The Bucs are currently coming off their fourth loss in a row, most recently to the Carolina Panthers at home last Sunday. As you can imagine, those involved with the unfortunate outcome weren’t too talkative after the game about what happened or even how to make it better.
But, that’s what the early parts of the following week are for.
On Wednesday, Bucs media members got their chance to question and observe the players and coaches, who, at that point, had plenty of time to cool down, re-group and figure out what they needed to do going forward.
Here are the five things we learned from One Buc on Wednesday – the first of the new month.
The big question going into this week was answered pretty early on when quarterback Jameis Winston showed us he was throwing at practice. This was the first time Winston has thrown before a Friday practice since injuring his shoulder in Week 6 against Arizona.
Hopefully this is an even better sign than before.
Robert McClain is practicing today. Josh Robinson was at practice, but appeared to be just watching. Brent Grimes was not on the field.
As for the cornerback situation, Robert McClain (concussion protocol) was out there with a helmet on and practicing, but Josh Robinson (concussion protocol) was watching on the sidelines and Brent Grimes (shoulder) wasn’t even out there to watch.
It’s also worth noting that wide receiver Adam Humphries was absent from practice as well.
It’s been quite the roller coaster ride for Buccaneers defensive coordinator Mike Smith. This time last year his team was about to start rattling off five wins in a row with a defense that would be playing near the top of the league. This offseason he was rewarded by getting a few head coaching looks. He ultimately came back to Tampa Bay and the defense was expected to take the next step after a full year and success in his system.
That hasn’t happened.
Well, it has in a few games, but as Smith says in the video above, they have yet to put it all together. That needs to change if this season is going to.
A lot was expected of Robert Ayers this season, even at 32 years old. There has been some heavy criticism thrown his way due to a lack of production this season – mainly sacks – and today he fully acknowledged and accepted that on himself.
That was nice to hear, but the action needs to come next. We’re not sure whether it’s lack of talent, bad coaching, bad luck or a combination of those things and more, but whatever it is, it has to get fixed. Noah Spence isn’t coming back. Edge pressure is all on Ayers now.
#Bucs LB Kwon Alexander was asked what they need to do to maybe turn it around: "Ain't no maybe to it. We 'bout to turn it around." pic.twitter.com/4v6eHP3HVZ
With Brent Grimes and Robert McClain out last week, it was up to Vernon Hargreaves and Ryan Smith to step up as the outside cornerbacks.
An interesting detail about them starting was that Hargreaves moved over to the left side of the field (where the No. 1 corner plays) instead of just taking the right side where he started before. Both he and Ryan Smith played well.
We asked Koetter about Hargreaves’ pair of good performances both in the slot and outside over the last two weeks and what that meant for his young cornerback moving forward. Koetter responded with, “it means he’s the right man for the job.”
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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