Loss to Steelers wasn’t accomplished in last 2 minutes, Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost the game during first half.

Give this man the Don Strock award. If there isn’t one, make it!

Sure the offense can’t go three and out when your needed the most; this is where Jameis Winston is more valuable than Fitzpatrick, his comeback ability. While many will give Fitz credit for the furious second half comeback, (and he does deserve it) the truth is he wouldn’t need a furious comeback if he didn’t dig a hole for TAMPA BAY to begin with.

TO be fair, Fitzpatrick had help: Chris Godwin was a multiple offender. His fumble set up a Steeler TD that made it 16 to 7. It could have been worse from there. A tipped Fitzpatrick pass in the RedZone was picked off to end a scoring attempt, but Pittsburgh could not capitalize there, or the next break when ‘FitzMagic’ started to shed his luster as a blatant overthrow was returned to the Buc 3o before the Bucs defense came to the party with back to back sacks to end another  scoring threat and keep the game at 16-7, but not for long.

  1. Throwing from his own end zone, another Fitzpatrick overthrow was picked off for a Pick 6 by the Steelers who have seen both versions of this journeyman QB who made 6 teams realize he was NOT the future of their franchise.
  2. After a long bomb to Evans who had a killer day, the Bucs could not capitalize in the Red Zone and settled for the first of two straight FGs after avoiding another interception.
  • You have to have the breaks go your way. Monday night, the breaks did not. Chris Godwin’s foot grazes the shoulder pads of a DB and is ruled down  when he caught a pass over the middle and had the presence to get up and run to the end zone after realizing he wasn’t touched. Play was reversed.
  • Down by three, DeSean Jackson fielded a punt and raced to the end zone showing off his speed which is STILL world class. A penalty nullified the play and the Bucs went 3 and out with their last possession.
  • At the end of the 3rd quarter,Ben Roethisburger is sacked and fumbles but Bucs DL Vinny Curry missteps and overshoots the ball which is recovered by Steeler OLineman.

CLEANUP TIME

After Mike Evans catches a TD to make it a game again, down by 3 with over 5 min to go in the game, the Bucs defense allows a 25 yard run to Steeler RB Connor. What do they do next? Allow another run; two first down runs by Steeler RB when you’ve shut down the Pittsburgh running game all night.

With last possession, 3:00 to go, 2 timeouts plus two minute warning,   Fitzpatrick throws three passes, and only one of them even touches a Bucs player. Long deep pass down right sideline with double coverage on Mike Evans, pass over the middle dropped by Steeler linebacker all alone,  and rifle shot Cam Brate was playing DB on rather than Steeler.

Not going to be hard on the defense today, they played lights out down to rookie corners who were flying around making plays. But the run D was successful all game until the last part of the 4th Quarter. If the long pass to Ju Ju didn’t Ice the game, another Connor run did.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers with No.1 Offense in the NFL. … and the Cubs won the World Series the other year? This is a Sim Life right?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had the No.1 ranked defense many times in their 40+ year history. Twice in this franchises past, the Bucs were known for dominating defense.

The John McKay Bucs brought a 3-4 defense to fame with Lee Roy Selmon (a Hall of Fame player) and the Bucs were the No.1 defense in 1979 and had a top D many years from 77-82.

Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks, two hall of fame players the Bucs picked in the first two rounds in 1995, made the Pewter Bucs into a defense for the ages. Not as famous as the 85 Bears or 2000 Ravens, the Bucs were a top 5 D from 1997-2005. In 1999, and 2005, the Bucs were NO.1, and a top D in 2002 as well.  But Never a Bucs team in the top 10 in offense, until Dirk Koetter comes along and Lovie Smith’s 2 year stretch as Bucs HC drafting all Offense players (instead of all OFFENSIVE players like 40+ years past). Because of the Licht/Lovie drafting in 2014-15, Tampa Bay sits at NO.1 in offense for the first time EVER after two weeks of football in the NFL.

Consider this; The Bucs 4th string Wide Receiver Adam Humphries, How many NFL teams would he be a no.2 on? For over a decade and a half, Defenses that faced the Bucs did not really have to prepare for anyone. Even under the Dungy/Gruden Bucs, not really one Buc on offense made you game plan to stop them. Maybe FB Mike Alstott.

How would you like to face the Bucs now? Mike Evans catches everything, Deshawn Jackson can take a 15 yard pass 100 yards, and odds are your team can’t catch him.  Then you have the young Godwin who is right up there as a  NO.2 WR, who gets major yards after the catch and blocks. And then there is the no.4 Humphries, when and if a Bucs WR goes down, the offense will still click.

Maybe, if you can come up with a plan to cover these guys… OJ Howard is out there running routes. And some dude who scored 10   TDs for the Bucs a couple years ago, hasn’t even caught 20 yards of passes yet! Cameron Brate is WAY overdue for his TD. Safe to say your Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the deepest offense in the league, and if the cards are played right, could be remembered up there with the Buffalo Bills of the 80s, San Diego Chargers of the 70s.  Imagine that; Air Koetter.

