Bucs RB Doug Martin & head coach Dirk Koetter - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Three first half turnovers, including two Jameis Winston interceptions from former Bucs cornerback Aqib Talib lead to Denver’s 27-7 win at Tampa Bay. The loss, which featured an hour and a half rain delay, dropped the Bucs to 1-3 on the year while the Broncos remained undefeated at 4-0. It’s time for PewterReport.com’s 2-Point Conversion post-game column, which features two statements, two questions and two predictions based on the latest Bucs game.
TWO BIG STATEMENTS
STATEMENT 1: WINSTON IS IN A SOPHOMORE SLUMP
Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is severely hurting Tampa Bay’s chances of winning games. No, he’s not blowing coverage or getting flagged for pass interference, but he’s certainly done his part to contribute to the Bucs’ disappointing 1-3 record.
It’s official. Winston is in a sophomore slump. It’s no coincidence that this started after the loss of Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin to a hamstring injury in Arizona.
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter and QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Winston started off the 2016 season red hot as the NFC Offensive Player of the Week in a 31-24 win at Atlanta with four touchdowns and one interception. Since then, Winston has slumped badly, tossing four touchdowns and seven interceptions, including two to Denver cornerback Aqib Talib, the Bucs’ first-round pick in 2008, on Sunday. He’s also fumbled twice and accounted for nine turnovers in the past three weeks – 10 total in the first four games.
Last year, Winston threw 22 touchdowns and just 15 interceptions with three lost fumbles en route to throwing for over 4,000 yards and making the Pro Bowl as a rookie. Those 18 turnovers were somewhat understandable in his first year in the NFL and in Dirk Koetter’s system. But Winston already has 10 turnovers with 12 more games to go. If Winston continues his disturbing average of two picks per game he’s on pace to throw 32 this year. Vinny Testaverde set the Tampa Bay franchise record with 35 picks in his second year in the league in 1988.
Winston started last season with seven interceptions, including a pick-six, against just six touchdowns before significantly reducing the number of picks over the last 12 games, throwing just eight over that span. Will Winston reduce his number of turnovers beginning next week? Winston feels added pressure without Martin in the lineup, so he’ll continue to force plays that aren’t there due to his competitive nature and his sophomore slump will likely continue.
STATMENT 2: BUCS CANNOT RUN THE BALL WITHOUT MARTIN
What helped Winston have a 4,000-yard Pro Bowl season as a rookie was the play-action passing game due to the help of Martin, who was the second-leading rusher last year with over 1,400 yards. Martin’s hamstring injury has hamstrung Tampa Bay’s offense as Winston is at his best in the play-action passing game.
Without Martin in the lineup, Winston can’t take advantage of enough one-on-one match-ups in the passing game because teams aren’t committing a safety to the box to stop the Bucs’ ground game. Charles Sims isn’t close to being the running back that Martin is, and that has stymied Tampa Bay’s offense. Sims came into Sunday’s game against Denver with 88 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries (3.3 avg.).
Against the Broncos, Sims was ineffective, rushing 15 times for 28 yards (1.8 avg.) with one ill-advised fumble as he was trying to pitch the ball back to Winston after getting stopped for no gain on third-and-1 at the Denver 26 with Tampa Bay trailing Denver, 14-7, with 5:54 remaining in the first half. The Bucs had driven down to the Denver 26 and were in field goal range to possibly cut the Broncos’ lead to four points. That was the turning point in Sunday’s loss.
Meanwhile, Jacquizz Rodgers has proven to be the more effective runner, posting 25 yards on six carries (4.1 avg.) against the Broncos. Rodgers has 12 carries for 69 yards (5.7 avg.) on the year, while Sims has rushed for 116 yards on 41 carries (2.8 avg.). Rodgers, who hits the holes harder and more decisively, is definitely worthy of more carries.
Sims should be benched for dancing too much in the backfield, in addition to that awful fumble that cost the Bucs a chance for three points when the score was more manageable. It’s time for Koetter to send a message that those type of bone-headed mistakes won’t be tolerated.
TWO PROBING QUESTIONS
QUESTION 1: IS IT A SCHEME ISSUE OR A TALENT ISSUE FOR BUCS D?
