Bucs S Chris Conte - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
SR’s Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, PewterReport.com publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place and around the NFL.
FAB 1. CONTE GOES FROM ZERO TO HERO FOR BUCS
Buccaneers safety Chris Conte has gotten picked on an awful lot.
Arizona picked on him in man coverage as receiver Jaron Brown beat him and scored on a 51-yard touchdown pass in a humbling 40-7 defeat in Week 2.
Denver picked on Conte with receiver Jordan Taylor, who was interfered with in the end zone to set up a first-and-goal at the 1 on the Broncos’ second touchdown drive.
Oakland picked on him in man coverage as receiver Amari Cooper beat Conte for a 34-yard touchdown in a 30-24 overtime loss in Week 8.
Kansas City tried to pick on the aggressive Bucs safety, who earlier in the year, was too quick to bite on play-action fakes. Chiefs head coach and offensive play-caller Andy Reid knew Conte’s tendency to read run, especially near the goal line, and come up towards the line of scrimmage leaving a vacancy in the back of the end zone.
Bucs S Chris Conte – Photo courtesy of the Buccaneers
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith faked the handoff and immediately launched a pass to an area where Conte was supposed to vacate – although he didn’t.
“It’s a predetermined throw,” Reid said. “Yeah, 23 didn’t bite on it. He’s not supposed to do anything, but he has been biting on that, and he didn’t do that. Lousy call.”
Conte didn’t bite on play-action and instead intercepted Smith’s pass for Chris Conley in the end zone and returned it 53 yards to the 50-yard line. Instead of Kansas City taking a 13-12 lead or perhaps a 17-12 lead in the fourth quarter, Conte’s interception set up Tampa Bay’s only touchdown of the day as the Bucs scored a huge, 19-17 upset on the road at Arrowhead Stadium.
Conte got picked on once again, but this time, it was the 6-foot-2, 203-pound safety that did the picking.
“We had a play called based off of what we’ve seen on film this week,” Conley said. “The guy made an exceptional play. He was able to sniff it out, read it and get back into the passing lane before the ball could get there. Kudos to him on the play.”
Conte reacted to Reid’s post-game displeasure over his game-changing interception.
“I think [Reid] was a little upset at how the game went in that situation,” Conte said. “It’s obviously a play they thought they had, and a play we knew because of the defense we run that we thought we could get. It’s something that we practiced for, and part of the learning process of a new system is learning what routes are going to affect you and what routes you’re going to get and how to defend them. It’s just been a process throughout the weeks and we’re trying to be better every week.
“It seemed from the start that he was going there no matter what. After the play-action fake he didn’t look. He just threw it. Luckily it went in my favor and hopefully things continue to go that way.”
Conte’s interception in Kansas City, which came on the heels of a 20-yard pick-six against Chicago a week earlier, might be the play of the year thus far outside of Jameis Winston’s 39-yard pass to Mike Evans against the Bears and Roberto Aguayo’s game-winning field goal against Carolina on Monday Night Football.
“Chris has I think played two really good games, back-to-back,” Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith said. “The red zone play I think, without a doubt, we have to say that was the game-changing play of the football game. He read his keys and his eyes were where they were supposed to be and I really think that the quarterback didn’t expect him to be there.”
When Conte came to the sidelines he celebrated with head coach Dirk Koetter more gently than the week before when he head-butted Koetter after his pick-six in Chicago – with his helmet on. Koetter was left bloodied with a cut on his right brow after the head butt.
“Great for him, we just got a nice hug this time,” Koetter said. “That was a big play because that would have been, they were in automatic field goal range and then the decision to bring it out and take that thing as far as he did, that was probably the biggest single play of the game.”
It’s nice to see Conte, who has been picked on for years, be the bully for a change.
Chicago fans picked on him during his four years with the Bears.
Bucs S Chris Conte – Photo by: Getty Images
Bucs fans have picked on Conte since his arrival in 2015, hearing about his reputation through Bears fans on social media from his days in Chicago and falsely thinking he’s Sabby Piscitelli reincarnated just because he’s a tall, athletic, white safety that has given up some touchdown passes.
Conte understands the anger from Bucs fans earlier in the year when he was giving up too many plays.
“It takes time for everyone to get used to a new scheme and new coaches,” Conte said. “I think that’s shown over the year with our communication and how that’s needed to improve. We’re just trying to get everyone on the same page and that takes time – new players, new coaches, new everything. It takes time and it’s a work in progress. We’re continuing to try to work on that.
“I’m just trying to do my job and be in the right place and do what the coaches are trying to tell me to do. Staying patient with a rough start to the year. I don’t think I was playing the way I wanted to play and the way I know I could play. To be able to help my team, that’s all I have been wanting to do, and trying to do. To get the opportunity to do that means a lot. Hopefully I can continue to do it and do everything I can to keep it going. A focus for me – and a lot of the reason why I struggled early on – was trying to do too much. I got with the coaches and just knowing my job and doing my job and what I can do was the big thing. It’s not about going out and making big plays, it’s about letting plays come to me and not forcing things. That’s been a big focus for me – just doing my job. If I do that I’ll continue to help the team a lot more than trying to do too much.”
