Not two, not three, but FOUR Buccaneer receivers had catches of more than 30 yards.

Two Wide Receivers, and Two Tight Ends! The NFL had better get ready for the Bucs Brate & Howard show, the league hasn’t seen a pair of tight ends with this much capability since Hernandez and Gronk were catching Brady’s bullets and turning them into points. (perhaps ‘bullets’ wasn’t the best word to use when describing these two) !!

Jameis Wintson continues on his path to greatness with his 22 of 38 for 332 yards, 3 TDs and no picks. The last part of that sentence is important, but no pass may have been prettier than the ball he laid in the outstretched hands of Tight End Cameron Brate; who seems to be on course for another double digit TD season.

Meanwhile Eli Manning who is 4th in passing yards, and seemed to complete passes at will, could not get over 300 yards passing as he defense kept him and the Giants offense in check.  Giants running backs were held under 100 total yards rug, which is nothing new for the Giants but the Bucs were without linebackers Kwon Alexander AND Levante David Imagine the 2002 Bucs playing without Shelton Quarles and Derrick Brooks!

Tampa Bay sits tied at the top of the division with Atlanta and New Orleans, and will only get healthier as the weeks go by. First, there is little time to rest as the Patriots with their  enormous power on offense and equally enormous odor on defense, are sure to want a shoot out. Hargreaves and Grimes will have to show them

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Bucs win as complete as any other opener

Defense is the word in Tampa once again!

Mike Glennon is no Jameis Winston. Heck he was no Josh Freeman either (except when Freeman quit). But Mike Glennon takes care of the football. Those calling him a terrible QB may be shocked this week what he does to the Steelers (thats my DFS call of the week).

It says more about the Bucs defense than Glennon or the Bears, who looked like THEY were the ones playing in the first NFL action of the year instead of Tampa  Bay.

Answer: Richard Wood 54, Dewey Selmon 58, David Lewis 57, Cecil Johnson 56

Question: When have the Bucs ever had dominating linebackers at each position. In 1979 the Bucs linebackers were the core of the Leagues NO.1 Defense, Tampa Bay. In 1999 the Derrick Brooks, Hardy Nickerson, and Shelton Quarles dominated the league in the not yet but soon to be named Tampa 2.

Today, rookie LB Kendell Beckwith adds the missing ingredient to form what could be the next Linebacker Dynasty on a Buc defense. Molded from an SEC Schedule, he compliments Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander, the latter now considered an NFL elite LB.

Given the Bucs recent memory of 4 straight opening day losses and string of home losses, the Bucs 5th win in a row at Raymond James tells the tale of a Bucs team that is finally going places.

With great leadership on defense and offense, the team is the most

Born to lead..

complete its been since….  Ever. Jameis Winston has energized the franchise, the coach, GM right on down to the delivery truck drivers.

The test next week on the road vs a stout Vikings Defense.

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No Tampa Bay Buccaneers game at Miami: may reschedule or put it off until the BYE week

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins talked today in a phone conference around 1pm, but no decision was made. Around 5pm the two teams decided to not play the game Sun. 1PM in   South Florida.

Now, if they play it Saturday Night instead, or at another location Sunday, or rescheduled for November when both teams have a BYE week.

Problem is… that would give both NFL teams NO BYE WEEK in an era teams are used to using the Bye week as a time to heal up injuries. In an era the NFL is preaching player safety, getting rid of a bye week would not be good. Plus, Bucs and Dolphins starters would find themselves going 3 weeks without playing any meaningful time.

In 2001, the Bucs had a bye week early in the year, and the NFL canceled its games after 911 which was the second week of the NFL season. Week 3 became week 2 as all games Week 2 were rescheduled for the last week of the year. The new Week 3 which was really 4, was the Bucs bye week..so Tampa Bay players including new QB Brad Johnson, played game one on Sept. 9th and the next game September 30th.

The Bucs didn’t score a TD until 12 minutes left in the game, a 20-16 loss to the Vikings. The rescheduled game, a home contest vs the  Eagles, would have gone a long way EARLY in the year rather than later.

