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 snapped a three-game losing streak with a 26-23, wild, wacky overtime win against Cleveland on Sunday to move to 3-3 on the year. The Browns have the most overtime games in the league over the last three years with eight, including four this year. With the loss today, Cleveland is 1-2-1 in those overtime contests.

2 BIG STATEMENTS

STATEMENT 1: Duffner Makes A Difference
Before the Bucs’ bye week I called for head coach Dirk Koetter to fire defensive coordinator Mike Smith and replace him with linebackers coach Mark Duffner. It took Koetter two weeks to act on that suggestion, but in the end, Koetter did it.

And it worked – at least for one game.

Tampa Bay beat Cleveland – thanks to its defense.

That’s something we couldn’t write or say while covering the Bucs for quite a while, right?

The reason why? Duffner.

Bucs defense huddles on the sidelines - Photo by: Trevor Sikkema/PR
Bucs defense huddles on the sidelines – Photo by: Trevor Sikkema/PR

The linebackers coach and new defensive play-caller was working the sidelines, pumping his players, communicating with each of the units individually. On the first play of the second half while the Bucs offense was on the field, Duffner gathered the entire defense in a huddle on the sidelines and barked out orders. I’ve never seen that before at the NFL level. He told the Bucs defenders that they would be playing without their Pro Bowl middle linebacker Kwon Alexander, who suffered a possible torn ACL, in the second half and that they had to continue to play well.

On the second play of the game we saw Duffner dial up a nickel blitz to generate pressure. On the second third down – a third-and-8 situation – Duffner brought pressure with another blitz, which forced Baker Mayfield to step up and get sacked by defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul for his sixth sack of the year, which leads the team. Tampa Bay would have a season-high five sacks with linebacker Adarius Taylor, defensive lineman Will Gholston and two key sacks by defensive end Carl Nassib, a former Browns defender who got the start in place of the injured Vinny Curry.

“Thank God our defense did because our defense played their tails off today,” Koetter said. “Really, this day is about our defense. The job they did on third down, of getting five sacks, and overcoming the loss of Kwon at halftime, right before the half there. [I’m] very proud of the defense. If we could ever put four quarters together on both sides, we’ll be a tough team to beat. Today we got a win – that’s hard to get when you’re minus three in turnovers.”

Duffner’s Bucs held the Browns to 23 points and just 305 yards through four quarters and overtime, and were better in coverage and with their pass rush on Sunday. What is the next step for improvement on the defensive side?

Takeaways.

The Bucs haven’t recorded a takeaway on defense in the last three games – although linebacker Lavonte David made a heroic forced fumble on a Baker Mayfield scramble right before halftime in the Tampa Bay red zone and the ball rolled out of bounds one yard shy of the first down for a turnover on downs. Tampa Bay’s only official takeaway happened on special teams when tight end Antony Auclair forced a fumble that was recovered by safety Isaiah Johnson that set up the Bucs’ winning field goal in overtime – a 59-yarder by the struggling Chandler Catanzaro.

The Bucs defense was good from the start and shut out the Browns in the first quarter and led 3-2. That was only the second time this year Tampa Bay had held an opponent scoreless in the first quarter. The Bucs led the Eagles 7-0 after the first quarter in Week 2.

Bucs DC Mark Duffner and head coach Dirk Koetter - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs DC Mark Duffner and head coach Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Tampa Bay’s defense was the best it has been on third down against Cleveland, allowing the Browns to convert just 3-of-14 (21.4 percent). Three of Tampa Bay’s sacks came on third downs, too – none bigger than Nassib’s seven-yard sack on third-and-3 at the Tampa Bay 45 in overtime that knocked the Browns out of field goal position.

And how about that goal-line stand on fourth and goal by the Bucs defense in the fourth quarter? When was the last time you saw that from Tampa Bay? I can’t remember.

The magic of that great defensive play lost some of its luster, though, as the Bucs offense couldn’t convert the first down and had to punt the ball right back to the Browns. A 41-yard punt by Bryan Anger allowed Jabril Peppers to return the ball 32 yards down to the 16-yard line and Mayfield hit Jarvis Landry for a touchdown on the next play.