Keep in mind that Conte has only played in one system – Lovie Smith’s Tampa 2 – for the first five years of his NFL career. Mike Smith’s multiple scheme has taken some time to learn. Not just for Conte, but the entire defense.
Now the plays are coming Conte’s way and he’s making the most of his opportunities. Look no further than his pick-six against his former team, which gave Tampa Bay an early 7-0 lead en route to a 36-7 win over Chicago.
After the game, Conte got a game ball and had some parting shots against the Bears and their fans.
“I hate to make it personal, but for me it’s personal,” Conte said. “It feels great. I don’t want to say, ‘F– you, Chicago. But I want to say, F–you, Chicago.’”
Chicago fans had bullied Conte for far too long, and his interception return for a touchdown was the ultimate payback for a painful start to his NFL career.
“It’s a game that I really dreamed about since I left there,” Conte said. “It’s something I’ve thought about every day since I left. All the death threats, all the negativity everything I’ve had thrown my way when I was there and since I’ve left, it felt good. It’s something where I can close that chapter of my life and just put an exclamation on it. Not that I came out on top, but that I can put it in the past now and forget about it and not think about Chicago anymore.”
Former Bears S Chris Conte – Photo by: Getty Images
Conte never won over Bears fans, and admits he still has some work to do with Bucs fans that have seen him as a pariah of sorts in a secondary that has given up far too many yards, far too many plays and far too many touchdowns over the past two years. Game-changing interceptions in back-to-back games certainly helps Conte’s reputation, which followed him from Chicago to Tampa Bay when he signed on to play for his former head coach Lovie Smith in 2015.
“It followed me for sure – and just the dynamics of Tampa,” Conte said. “You have a lot of people from up north down here – probably a lot of people from Chicago that now live in Tampa that are converting to being Bucs fans now. There was a lot of negativity that followed me. It was a great fresh start for me to come here and kind of reinvent myself and be a part of a new team, a new organization and a new fan base. But yes, there is some negativity that traveled down here with me.
“A lot of people that watch football know the kind of player I am. I’m not going to say lazy, but there are some fans that are not going to do their homework and are going to go off of what is said up in Chicago, or on a news channel, or a tweet and they are going to take that verbatim and take it to heart. That’s not always the case. It’s kind of human nature and the way things are. Hopefully with my play moving forward, I will have people be more on my side and look at me through a different lens.”
In the span of two weeks it’s hard to deny that Conte’s perception among fans has gone from zero to hero.
“At the end of the day I could care less about what people think of me,” Conte said. “I just want to help my team win and reach my goals as a player. Whatever struggles I have to go through along the way build character and hopefully make me a stronger person. They are all life lessons, but it’s really just about my team and accomplishing what I want to do in my career.”
Of course Conte would rather hear applause from fans rather than boos. He’s human and that’s just human nature.
“One hundred percent – yeah,” Conte said. “We would rather be cheered than booed. It’s a lot easier to show up on Sunday when people are screaming and yelling your name in a good way, not giving you ‘F– yous’ and telling you to retire and all sorts of [expletive]. When things are positive, it’s good, but you have to stay true to yourself and continue to believe in yourself. I think going through all that builds a deeper sense of relying on yourself and the people that really matter.”
Bucs S Chris Conte – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Tampa Bay cornerback Alterraun Verner, who has known him from their time together living and playing football in their youth in the state of California, sees Conte turning the corner and winning over Bucs fans.
“Anytime you get ridiculed or get talked about negatively from a media standpoint or from outside influences … with a person like Chris, he wants to please everybody,” Verner said. “He wants to do the best he can and he wants to make everyone happy. So once you hear some of that stuff it probably does bother him. It’s always tough when that happens. But these last two games when you see him make great plays to help us win games it’s been great for him. There have been a lot of smiles, so it’s been good. I always like it when someone can turn their fortune around, and he’ll probably have people start cheering for him now.”
Conte had 79 tackles, six pass breakups, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries last year for the Bucs and signed a one-year, prove-it deal with the team this offseason, which means he’ll be an unrestricted free agent again in 2017. This year, Conte has 58 tackles, four pass breakups, a fumble recovery and those two monumental interceptions. Are Conte’s back-to-back interceptions a mere blimp on the radar, or proof of greater things in store for a safety that is gaining a better understanding of Smith’s scheme and his role in it?
Conte has six more games to make general manager Jason Licht a believer and win over more Bucs fans.
“There’s a lot of work to be done and we’ve got a lot of games left,” Conte said. “We’ve got a lot of tough opponents ahead. My focus isn’t on [my contract]. It’s on improving each week and getting better. All of that other stuff will take care of itself.