Backup-caliber players and rookie quarterbacks beat Tampa Bay’s defense during the Lovie Smith era, and unfortunately that awful trend has spilled over into the Dirk Koetter regime. On Sunday both a backup-caliber player, Trevor Siemian, and a rookie, Paxton Lynch, combined to beat Tampa Bay’s defense, which is now under the guidance of Mike Smith.
Siemian was 5-of-7 for 68 yards with one touchdown before injuring his shoulder in the second quarter and giving way to Lynch, Denver’s first-round pick, who completed 14-of-24 passes for 170 yards with one touchdown. Despite the changing of the Smiths, the pass coverage hasn’t proven to be any better, although it’s just four games into the Bucs’ new scheme. So is it the scheme or is it the players?
Bucs S Chris Conte – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
It’s both. Mike Smith’s defense deploys more man-to-man coverage, including the safeties, and that is Tampa Bay’s weakest position in terms of talent. Chris Conte was flagged three times against Denver, including a questionable pass interference call on a pass in the end zone that seemed to be uncatchable. Safety Bradley McDougald was also flagged for pass interference. Neither made any splash plays.
Alterraun Verner and Johnthan Banks, the Bucs’ starting cornerbacks in 2014, didn’t play a down of defense on Sunday and were relegated to special teams action. Banks played 10 plays and Verner played nine plays on Sunday. Free agent signing Josh Robinson was also strictly a special teamer against Denver, logging 22 plays, but not playing a down on defense.
Tampa Bay’s starting cornerbacks Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves have played okay. Grimes broke up three passes against Denver, but dropped another interception and had trouble with his footing as he was slipping in coverage all day. It’s clear he’s on the downside of his career, while Hargreaves is still learning as a rookie.
The bottom line is that the talent isn’t as good as we thought, and because of that, Smith’s scheme asks some of the players to do things that they aren’t capable of due to the lack of talent.
QUESTION 2: WHY DID KOETTER PUNT DOWN 20 IN THE FOURTH QUARTER?
Trailing by 20 points, 27-7, with a fourth-and-6 situation at the Denver 46, Koetter elected to punt the football. It seemed as if he was waving the white towel of surrender at that point, but he refuted that after Sunday’s game.
“I’d been watching our offense the whole game,” Koetter said. “I don’t know why anyone expected we could make it on fourth-and-7 if they’d been watching our offense the rest of the game. I sure didn’t expect us to.”
When pressed for a further explanation because it looked like he was resigned to the fact that the Bucs were going to lose the game, Koetter reiterated his point matter of factly.
“I’m playing the percentages, guys,” Koetter said. “When we don’t make it on third-and-7 and we’ve got the guy wide open on third-and-7, what makes you think you’re going to make it on fourth-and-7? We’re not going to come back and run the same play again. We were struggling all night. At that point, why would we give them the ball at midfield instead of putting them back inside and hoping we could get a turnover?
“We’re hoping our defense could come up with the ball. We weren’t playing well enough on offense. That’s my decision. You guys can all tell me that I’m full of crap. That’s fine. Shoot, I’ve seen a lot of offensive football. We were going to have a hard time making it on fourth-and-7. If we gave them the ball right there, what good was going to happen then? I made a decision.”
If Koetter punted to really try to send a message to his pitiful offense, the move should be applauded because it is embarrassing to punt on the other team’s side of the field with 7:30 left with all three timeouts remaining. Drive the point home.
But if he truly did it because he was playing the percentages, the Bucs defense hadn’t forced a turnover all day and had given up three touchdowns and two field goals. Why on Earth did Koetter think the defense would actually produce a takeaway?
TWO BOLD PREDICTIONS
PREDICTION 1: BUCS’ PASS RUSH GRINDS TO A HALT
Heading into the 2016 season the Bucs’ pass rush appeared to be improved with the addition of free agent defensive end Robert Ayers and defensive end Noah Spence, Tampa Bay’s second-round pick. But the Bucs lost defensive end Jacquies Smith, the team’s second-leading sacker the last two years, to a season-ending injury in Week 1, followed by Ayers’ high ankle sprain in Week 2, which has kept him out the last two weeks and likely through the bye week.
Bucs DT Gerald McCoy – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
In Sunday’s 27-7 loss to Denver, Tampa Bay also lost defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to a calf injury and Spence to a shoulder injury. After recording a game-high eight tackles and 1.5 sacks, defensive tackle Clinton McDonald was injured in the warm-up after the hour and 27-minute rain delay and missed the last 7:22 against Denver. If McCoy, Spence, McDonald and Ayers can’t play next Monday night, the Bucs will have no pass rush against Carolina.