It wasn’t perfect, but Duffner’s debut as defensive coordinator was enough for the Bucs to get one of the whackiest and ugliest wins that I can recall. And it came without Curry or six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.

Duffner’s job just got harder because he’ll likely be without Alexander for the rest of the season.

STATEMENT 2: Winston Leads Bucs’ Ground Game
Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston had a very uneven game as a passer on Sunday against a feisty Browns defense. After throwing for 395 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions in his first start of the year last week in Atlanta, Winston really struggled versus Cleveland. He completed 32-of-52 passes (61.5 percent) for 365 yards with no touchdowns and twos interceptions, both of which came on poor reads down the middle of the field.

Bucs QB Jameis Winston - Photo by: Mary Holt/PR
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

But where Winston excelled was as a runner, and Sunday’s game against the Browns resembled one of the games during his rookie season when he relied more on his legs to move the chains than he has over the last two years. Winston was the Bucs’ leading rusher with 55 yards on 10 carries (5.5 avg.), picking up three first downs in the game and scoring on a 14-yard scramble.

Winston also had a fumble when the ball was swatted out of his hand as he went to pass when Myles Garrett beat left tackle Donovan Smith to force the turnover. The Browns came into Sunday’s game with an NFL-leading 15 takeaways and recorded four in the game that allowed Cleveland to mount a comeback. The Bucs led 16-2 and then had three straight turnovers on offense that stymied their attempt to score points and gave the Browns new life.

Winston was sacked four times, including twice on back-to-back plays in overtime where he inexplicably held on to the football too long. Winston made too many poor decisions that nearly cost his team a chance to win, but his scrambling ability was his saving grace.

“You say he was running around like crazy – they were playing a lot of two-man [deep defense] today,” Koetter said. “One thing about two-man is the quarterback is not accounted for. Jamies was also our leading rusher today and he made some big plays with his feet. I don’t have any problem with the way Jameis scrambled today. He made some really big plays. [He] started off extremely fast. Jameis started off on fire. There were two turnovers at the end of the first half. We played a good first half, great on defense. Then, those two last drives where we turned it over; the interception and the fumble. [When] we came out in that third quarter and offensively; we just had terrible body language. We weren’t doing anything very well, we just didn’t seem like we had much energy.”

Winston extended several plays with his feet behind the line of scrimmage too, finding Mike Evans (seven catches for 107 yards) and Chris Godwin (five catches for 59 yards) for big gains, especially in the second half and overtime. But there were several passes that were erratic and overthrown, too.

Is this the guy that the Bucs want to give a long-term extension to? I’m not so sure after this game. Winston should be further along than he is in terms of making better decisions with the ball. Yes, he looked like a rookie running the ball and making plays and scoring touchdowns with his feet. But he also looked like rookie with the way he was throwing the ball too – unfortunately.

Bucs QB Jameis Winston - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“Main thing is – like I always say, you’ve got to take care of the football, have to give our team a chance to win,” Winston said. “We won, so I think I did a good enough job in that aspect. Bottom line is, I’ve just got to get better.”

The fact that Winston led the Bucs in rushing is an indictment on the offensive line and proof that the Bucs running game just can’t get on track. Peyton Barber had 30 yards on 11 carries (2.7) and was tackled in the backfield for a safety in the first quarter. Rookie Ronald Jones had 13 yards on six carries (2.2 avg.) and his first NFL touchdown, while Jacquizz Rodgers had eight yards on three carries (2.7 avg.).

2 PROBING QUESTIONS

QUESTION 1: Did This Win Save Koetter’s Job?
Probably. Not that Koetter was going to fired on Monday if the Bucs lost their fourth straight game and fell to 2-4 on the year. But Sunday’s contest against Cleveland was a must-win game for Koetter and for Tampa Bay. I wrote about it this week in SR’s Fab 5, and Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones also stated that fact.

“Oh, you guys made that perfectly clear,” Koetter said when he was asked if Sunday’s 26-23 overtime victory was a must-win affair. “I look at it as they’re all must-wins. Me personally, every week is ‘must.’ You guys did a good job of making us aware that we had to win.”

Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

A loss would have been deflating and forced the Bucs to go 7-3 or 8-2 down the stretch to make the playoffs and likely could have cost Koetter his job at the end of the season. And if kicker Chandler Catanzaro hadn’t made his 59-yard game-winner in overtime, Bucs general manager Jason Licht, who has struggled to find a competent kicker in his five years on the job, would have been in immediate jeopardy, too.

Now the Bucs remain in playoff contention and the seat for Koetter and Licht isn’t as hot as it could have been if Tampa Bay hadn’t beaten Cleveland in overtime. As ugly as it was, this victory counts as a win and if the Bucs can find six more in the last 10 games Koetter will likely remain the head coach in 2019.

QUESTION 2: Is Alexander Out For The Year?
Quite possibly. You knew it was likely a serious knee injury when Alexander grabbed his knee right before halftime and most of the team came out on the field to pray over him. It looked like good news when Alexander walked off the field – albeit gingerly – however he was ruled out at halftime and was replaced by Adarius Taylor on the field. Lavonte David assumed the role of play-caller on the field.

But NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said that the team fears that Alexander may have torn his ACL. Alexander will have an MRI on Monday.

Before he left the game, Alexander was all over the field with a team-leading seven tackles, including two on third downs and a pass breakup. The best-case scenario is that Alexander tore his MCL, which is more of a 4-6 week injury. An ACL tear would end Alexander’s season.

Bucs MLB Kwon Alexander - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs MLB Kwon Alexander – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“Well, you know guys like Kwon mean everything to this team and I have empathy for him,” Winston said. “Also, a guy like Kwon, he’s going to be one of the biggest forces in this team. He said to us before we left out there for halftime, he was like, ‘Never take anything for granted.’ He’s so right. We see the passion he plays with. We see the heart he puts in the locker room. We are going to have his back just like we had his back today. That’s the thing about football, you have your injuries here and there, but I love Kwon. We’re going to miss him and I know he is going to make an amazing comeback. That’s just the type of person that he is and his work ethic has been strong since he’s been here.”

Making matters worse for the Bucs linebacker corps was the fact that rookie Jack Cichy was also lost for the game with a knee injury. Cichy, who made a comeback from a knee injury that cost him his final year at Wisconsin, might also be out for the season with a torn ACL.

Tampa Bay only has six linebackers on its active roster, although the team has one waiting in the bullpen in Kendell Beckwith, who is on the non-football injury list and could be activated if he’s cleared to return to practice in the coming week or weeks.

2 BOLD PREDICTIONS

PREDICTION 1: Bucs Will Be Auditioning Kickers On Tuesday
New Bucs kicker Chandler Catanzaro missed his third extra point of the season – and the second in as many weeks – after the team’s first touchdown. Catanzaro did convert on two other extra points and made a 38-yard field goal, but missed a 40-yarder right before the end of regulation that forced the game into overtime.

“Yeah, obviously I did,” Catanzaro said. “Very, very upset with how I hit the first one at the end of regulation. I didn’t trust it. I’ve got to get that fixed this week, so I’m looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow.”

Koetter’s decision to have Catanzaro kick the 59-yard game-winner in overtime wasn’t about having confidence in Catanzaro. Koetter was forced to attempt the field goal because with less than two minutes left the Bucs weren’t going to get the ball back. If Tampa Bay had punted the ball it was going to lose or see the game end in a tie.

Bucs K Chandler Catanzaro - Photo by: Mary Holt/PR
Bucs K Chandler Catanzaro – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

“He made it from 61 [yards] in practice this week,” Koetter said. “So, I knew he had the distance in him. Chandler had a rough day earlier. With the timing going to the 10-minute overtime, that’s the first time we’ve played in it since then. We weren’t going to get the ball back. So, if we didn’t make that one, we weren’t getting it back. You either go for the win or hope you tie. The way that game was going, we were going for the win. But, I knew he could make it if he hit it.”

Catanzaro’s 59-yard field goal was the longest game-winner in overtime in NFL history.

“I think it’s part of my DNA,” Catanzaro said. “I’ve always kind of found a way to bounce back. I rarely miss two in a row. Even if it’s for 59 [yards], I was just looking for a shot. If it was from 66 [yards], I would have tried it. So, just really thankful for the opportunity and like I said earlier, God is good.”