The NFL is all about preventing injuries, playing 16 straight games is not a great way to do that.

Stay Tuned for updates on when the NFL will play the game.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Miami Dolphins game in danger of being postponed/moved

 

Looking forward to opening week in the NFL? So is everyone else in these United States. However, one such game is in jeopardy of being moved out of Miami to a neutral location or played at a different time all together.

Options are to move the game to neutral location (ex New Orleans) or reschedule the game to Thursday Night so families can get out or the bye week; each has many negative points.

New Orleans is one such location being considered, as all forecast maps have Hurricane Irma (now a category 5 storm with 175MPH winds) heading up into Florida in between two high pressure areas, just as the city of St. Petersburg hosted the Houston Astros for their Home series                                                                    of Major League Baseball games.

Both the Bucs and Dolphins have week 11 BYE weeks, so rescheduling could be a better option, although no team would want to go 16 straight weeks anymore without a game off. For Miami the alternative is not that attractive, as they already have to play in the UK with one of their home games, meaning they would only play 6 home games.

Tuesday morning, Bucs and Dolphins officials had a conference call, but nothing was determined that we know of. Bucs twitter around says Tampa Bay officials will keep an eye on the situation. Keep YOUR eyes peeled for updates, more than likely before or on Thursday, and if you live in Florida, you may want to start that vacation you’ve been planning. Why not, its a weekend.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans: 3rd PreSeason game is most important….of the PRE-SEASON!

Don’t bite your fingernails yet.. save them, because if the Bucs ever decide not to dress 8 Starters on offense and defense like they did at last weekends Brown’s game, you can bet the expectations will be the opposite of what they were Saturday  night: Through the stratosphere!

Gerald McCoy haters can see what the pass rush looks like without Geraldini, and its not pretty. Yet as an avid preacher of the inconsistancies of preseason, you can expect my annual “don’t put stock into anything that happens in preseason” talk around these parts!

This weeks game, like the last two pre-season games, we did see the Bucs offense come out with Jameis Winston’s guns-a-blazin’… but to back up wide receivers. Goodwin and Reedy… Evans and Jackson they are not!

Left Guard, Right Tackle, and two startings talent  was as expected. What wasn’t expected was the drop in plays on defense, as Cleveland Browns QB  DeShone Kizer won a starting spot in the NFL on the heels of his passing to WR Corey Coleman.

This season has been a treat so far, as we’ve been given inside access to how the Bucs train with “Hard Knocks” the HBO documentary every year that follows a team throughout training camp.

Expectations have been high for the Bucs from their own fans for years now, with Miami and Chicago up first on the schedule, anything less than 2-0 record would disappoint fans for sure.

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For Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans, this is what it’s like where the grass really IS GREENER

Ah remember the days Bucs fans… when WE had the QB battle of the TH-tars!

Fans entered the stadium, excited to watching their NFL team, even though the tons of empty seats didn’t express that notion. Preseason is important this year, the new coach has big decisions to make; A QB needs to be decided on. Who will lead the offense  at the most important position on the team?

Why am I talking Jaguars football? I’m not, I’m pulling a memory from a Bucs preseason game 3 years ago at this very stadium. Opening PreSeason 2014 and Lovie Smith had a QB battle between M. Glennon and Josh McCown; they threw for 172 total yards in that game, with a job on the line.

In other games that preseason, the Bucs watched teams with strong Offensive lines push them around, while the Bucs O line was a tattered mess, recovering from the offseason upheaval that the front office jettisoned due to under-performance. Long time starters like Donald Penn, Jeremy Zuttah and Davin Joseph were gone, to start over with Free Agent busts like Collins, Cousins Dietrich-Smith, Omame ( pronounced Oh Mommy!!).

Even with the help of Logan Mankins, who had to help a little to the right

Even in rookie camp, you could see the Bucs future looking bright.

and a little (lot) to the left, the Bucs were putrid on offense.  But Mankins paid off later on, when the Bucs started to draft smart, and Corralled a couple of Offensive Linemen in the draft, and a Super Bowl veteran in Free Agency. Even though he took a whole year to get ready, added to the “Get it right” contract for Demar Dotson, the quiet Right Tackle, and now Tampa Bay has an offensive line that is on the verge of becoming one of the NFL’s best, and it has DEPTH for the first time, perhaps ever.

