If you just looked at the final score, 38-33 seems promising. But, if you actually watched the Bucs rematch out west versus the Arizona Cardinals, you’d know that that final score did not paint the entire picture – or even half the picture.

These were out most disappointing Bucs in the road loss.

Dirk Koetter

Last week I caught a bit of flack from some of you for not calling out the Bucs head coach, Dirk Koetter, by name, instead just calling out the play calling. Well, here you go.

Dirk Koetter was awful today – and apparently getting his team ready in the days prior.

I get that mindset and execution come down to the players (who are their own human beings), but if they cannot get pumped up, focused and in-rhythm at kickoff, ultimately that has to fall on the guy leading them – the voice they all are suppose to look to.

I have no idea what goes on in the Bucs locker room privately before games, after games and even during the week behind closed doors, but, for the second week in a row, the Bucs offense had nothing during the first half. This cannot continue.

The play calling, the fire in these players, the confidence, none of it was there in the first half. From the moment the ball was kicked off, heck, from the moment they got off the plane, apparently, the Bucs offense was playing tight as could be.

I’m tired of it.

You have Jameis Winston. You have Mike Evans. You have DeSean Jackson. You have Cameron Brate. You have Doug Martin. You have talent on the offensive line.

You’re paid to figure it out, and set the tone before it sets you.

Koetter hardly has this season.

Mike Smith

Three drives, three touchdowns – four drives and four sets of points given up. That’s the result of this team off a mini-Bye Week?

We’ve talked about the Bucs defense making adjustment, or lack thereof, and for most of the contest, defensive coordinator Mike Smith did not adjust. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter where the Buccaneer defense started playing press coverage instead of off coverage that we saw an elevation of urgency and play.

In the first three quarters of the game, players just looked lost. They were gashed by Adrian Peterson early, and looked shellshocked until the game was out of reach. The Cardinals knew exactly what to call, and every play for the first 30 minutes of the game worked without hesitation. That’s on the coach.

Vernon Hargreaves

As a rookie last year, Hargreaves was the most targeted secondary player in all of football. So, as a result, he gave up the most yards and the most catches.

During the first four games of the 2017 season, he was also the most targeted player in the league. A big reason for that is because of how soft he plays in coverage. He plays far back because he doesn’t want to get beat deep – partially because of how the Bucs use their safeties, which don’t really help him.

In the Cardinals game, he was getting torched again, and the fans were pissed. In that scheme, Hargreaves was and has been a sitting duck; he gave up catches to Fitzgerald and runs by Peterson in the process.

The saving grace for him is that when the Bucs started to play him in press late in the game, he wasn’t targeted as heavily, and looked better. Hopefully the Bucs see this and make the adjustment moving forward. They can’t keep playing him off like that have been. It’s time to play man on both sides for both corners.

Donovan Smith

After two shaky seasons, Donovan Smith was showing some progress this year by not committing penalties at the rate he previously was, and by having consistent play overall.

However, against the Cardinals, he struggled. He had two costly holding penalties that hurt Bucs drives, and was a tough assignment all game against Chandler Jones.

Mike Evans

Evans ended the game with 95 yards and a touchdown on three catches, but they weren’t when Patrick Peterson was guarding him.

Evans said earlier this week that Peterson was the toughest cornerback he faced last year. Before Peterson went out of this game without a quad injury, Evans was held without a catch.

This one isn’t too hard of a negative because Evans didn’t have his starting quarterback throwing to him for the entire game, but even when Winston was in, things weren’t in sync. Evans was locked down today, really for the first time this year.

There are other players we could put on this list, but those are our most disappointing. Who are yours?

Previous articleLate-Game Heroics Not Enough As Bucs Fall To Cardinals 38-33
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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: [email protected]

35 COMMENTS

  1. I’d go ahead and throw Swaggy on here just for the fact that he let a 40+ year old QB rip the ball from his arms.

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  2. I think you just about said it all; however, I would add Conte to the list. David in the first half played very timid which didn’t help Hargreaves either. DL was being manhandled in the first half; couldn’t even get their hands up. Where’s the blitz! Challenge them to throw deep!

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    • You could add Conte and Justin Evans to this list if you wanted. They were in on some plays, but even when Ward came in, the safeties look so confused right now. That’s on coaching.

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      • Trevor, agree with you. There’s something going on in the locker room?

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      • yeah–seems the entire secondary except Brent Grimes is lost–we cannot allow Hargreaves to keep playing at this point. Hargreaves per profootballfocus is the worst cornerback in the league.