PREDICTION 2: NO MORE 4:00 PM STARTS IN TAMPA BAY
In years past the Bucs have lobbied the NFL for 4:00 p.m. starts for their fan base to try to limit the stadium patrons’ exposure to the sun. After two straight rain delays lasting nearly an hour in last week’s game versus Los Angeles and an hour and half rain delay against Denver, expect the league to say “no” to any more future requests for late starting times early in the season.
The late starts are also done to accommodate fans on the West Coast in Pacific time or in the Midwest in mountain time, as a game starting at 1:00 p.m. ET, such as the Bucs’ upcoming home game against the Oakland Raiders, would mean starting at 10:00 a.m. on the other coast. But the rain delays are disruptive to the league and to television network schedules, so in the future I suspect Tampa Bay will have nothing but 1:00 p.m. games due to the afternoon weather patterns in summer and early fall of afternoon rain from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.
However, the Bucs will have one more 4:05 home game this year when Seattle comes to town on November 27.
Scott Reynolds is in his 22nd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am concerned about Winstons play. He obviously has talent, but is really inconsistent. I think the loss of Doug Martin is a big factor and we are not going to win many games with the number of turnovers we have lost so far. We lost to the Rams because of an interception and basically lost to the Broncos because of forced or errant throws. I think Vicient Jacksons play improved yesterday, but if McCoy and Noah Spence are out, along with Ayers it is going to be a long season. Really need some guys to step up against the Panthers even though Cam Newton is undergoing concussion protocol their back-up is not a big drop-off, at least as far as the Buc’s are concerned.
Good 2-pt convert this week Scott – took many of the words out of my mouth. I would like to expand in the following ways:
Stmt #1: yes – sophomore slump. His issue is clearly around accuracy/decision making…something would seem to come as he’s being asked to do more in year 2, and not able to just run the “simple” plays. He needs to learn more about coverages, what’s possible and what’s risky…but I think there’s another issue here too: Winston is waiting for these slow-developing down field patterns on every drop back…causing stress on an, at best, so-so Oline…and in turn causing him to throw under duress and getting hit on every pass…this too needs to evolve one way (better O(linemen?) or the other (better offensive scheme?).
Stmt #2: I’ve been saying since 2014 that Sims was a luxury pick when we should have been taking Gabe Jackson (a.k.a. the soon to be probowl OG for the Raiders)…3rd down specialist backs are nice (and in fairness Sims is a descent 3rd down specialist), but not when you team is full of holes.
Q#1: I give you this thought: our opponent is staring a (red-shirt) rookie 6th round QB…when he is knocked out of the game they bring in a true freshman QB….and our response (in either case) is to rush 4 DLinemen (even after GMC went out) and hope for a pass rush. If I was a rookie QB, the only thing that would worry me is an NFL blitz…over and over. What I would pray for is the defense to give me time to sit in a pocket and play pitch and catch across the middle. We obliged in force! So, our players are not good enough to get a 4-man pass rush – but that’s not new news – why didn’t we blitz the house on every down?
P#1: it ground to halt before week 1….rushing 4 does not work with our team…it didn’t work for Lovie, and it doesn’t work for Smith.
P#2: what a stupid decision this was…all it takes is a look at the last 2,000 years of history to know that evening thunder storms in Tampa are a real possibility in the late summer/autumn.
I never liked the hiring of Koetter as I have seen him make bad in game decisions at ASU and I got ridiculed by fellow fans when I said “Conte sucks” and still get crap about my criticism of “do nothing” Stocker, oh well unfortunately for the Bucs I’m right again. I’m Winston Fan but he is playing terrible right now making bad choices forcing throws doesn’t know when to just throw out of bounds if a player isn’t open, very concerning if you ask me. The pass rush which is MIA again for another yr and the lack of play makers at wide out are hurting this team once again. Sims is a nice third down back but can’t be a every down back, we have a kicker who is 50% on xtra points and I get nervous when he lines up for 40 plus yds as I have no faith in this FSU Kicker at all. There are problems abroad on this team I wish I didn’t have to be so cynical but it’s the truth
I’ve lobbied for years on this website to stop having 4p kickoffs early in the season as it has a direct negative impact on the performance of the Bucs. These past two years weren’t the first time afternoon showers have killed our momentum and given our opponents a relief from the blazing Florida heat. The same thing happened two years ago against the Rams and the year before that against the Saints.