 

If watching the Bucs take on the Jaguars last night left you with a strange feeling, it was because you were so used to being that team on the OTHER side. Oh sure they wore Teal and Gold and whatever other color Jacksonville claims… but you could swear they were wearing Red and Pewter.

Martin looks like the ’12 and ’16 Martin, of course he has a ’12 and ’16 O line in front. Coincidence?

For too long Bucs fans have watched their team show up in preseason, get outplayed by the other team early, then score enough points with medium talented backups over 3rd stringers in the 4th quarter to win the game 13-9.  But this time something was different.

This time, we were the ‘other’ team. Ive watched a lot of Bucs football in my days, last night the Bucs looked like a 90s version of the 49ers out there. Hard to figure out who was playing Madden 17, the Bucs on offense, or the Jags on D?!?

Jameis is what the Bucs wanted out of Young, Testaverde, Dilfer, Freeman…. Leader by example and skill

Sure, you could swear that was Josh McCown throwing the ball up for an ‘almost turnover’ in the end zone before being ruled down in the grasp, but lets not forget: Jameis Winston is 7 years away from his 30th birthday! He’s still a babe.. and so while he might be going into his 3rd season, he’s the same age former Buc Vinny Testaverde was when he began his first year as a Pro NFL QB. A year later at 24, Vinny became full time starter, and proceeded to throw 35 interceptions that year. Thats two more than Jameis has right now, but still way too many for Head Coach Dirk Koetter.

A big reason the Bucs are turning the corner as a franchise is those two men; Winston and Koetter. While Koetter had to take his lumps last year with poor time management decisions, he doesnt let Jameis off the hook when he messes up. Koetter has surrounded himself with a good coaching staff of teachers, and with GM Jason Licht he’s surrounded Jameis with a whole lotta talent.

Consider this before signing off:

  • The Bucs are running VANILLA offense. In the past they would run Vanilla in preseason, then French Vanilla in September. What’s it going to look like against Miami?
  • Teams would kill for a Tight End with hands who can block. He’s only a rookie, and he is going to make his shares of mistakes as all rookies do. But picture the Bucs red zone with O.J. Howard in there… and then see the image of Cameron Brate crossing the other direction. Sure its only paper now, but the Bucs offense has never even been this dangerous on paper.
  • Last year, the Bucs had a no.1 WR and a No.2 WR; they were the same person, Mike Evans. Defenses knew the Bucs would throw his way.. Remember the Carolina game on Monday Night Football? To ice the game, needed a pass completion for a first down, and Mike Evans was the only WR on the field? And Jameis completed it to him?  Well now picture the same defense trying to double team…. Evans?  DeSean Jackson?
  • Get your popcorn ready Bucs fans… and someone cut that grass.. before it gets to looking like the side of the yard we came from!
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Roberto Aguayo cutting an example of Licht over “Rock Star”

Coined the “Rock Star” GM by the ever so aptly naming machine known as JoeBucsFan.com, Mark Dominik drafted some very good players, some of whom like Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David to name a few. But it was the mistakes, the errors that doomed Dominik, maybe not so much for making them but for how long he stayed with them.

” There was a Rock Star here before me? “

Fast Forward to the Anti-Rock Star Jason Licht who jumps in his pool after wins, and isnt afraid to make the big deal to get That Player, aka His Guy.

Roberto Aguayo was his guy. To steal a McKayism, The Most accurate kicker in NCAA collegiate football history, well that kicker is kaput. One year almost to the day from when it all came apart for Aguayo, he repeated his ill fortune and came out for the first pre-season game of the year and stunk the place up with his kicks.

To be fair the extra point he missed vs Cincinnati went straight as an arrow, just that it wasn’t supposed to: if your standing on the right hash marks it has to curve in a bit. Bengals kickers Randy Bullock and Jake Elliot had no problems, but then this is a broken record with the excuses we’ve had to make for Aguayo, who is now the Chicago Bears problem, and he can be consoled     by Mike Glennon.