Meanwhile the Bucs are doing this with a QB who lit the NFL on fire a few years ago with the Jets, only to watch his weapons taken away and his ‘magic’ go at the same time. Imagine how that happens. We also have the smart drafting of the left side of the O line along with QB Jameis Winston. Along with some good pickups in free agency this year, the O line is pass protecting with a purpose.

As the Bucs have the magic this year, Bucs fans need to thank their lucky stars; consider the Packers, offensive firehouse for decades now… and last year when their QB went down, the Packers offense was in shambles.

Credit Bucs GM Licht for bringing in Fitzgerald and recognizing he hadn’t lost his ability, just his no.1 and no.2 WRs,  FitzMagic is having a perfect couple of games and it won’t surprise anyone if that stretches to 3 or 4.

But don’t get used to it. Fitzmagic had a 6 TD game for the Texans, he is in the perfect situation at the perfect time. But he has his down games, you can bet that at some point, Bucs fans running out to get #14 Jerseys, will be cheering Jameis in a couple of weeks.

Winston is the future for the Bucs, Fitz is the present and the past. IN TWO YEARS, FITZ WILL RETIRE. With no Winston, BUCS fans will have a team that searches the waiver wire each year for castoff QBs, Matt Cassells, Sam Bradfords, settling for less than stellar QBs each year, because the rest of the team will be ready for a potential dynasty.

Hmm, sound like the Denver Broncos?

Why the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will win 10 or 11 games in 2018

No… you can’t have the name of my drug dealer. Not that I’m on any for making this prediction, which isn’t much of a stretch for me for the people who know me; a winning season is an annual ritual prediction for me even before running this site. But this time, I’m going to tell you why its really going to happen..so when it does, the word FLUKE wont be used.

In order to understand why the Bucs are about to turn the corner, you have to realize this team was devoid of any talent just three to four years ago. This was a product of firing/having 4 head coaches in 7 seasons, and each coach rid the team of the previous leader’s players/talent to put in his own, only to repeat over and over. This process is the most responsible for bad franchises staying bad, and good teams like Packers, Steelers and Patriots continuing to stockpile wins and good players. (See bottom)

In 2014 the Bucs began RE-stocking this team, and they did so by drafting ALL OFFENSE.
In 2015 the Bucs drafted…ALL OFFENSE. (one defensive player was drafted here, Kwon Alexander).
Two drafts of Offensive Talent brought in the core of the offense in Mike Evans, Jameis Winston, Ali Marpet, and Donovan Smith.

Finally the Bucs drafted defense, but their defensive Head Coach was fired before he could get a defensive draft. New defensive coordinator Mike Smith couldn’t find use for 2016s top pick Vernon Hargreaves, and Noah Spence was seriously injured missing last season, and cornerback Ryan Smith is only finally starting to compete as a starter. Of course another high draft pick here was wasted on Roberto Aquayo although in hindsight it was probably worth the shot for the best kicker in NCAA History. Funny thing happened, the Bucs ran into good luck, and won 9 games behind a solid offense that balanced a powerful running game with Jameis TD throws. Hard Knocks was here…Expectations were high for 2017…

A bit Too high; Every major periodical was predicting the young Bucs to go 10-6 and make the playoffs. Problem was they didn’t know our Tampa Bay Buccaneers players were obviously too young in maturity to handle being a favorite, time and again the team looked like they were not prepared to play, as if they only needed to show up and they would be deemed the winner.

There were other other major differences between 2016’s winning season and last year:

NO LUCK: The injury bug which avoided Tampa Bay in Koetter’s rookie season, hit hard last year. Right off the back the Bucs two best players LB Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander were both out. Our best corner Brent Grimes missed 3 of 7 games, and the hopes that was hung on the Defensive line, never materialized. Noah Spence, Jaques Smith, Clinton MCDonald, William Gholston, and Robert Ayers all missed significant if not entire time from the D Line which applied virtually no pressure on Bucs opponents. As a result, the Bucs offense faced more pressure than expected, and did not produce similar results as the year before.

In 2016 the Bucs had the There was no running game, whether its the result of Ali Marpet being tried at Center (a position he never played), the play of JR Sweezy who was a shell of his former self who lost all his strength as a result of a back injury prior, All of which helped contribute to poor blocking for Winston which cost HIM several games. Of course it doesn’t fully explain the poor running effort as when Bucs lost three starters on the O line and produced better running effort from Payton Barber at the end of the season.

But while ‘not quitting’ is not the goal of a winning franchise, its the hopeful outcome of a team as opposed TO QUITTING! The Bucs simply lacked the depth to compete with the immense injury list that a more veteran team would be able to prepare against. None of which stopped Jameis Winston from setting several Bucs records, Mike Evans too.

