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. Tampa Bay made it two wins in a row with their first road win of the year 30-20 over the Miami Dolphins, which leads us to ask why it took this long and what changes need to stay.

TWO BIG STATEMENTS

STATEMENT 1: Yes, the win was worth it.
Hello, friends. It is I, Trevor Sikkema, hijacking Scott’s 2-point conversion post-game column for this week to bring you my thoughts on the Bucs victory in Miami.

First of all, let me start by stating that yes, the win was worth it. During halftime of every Bucs game I open up the floor to the followers of Twitter dot com on my personal account and have them ask me any questions they want. Sometimes it’s serious ones about football and others are funny and random – sometimes I’ll answer serious and sometimes I’ll answer funny. Anyways, one of the questions today was a Bucs fan wondering whether or not this win was really worth it, since the team likely isn’t going to rattle enough off to make the playoffs, and all it may do is ruin a better draft pick.

My answer to that is spoken with my heart and not my head when I say that yes, it was worth it. In a bottom-line view, this could hurt the team for who they might want in the 2018 NFL Draft, but you know what, this team needed these two wins. This team needed to not only get kicked in the teeth, but also have that part after getting hurt where you respond to adversity and it works – even if it might not work enough for the post season this year.

You see, that’s the difference between when Raheem Morris’ teams lost and kept losing, and when Greg Schiano’s teams lost and kept losing, and when Lovie Smith’s teams lost and kept losing. None of those team could respond to adversity.

Maybe this season is lost in terms of where they wanted to go – it very likely is. But, when I see players like DeSean Jackson and Lavonte David finally speak up, players that I know will be here next year, and them seeing their words mean something, that’s going to be important in the long run.

It may screw up a draft pick, but I think it will mean more when it matters next season. These little wins via adversity might be making leaders out of more players.

STATEMENT 2: It’s time for Chris Godwin to start.
You can’t teach clutch. Plain and simple.

That was evident when wide receiver Chris Godwin had nine catches for 187 yards and two touchdowns in his final collegiate game at Penn State, and it was evident when his only two catches of the game on Sunday against the Dolphins came on the final game-winning drive.

We watched and heard all the hype from Godwin this preseason, and now we’ve seen it in spurts in the regular season – since his playing time has been limited – but the time has come for him to start.

“Chris Godwin has really impressed me these last two weeks,” Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter said. “…with his competitiveness, he’s playing on special teams, and he does a lot of dirty work.”

So now I’m sure you’re thinking, “Trevor, are you suggesting that he replace DeSean Jackson or Mike Evans?” No, I’m saying he should replace Adam Humphries – replace seems harsh, but oh well. Godwin doesn’t play the slot, but you know who can? Jackson. in fact, Jackson can play it very well.

WR DeSean Jackson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

We saw what Jackson could do when the team finally got more creative with him due to Evans being out last week. I say you implement that more with Jackson in the slot when three wide receivers are on the field. Godwin is a bigger, stronger and faster wide receiver than Adam Humphries, and if Humphries, who had a big drop/fumble in the Buffalo game and another drop on Sunday, isn’t as reliable as perfect, I say you make the switch.

Imagine a wide receiver set where Jackson and Evans play on the sideline when there are two wide receivers, then Godwin plays outside and Jackson is in the slot with three wide receivers. To me, not only is that ideal, talent wise, but it also throws multiple matchups and styles a the opposing team’s cornerbacks.

Start Chris Godwin.

TWO PROBING QUESTIONS

QUESTION 1: Why rush Winston back?
This has been a whirlwind of a week for Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston.

First of all, all this can’t be easy with him missing multiple week for the football team he plays for for probably the first time since before he played high school ball. I’m sure there have been notable moments for him on the sideline both learning and celebrating, but Winston wasn’t at the Bucs facility for the entire week (we only saw him on Friday), so he’s been running around for either medical or personal reasons, too.

On top of that, as of Friday, we now have the Tampa Bay franchise quarterback under the national spotlight again for the wrong reasons, as he was accused of groping an Uber driver back in 2016. Since then Winston, the team and now a teammate of his who says he was in the car with Winston that night, have released their statements on the matter. But, we are still in the process of figuring out what really when on.

QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Now, let’s get back to on the field. Facts are facts, this team in 2-0 with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm. I realize that it was to teams who have Josh McCown and Jay Cutler/Matt Moore as the quarterbacks, but no matter which side of the fence you’re on, an argument can be made against Winston returning.