 

No one should be surprised if Aguayo succeeds at kicking in the NFL once he gets a fresh start, and NFL kickers will re-adjust to the new kicking paradigm. But bad luck of having to start a pro career when the NFL went all Belichik rule crazy, rather than have Aguayo cost the Bucs games and perhaps a shot at the playoffs, Jason Licht did what he always does when one of his moves goes south.

He sends them south down the highway, like a rock star, only, not.

 

 

EXTRA:  WHAT HAPPENED TO AGUAYO?

If you want to know what happened to Aguayo I think the answer is simple, bad timing. No, I don’t mean bad timing of his kicks. I mean bad timing joining the NFL right at the time the league changed the rules to push kicks back to a 30 yard Field Goal instead of  19 yarders that were never missed (never in this case is over 99%).

In 2016, 75 extra points by 36 different NFL kickers were either missed or blocked. The year before the rule change, when Extra points were 19 yard FG attempts, only 8 extra points were not made, for whatever reason,  by 37 NFL Kickers. Only 7 kickers of those 37 were NOT 100% perfect. Last year only 7 of the 36 were 100%.

Kicking Field Goals is a mental discipline, its probably 80-90% mental, the swinging of the leg and lining up is so routine, imagine how many times you think an NFL kicker has swung at a football towards the goal posts. Many theories have been brought up as to why so many NFL kickers struggled with kicking the last couple years.

Extra points were GIMMEs like a warm up screen pass for a QB in a game before going downfield. Eliminate the gimme, and now kickers have to bring their A game just for the extra point, and if they miss, it throws the rhythm off.

It has to be something to it, experienced kickers like Nick Novak, Steven Hauscha, Dan Carpenter, and several others could not even crack the 90% mark, Carpenter not able to get into the 80s. Imaging this effect on experienced veterans like these,  on a young kid from Florida State where he was labeled the most accurate kicker ever.  One miss in his career, he was head man on campus, A pro team TRADED UP to draft him in the second round…and he missed his first kick in preseason and got booed in camp when missing more.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers first Depth Chart tells a few clues, if one buys the 1st chart as “Sports Canon”

The first DEPTH CHART is out for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of 2017 and I’m about to tell you how they look:

I Don’t know.

Let’s wait until they play someone with-OUT Orange, Red, Pewter and/or Motorola numerals on their uniform.

But regardless, you can tell a few things by checking out the very first issue. For starters, coaches will put someone first who shouldn’t be to motivate a player.

This is year two with the same defensive coordinator, and year three with Offensive coordinator. If you remember last year Cameron Brate was listed as no.1 Tight End, and everyone including myself said “Who”?  10  TDs later …. Brate is still the starting TE, but so is The Juice.

OJ Howard has Bucs fans excited with visions of Gronk and Hernandez dancing around (without the Hernandez off field stuff obviously)!

Ali Marpet is a Center, but this isnt the first time the Bucs have moved linemen around, its part of the DNA around here. Way back First HC John McKay was famous for taking defensive linemen and putting them on the O Line.

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30 days out from answers to many questions for Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans

The questions have been made, now the answers are soon the come. In 30 days, long after the Cameras from the network that gave us modern lovable mobsters, history laden fantasy-drama with dragons, and super close nice guy rich kid/friends with names like E and Turtle, the answers will be given. The only debate, is will we like the answers?

Q1  Will the Bucs repeat history and take a step backwards before finally going full forwards? In 2010 the Bucs shocked everyone going 10-6 and missing the playoffs by tiebreaker to eventual SB champ Packers. The next season after starting 4-2 with 2 wins over division teams, the Bucs didn’t win another game until opening day 2012. Its a pattern throughout Bucs history;

  • 2005- After 2 straight post Super Bowl years of losing seasons, the No.1 ranked defense, Tampa Bay went 11-5 and lost by a Touchdown to Washington. The next year, the 2006 Bucs went 4-12 as the Bucs defense officially got old.
  • 1997- After 14 years of 13 double digit loss season, Bucs under Tony Dungy  went 10-6 and hosted a playoff game for the first time in 18 years. The Following season the ’98 Bucs started 3-4 instead of 5-0 the year before and wound up with an 8-8 record just missing the playoffs with a tiebreaker.
  • 1979- The   Tampa Bay Buccaneers shocked the world with a 5-0 start (for a franchise with 7 total wins in 3 complete seasons) and a 10-6 record, winning the Central Division Championship; finishing a TD and FG away from a Super Bowl birth. What followed was a let down 5-10-1 season in which the Bucs started 2-0 but fell apart on the heels of its defense.