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  3. Koetter, clueless as ever, said after the game we’re still short if you add the fg he should have went for before the half. How about that 3 and the three extra points you decided to give up to try for two? Would we be short then too dummy? Doesn’t matter we deserve the loss, completely outcoached on both sides of the ball.

    I question Licht too; how could he head in to a season with this pass rush? This team is infuriating.

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    • To be fair, we thought Jaq would be healed, and all the talk of Spence being a “15 sack” guy at this point is laughable.

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      • I LOL’d at your username.

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  4. It’s just so embarrassing being a Bucs fan week after week, year after year. I’m so down on the NFL in general. Who needs this assault on the psyche every week. My 7 year old son was smart enough to make the Patriots his favorite team. Another year going down the drain. Winston in NOT the answer. He does no have the temperament to be one of the greats. He will frustrate us for years until we finally move on. Nice kid but, way too emotional for the most cerebral position in sports. Baker should be be ashamed of himself for losing that fumble but i get the impression from hard knocks it’s impossible to embarrass that guy.

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    • Winston is far from being the problem. I never expected him to be great. Something has happened with this team; I’m wondering if Jackson has anything to do with it? He & Winston aren’t clicking.

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      • Winston isn’t clicking with any receiver other than occasionally with Brate. Fitz was on-point for most of the night getting Sims, Godwin, Hump all involved. It was refreshing to actually see this offense’s potential. Winston is holding this team back with his inaccuracies and poor decision making. He needs to wake up. We don’t need a leader, we need a QB to make sound decisions and deliver the ball accurately.

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        • “Not clicking with any receiver”

          You’re so clueless. Before Sunday the Bucs were the only team since 2013 Broncos to have 4 pass catchers with 200+ yards through 4 games. You all screamed for him to stop throwing it only to Mike, he does that, and it’s still not enough. Fitz was on point vs a prevent defense & hitting wide open guys in garbage time while operating a hurry up offense. Get a clue.

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    • Not really sure what Jameis’ temperament has to do with anything in this particular game. He was clearly injured with 9 minutes left in the first quarter and couldn’t drive the ball after that. I know as a QB you can’t please everyone. I see others on just about every team site outside of Greenbay and New England asking for the backup.

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      • Green Bay doesn’t have to ask anymore, they are living it.

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    • Hilarious you can find a way to bash Jameis in a game like this. I knew people would try, but it’s still amazing to read the garbage. Just proves reality and logic don’t matter to you when it comes to our QB. Go root for Tennessee until “the Bucs move on” as you say.

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  5. Did anyone watch Baker today? Led the line with 5 tackles, 2 tackles for loss.

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    • When we’re those tackles; mostly in the second half?

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  6. I like this Sikkema kid, got a pair big as Mark Cook’s head. lol. Kudos for calling out Koetter and Smith for this first half abomination. Somebody has to be held accountable for what we just saw. It’s not easy to be a member of the media and speak truth to power – but this time it’s warrantied. This is no bad day – the previously unbeaten Chiefs had a bad day -Chiefs got one first down and six total yards in the first half. Everybody occasionally has a bad day. But we’re seeing this every week with the Bucs. I’m not calling for an administration change, this is just the 5th game. If this continues, it could get ugly! We need to get this fixed sooner rather than later and it starts with recognizing the problems. Go Bucs!

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    • Maccabee, right with you. Trevor is right to call Koetter & Smith out. Maybe all those millions spent on Jackson, Baker, Gholston wasted?

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  7. I’d be happy with Koetter giving Monken the play calling duties. He acknowledged at the end of last year that he might not be able to handle being OC & Head Coach. 5 games in I think it’s time to give up play calling. His game management is also lacking. I think wearing two hats is too much for him. Jameis needs his play caller in his ear after ever series like he had his rookie season. It appears there is a disconnect.

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    • I said the same thing after the Viking game. I’m wondering if the duties of HC and play calling are too much for Koetter. Something is definitely not right in Denmark.

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      • I’ve heard Monken does the heaving OC lifting all week and then Dirk calls the plays on Sunday. IDK, it just seems off.