If Winston’s side of 2016 groping allegations checks out, he is Tampa Bay’s quarterback of the future, that isn’t changing. But, should he be Tampa Bay’s quarterback of this year? The competitive nature in Winston suggests that he fully plans on coming back. But, knowing his injury, how it didn’t get better, how Bucs general manager Jason Licht said Winston could miss “extended time,” and the fact that FOX Sports reporter Jay Glazer says that Winston actually has two injuries in his shoulder, is it worth it, even if the Bucs get another win?

The question you have to ask yourself is if you think that Winston’s return could push this team to the playoff and even win in the playoff. If that answer is no, shut him down. There’s too much going on around him. I think this time off will be good for him. To rest, reflect and refocus towards being the quarterback this team needs time to be – drafted him to be – in 2018 and beyond.

QUESTION 2: Why did it take this long?
After the win versus the Dolphins, there was joy in the locker room. There were players talking to each other left and right, the mood and the spirits were as high as we’ve seen this year, the guys gave quotes and you actually believe them, and the leaders all around the room were vocal and confident.

My question is: why did it take this long?

It’s over now. Well, not mathematically, but this team would have to basically lose zero, maybe one game, the rest of the year to even try to get into the playoffs in the tough NFC. The Pats game was winnable, the Cardinals game should have been winnable, the Buffalo game was winnable. If you swing one or two of those games, we’re talking about a different season.

How did this team buy into all the hype just to overlook the work it was going to take and fail so hard in the first half of the season? They’re not suppose to be the ones to buy into the hype; they’re suppose to be above it all.

The reason is because this team and this franchise doesn’t know how to win. After hitting rock bottom (for this group) like they did after the Carolina game, maybe they’re learning to.

We’ll see.

TWO BOLD PREDICTIONS

PREDICTION 1: Tampa Bay will draft two or more offensive linemen in the upcoming draft.
Tampa Bay’s offensive line is awful. They’re decent at pass blocking, but my word, they cannot run block. It’s not suppose to be like that. You’re suppose to get the run blocking thing down before the pass blocking. Running back Doug Martin had 38 yards on 19 carries against the Dolphins and that 2.0 yards-per-carry average wasn’t his fault. Fans will tell me that there were specific plays that Martin bounced around or to the outside when he didn’t have to, but you know what, Martin doesn’t trust his offensive line to keep a gap open and I don’t blame him.

C Ali Marpet – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Kevin Pamhile is really struggling in his contract year. Ali Marpet is still having a tough time being as good as he was at guard. J.R. Sweezy is not the player this team thought they were signing. Throw in that Demar Dotson and Donovan Smith have been inconsistent themselves, and you have a line that has no shot at continuity.

Because of those reason, I think the Bucs will be dipping into the offensive line well more than once this draft season. If they’re looking at the top, players like Texas’ Connor Williams and Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson are studs. Those guys could be immediate starters on this team. For the later round guys, players like Chukwuma Okorafor from Western Michigan and Tyrell Crosby from Oregon are two names to remember.

PREDICTION 2: O.J. Howard will finish second on the team in receiving touchdowns.
Just like I said it was Chris Godwin’s time to start getting more involved in the main offense, such is true with rookie tight end O.J. Howard, too.

Howard caught three of his four targets for 52 yards and touchdown against the Dolphins, and almost had another big touchdown that was called back. If that touchdown would have counted, Howard would have been in sole possession of the team’s receiving touchdown lead; more than Mike Evans; more than Cam Brate. And Howard is doing all that without even hitting 20 catches on the year yet.

I expect Evans to ultimately lead the team in receiving touchdowns as the year plays out, but as Howard gets more and more involved, as the coaches hint he should since his success often collates with team wins, I expect him to out-score Brate and Jackson by years end.

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About the Author: Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: trevor@pewterreport.com
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Horse
Horse (@horse)
4 years ago

1. No need to rush Winston back; when he has been cleared, he should play. He’s the future and he needs as much experience now as possible. Sitting on the sidelines doesn’t help much. 2. It took so long because I still believe it’s Koetter and M. Smith schemes no matter what they admit too or not. Look no further than the difference between the first half and second half. First half the defense was blitzing, and our offense was unpredictable. Second half our defense as far as I saw didn’t do any blitzing, and our offense became predictable until… Read more »

chefboho
chefboho (@chefboho)
Reply to  Horse
4 years ago

Horse i saw the same thing. Seemed like the blitzing totally had the dolphins offense flustered and then we stopped. 3rd down and over 10 yards four times in the second half and not once did we blitz. We stop if it’s working? Plus it was crazy to see how many screens and slants Tampa used in the first half to succession only to go vanilla on the second half. It’s obvious Doug Martin doesn’t have it so why not give someone else a try?