Q2  Was a 2nd Round draft Trade/Up for Roberto Aguayo worth it? After last year he needs to do more than just beat out challenger Nick Folk, he needs to smash his kicks to shreds. Aquayo needs to be beyond good, he needs to be perfect.

Q3  Will the defense continue the winning ways that took over after the Atlanta loss week 8?  There are many different explanations for the defensive turnaround, the best ones focus on the “sinking in” of information for the first time of the year. Players stopped thinking, as they went with instincts after learning what to do, where to do it, AND DO IT AUTOMATICALLY… instead of thinking it.

Q4   Will Jameis Winston continue to transform into an elite NFL QB?  This dsis year three for Jameis Winston, and the first two years have been nothing short of amazing. Sports Illustrated gave him the 9th best Rookie season for a QB, ahead of Peyton Manning. Last year, he completed the two best seasons; throwing for an NFL best 4000 yards in each season. NFL best means, no one has done it before.

Jameis could be on the verge of greatness in year three.. or something else?
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Bucs UK; Still going strong 35 years later

Bucs, GO TO BUCSUK!? Who says dreams don’t come true!

As a Bucs fan, you’d have to live under a rock to not know the UK has a group of diehard Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans.  Bucs UK was born from the National (or international ) exposure of the Bucs during their final year as a legitimate playoff team, and forged over the decade plus of  double digit losses during an unending diehard support of its founder, Paul Stewart.

So integrated was he with the Buccaneers, he has several minutes on the Buccaneers 2011 Video yearbook. But the return to losing took its tool on him; unlike the 80’s, Social Media is a constant torture chamber when your on the other side of popular opinion.

I know I felt it myself, from the onslaught of an unfair bigotry against Raheem Morris, to the highly toxic subject of coaching changes that followed, Being a fan was suddenly doing hard time; so Stewart got                                                                              out.

A lot has changed about the BucsUK over the past few years, maybe more so than the changes going on at One Buc Place in the same time frame. Because when one makes a decision to leave a longtime love, its inevitable the desire to get involved will return. Problem is, sometimes that love has moved on without you.

Now run by Phil Jones, Kieron Hyams and Dave Cambridge all playing integral parts, the group may not appear to be as big as it once was, but what it may lack in Quantity it makes up for in Quality.

The BucsUK are annual visitor and guests of the Buccaneers, and as an honorary member as thanks for supplying live Video Feeds of the Bucs  using slingbox and other contributions, I’ve been a part of many amazing events; the 2009 30 year anniversary of the 1979 Bucs first NFC South Division as one example. Not even the press was invited to this one, and here I am with my teenage Bucs heroes Doug Williams, Jimmy Giles, Gordon Jones, Cecil Johnson, David Lewis and more! (more photos below) It was a dream come true for me, having dinner at the same table with Safety Mark Cotney. The year before I was on the field pregame for the  Seattle night game in 2008 and met the Glazers themselves. They upgraded all of our $86 dollar seats into $500+ Club Seats, so it was no wonder I led the protest against “Glazers are cheap” chants of 2007-11.

THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW

Today, the former head of Bucs  UK plays a ton of golf, and continues to run and feed the best Bucs resource site, Bucpower.com. No joke, the Buccaneers do NOT have as much information as Bucpower.com. Don’t take my word for it, check out every game by team, by season, with photos and video clips (Many donated by Bucstop’s Video Vault, where do you think I got my honorary membership?? ).  In addition to his day job he painstakingly assembles statistics from each season and during his pilgrimage to Tampa each year, gives the Bucs a CD full of current stats.  Sure, the Bucs have their own statisticians and/or get their info from private companies that do that, Brian Ford and Bucs go out of their way each year to make both parties feel welcome as if they were still Brad and Angelina.
So how are the BucsUK doing without it’s founder?
There maybe less than get togethers in the past, but these guys are ALWAYS at EVERY BucsUK event. Tight, Close group under “new management” is inseparable.

