The PR Bucs Monday Mailbag is where PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook answers your questions from our Twitter account. You can submit your question each week via Twitter using the hashtag #PRMailbag.

Below are the questions we chose for this week’s edition of the PR Bucs Monday Mailbag.

Question: Is there any confidence in the play-calling on both sides of the ball? There’s no way you should have only four runs in a game, and playing zone/prevent against Drew Brees? I was always taught scared men can’t win. Man up – and if you lose you lose!

Answer: In my 40-plus years of watching Bucs football, Tampa Bay’s 38-3 loss to New Orleans on Sunday Night Football was the most frustrating, puzzling and just inexcusable.

Bucs HC Bruce Arians and DC Todd Bowles

Bucs Bruce Arians and DC Todd Bowles – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Sure, the 6-2 Saints are a better football team. That was evident last night. But as you pointed out in your question, the sheer amount of just mind-boggling decisions by this coaching staff is like nothing I have seen since I watched my first Bucs game with my dad late in 1977.

The Bucs have had worse losses. They’ve been outscored by a lot more points, given up way more yards and gained a lot less over the years  But this Bucs team, with this much talent, found a way to look worse than any of those previous teams. It was almost as if the coaches chose the most difficult path to try to win this game.

Here I am the next day and still almost speechless. While I picked the Bucs to win a close game, I didn’t have any expectations or feel comfortable one way or the other. But I most certainly didn’t see a completely embarrassing blowout loss where this staff and football team were slapped continuously and did absolutely nothing to fight back while falling behind 28-0 in a hurry and 31-0 by halftime.

Question: So … how do this team bounce back from this “game?”

Answer: Burn the tape.

Sunday night’s 38-3 loss to the Saints belongs in the same fire pit as the first 26 games of the 1976-77 seasons, several during the mid-1980s under Leeman Bennett and Ray Perkins, and the last 10 games of 2011, as Raheem Morris waved the white flag while his team of “youngry Bucs” quit on him.

As I watched this game I had flashbacks to a 45-0 loss to the Raiders in 1999, the same season the Bucs played in the NFC Championship game against the Rams. The difference in that game and this game was, it was on the road, on the West Coast, and a 4:00 p.m. regional game and not against a divisional rival that had won the four previous match-ups.

Saints S Marcus WIlliams

Saints S Marcus WIlliams – Photo by: USA Today

The Bucs had everything in the world to play for – a chance to knock off the NFC South bullies, a national television audience where they could make a statement, and a path to a home playoff game. And not only did they lose, they looked dreadful in doing so. The Saints punched the Buccaneers in the mouth over and over again and Tampa Bay just took it.

This might be the most pivotal week of coaching that Bruce Arians and his staff have ever had in their careers. A blow like this could be devastating long-term unless the staff gets the Bucs’ heads straightened out. The 3-6 Panthers are no joke and will absolutely beat Tampa Bay next week in Charlotte if there is any hangover from the loss to the Saints.

Question: Why doesn’t Tom Brady target Mike Evans more?

Answer: That is one of the mysteries of this season. Say what you want about former Bucs quarterback Josh McCown, Mike Glennon and Jameis Winston, but they knew where their bread was buttered – sometimes to the point of forcing the ball to Evans in an ill-advised manner. Of course in the early years since he was drafted in 2014, Evans was the only legitimate receiving threat this team had at times.

Bucs WR Mike Evans

Bucs WR Mike Evans – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

But when things aren’t going well offensively, teams should go to its best players.

Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette are not the Bucs’ best players. Scotty Miller and Rob Gronkowski are not the Bucs’ best players. Jaydon Mickens and Tyler Johnson are not the Bucs’ best players.

Evans and Chris Godwin, who both made the Pro Bowl with over 1,000 yards last year, are the Bucs’ best players and not relying on them more in the first half on Sunday night, and really for a good part of this season is inexcusable by offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich.

Question: Why do the coaches continue to be implement strategies that everyone outside of the building can see are away from the Bucs’ strengths and will end in disaster? Soft zone, running into stacked boxes, not prioritizing Mike Evans, etc.

Answer: While I am not letting the coaching staff off the hook one single bit for the loss to the Saints, the Buccaneers were a Top 5 offense and defense coming into the game on Sunday night. The Bucs’ success – statistically and record-wise – isn’t despite of the coaches. The coaching staff has been a big part of the success at times this year.

