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.
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
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!”
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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?
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
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.
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,
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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?!?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
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.
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.