But we’ve seen this before though with a struggling kicker in Tampa Bay. Nick Folk struggled with misses against the Giants last year in Week 3 before hitting the redeeming game-winner, and then was cut after missing three field goals the next week against New England. Catanzaro’s job is not safe. No way.

He won’t be cut on Monday, but the Bucs will be bringing in kickers to audition and if Catanzaro continues to struggle to make extra points he’ll be gone.

PREDICTION 2: Pierre-Paul Will Make The Pro Bowl
Bucs defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul recorded his sixth sack of the season, which leads the team, and now has at least one sack in each of the last four games. Pierre-Paul is tied for seventh in the NFL for sacks and is on pace for 16 sacks this season, which would be close to his career high of 16.5, which was set in 2011 with the New York Giants.

Bucs DE Jason Pierre-Paul - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs DE Jason Pierre-Paul – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Even better, if Pierre-Paul gets four more sacks in the next 10 games he will hit 10 sacks on the season. The last time a Buccaneer had double-digit sacks was Simeon Rice with 14 in 2005. Pierre-Paul has made the Pro Bowl twice (2011 and ’12) and has two double-digit sack seasons in ’11 and in 2014 when he notched 12.5 QB captures.

Right now, St. Louis defensive end Aaron Donald leads the league with eight sacks, followed by Minnesota defensive end Danielle Hunter’s 7.5 sacks. Arizona linebacker Chandler Jones’ is third in the NFC with seven with Pierre-Paul’s six ranking fourth in the conference.

Previous articleBucs Pewter Nation Podcast Episode 100 Part 4: The Great Escape
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Scott Reynolds is in his 24th 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 spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

40 COMMENTS

  1. An aggressive defense along with disguised blitzes and the Bucs defense may finish NFL average at the end of the year.

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    • My question is … when do we start to talk about firing the special teams coach? Yes, I know they don’t kick and they don’t block and blah, blah, blah. We fired Smith and everyone was good with that. Special teams anyone? I’m tired of missed kicks.

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  2. A win is a win so we’ll take it…but against anyone else other than the Browns, easily we lose this game

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    • I don’t know about that. The Browns played the Steelers to a tie, and they should have won in New Orleans when they generally outplayed the 5-1 Saints. That defense of theirs is very good.

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      • The Browns have the 23rd ranked offense in PF, and our defense let them score slightly more than their average PPG (21.6). Playing at home. So while the D played marginally better, this doesn’t count as a significant turn around.

        The announcers, including our own Ronde Barber, attributed the improvement mostly to a simplified defense with fewer miscommunication. That’s not nothing, but it’s not what we need.

        Especially now that it appears that Kwon is done for the season. There was a clear drop off in performance after he left the game, after which the Browns came back and tied it up at the end of regulation.

        The best performance came with the goal line stand. Again, that’s not nothing, but we have a long way to go to just become average as a defense.

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        • I respectfully disagree, Naples.

          The simplification is exactly what we needed. With it the D managed to get off the field on third down which was the main issue the last weeks. How many third-and-long being easily converted by the other team did he had to watch? I was unable to count them.

          Simplification is the way to build confidence, and confidence is the first step to stop the opposing team.

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  3. I hate that Kwon is out after having a great start to a game under Duffner. I saw a different defense out there today. It’s amazing how quickly these guys adapt, true pros.

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  4. It just felt good seeing our DC Duf down there on the sidelines yelling and exhorting his Defense. And it sure looked like the players were excited and attentive during his advices. No more telescopic pressbox viewing for main coaches. I wonder why..Smitty never felt the need to change and come down to the field despite his binocular non-advantage. Not once did he..Ok enough. We actually witnessed our Defense getting off the field a few times during the game. They gotta continue to do this. IF..they keep improving we will win some games.
    Bad about Qwon butt Hey…No excuses. Next man up! We beat the Browns minus 2 defensive starters. Lets keep that same mentality. Plug in the next man. And..Keep coachin’em up Duff!!

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  5. Winston got “out-quarterbacked” by a rookie! But the bucs have at least 10 more games to make a decision on him.