Our first article coming back was a ‘Get Together’ at a local Football Club; Aylesbury FC’s Hall. The Hall’s twitter sent out a Thank You tweet with photos thanking the 25 members who showed up for the event. When you go to the Bucs UK website, you see photos of the events while under the old leadership, and I suppose it should come as no surprise the turnouts seem bigger. Paul was extremely skilled at getting the MEGA participation at events, It was the passion he had for the Bucs, born on that fateful night in 1982 when the 3rd game of a strike shortened season had the home Bucs on Monday Night Football

0-2 Bucs desperately hosted 2-0 Miami Dolphins, and beat them in an exciting last second win on Monday Night Football.

against the 2-0 Miami Dolphins.

The Bucs fought and beat Miami to stay alive in a strike shortened playoff race leading future British Bucs supporter to say to himself “That must be a good team, I think Ill support THAT team” as an ever growing fan base in Europe was being exposed to American football for the first time. “Fourteen double digit losing seasons later…” that choice may have changed another man’s mind, but not him. There are few people on this earth who know  more about the Bucs than I do, and without a doubt I give that to Paul. But lets just say I was never allowed to compete for real contest prizes back in the day !! 🙂 But when you hear a guy on the radio talk about the Rams overcoming a 27 point deficit to beat the Bucs and he says “Oh yeah, Dec. 6 1992” you know you’ve got someone special on the team.
THE CROWD..THE NUMBERS
That passion, which infected others, showed in the numbers of people who would show up to Bucs UK events in droves.
While not everyone has money to come to the US for games, he still managed to get people over in to Bucs Games at a time when the economy in either of our countries either wasn’t so great or  when the TEAM wasn’t so hot either.
While the roll call of current Bucs UK seems to be smaller, actual membership is claimed to be higher than what it was under previous regime.
A sort of schism has formed between the two sides, with both claiming the opposite of the other. BucsUK claims the rolls are currently up higher than before with numbers in high 100s compared to just over a C-note for the previous high.
 And while I hear from both sides that this group is not happy and  ‘that group is happier’, your always going to get that from people that have similar viewpoints, in fact in my opinion, they all just support what Ive said right here;
Bucs UK seemed bigger and more visible under Stewart, but it’s current core leadership has in this group maybe a tighter Bucs UK foundation than ever before.
MORE PHOTOS..

 

Phil gets a new Bucs throwback helmet signed by all of the 1979 Bucs who showed. The small helmet got current Buc Chris Hovan and others.
… and Barrett RUUUUUUUD!
Outside of a Tampa Bucs clothing store, origin of my story below and Nickname “SATNAV” by Bucs UK faithful.

So like the Beatles would put another song at end of record, here is a hidden Easter Egg story. During visit in 2011 to see Bucs, the group led by Paul (taking photo?) stopped at Bucs,Bulls, and more clothing store as a meeting place before going to OneBuc. Unfortunately, I was not a big traveler back then, and other than going to the stadium, I did not know Tampa well.  These were the early days of GPS, when it works, but sometimes, it gave you close, but not perfect.

Not knowing how to get to One Buc Place, which is just left of the STADIUM off of Dale Mabry Ave. I put in “ONE BUC PLACE” into my iPhone. (Sorry google fans, there WAS NO ANDROID PHONES back the iPhone was only smart phone) and I followed the directions to ONE BUC PLACE, or at least where it USED TO BE when Tampa Stadium was where the Bucs played.

So here I am, the only one who lives in the area, with 4 guys from Britain, meeting 20 plus others from the U K,  and my car is 10 minutes late because I didn’t know where to go.

Upon arrival, within 5 minutes my nickname was SAT NAV.