Alldaway 2.0
Alldaway 2.0 (@alldaway)
4 years ago

Bucs have a severe lack of trench players on both sides of the ball. Right now they can maybe cruise to a .500 finish…that is a big maybe.

But the lack of trench players on Dline and Oline was obvious since the 2017 off season back in January.

MWD
MWD (@mikewestdominguez)
4 years ago

1. Why rush Winston back? Everything that Horse said and also the fact that our backup is Fitz. 2. What took so long? Easy- we hadn’t played the Browns, Bears (again) Giants (again) Jets (again), Dolphins or 49ers. 3. These wins DO NOT get Koetter and Smith off the s**t list by any means….Defense is still terrible on third down and any team with decent protection and a passing attack will kill us in the secondary. 4. Win up in Atlanta next week and then we will start talking about giving our free devil crabs at Brocato’s until then, it… Read more »

drdneast
drdneast (@drdneast)
4 years ago

I never wanted Marpet moved to center and this team lost a big edge when Logan Mankins retired. O line hasn’t been the same since. But this team is in desperate need of defensive line help. Not because I am anti Gerald McCoy who had a monster game against the Fins, but he is almost 30 and the rest of the D line has hit 30 or is older. If we can get a No. 1 for Mcoy,I say we blow the defensive line up and start over. We will have plenty of money to bring two FA defensive linemen… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27 (@cgmaster27)
Reply to  drdneast
4 years ago

Point 1: I’d have to agree it’s always good to win. It almost feels hallow as what might have been this year, but it’s still a win. Point 2: Chris Godwin needs to start. Humph hasn’t been the play maker he’s been in the past and Godwin just doesn’t drop the ball. Your alignment of Jackson in the slot and Mike and Chris out wide, is a beautiful thing. Question 1 : I wouldn’t rush Jameis back until his shoulder is one hundred percent. He is still the future and there is no reason to risk it. I read elsewhere… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27 (@cgmaster27)
Reply to  cgmaster27
4 years ago

Sorry DRD din’t mean to respond to you with my take.

Jlog
Jlog
4 years ago

A win is a win. Having said that we barely got away with it despite the Fins getting 17 penalties and giving us the ball 5 times in turnovers. In fact if that near safety didn’t go our way I’m not sure we even win that game. We got lucky that went our way. As for putting Winston back in I’m not sure he give us a better chance to win. I just looked over their stats for this year and it’s not hard to make a strong case for keeping Fitz. Winston passes for more yards but he’s also… Read more »

scubog
scubog (@scubog)
4 years ago

Here’s a burning question I’d like answered. Why do back-up QB’s always light it up against us? I always cringe when the starter goes down.

Horse
Horse (@horse)
Reply to  scubog
4 years ago

Scu; wait to we play Green Bay, the back up will probably break some kind of record for passing.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan (@naplesfan)
Reply to  scubog
4 years ago

Similarly, Scu, we should be very afraid every time we face a team whose _______ unit is said to be flailing, having the worst of it though the week before our game. They always seem to fix whatever was previously broke when they face the Bucs.

Remember the Pats game, when the Pats defense was the worst in the league, until they met the Bucs. We scored 14 points that game.

surferdudes
surferdudes (@surferdudes)
4 years ago

If Moore would’ve started the game we lose. Next week will determine if we’ve improved any. Koetter plays not to lose, we almost lost. Let’s leave Marpet where he is, he’ll keep getting better, but evey other O linemen could be replaced. Next years draft, O, D linemen, corner. Trade Brate for more picks, or player. Can’t afford to pay him, and O.J. needs those extra targets.

Buc 1976
Buc 1976 (@robmckenz17gmail-com)
4 years ago

O.J would have had a Monster game if not for a penalty that looked Iffy also Godwin should be playing more as someone else eluded to he catches everything thrown to him.
The Refs for this game made some strange calls!

WiltheBrewer
WiltheBrewer (@wilthebrewer)
Reply to  Buc 1976
4 years ago

The officials were bad yesterday, but at least the Bucs got some bad calls their way- unlike the N.O. game…
I still can’t believe it was that close a game the way the D played in the 1st half- just like the Jets, they can’t finish. Don’t like seeing another big pass play given up late in the game… All that being said, it’s a ‘W’ !!
.500 here we come

Alldaway 2.0
Alldaway 2.0 (@alldaway)
4 years ago

If D. Smith is moved to guard the Bucs don’t have to draft two OL. Drafting a LT is priority 1a with pass rusher being 1b. After that it is any ones guess.

As for Pamphile I think he is struggling right now but I like his upside more so than Sweazy right now. Plus, Pamphile would be a cost effective backup to sign long term which allows the Bucs to spend that extra draft pick on another pass rusher instead.