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  6. Winston handled the pressure pretty well early in the game, but it seemed to get to him more later in the game. Our line play was horrendous, period! Whatever.. moving on.. At least we got a win.

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  7. Kareem Hunt had 143 all purpose yards last night, and 2 T.D.’s, Godwin had 59 receiving yards. Scott, still think Godwin was the better pick in the third round then Hunt? Our offense would be sooo much better if we had a back like Hunt. This goes back to drafting the right players which Licht has failed to do. He moves up in the third round for Cappa who can’t beat out Smith, or Benenoch, why didn’t he just draft a solid R.G. from a big time program? Speaking of backs like Hunt, they are a big part of todays offenses as receiving threats. That’s something that’s missing from the Bucs. Not that we try and throw to them much we don’t have a back who’s a true threat as a receiver. Teams can bring linebackers on blitz’s, and not have to worry about the back slipping out on them. Yes we played better on defense under Duffner for one day. Makes you wonder why the G.M. didn’t can Smith after last years 31st ranked defense. This game did not save this regime from the unemployment line. It will depend on our over all record in the end. I don’t think a 7-9, or 6-10 record does.

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    • Yes, but Kareem hunt has a much better offensive line which you seem to forget. Hint wouldn’t get very far if he was getting hit two yards in the backfield. And how can you compare
      Him to godwins stats? Godwin can only catch it if it’s thrown his way. It’s a pretty bad comparison on your part surfer and I usually agree with you

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  8. All of this kicking debacle started when Licht cut Conor Barth (who was perfectly good) after he made the worst second round pick in the history of the draft. Since then it’s been one disaster after another. This is our version of the curse of the bambino. Somebody get Barth back to the stadium with a witch doctor and cure this thing.

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    • It actually stared when the Bucs let Matt Bryant go. But yeah getting rid of Barth, at that time was dumb.

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  9. Surferdudes is uncomfortably right again.
    EastEndBoy, You sound like someone out of the 17th century or a sportswriter.
    Curse? Maybe we should try to find some witches and burn them at the stake. Reason; since the PAT was moved back 15 yards its been ratteling kickers league wise or haven’t you noticed the number of kickers that have been replaced over the last few years.
    I thought I noticed the difference in body language in the second half too but I sit up on the second tier so I wouldn’t have had a real qualified opinions.
    Sounds like someone needed to to extol the players to get out of their malaise, especially the offensive line.
    Anyone who thinks the Browns are a homecoming opponent are truly ignorant. Look at the number of OT games they have been in this year and the scores of the games.
    Other than their game against the Chargers, they have been as tough as a Danny’s steak to beat.
    After they got whipped like they did against the Chargers, you could have expected them to play like they did against the Bucs.
    Unfortunately we play the Bengals next week who got owned by the Chiefs last night.

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  10. Yeah the kicking thing just keeps haunting us. Licht to be so sick of it too because you are correct it all started with that stupid draft pick. Lol.

    Defense played so much better. I thought if they could play little better we can win some games with this offense. It was better than expected. I guess all us “Koolaid”drinkers have something to celebrate and d can play lot better. Wow imagine that all you negative clowns. Other so called “fans” will cry it’s just the Browns. The Browns May be undisciplined but they tied Steelers and beat Ravens. They don’t suck anymore.

    Time for Bucassbob to trash JPP again. Every week he just more and more stupid. JPP has been stout all year, on pace for 16 sacks and possibly pro bowl but you keep trashing him and Vea you moron.

    As far as Winston, I will say Winston needs to improve? yes. But, You think any QB can throw over 50 times a game and not make any mistakes? Not going to happen We need a run game period. Anyways just my take. Watch games with Dak Prescott when Dallas can’t run ball how bad he sucks but nobody calling for his job. He typically throw 100 yards or so and they run easy run/pass option. Yes he doesn’t make mistakes. He also will not win any games period when the run game is ant working.

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    • Agree fredster. We seem to usually be on the same page. Winston certainly
      Makes mistakes but he’s asked to throw the ball way too much without a whiff of a run game. Plus the offensive line was, well, offensive. Too much pressure put on the quarterback. We won a game that nine times out of ten we would normally lose. On to next week people!

