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

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.”

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”

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.

 

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”

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 !”

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.

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.

[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.

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