So lets do it.. lets get into why these Bucs will win 10 or 11 games.

1) THE BUCS FINALLY HAVE DEPTH- In fact, Tampa Bay may be the single deepest team at WR than anyone else in the NFL; Adam Humphries is 4th! Those Starters at the end of 2016 on the Line, add depth to the starters. Marpet is back at Guard, and Sweezy is replaced by the ready Bennenoc. At center the Bucs have a nasty mean snapper,And Payton Barber is in a hot battle with rookie Ronald Jones. And even Winston who will miss three games is backed up by Fitzpatrick who went 2-1 last year. Thats on offense, finally the Bucs have some (SOME) depth on ….

2) DEFENSE WILL RETURN TO TAMPA BAY FINALLY- and the reason is Jason Licht used free agency to once again bolster the defensive line, nothing new to the Bucs under Licht, but rather than one or two players, the Bucs went out and got 5 of the expected 8 deep starters they now have on the Defensive line including Jason Piere Paul. Two from the Eagles just helped Philly bolster their D line to 8 deep which proved too much for Tom Brady and co.; Want an indicator how the Bucs are doing? See how many Sacks the Bucs are getting a few weeks into the season. Oh and Bucs DL coach Brentson Buckner may be more animated than Rod Marinelli.

3) JAMEIS WINSTON WILL PLAY THIS SEASON LIKE A MAN POSSESED, an elite QB for 2018-

Rather a distraction, this Bucs team was visibly tight last season during the losing season, there is a definite team bond going on with the Bucs on both sides of the ball, nowhere is that more apparent that at the QB position. As fans, we have one of two opinions: The haters want him gone because this presents them with the excuse to, and supporters have his back because he’s the best bet for Bucs to win this season or the next few. But the players dont face this dilemma; the players are all NFL players with whom they could each fall into a situation where that uber incident could happen to them: Get too drunk, stumble around, black out and not know what you did, then have the NFL suspend them. This isn’t a BUC thing, this is an NFL thing. Anyone who thinks the Bucs will split because of this does not know or follow football. This is a fraternity of Union workers, the Pittsburgh steelers got behind Roethlisberger, the Cowboys got behind Elliot… heck Ray Rice even had support until the video came out and it became poison to do so.

The Bucs, and more importantly, Jameis Winston, will rally as a team behind EACH OTHER, IF ANYTHING, it will feed the Bucs fire, not quell it.

4) The schedule is a tough one… LAST YEAR> How many times do you need to be told, this is the NFL.. teams dont stay the same. You either move up, or you fall down. Only a small handful stay the same. Dont be shocked if the Bucs are 2-1 when Winston comes off suspension.

5) Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE… Is predicting the Bucs to tail dive. Which brings me to the best advice I can give anyone whose into NFL news, for Fantasy; dont listen to national media. Forget those experts on Sirius, you can’t trust them because there is too much information out there, these national people can’t keep up with every team, so they look at a team l ike the Bucs, and go with whats called Recency Bias; Bucs defense sucked last year, so its going to suck now. Offense sucked last year, Koetter is not a good coach, but they forget the year before last, everything clicked, and these same people picked the Bucs to  WIN last year and got it all wrong.

Follow the local beat writers on twitter, the big media only follow the big  teams, so when it comes to us, they dont know whats going on, so they just make stuff from last year seem relevant. Why Ive heard Koetter on list for in season firings, even though the Glazers dont do that. They dont know about the Bucs D line Free Agents, or their new coach. They dont know the big picture with Jameis, they hear all the negativity, so they repeat it.

Hmmm so do local Bucs fans.

1983, beginning of 14 straight double digit losing seasons.
Actually every time the Bucs had a consistent winning era, there was a dud season the year after the breakout one.
In 1979 Bucs went from 0-26 and 5-11, to 10-6. But in 1980 they returned to 5-10-1 before spending the next two seasons on top of the NFL Central. 
In 1997 Tony Dungy's Bucs went 10-6 and ended 14 years of double digit losing, but 1998 was a BLAH 8-8, the ONLY non winning season for Tony Dungy's career (other than his rookie one). Coming back in 1999, Bucs went 11-5 and several more years of dominating football.
And as we know the Bucs havnt made playoffs in 11 years now, one winning season since then in 2016 when Dirk Koetter and crew went to 9-7.

COACHING CHANGE; IN with the new, OUT with the old!

COACH: Out GRUDEN    IN Raheem Morris    PLAYERS: Out Derrick Brooks, Matt Bryant, Ike Hilliard, Joey Galloway, Jeff Garcia, Warrick Dunn, Kevin Carter, Cato June,

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They got them all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

…and 3 signs they may not.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall, its a positive 4 year trend for Dirk Koetter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

James Winston  trending right direction.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The draft is coming up.

Why were the Tampa Bay Buccaneers failing at practice?

 

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

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

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

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

“Awful”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He isn’t 24 yet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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