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      • But lots of people think we have no run game because we don’t run the ball. We put it on the passing attack because we have very good receivers and a passer who is a little better than average, and because that is what our coaches prefer to do. The whole league has also gone pass happy.

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    • Agree with Fredster!

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    • Fredster and Chefboho, Winston wouldn’t have to throw it over 50 times a game if he could hit the deep ball. Due to is inability to connect with deep passes it forces him to make many short throws. That’s on Winston. If he could connect on a couple deep passes a game it would reduce his passes 10-15. He wouldn’t be throwing over 40 passes a game.

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      • That’s completely not true. Running successfully sets up play action which is jameis’ best asset. Well, with no running game, no one buys it. Plus I recall at least five drops yesterday. And you think Jamie’s has all this time with the line playing the way it is? Jameis certainly has bad plays but your point lacks credibility. Here’s an idea, why doesn’t DeSean Jackson actually dive for a ball? If it’s not right in his bread basket, he clearly gives up on it. Plenty of times he could’ve laid out and helped his quarterback but he sure doesn’t seem interested in that at all.

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        • It is completely true. Its simple mathematics. If you can score a TD in 3 pass plays because you can hit the deep pass instead of 8 short 7-10 yd plays then you at going to throw less passes. Its simple math. Example game 1 vs the Saints. Fitz only threw 28 passes total but racked up 415 yds and 4 TDs with no run game either. How can fitz throw for 400+ yds and 4 Tds and not take 30 pass attempts? Because he hit Mike Evans for 50 yds, D Jackson for 58 yds, howard for 38 yds. If you can hit the big pass plays you will take less pass attempts. Once again simple math. Fitz already proved it. But when you cant hit the deep pass it forces you to throw a bunch of short passes instead which Winston is great at but the more pass attempts you take, the more INTs you are going to throw.

          Why would D Jackson be interested in injuring himself? Why does D Jackson have to lay out because of a crappy throw by his QB? How many times did he lay out for Fitz? 0 Why? Because he didn’t have to. Instead of asking why D Jackson doesn’t lay out and hurt himself ask yourself why doesn’t Winston just throw an accurate ball instead. Why piss off your WR and get them injured because you cant throw an accurate ball. If Winston did his job right, our WR would have to risk injury and make crazy catches. We have all seen what D Jackson is capable of if he has a Qb with any kind of accuracy beyond 20 yds. All I hear is excuse after excuse for Winston. When you let a journey man who has never been a starter for longer than a year out perform you with the same oline, RBs, defense, and skill players then there is a problem. We all know Fitz is avg at best. He really isn’t that good yet Winston who has twice the talent cant our perform him. It doesn’t make sense. When Fitz played Pitt and was constantly under pressure, had no running game, and our defense was crap, it was Fitz fault because he threw 3 picks in consecutive possessions but when Winston does it its because of the lack of running game, no oline and he’s always under pressure, and our defense just horrible. Stop babying Winston and hold him accountable like everyone did Fitz. Winston is playing avg at best right now and with the offensive weapons we have he should be doing so much more period.

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          • wnb…the math part is correct but it is taken out of context when the rest of the league now has tape on what you have been successful doing and takes that away. Look at the film. The deep passes are not as available as they were in the first three games.

            You are shaping this to fit your arguement but that doesn’t make your arguement “totally” true or accurate. Football is a game of adjustments and the other teams have made theirs and now we are making ours and we are being exposed for having a poor offensive line and therefore, a poor running game.

            Just cause you want to be right doesn’t mean you are….

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          • So why should djax lay out for a ball? Oh I don’t know, because your getting paid millions to do so? That’s a lame excuse from you. That’s like my employee saying “I’m not grabbing that fish out of the oven, I’ll burn myself” . If you lack heart and effort, retire and save us the pin of seeing you give up on plays