“I would love to be here. I would love to make Tampa my home and play here as long as I can. I’m not thinking about any other team or any other place. With a one-year deal you’ve got to prove it to your team that you’re worth it.”
Koetter is pleased with Conte’s progress and thinks his recent play is a sign of things to come.
“He’s being asked to do a lot more,” Koetter said. “He’s being asked to, in the two-deep scheme – and we weren’t in two-deep every play, sometimes people make it seem like we were in two-deep every play, we weren’t. But, we’re not in two-deep hardly at all right now and in the quarters scheme and in the three-deep scheme, those down safeties, they’ve got to make tackles. And it’s physical, you’re playing against 230-pound running backs with a full head of steam when they get to you as a safety. So, Chris tackled a lot better [in Kansas City], he did make the single biggest play of the game on that interception. That was a play that we’ve been burned on more the once – the hard run fake, the little glancing post in behind the safety. And I think Gerald [McCoy] got a finger on it, it was a nice catch by Chris and then a quick transition. Got two really nice blocks, Kwon [Alexander] got out in front as did Will Gholston. That was a minimum 10, maybe 14-point turnaround right there.”
That’s not the only turnaround. His pick-six against Chicago and his 53-yard interception return against Kansas City are turning around people’s perception of Conte.
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: email@example.com
Very good Scott. I’m not as fired up with Conte as you are, but I would like to sign him for another year. As to the 10 players who need to sign new contracts; I’m glad it’s not my money so I’m all for it. Hawley and E. Smith are already overpaid and some rookies have already proven that. Still not in love with Glennon so let him test the market. Sure would like to know the real scoop with the starting left guard that never even practiced with the team the whole season? Biggest game of the season and a must win if we are serious about this being a playoff year. Go Bucs! Make us proud?
Another great article Scott and a Happy Thanksgiving to you, yours and the entire Buccaneer community. I agree with Horse, the J.R. Sweezy situation smells south of cheese. I admit I was in the Mariota camp but Jameis Winston appears to be authentic in his approach to the field and the community. Count me in. Lastly, I am hoping Jason Licht hits on the 2017 draft. As a ’76er, I truly believe we are changing our team culture from a team that may win to a team that expects to win. Go Bucs!
A blimp on the radar? A blimp?
I agree that fans should stay for the whole game. I remember Peyton Manning and the Colts making a huge 4th quarter come back against us like 10 years ago in an empty Ray J.
Please don’t ever cite that game ever again. Please, Please, Please, Please, Pretty please.
Yep, that game was the very beginning of our downfall from our Superbowl years. $0 years ago we had the best fans in football. Now the new generation of Buc fans are some of the worst. Pinkies up, champagne, and we can go sailing if we leave now.
Scott – While, I agree with the premise of resigning players who have made positive contributions on and off the field and help the team win. There are some on your list of players who deserve to be resigned that are simply stated, headscratchers.
First C Joe Hawley while he gets by as a technically sound technician he lacks the brute strength – routinely being pushed back into the lap of Winston. He lacks the ability to sink his hips and anchor. He is not part of what I would consider, the team wins because of group; it’s more the team wins in spite of his shortcomings or critical flaws. There will be a bunch of quality centers available via the draft and some intriguing possibilities as free agents this year. The team currently has Hawley and Smith who have been average starters but not difference makers. One free agent to be that intrigues me is Brian Schwenke, granted his has been injured lately but has the size and ability if healthy to be a difference maker.
Second RB Jacquizz Rodgers: This is a loaded draft at the with running back position who would provide the same if not better ability then Rodgers does and could command a lot lower cap number. Allow the team much greater positional depth and to develop a player to take over for Martin and Sims since they are both roughly the same age and been injury prone.
Third QB Mike Glennon – while he gives the Bucs a security blanket if Winston should go down due to an injury – however paying Glennon in the neighborhood of $5-$7 million per season on a 3-4 year deal then having to pay Winston in two years that of the top five paid at his potion creates or put the Bucs paying roughly $27-$29 million for two QBs one of which would not see the field. Thus allocating much-needed cap resources or roughly 29% of the team’s cap on two players. It ill-advised cap management strategy.
And, if that is the direction that management takes then they wasted a roster spot the past two seasons on Griffin, when they could have protected another player and developed said player.
It’s the same at Magic games Scott, outside of college, Florida has the worst sports fans. I’d rather sit in the stadium basking in glory, then sitting in traffic anyway. Here’s another reason to hang around. After a big win my late son Mike was able to snag Ronde Barber’s visor as he ran in the tunnel. You don’t think as a family that memory was worth the price of admission? Don’t be in such a hurry to go no where, life will pass you by.
Since I am enjoying my favorite holiday weekend, I am able to read the Fab 5 on Friday instead of waiting until Saturday morning.