The response I got was A) the fans don’t like to sit in the heat and B) our opponents train in the heat during training camp so playing us at home does not have an impact on the opponents performance. I think those are both bull$#!+ excuses and if it takes lighting storms to get our early games moved back to 1p, so be it. I look forward to sweating to death in the home opener in 2017 while all the time knowing it feels 3 times as hot to the opposing team down on the field.
It’s still too early to apply cliches like “sophomore slump”. Winston has had two very good games (weeks 1 and 3) and two very bad games (weeks 2 and 4). Let’s hope he turns it back on again this coming game against CAR.
jonguden rears his ugly head again.
It would be nice if when you spoke out here, you were up a little bit more in the facts. Stocker has been out 2.5 weeks with an injury which might be one of the reasons the running game isn’t producing as well as it used to, although Sims’ lack of fortitude to run inside probably has more to dowith it than that.
And yes jongruden, with all four of our starting DL out yesterday, it was all Conte’s fault the defense let the Broncos score on us.
Saw where your beloved Cards got beat by the Rams yesterday. Good to see you back.
I also saw Cards beat the ever loving hell out of the Bucs nice to see you again too Drdneast
I’m the broken record who points out over and over again that our offensive line is vastly over-rated. I watched the Broncos and Steelers offensive lines yesterday and came away with confirmation that ours s#$ks. Hawley is a scrapper but gets over-powered. Demar Dotson is average at best and commits way too many penalties. Donovan Smith should be moved inside to guard and Pamphile is a nice swing tackle. Ali is the only lineman I would keep where he is. We need to start drafting maulers with ill-temperament. If I hear one more time that we are a finesse line….We need to run the ball effectively. We need Stocker back to have a chance to move the ball. He is a one-trick-pony but what he does he does well. Our season comes down to Monday night. As a ’76er, Go Bucs!
I agree and have also been saying OL OL OL is where we should have been putting more emphasis. We have one starting caliber G and two T’s that together put us in reasonable shape – on the right side…..
We have no starting caliber LT. When the Broncos give kudos to Doton by saying he’s the best T on the team what they are really saying is that Smith isn’t very good. We need a stout and mobile C and one more starting caliber G……
Forgetting for a moment the # of 2nd round picks wasted, that means we need to draft three OL in the first two round of the next two drafts. Sure we have other needs but one of them will be backup QB if JW keeps absorbing punishment….
So I would suggest taking the two best OL in rounds 1 & 2 next draft and then WR, DL and S. The following yr another 1st or 2nd round OL along with another DL or two, then maybe another WR and/or a RB now that Sims’ (another reach) limitations are clear and we need a bigger back who can pound the rock. Throw another DB in the mix somewhere as well….
No more draft day dreaming and no more 30+ yr old free agents or its Licht’s out
We need to bring Center Gottachalk up from PS and let him get some reps. He is 6’5″ and played good in pre season. Hawley and Smith are to small to play in the NFL anymore as starters. Why are we picking up so many Falcons, Brown, Jaguar’s; these are not successful teams. Time to start looking to the future and grab as many players from PS’s from other teams. Meathead and his Scouts better show us something in this coming draft. We need more draft picks because we don’t have enough good players so lets trade down in the 1st & 2nd Rounds and pick up more draft picks. Coach Koetter, you’re 60 years old; quit pouting and take a chance with some aggressive plays. Coach Smith, you have to blitz whether you like it or not. Your dfense is killing us! Go Bucs!
I think there’s a little too much doom and gloom coming from SR with regards to Winston. No QB would look good behind that offensive line against the front sevens Tampa has faced. It’s hard to look like a good QB when every play you’re running for your life. The defense is typically in the backfield a second after the ball is snapped. It’s no coincidence Winston lit up Atlanta, who have one of the worst front sevens in the league. Things probably aren’t going to get too much better until Tampa can draft a starting LT and LG, but they should ease up a little after we get past Carolinas defense this week.