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          • you should look at the tape. D jax is open deep at least 3-5 times a game. Winston continues to miss him. Its not like he is covered all the time. Winston just continues to over throw him. You cant go deep every play but when he is open those 1-2 plays a game you have to connect. Fitz didn’t throw deep all the time but the 2-3 times a game when he did he was on target. that’s the difference. Winston continues to over throw him game after game when he is wide open. I just don’t understand it neither does DJ. Dj doesn’t lack effert. To use your anology, if the oven was broken and you never fixed it and every time your employee got the fish out it burned him, then he would have the right to say “hes not getting it out of the oven”. Winston is broken when it comes to the deep pass. Dj plays hard on every play and is sick on constantly giving his all and beating defenses and never getting a good catchable ball that doesn’t require injuring himself.

            http://www.espn.com/blog/tampa-bay-buccaneers/post/_/id/21411/chemistry-with-jameis-winston-key-to-desean-jacksons-future-with-bucs

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          • Oh so you and djax talk? You heard from him personally that he’s sick of giving so much effort with little return? That’s great. I’ll start coming to you when I need the inside tips on our team lol

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          • I don’t have to talk to him directly to know that. You can see how frustrated he is when he is kicking pylons at the end of games and here it in his interviews. It doesn’t take a genius to see how frustrated he is. Someone who doesn’t play hard all the time would not have that much passion after a loss like he showed after the ATL game.

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  11. I don’t agree with the fact the it was an easy call for Koetter to kick a 59 yard FG. Miss the kick and the Browns only need a couple of first downs to kick a game winning FG. If we miss the kick and people would be calling Koetter an idiot.

    LET’S GIVE KOETTER CREDIT FOR MAKING A GUTSY CALL! A tie is better than a lost, 9-6-1 might get into the playoffs (I know I’m dreaming) but 9-7 might not. GUTSY CALL.

    How can you audition for kickers after the guy makes that kind of kick?

    Here’s my predictions, the BUCS DO NOT AUDITION FOR KICKERS on Tuesday.

    If Koetter did that, how would the rest of the team think of him? Koetter is not that type of coach which is why he has a chance of sticking around, which I’m hoping for. I never believed in firing Dungy or Gruden but I am glad Gruden is not our coach now. Just goes to show you, the grass isn’t always greener. If the players believe in the coach then you stick with him. UNLESS, what Michael Clayton said is true, if Winston is not getting what he needs from the staff or Winston is not getting along with the coaches then that’s a problem. I know people love to hate on Winston but let’s not forget about how hard it is to find a good QB! Ummmm, it took 40 years for us to find one.

    Koetter gave up play calling (in my opinion he wasn’t as aggressive calling plays when he became head coach so it was a great decision) and he fired his friend, he’s doing what he needs to do for us to win!

    GIVE KOETTER CREDIT, GUTSY CALL!

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  12. Chef, Hunt may have a better O line, but he wasn’t running through wide open holes. He ran over, around, and through many defenders. His pass catching ability is unmatched by any back we have. With a team loaded with receiving threats it was a mistake to draft a third receiver when we were missing a dynamic back. Hunt get’s 20 plus touches a game, Godwin maybe five looks. It was a mistake passing on Hunt, it was a mistake moving up in the second round for Aguyro, and Spence. It was a mistake drafting Cappa who played against such inferior competition you couldn’t even guess where he’d play on an NFL line. Licht has made more mistakes with high picks then any G.M. in the last five years. That’s why we still don’t have a solid O, or D line, still don’t have a run game, secondary problems, lack of pass rush, on, and on.

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  13. Surfdudes, Light has made some bad draft picks but he has also made some great ones. He is the reason we have a top 5 offense this year. As for lack of pass rush and secondary problems, did you not watch the game yesterday. We have talent in both areas but they just weren’t being coached right as evident by our 5 sacks yesterday and us holding them to under 350 yds in 5 quarters. Licht has supplied plenty of talent but injuries and poor defensive schemes are to blame for poor production. When put in the right scheme, these players will produce. We haven’t had our starting DL play 1 regular season snap together yet. Yesterday, we were without a starting CB, DT, DE, and lost our Pro Bowl LB in the middle of the game and still produced.

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    • You are ignoring that Licht built the worst defense in the league for the last two years of his reign. It would be forgivable if that was his first two years as GM, then climbed out of the hole to build a top ten defense in years 3 thru 5 … but his actual record is the opposite of that.

      A very good offense coupled with the league’s worse defense is still a loser, or mediocre at best.