That is certainly an interesting list of players who should be re-signed on or before their contracts expire. It shows that the team may be more talented than many think. There have been times when I thought most of the team could be jettisoned. I’ve always believed in keeping your own players until someone beats them out. Why allow a Mike Bennett to leave when he still has to be replaced by the likes of an unproven Adriene Clayborne? Heck, some here didn’t want to sign Doug Martin knowing we’d have to spend a valued Draft choice to acquire equal talent. What I want to see is the team rid itself of players who are mentally weak when the “spit” goes bad, the malcontents, those who do only enough work to get by and replace them with players who never give up, who do what they are asked to do, who put in the extra work and most of all are proud to be a Buccaneer.
In forty years I’ve never missed a “home” game. I’ve never even missed a play. I arrived in time to watch warm-ups. I endured all of those agonizing defeats (often being chided by enemy fans) as well as basked in the glory of a rare victory. I only left early once. This season, with the game out of reach, after waiting over an hour during the lightning delay, surrounded in the concourse by Bronco fans, hungry (my wife and I planned to stop for a bite after the game), I caved to my wife’s “look” when I could no longer listen to the “Let’s go Broncos” chants that resonated in our “home” stadium. We did make it home to see the rest of the game on TV. I’m still ashamed that I didn’t stay and keep my streak going.
It has always been a mystery to me why supposed fans arrive halfway through the first quarter and leave as soon as they think the game is decided or in the middle of the third quarter. They must be great lovers. It’s the same people who stand up waving their arms back and forth asking the person on the phone if they see them. The same oafs who come down the row in the middle of the play. The same idiots who, instead of watching the game, are on Facebook or checking on their fantasy team. But I don’t think this phenomenon is unique to the Buccaneers. It might be less so, but I see this going on elsewhere. I guess it’s our society that gets bored so quickly and seeks to move on to the next big thing…………..like going to the nearest bar to watch the next game.
Personally I’m thankful for a lot of things in my life. I’m thankful for my wife, who after getting married as teenagers, we are still together after 47 years and proved the naysayers wrong. I’m thankful for our two daughters and son. I’m thankful for working at the same great company for over 35 years. I’m thankful for having no health issues, having all 32 teeth, all my hair and all functioning organs.
For being a football fan I’m thankful for winning the coin flip that allowed us to draft Lee Roy Selmon. I’m thankful for being able to experience our Superbowl victory in person in San Diego. I’m thankful for all of the fine young Buccaneer players who have become such a part of our community after their playing days ended. I’m thankful for Lovie Smith who was smart enough to tank that Saints game that allowed us the chance to draft Jameis Winston.
Scubog, did your wife attend all those games with you? It took me 20 years to get my Ol Lady to say GO BUCS !! But I’m still thankful to have such a good girl in my life. On Monday the remaining teeth get pulled and it will be dentures for me.
I’m grateful that my wife will chew my food if need be.
Still got my hair though. HELL YEAH
Chet: My wife accompanied me every game during the early years and most of the games since. After our son turned eight he started going with me until he bought his own house when he was twenty-four. Now my wife is by my side again. We had six seats in the old stadium and had eight seats in RayJay (two Club and six lower bowl) until a couple of years ago I gave up two of the lower bowl seats. When the family went to San Diego for the Superbowl, my wife was in a walking boot from a badly broken ankle. She’s a tough one. Pretty too. I’m very lucky.
Awesome, where would all us geezers be without our girls.
My wife is native American. She’s from the Underfoot tribe.
Really, she’s put up with my smart ass for years.
Hysterical! I consider myself a certified smart ass.
Hey Scu- really great post. We all have so much to be thankful for. I married up 35 years ago and will forever be in her debt. As for our Bucs, I agree with all Scott said except Conti. I think we have bad safties and need to TOTALLY overhaul the position. GO Bucs, Beat the Seahawks!
I am finally back in Tampa from the desert. I actually get to see the Bucs play. I get all my Bucs info from this site and it is good coverage. Good articles Scott.
Nice piece about Conte.
I always thought Conte was a good, not great, safety.
But if Conte really wanted to have been honest, he could have added ignorant or just plain stupid to the “lazy” fans he was talking about.
And there are plenty of both in Tampa and Chicago.
The three WR’s you mentioned Conte being beaten by in one on one coverage are all burners on their respected squads.
OC’s stay up late at night trying to design plays so their burners can get isolated on safeties and LB’s.
There aren’t two or three safeties in the league who can effectively cover the other teams burner.
So in those cases it is the scheme being run that is the fault, not the personnel.
Conte isn’t the only player either who bites hard on run fakes either. Every LB we have leaves bite marks on the field as soon as the balls is snapped almost as you can see them going towards the line of scrimmage.
I will admit I don’t know if that is what the scheme is calling for on that play, but you can definitely see it throughout the game.
It is also interesting to note that on the proceeding play of Conte’s INT, Conte made the TD saving tackle on the TE who had beaten Hargreaves on the 40 yard reception.
Good Fab 5 as always.
