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’s defense showed up, holding Washington to 286 yards and just 16 points, but the offense picked the wrong day to be absent. The Bucs scored just three points despite racking up 501 yards of total offense, but the Redskins defense forced four turnovers, which decided the outcome in a 16-3 Tampa Bay loss that was the Bucs’ third in a row.
2 BIG STATEMENTS
STATEMENT 1: Bucs Deserve Capital Punishment
In 2015, the Bucs blew a 24-0 halftime lead at Washington as the Redskins came back to claim a 31-30 victory. After that game, which was on October 26, I called for head coach Lovie Smith to be fired.
Ironically, I suggested that Dirk Koetter be hired as Smith’s replacement. I’m not necessarily calling for Koetter to be fired after a crushing, deflating 16-3 loss against the Redskins on Sunday.
I don’t have to do that, do I?
We all know how this is going to end, don’t we?
Koetter picked the wrong day to start calling plays again on offense. And that’s a punishable offense. The Bucs deserved to lose.
“I called the plays today – the whole day,” Koetter admitted after the game as the offense racked up 501 total yards yet only scored three points as Chandler Catanzaro missed two more field goals and the offense committed four turnovers.
When asked after the game why Koetter decided to call plays on Sunday he said,
“Just my own reasons.”
After the game, Koetter said this is the first time this season that he has done the play-calling. I would strongly suggest it be the last.
The football gods certainly didn’t like the change-up on Sunday, and if I were Koetter I wouldn’t so much as pick up a play sheet and let Todd Monken handle the play-calling duties for the remaining seven games of the season.
Koetter had no answers after Sunday’s demoralizing defeat at the hands of the Redskins. He looked bewildered in his post-game press conference. He’s not sure how to get the 3-6 Bucs back on track. No one is.
He didn’t know if Chandler Catanzaro would remain the Bucs’ kicker (he won’t).
Koetter couldn’t say if Jameis Winston would start next week at New York when the Bucs travel north to play the Giants (he will).
Ryan Fitzpatrick did his best Winston impersonation on Sunday with two interceptions and a fumble – two of those turnovers came in the red zone, but at age 35, the FitzMagic has finally worn off and he’s clearly not the long-term answer. The Bucs organization – and that doesn’t necessarily mean Koetter and/or general manager Jason Licht – needs to give Winston one more look before swallowing hard and paying him $20.92 million in 2019.
I’m talking about the Glazers, of course. Because after Koetter and Licht are gone the Glazers will still be here, wondering if they can pick the right general manager to pick the right players and if they can pick the right head coach to develop the players and get them to win. I wonder that, too.
Not only was this loss to the Redskins capital punishment in terms of yet another defeat today – Tampa Bay’s third loss in a row – it may also be capital punishment in terms of the death penalty for this current regime. After another franchise-wrecking loss to Washington, it seems like Koetter is a dead man walking with just seven more Sundays left in Tampa Bay.
STATEMENT 2: The Bucs Are Indeed Cursed
I’ll admit I wrote something a little light-hearted in Friday’s SR’s Fab 5 when I stated that the Bucs are cursed. I was writing tongue-in-cheek about the supposed curses that have afflicted this franchise.
Turns out I was right and I didn’t fully realize it until around 4:00 pm on Sunday.
This franchise is cursed, or haunted or possessed. You pick.
It’s like the MRSA from the 2013 season hasn’t fully been eradicated from One Buccaneer Place. This isn’t the kind of infection that destroys flesh. This is the kind of infection that is born out of losing and infects the entire organization, unfortunately. It even infects players that were brought here to change the culture like DeSean Jackson, Beau Allen and Jason Pierre-Paul, who hasn’t shown up the last two weeks after starting the season with eight sacks in the first seven weeks. They all succumb to the losing.
How about six straight games without a takeaway on defense? I know that the defense hardly has any playmakers, but this is getting ridiculous, isn’t it?
The Bucs were minus-four in the turnover margin on Sunday with Fitzpatrick accounting for two picks and a fumble, and Jacquizz Rodgers with the other Tampa Bay turnover – a fumble as former Bucs linebacker Mason Foster punched the ball out from behind. It traveled about 20 yards before being recovered in the end zone – by the Redskins, of course.
Now Tampa Bay is minus-18 in the turnover margin department.