Where are the checkdowns in this offense? Especially against that Denver D-line? Every pass play looks like a bomb threat. Winston & Koetter need to work on the incremental game. Screens, shovels, some misdirection, an occasional designed sneak from Winston to pick up a first down. I didn’t see much in the way of countering that fierce pass rush. There was a third-and-two there at one point that I thought would be a Winston-designed run… It’ll be interesting to see if Koetter starts to adjust his gameplan with the flow of these recent games. I believe that was one of the many criticisms that Scott had levied upon Lovie for many a month.
It is too early to say Winston is in a sophomore slump. Jameis has had 2 good games this year already and 2 very bad games. I agree that he is turning it over at an alarming rate but I think that is due to the fact he has little help. The loss of Doug has hurt Winston and the Bucs offense a lot. I also think that Koetter’s game plans have not been good. I don’t see a lot of short easy throws to get Winston in a rhythm. I don’t know why we aren’t utilizing screen plays more to Adam and Sims those plays are very effective and Sims needs to get less carries he is putting us in a lot of 3rd and long which is causing Winston to have to throw hard long passes on obvious passing downs. And O-line play needs to improve asap. Winston deserves criticism but to see some Bucs fans calling him a bust just pains me, give him time.
Statement 1; Winston is indeed playing like shit. No doubt about it. He’s pressing and making bad decisions. My problem is like those above said, I’m seeing a ton of deep route combinations, and none of the quick stuff. We should’ve been throwing slants and quick hitters all day. That is something we have to do to compensate for our lack of a ground game. Winston is getting hit entirely too much as well because of these deep routes. I mean shit, if you want to stop our offense right now, double cover Mike and press Adam, game over.
Statement 2: This run game is terrible and it’s stressing out the whole offense. Sims should go on dancing with the stars for those moves behind the line. However in his defense, he’s getting hit behind the line on almost every play. Now on a aside not I have no idea why Rodgers wasn’t running more as he ran much more effectively than Charles did. Charles is a great 3rd down back, not much else. Until we get Martin back, and we don’t even know how long hell go again before he gets hurt again, this running game will suck. What happened to the line from last year that opened gaping holes?
Question 1: I think it’s the lack of talent. It’s the first year in a new scheme, and guys just aren’t making plays and busting coverage’s. That’s not a scheme thing, that’s a understanding and talent thing. This safety play is garbage at best. We all knew it going into the season, and Licht deserves some shit for that lack of direction. Grimes needs to get him some new damn cleats because he is constantly falling on his ass. Every time a receivers cut yesterday he was falling over. And he has to pick that pass off in the endzone at the end of the first half.
Question 2: I was wondering the same thing as to why the hell he punted at mid field. Another question that to me was even crazier is when Simms fumbled that ball, it was like 3rd and inches. Why the hell do we not use QB sneak. Jameis could’ve just fallen forward and gotten the first down. But know, we walk back 5 yards to hand the ball of to sims so he can get stuffed behind the line.
Bold prediction1: This is just crazy. It seems the bucs have always been snake bitten by injury, but this is just insane. There will be Derek Anderson sitting back there picking our secondary apart.
Bold prediction 2: These 4 o’clock games are stupid., When we travel to the west coast, we’re still playing at 1, so why wait. Screw the BS about the heat etc. It’s hot, fucking deal with it.
We’re in trouble here, until we start getting healthy. We are not the kind of team built with enough depth to sustain in these circumstances. And unless Jameis plays the way he did week 1 and 3, we’re going to be in trouble.
Out of Winston’s eight picks, half are 50\50 balls or tipped passes and a Hail Mary. ASJ was a knucklehead, but on a team bereft of talent, releasing him was foolhardy. Shoulda played out the year and booted him in the off season.
Is he pressing? Yes!!!! But how else will the Bucs score?!?! Play action is dead, cos the run game is hot, stankin’ garbage!!! Denver showed the blueprint, press Humphries, negating the screen game and double Evans. Jackson is washed and the remaining TE’s CANNOT win consistently one on one.
All that being said, Winston has contributed to the losses, but he is hardly the problem, IMHO.
You hit the nails squarely on the head cgmaster27. One other thing, and I realize it may sound petty, but I assume when we’re at home we make the opposing teams wear dark jerseys due to the heat. Can we wear red and show a little mental toughness? Or maybe continue to wear our “surrender” jerseys until November. We are a mentally SOFT team.