#1 Conte has been a whipping boy his entire NFL career. That’s just the way it goes when you play safety. The sport reporters love to show players getting roasted on big pass plays. So you are either a hero or a bum. Safety, what a position to play, just the nature of that spot is indicative to failure. When things go south there you are hoping the safety bails the CB’s out. Now I’m not defending all the times he was blistered with a big pass play, but I always recognized that poor CB play helped making him a goat. It is a team sport after all.
I dig his attitude also. Telling Chicago fans to fuck off. Big kudos there. It’s just a word that needs to be said sometimes. Of course, if you ask people, I’ll throw out an F Bomb way to often.
And there he goes again in an interview throwing F Bombs all over the place.
#2 Glennon will not be on our roster next year. I can think of 6 or 7 teams that will pay him to start. Brock Oswiler got how much in Houston? More than he is worth that’s for sure. He is a good QB that reminds me of Alex Smith. Dink and dunk kind of guy. A good head coach will get the best out of him. Think he’s better than Sam Bradford too, we all saw what a boob he is yesterday.
The rest of your list makes total sense other wise.
#3 Thanksgiving always reminds me to be a glass half full kind of guy. Are things perfect, hell no. In a Buccaneers context I’m thankful that we might have finally got our coaching situation some what settled down. Is Koetter perfect? No but his style of coaching is so much better than it has been. He is doing a fantastic job in his first tear, Glad to have him. Jason Litche is doing well also. Sure he has made mistakes, but I like the fact that it doesn’t bother him to admit when he does and cut bait.
I’m thankful that our great country will continue on and not implode as some thought would happen. Now I’m not stirring anything up here but yesterday I came to the conclusion that no matter who my friends voted for does not make it right for me not to still consider them to be my friends. The sun will come up as always, things will work out and our population will come together.
#4 I just can’t afford to attend many sporting events. But if I did I would come early and stay till the end of the game. This should be mandatory of all fans. When I do go to a game and people start leaving early it pisses me off. I not only don’t understand why they don’t stay and get their monies worth but insist in spoiling my experience by getting up and interrupting what I’m watching. Could you imagine that behavior at a movie theater or a concert. If they get drenched with a beer, to bad. This reminds me of the idiots who insist on jumping up out of an airline seat as soon as the little bell goes ding. Not only are they irritating as hell but also wasting their effort. 9 times out of 10 I’ll be standing right next to him in the luggage line. It’s just plain rudeness.
I’m glad when something happens late in a game and they miss it. When the Rays came back against the Yankees to clinch a playoff berth in a lot of extra innings I was glad that I stayed and could rub that in to people who bailed.
As Walter Socheck once said “I’m staying, I’m finishing my coffee.”
Now that I have finished this post it’s time for a turkey sandwich. Then turkey hash for supper. Then turkey soup tomorrow for lunch with a turkey sandwich. Thankfully I’ll not have any more turkey left after that.
Good luck to all BUCS fans this holiday weekend.
Good luck to the BUCS. I know you are up to whipping the Seahawks.
Hey Man- Like you comment on Glennon and I agree. We need to start drafting QB’s in the forth or later rounds.
I agree with you on the idea of always developing a QB. That was one of the great GM Ron Wolf’s philosophies. My take on Mike Glennon is that he’s probably destined to be a good career back-up. Sweet gig.
Would this be my man Chevy from back in the days?
Not me man. The ol’ lady came up with my handle here. For some reason see must name her cars. Her cars name is Chet.
Best car I ever bought.
It’s always good to see players not highly regarded achieve success, whether as rookies (drafted low or not at all) or veterans who find a better fit with a new team. The most successful teams in the NFL often win with nobodies until they landed with the team … the Patriots being the most famous, Seahawks too, have had great success with unheralded rooks and cast-offs from other teams. Teams that make the most of the players they have are in the long run the most successful … while the teams that are always making headline-grabbing draft picks and FA signings often lag.
So I consider it a good sign that we have a relatively high proportion of quality UDFAs and “walk-ons” on our roster.
As for extending contracts, not all of the players recommended by Scott are particularly deserving, and we should keep in mind that we should expect our roster to get better every year, so a “good” player may not be worth signing if a better one comes along.
Finally, as for the Bucs fans arriving late and leaving early, it is a sign of low enthusiasm for the product. We can blame the “bad Tampa fans” or we can blame the bad product. Maybe some of both but I weight the bad product a much stronger factor in how Tampa fans behave. Sure, our team has played a little better this year than last, but frankly, not THAT much better. People have already forgotten that the Bucs were at 6-6 by the beginning of December last season, and we all know how THAT season ended with a big, loud, stinky thud like a loud fart in a wedding ceremony.
So Bucs fans can easily be forgiven for skepticism at this stage in the season, and frankly throughout this entire year.
Those who are not old timer Bucs fans don’t realize how much the fan behavior changed in the late 90s/early 00s when we finally started winning again after a decade and a half long sorry-assed losing streak. All of a sudden, there were waiting lists to buy season tickets. But alas, that era did not last that long – within a decade the Bucs were back to losing more games than won, and we’ve been shut out of the playoffs ever since.