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      • Did he really build one of the worst defense or was it poor coaching and scheme that lead to it being so bad? He cant coach up the players also. We have plenty of talent on our defense as evident by last weeks game against the Browns. Our players just need to be in the right scheme and coached up the right way. Injuries haven’t helped at all either. We have yet to see our starting DL play together this season. I really don’t believe our defense is as bad as the stats show. We will find out the rest of our season.

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  14. Warhop should be the next to go. Our O-Line has struggled and it doesn’t look like it’s anywhere close to better, if anything it’s gotten worse.
    As far as the Hunt argument goes, it’s hard to compare 2 different players who play 2 different positions on 2 different teams. You can’t compare them and to complain about it doesn’t help anything. Also what are we supposed to do about it now?
    People who want to complain about Winston here’s some food for thought, what was Brees’ stats against this same Browns defense? What was any QB’s stats against this Browns defense? He had a rough outing but good defenses tend to do that to opposing QB’s, if you look at the game though, he did put us in chances to win. It was the kicking game that let us down. It’s also his 2nd full game back so there’s going to be rust.

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  15. People who are lamenting that “excuses” are being made for Winston’s turnovers may not be looking at this without some amount of bias. I offer up a few facts such as:
    1. 62 drop backs of which 52 passes were attempted. What Team does this to their QB???
    2. We may have one of the three worst ofensive lines in the NFL
    3. We averaged 2.9 yards per carry running the ball
    4. The sacks were on breakdowns on the same right side of the ball and this has been a pattern for four weeks now.
    5. Who is out there that could perform better with this information?

    Based upon these facts I stand by Winston as our QB and think he is still better than 50% of all the QB’s starting in the NFL. We would not have won that game if Winston did not make plays. And shame on Licht and the Coaches for putting the QB in a position to drop back 62 times!!!
    You don’t have to like the Man but respect the effort considering the conditions he is asked to play through…

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  16. I don’t know about that. The Browns played the Steelers to a tie, and they should have won in New Orleans when they generally outplayed the 5-1 Saints. That defense of theirs is very good.

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  17. According to Football Outsiders, which uses the most advanced metrics in evaluating NFL statistics, Cleveland had the sixth best defense in the entire NFL going into this game–3rd against the pass; 24th against the run. They also led the league in causing turnovers. This isn’t the same Cleveland Browns of the past five years. No, they aren’t ready to make the playoffs, but that defensive line is awesome.

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    • NOW…add to the fact that they have the 24th worst ranked team against the run and the Bucs STILL couldn’t run just exposes how bad this offensive line is and how bad our running game is. 62 drop backs but hey, don’t turn the ball over even if the O line “olaying” the defenders.

      I’m no Winston apologist but damn, what do your really expect under these conditions???

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  18. I think the “Get rid of Catanzero” crowd should cool their jets. There are two facts to consider, first, there are not any Morton Andersons sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring, Secondly, could someone like Pat Murray drill that 59-yarder? I doubt it. I seriously doubt that there are any available kickers (at this time) that would be considered an upgrade.

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  19. Surfer dude, trying to argue us picking Godwin over Hunt is one of the more ridiculous arguments I’ve seen. First off, hindsight is 20/20. 31 other teams passed on him too. Second, we were coming off a season where Adam Humphries and Russell Shepherd were our WR2 and WR3. We were one year removed from Doug Martin having been an All-Pro running back. Not to mention the fact that Godwin had put together an incredible season for a Penn State team that was top 5 in the country. I think we can give Licht a little slack for passing on a running back from Toledo.

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  20. Good article Scott.

    Super Bowl teams after having their franchise quarterback inplace, select lineman year after year, and it doesn’t make any difference whether it’s offensive or defensive lineman..

    I thought thought acquiring a good Center which we do have and moving Marpet to left guard would help Smith at left tackle. I’m puzzled as to why Smith’s didn’t get better.

    I’m going to still stand by a statement I made yesterday in one of the articles;
    I think play caller should call more plays where Winston has to pass ball within 3 seconds and only take two steps back.

    Also the running back is too far back as it takes the play too long to develop especially if the offensive tackles can’t block them for very long. Any thoughts?

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