MINUS-18. What a joke.
If Chris Godwin’s fourth quarter fumble wasn’t recovered by Rodgers – of all people – it would have been minus-19. That was karma, huh? Having Rodgers recover the loose ball after his own catastrophic fumble in the red zone? The football gods were just toying with the Bucs today and laughing at their futility.
Who happened to be at Raymond James Stadium today? Redskins head coach Jay Gruden, the brother of Jon Gruden, who was fired by the Bucs (see the Curse of Jon Gruden). And Washington general manager Bruce Allen, who was hired by Jon Gruden to be Tampa Bay’s G.M. in 2004, and was fired on the same day in January of 2009.
And let’s not forget former Bucs quarterback and personnel executive Doug Williams, who is the Redskins senior vice president of player personnel. The Doug Williams QB curse is still in effect, as I mentioned in SR’s Fab 5.
Gruden, Allen and Williams were all smiles as the Redskins and their depleted offensive line did enough to steal a win in Tampa Bay. And speaking of curses, the Curse of Matt Bryant is still in effect, evidenced by Chandler Catanzaro’s two missed field goals on Sunday, which brings us to the next section where I answer two probing questions.
2 PROBING QUESTIONS
QUESTION 1: Why Is Catanzaro Still On The Bucs?
Seriously – why? At what point does this organization lose faith in kicker Chandler Catanzaro? Fans lost confidence in him months ago. I lost faith in him weeks ago. He got a one-week reprieve by making all four of his extra points against Carolina I suppose, but only to miss a makeable 30-yard field goal in the second quarter against Washington.
Catanzaro redeemed himself momentarily with a 33-yard field goal to tie the game at 3-3 right before halftime, only to return to his rightful place as one of the awful kickers in Tampa Bay’s lineage of … awful kickers.
The Bucs brought in Cairo Santos, but he’s had groin issues and there is some concern there and a reason why he remains unsigned at this point. Whoever it is, it shouldn’t be Catanzaro kicking field goals and extra points for Tampa Bay anymore. He simply can’t be trusted. Get him out of here.
QUESTION 2: Can The Bucs Reboot Their Entire Franchise?
I wish. If only Tampa Bay could enter franchise mode on Madden and reboot this mess of a football team. The Bucs are now 3-6, but it already feels like 3-13, doesn’t it?
Especially with their minus-18 turnover margin. Oh my God.
The problem isn’t just the head coach and the general manager. Those are easy fires for the Glazers to make if they want to make them. Cleaning house in the coaching staff and the front office is easier than cutting the entire roster.
But maybe the Bucs need to do that.
At this point, who on this roster is worth keeping? Jason Pierre-Paul? Mike Evans? O.J. Howard? Ali Marpet? Lavonte David?
Who are the truly untouchable players in Tampa Bay? It’s a very, very short list when you actually think about it.
Maybe it’s time to blow it up and start over? I mean truly over.
Not just regime change, but complete roster overhaul. Like purge this team of about 45 players. Maybe that would finally get rid of the losing culture.
How many players in Tampa Bay have experienced a winning season before? How many players truly know what it takes to win? Over half of the current Bucs have never been on a winning team in the NFL and simply don’t know how to win.
Do you feel comfortable re-signing left tackle Donovan Smith for the long haul? Do you feel comfortable paying Kwon Alexander millions of dollars coming off a torn ACL?
Is Ryan Fitzpatrick worth re-signing? Is Jameis Winston worth $20.92 million?
Who on this roster deserves to remain a Buccaneer the way they are playing? Is there any accountability?
Winston got benched, but how many turnovers over how many years did it actually take? How many sacks surrendered does it take for Smith to be benched? How many penalties and blown assignments does it take for Caleb Benenoch to be benched?
There is very little accountability in Tampa Bay, and this team is not nearly as talented as it thinks it is when it comes down to it. So if you want regime change, I would certainly take it a step further and make it a full on purge if this team winds up with double-digit losses.
2 BOLD PREDICTIONS
PREDICTION 1: Monken Resumes Play-Calling Duties Next Week
Todd Monken has to call plays at New York, right?
PREDICTION 2: Winston Leads The Bucs To A Loss Next Week
Pencil in a pair of interceptions and a Bucs loss. That’s what Winston does. But what’s new with this franchise?