We’re unlikely to make the playoffs this season, but we’re not out of the running. If we are still in the running for the playoffs a month from now, there’s going to be a different fan mindset come next season.
Here’s a suggestion to the Glazer’s? Open the stadium up earlier and lets watch the NFL Red Zone and the early early players starting their game routine. This will help to ease the traffic. Leave the stadium open for an hour after the game and show the NFL Red Zone. I hate it when we are forced out of the stadium 10-15 after the game is over; then we are forced to sit in long lines to drive out of the area to get home. Again this would help to ease the traffic.
What would be cool if the Bucs had a free concert after the game ala the Rays. Why not?
Horse: The stadium opens 1-1/2 hours before kickoff. I don’t know too many folks who want to bake in the sun longer than that. I never have much trouble with traffic since I have figured it out over the years. That, plus the attendance being down and folks starting to leave at the end of the third quarter probably helps. I do like Chet’s idea about a brief concert after the game to ease the traffic. I also agree with Dr.D that fan apathy has contributed to arriving late and leaving early………not to mention selling their tickets to the enemy.
First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to all of the Bucs fans out there. While all of you are hopefully spending time with your families celebrating, this weekend is a tradition for myself and my friends as well. We celebrate Thanksgiving earlier in Canada (on Columbus Day in October actually), so during this time of the year, traditionally on this weekend, my family and I gather at our friend’s house with their families and enjoy turkey and good company, where the hosts do the turkey and everyone else contributes potluck style with wine, spirits, dessert etc. We’re 20+ years into this tradition and it’s our chance to celebrate both Thanksgiving and Christmas together with friends since ’tis the season to be extremely busy!
Anyways, on to the Fab 5. Scott, I like your candidates for contract extensions, I agree with you on your choices. Anger has been an unsung hero. Field position battles are huge and he’s been a great addition. Evans, Brate, get them done. Shep, Conte and Rodgers, bring them back and let’s build this up. Having a competent backup, even if he plays mop-up is a good idea as in today’s NFL, too many backups are playing regular time.
I also agree that we should be thankful that the team didn’t move. Florida, specifically the tri-city area is my second home, I visit every year and last year I was down with my family during Christmas/New Year’s and I was able to catch 2 Lightning and 1 Bucs game. It was only my 2nd game at Raymond James, as I’m not always down during the season, but I would love to see it become more of a home field advantage. I was surrounded by Bears fans at last year’s game. Oh how I wished I was at this year’s game vs. the Bears. I just saw the NFL Network’s Timeline show on the 0-26 Bucs and after the win in New Orleans, thousands of fans greeted the team at the airport! For finally winning a game! Then coming back home to the Old Sombrero (as Chris Berman called it), the fans went absolutely nuts! Going on the field after the game and celebrating (ok you can’t do that anymore) the win, it was great to see that kind of fun and excitement. I would love to see the Bucs start to dominate at home and the crowds will come. Kudos to you Scubog for TRULY being a fan and for being at every game, and I for one certainly give you a pass for going home with the wife during that lightning delay. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that last game of the 1977 season. Maybe you were on the field after the game???
Finally, let me just say that as a fan from afar, I’d love to see more Bucs games. The closest venues to me would be Buffalo (where the Bucs have played just once and it was sold out in seconds because of Terrell Owens, but will come next year) Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. One’s a 90 minute drive, the others up to 5 hours away driving. Believe it or not, tailgating in Buffalo is an amazing experience. We did it for years from our days in university and we saw some great games over the years, but I never got to cheer for my team. Next year I will be there to see the Bucs beat the Bills and hopefully I’ll be down during the season next year at Raymond James Stadium with my son. He’s got an Evans jersey, mine’s a VJax (actually I have home and away VJax’).
As a trans planted Canadian I feel for you with those drives. If I’m not mistaken there is a ferry from Pt Pele to Sandusky in the summer and fall months. Knock off 3hrs of a drive to Cleveland. Brantford to Cleveland was 4 hours total. Why anyone would go to Cleveland is beyond me. See the Bucs is all I can think of.
GO BUCS HEY
Thanks Chet, the Bucs of the Josh McCown era last played in Cleveland, so looks like I won’t be going to Cleveland anytime soon (at least until the full 8 year cycle of scheduling takes the Bucs back there).
How about today’s game? The D with 6 sacks!
CDN: I too really enjoyed the Timeline show featuring the 0-26 Bucs. It sure brought back a lot of memories. The crowd of fans after that Saints game was actually at the old One Buc Place not the airport. Although there were some who went to TIA before the era of security checks. There were around 9,000 fans as I recall. Scubog and wife among them.
Yes, I was at the St. Louis Cardinals game the following week for the first “home” victory. The commemorative poster is on the wall behind me. After the game ended the fans (not me) flooded the field and tore down the goal posts. A business associate who lives in the Keys claims to have a piece of it that I’ve offered to purchase to no avail. Maybe I’ll make another offer.