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  8. First mr incredible I love the name second my friend Winston was willing to injure himself further and come back in the game but the coach decided against it or mayb he doesn’t want JW lets get that out there cuz that relationship doesn’t appear to b there… koetter needs to adjust his philosophy u can’t sustain a drive by running this system. It has no hot routes and it doesn’t create any mismatches. We should be killing teams from the inside out. We have djax who is a speed demon but think if he catches a shallow cross with a line backer on him. Or humph with a linebacker or either one of our big tight ends with a smaller safety on them or split out one on one with a linebacker. How many times have we seen that. Also I feel like we have hurt the oline chemistry with moving Ali to center just my opinion but I feel like he is a guard and d Smith is a right tackle. But I feel like Mike Smith defense won’t work it makes no sense honestly we have to many run stopping d linemen and no pass rushers. I love GMC but mayb we need to move on from him or give him real help cz he has become a good pass rusher but he is a man on island and stop drafting short undersize defensive ends noah spence isn’t impressing or he is hurt again so he shouldn’t b on the field. Robert Ayers love his hustle but it’s time to move on

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    • I think play design has a lot to do with this offensive slump of sorts. Heck there was a play on the Bucs second drive I think, where Jameis had like 10 seconds back there to throw and nobody was even remotely open. Everyone was completely covered. It’s like the opposing defenses know where they are going with it.

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  9. Winston barely played still hearing it from the fans lol y’all are funny….trev i don’t think anyone wants to be right in saying koeterr might not be the answer at HC for the Bucs and hasnt looked good so far but the season is still young let’s not throw in the towel on koeterr or the season this early…but hypothetically speaking any opinions on who could or should be a replacement if dirk is canned??

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    • Definitely not throwing in the towel. The team is 2-3 and they have some winnable games coming up. They can still turn it around, but the thing is, they have to see that what they’re doing now isn’t working and change it. Do they and can they?

      As for options, I’m not sure. Outside of Gruden, if that’s even a thing, we don’t really know until coaches start getting moved at the end of the year.

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  10. “The saving grace for him is that when the Bucs started to play him in press late in the game, he wasn’t targeted as heavily, and looked better”

    You mean he looked good when he was used the same way he was at Florida? Weird

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  11. Good work, Trevor. However, Licht is a bad part of this problem today. You will remember that Winston worked out with Peterson and recognized he was still a good RB and recommended to Licht that we sign him, but Licht thought he knew better and shrugged off Peterson. If instead he had worked out a one year 8 million dollar deal with Peterson we would be leading our Division today. Licht thinks he knows better how to get us to the playoffs than anybody else. So how far off was he on Aroyo last year or his replacement this year? He needs to be held accountable. He also picked our First Pick CB last year too and is equally delusional about the worth of Smith at LT instead of LG—his best position, and didn’t think we needed another pass rusher or any more OL either. He should walk the plank if we don’t get to the playoffs this year!

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  12. Mannnn wouldn’t we all love to have gruden!!!

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  13. Mike Smith needs to come out of the box and on the field with the players!

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  14. Winston should be on that list. He was awful before he was “injured”. He wasn’t going to get any better before his benching.

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  15. Thanks for putting the blame clearly where it belongs–Koetter and Mike Smith. I would put Hargreaves first–he is, he has been that bad. I thought we had Javien Elliot as a back up–is he available–if not then why not–thanks Kim I would Jason Licht should have his name here, where is our pass rush, we have bad corner play this entire season–at least make a trade.

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  16. I’d wait another year then hire the next Jon Gruden, UCF’s golden boy Scott Frost.

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  17. Koetter and Smith should be fired today. Bring in Gruden and a ramshackle crew. Can’t be worse. Btw, I still love Gruden.

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  18. I was at game had lower level seats so had close view of game. D Martin had zero holes to run through Winston wasn’t finding the open guy and missed on a few who were open defense was the huge problem yesterday it looked second rate to the Cards the D Line and was getting manhandled by a Cards O lIne who was playing horrible this season although they did get a few starters back which made a huge difference but William Gholdston for some reason still out there on line and Ayers doesn’t do much only players playing again are our DT’s Baker, McDonald and McCoy we need an outside pass rush. Secondary featuring guys who suck like Conte and Hargreaves who get smoked on regular occasion and man did Evans look lost on the badly under thrown ball for a td Evans never even saw the ball it was embarrassing, Brent Grimes only player in secondary who played like they belong out there yesterday. Fitzpatrick had some nice plays and so oh my god what the hell are doing plays reminds me of Steve Deberg will have nice throws than throw the stupid throw for int at our own 1 yd line. Over all we have more work to do than I thought coming into our season don’t know if Koetter will make the cut after the yr

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