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

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.

[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

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!