What was not mentioned in the piece is that most of the players who spoke still live here. Punter Dave Green’s company built my screen room back in the mid 1980’s. I built a hot tub deck for Lee Roy Selmon during the same time.
The show pointed out how the Bucs defense beat up on a lot of teams; in particular Walter Payton’s Bears. In 1978 Walter said the Bucs were the best defense in the league. They were ranked 3rd. In 1979 they were 1st. Quite a feat.
My mistake, I thought the Timeline said the airport but that makes more sense that it was at Old One Buc Place. I’ve seen some snippets of old players saying that they still live in the area and honestly who wouldn’t want to stay in the area? Ah yes, the St.Louis Cardinals, whom I think played in the NFC East at that time.
How about that Bucs D today huh? I really enjoyed watching this one and it was actually available in our area on FOX without having Sunday Ticket (which I have).
Very good fab five here.
When it comes to Conte, he has had his ups and downs as a safety, ans most secondary players do, but it’s good to see him rejuvenated and playing within himself. My main gripe with Conte was that he was always injured. He’s stayed relatively healthy and as now no longer hampered but lovies outdated scheme. I say sign him to a nice two year deal and draft a safety early , like Jalen Adams. Guy sis damn good.
As for the guys , we should resign, I am all on board with just about all of them but Jaquizz. As stated above, this years rb class is loaded and it would be much cheaper. We’re going to need that money as Mike and Jameis are going to get paid along with our offensive lineman. I’m all for signing Mike right after this season, get it done and lock him up, don’t even mess around. Not having VJ’s 11 million on the books will help a lot.
As for Thanksgiving, it’s amazing what the holidays does for the general public. Everyone’s just bit happier and understanding. I’m thankful for all I have including my Bucs. And even thankful for all of the fellow Bucs fans who argue with me and I argue back with every week.
Been to one Tampa games, and that one particularly hurt as it was our Minnesota game three years ago , that we lost on the fumble by ASJ in overtime on the first play. Ans me an my brother could just feel it happening. Kudos to those like Scu, who sit through it all , thick and thin. But I’d have to agree with others, as much as I paid to get in, if we are winning, I sure as hell am not leaving.
A big one this week and our future looks good with Koetter and Licht manning the ship. This is progress as a team and we can all see it and that is the main thing.
First of all, I’ll be honest and I’ll say that over the last 3-4 years the Bucs have been predictable and it has been easy to tell fairly early when they are not going to win. When another turnover or a stupid penalty happens in the 4th quarter I’ve been one of the ones that leaves early. During the early part of the year that sun is beating down on you on the upper level and there have been times when I have had to get ice to cool down my wife because she is about to pass out from the heat. Watching a team that didn’t seem to be able to stop anyone on 3rd down and the decision to leave early became easier and easier. However, if the game is close at all (withing 2 scores) I’ll make an effort to stay to the end. With Winston at the helm, there are going to be some comebacks. (He could have won the Rams game).
Coming from upstate New York and remembering how rabid the Bills fans were, it’s struck me how passive the Bucs fans have become. Heck, I remember in the late 80’s during those dreadful years there was a live band in the corner of the old Sombrero and Bucs fans were singing the Bucs Fight song, “hey, hey, hey we’re the Buccaneers”. Back then Bucs fans were hard core. Now it seems like most fans are transplants and Bucs are their second favorite team.
I agree with you Scott, the time has come for jaded, burnt-out fans to take back Ray Jay and to make it a place were other teams fans feel uncomfortable and where we support our team to the end. The Bucs are working their behinds off to improve their play on the field and for the first time since Gruden there looks to be improvement. We need to do our part.
It was good to see you call out the Bucs so called “fans” who attend the games.
I believe leaving the game early was what helped cost the Bucs lose against the Colts and Peyton Manning years back.
A large majority of so called “fans” had left the game early so Manning was able to bark out audibles clearly during his comeback.
This is why I call the Bucs fans ignorant and stupid. I have actually seen the morons try and start the Wave when the offense has the ball, not to mention how much they stand up and yell when they approach the line of scrimmage to call a play.
Even worse is when they show up late and try and walk down the aisle when a play starts or is in action. Of course they would have to watch the play as they wandered down the aisle
I used to have an aisle seat and whenever some clown would try to walk down the aisle I would put my hand out and tell them to wait till the play was over.
If I got a protest I would sharply tell them I came to watch the game, not to watch them jump up and down to get a soft pretzel. They would usually steer clear after that.
Also, JayBuc52, I believe the Bucs band was disbanded in 1977 or at least sometime in the 70s because of the cheapskate known as Hugh Culverhouse.
Watch the new NFL timeline about the Bucs 26 game losing streak and how they talk about the cheap charter airline they used to have to fly on. It’s hilarious.
My sentiments exactly Dr. D. I do think the band hung on into the early 80’s.