The knock on Jameis coming out was that he turned the ball over too much. Last year he was able to reign it in, but he had a heathy Martin, and Logan at LG. Koetter can help him with some 3step slant routes. Agree, we seem to be reaching to much for the long ball. If we get punked MNF, time to get even younger after the break and see what we have on the roster going forward.
Winston is making bad decisions with the football in large part bc he knows that he has to make plays or this team has no shot. We cut what would have been his second option in ASJ to send some message, one I’m still waiting to hear. We have no viable RB behind Doug and we wonder why Jameis is pressing and forcing throws? The question of talent or scheme is pretty clear to anybody that wants to see it, Licht has a poorly constructed football team. One that prioritizes specialist over necessities. “The Bucs pass rush grinds to a halt” please remind me when they ever appeared. And please don’t use that preseason game against the Browns or apparently what they did to our awful OL in training camp as a sign of improvement. Lastly it doesnt matter when we kick off until we stop wasting draft picks on average FG kickers or signing 35 year old LBs it won’t matter what time we play the result will be the same, either us blown out or barely winning a shootout.
stlbucsfan, I wish ASJ had taken the opportunity to go into rehab during the offseason to help with his alcohol addiction. Believe me, when you have 2 DUI’s in 5 years, you don’t have a problem with alcohol, you have an addiction to alcohol and an addiction to alcohol it is no worse or better than an addiction to heroin, crack, meth or cocaine.
So with that in mind and with the fact the Bucs did try to get ASJ some help, what recourse did they have left.
You swallow the bullet and give him the L.T., Michael Irvin treatment, BECAUSE YOU NEED HIM. NOBODY keeps their job, because of moral stances. How many troublemakers and malcontents has Belichek “given a second chance”? TB isn’t good enough to be cutting viable 2nd round talent. EsPECIALLY since we KNOW talented TE’s are usually kryptonite to good defenses and ESSENTIAL to young QB’ss.
What they should have done is wait and address this in the offseason. As long as he isn’t suspended he shouldn’t punish the team and hurt our offense by taking away one of the top weapons. If in the summer he still feels the same way then go your separate ways and address the position in the offseason. This stupid decision leaves Jameis with Mike Evans and Humphries as the only real receiving options. Vincent is either not open or only open bc he’s running the wrong route. The focus should be on winning games not depleting the team of young talent. Good teams find a way to manage the problem players and we should be no different. Not dismissing ASJs problems or addictions in general but we should have continued our efforts to help ASJ until his play or the league dictated otherwise. Now he will play somewhere else for a franchise capable of managing the different personnel and hopefully flourish. Dumb message to a team that can’t afford for him to be wrong, again.
They did indeed jongruden and I am glad to see what colors you bleed on Sunday.
Don’t they have a Cardinals site like this you can go to since the Cards are your favorite team.
BTW, the old St. Louis Cardinals used to be my favorite NFL team until the Bucs came to town.
I had really mixed emotions when they came to town and the Bucs thrashed them to win their first home game.
I see you don’t share those conflicted emotions.
Makes me wonder how much of a Bucs fan you ever really were, if at all. Maybe you are just a troll.
Also I was happy to see Roger Wherli inducted into the HOF a few years ago. He’s not only a heck of athlete, he is a great guy.
That’s something no one would ever say about the late Bill Bidwell, who made Hugh Culverhouse look like a drunken sailor on leave when it came to money.
Sorry, other than the stats, I disagree that Winston is regressing. Sure he has had some turnovers, but it’s the same thing fans have seen for years. The Bucs do not do well against formidable, man-based defenses, and they have faced two of those in the last three weeks (ARZ, DEN). Now that we are past those two (two of the toughest in the league), Winston and the Bucs will be back to their norm. “Magically”, I predict that Winston will have a fine game versus CAR on Monday and going forward – and this ‘resurgence’ of Winston and the offense will coincide with martin coming back. The predicted resurgence will have as much to do with their opponents as it does with Martin’s return or with anything Winston does to correct his admitted flaws. Martin would have done squat all versus ARZ or DEN – although he could only improve on what Sims did – as he is not a magician when holes are not there. The team was pushed around in both those games and Winston is not good enough to will the team downfield without a good running game or WR who can actually get open. CAR should be the elixer to fix the offensive woes, and this will just play into the media’s thinking that Winston is ‘fixed’ or that Martin is irreplaceable. Still looking for good things from all the Bucs going forward against easier competition.
JW had more TO’s his 2nd year at FSU.
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