Oh, and sometimes a change of team and/or scheme does a professional athlete a lot of good. Check out Mark Barron’s NFL careeer stats.
I agree to a large extent about leaving early but that wasn’t the worst for me. We were late arriving for the Chicago game for reasons left unmentioned and missed almost all of the first quarter. 🙁 – I was not a happy camper!! Anyway I got club seats this time which is very unusual for me but the price differential with the lower bowl wasn’t that great so I went for it. As we dashed in and ran for our seats I could not believe how many people were simply lounging around in the bar area watching the game on TV. I think they emerged about 5 minutes before the half and disappeared about the end of the 3rd quarter.
chetthevette … Ha! Ha! I’ve noticed the same thing when exiting an air airplane over the years. It also reminds me of the yahoos who try to speed when you are caught in bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic. Ain’t nobody goin nowhere soon!
Here is another boner people do. Race back and forth looking for the shortest line at the grocery store. If I was in a hurry I would not be at Publix.
I am going to reiterate or echo other’s comments imade in the last two or three weeks. Continuity will be a key to success next year and , very hopefully, beyond. We have a good regime in place. We have a solid core of talent to build upon.
Jamies Winston appears to have the combination of athletic talent, character, leadership, drive, etc. to not only achieve but to bring home more than one Superbowl to Tampa Bay. He could truly earn the “franchise quarterback” label.
I don’t pretend to have the deep football knowledge needed to make an accurate prediction as to how things will unfold in the next few year. My predictions are more like gut reactions plus some observation over time. In other words I am just another fan.
I am BULLISH on the Buccaneers. My convictions are strong at this time based on what I am seeing now.
XpfcWintergreen. Once again it would also mean a change of positions, not only of team and scheme. Baron was drafted as a safety, not as a LB, which is what he is playing for the Rams. Why do you always seem to forget that inconvenient truth.
He still can’t cover as a LB, either.
I’ve had more fun reading the comments today than the article itself. This is the best weekend for football without a doubt.
Florida vs Noles Sorry Mark, I gotta take the Gators here.
Michigan vs Ohio It’s time for Harbaugh to bring it on and beat that turncoat coach in Ohio.
Auburn vs Alabama Can anyone beat Alabama?
Mississippi vs Miss State
All the big rivalries, Throw in a Seahawk ass whipping.
The grass don’t get cut this weekend.
Rivalry Weekend is always special in college football … every team gets up for their biggest cross-state rivals, no matter what’s gone on before in the season. Gators-Noles may not have quite the importance of what it has been in some years past, especially when it was Bowden vs. Spurrier, and national championships were on the line. But no matter, it’s still the biggest game of the season for both teams.
And Sunday’s Seahawks-Bucs game has all the makings of a great game, especially two up and coming young quarterbacks, and with the Bucs defense finally showing some life, it should be great fun to watch.
Great article, Scott. I absolutely can’t understand the fans that are leaving any game early. For me as a fan from Germany it’s a 3-4 day event if I don’t combine it with my vacation. First, you catch a red eye flight to the states. Then, the next day, you watch the game and fly home the next day.
Fans from the bay area seem to but realize how privileged they are to call or Bucs their home team.
I can’t wait for my next red eye flight.
I’m thankful for PR. You are honest, informative, and contrite. I’ve been a reader since the printed Buc Mag. Keep up the good work and not taking yourself to seriously.
I go back even further when it began as It’s Sports magazine.
Great fab 5 and right on point. Especially when you read it after today’s game! It always gives me perspective as I wrote a couple of weeks ago.
I think this team is on the right track, and we should be thankful. I said a couple of weeks ago if we could win 2 out of the next 3 we could beginning something special. Who would of thought we would be talking about the possibility of winning 3 of 3 and a 4 game winning streak!! GO BUCS
This makes the Mike Smith talk go away since the defense won this game! The players have really played together since “the letter”.
I/we should trust Licht & and his staff on players going forward. Koetter is coaching great and Jameis is getting better (despite his 2nd half). The BUCS are on the right track!
GO BUCS & HAPPY THANKSGIVING BUC NATION
Second Fab 5 post post Freakin Awesome smack down of Seahawks.
#1 Conte did not have a splash play but made solid tackles to stop first downs. Fantastic
#2 Resign all of them.
#3 Thank you defensive line. Was it 2002? Sure seemed like it. Thank you Richard Sherman for acting like a douche.
#4 Thank you BUCS fans. It was loud and proud today. On TV it looked AWESOME.
Thank you BUCS for putting a big ass smile on my face.
GO BUCS, IF WE CAN BEAT THE SEAHAWKS WE CAN BEAT ANY TEAM IN THE LEAGUE
I wasn’t trying to say he was having an outstanding career. I am not capable enough in judging talent to say whether he would have been a complete bust or even have done better as a DB in a different scheme. I merely, meant that he is still playing in the NFL and seems to be having decent stats at LB. I think he is better off because of the change. There are probably better examples out there that I might have used. It was just a quickie of a comment.
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