DonovanSmithSaints

Bucs LT Donovan Smith and QB Tom Brady – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

It was just a month ago we were all singing the praises of defensive coordinator Todd Bowles for his masterful game plan in wins at Denver and against Green Bay. We were all thinking offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich was in a groove when Tampa Bay dropped 45 points on the Raiders in Las Vegas a couple weeks back.

It was a bad game plan on both sides of the ball – check that – it was an awful game plan. But we’ve seen this staff at its best and last night we saw it at its worst. Let’s hope everyone in the building learns something from the 38-3 loss to New Orleans.

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About the Author: Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at mark@pewterreport.com
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bucballer
8 months ago

The Coaching and Game Plan was piss poor and inexcusable! U work ur horses that have produced for u. Get the ball in the hands of ur money makers. This falls on the head of BA and he alone should answer for such a shitty game plan. He is the boss…

PissedOffBuc1988
Reply to  bucballer
8 months ago

All they care about is the money

twspin
Reply to  bucballer
8 months ago

Perhaps. But the players play the game. Brady looked confused, dejected and defeated. So did our bench. The Saints manhandled our O and D lines. I betcha Jameis gave the Saints Arians entire playbook. Coaching was bad but our play was even worse. Saints have whipped us 2-0. They control the division.

Eddie
Reply to  twspin
8 months ago

Yep, Brady held on to the ball far, far too long

Buc-in-Philly Fan
8 months ago

I am a TRUE diehard Bucs Fan. I was born on MacDill AF Base. I am all Tampa. That notwithstanding, I can’t help but feel this Team is a fraud. We have been sold a bill of goods. For them, ALL of them to wet the bed last night was a straight up embarrassment. We are seemingly not as good as anyone, including me thought they were. If, and I say, IF we get in to the playoffs, the recipe to beat the Bucs has been showed to all who care to watch. I don’t know if I have ever… Read more »

fredster
Reply to  Buc-in-Philly Fan
8 months ago

I was thinking same thing last night. They are a fraud for sure. That’s not top 5 defense period don’t care what stats are halfway. They are so freaking Inconsistent.

Last edited 8 months ago by fredster
eaustinyoung
Reply to  fredster
8 months ago

Mahomes is going to do horrible, horrible things to that backfield coverage unless they turn into the Bucs that played Green Bay.

RW
RW
Reply to  Buc-in-Philly Fan
8 months ago

Last night I watched the Saints crowd the line of scrimmage and dare the Bucs to throw long. They were confident their D line could get to Brady before he had time to throw. which they did.
On the other hand Bucs pass coverage plays off and lets Drew Brees have all day to throw short passes. Why the heck didn’t they play up tight and blizt him? I rather Brees try to complete a 30-40 yard pass under pressure than giving him 10 yards at a pop.

eaustinyoung
Reply to  RW
8 months ago

Pressuring a QB with no deep ball is great as long as you don’t leave the middle of the field completely open. They did the literal exact OPPOSITE of what other teams that beat the Saints did. It’s like the Bucs coaches dont even watch game film of opposing teams.

twspin
Reply to  Buc-in-Philly Fan
8 months ago

I told you guys this when we acquired Brady. But many here said I was crazy. Bucs should have kept Jameis for one yr at reduced cost and moved up in the draft and got their QB for the future. I watched AZ and Miami yesterday. Both of those young stud QB’s are quick, agile, smart and can sling that ball. They are gonna be productive for a long time. Meanwhile, we stuck with father Time who cannot run 3 yrs to the sidelines. he cannot improvise when a pass rush is upon him either.This is why as a fan… Read more »

eaustinyoung
Reply to  twspin
8 months ago

Jameis had his shot. No one else bothered to give him one either.

That being said, Bucs need to have a coach that can actually develop a QB before we draft a rookie. I don’t think we’ve ever had that in Bucs history.

Eddie
Reply to  eaustinyoung
8 months ago

Wonder if McDaniel from New England is interested. He has always been considered a good head coach

Captain Sly
Reply to  Buc-in-Philly Fan
8 months ago

Out of curiosity what’s the recipe for beating the Bucs as you say? If you answer Bucs beating themselves then we agree, but I’ll shut up and listen.

Madman
8 months ago

That last question is EXACTLY the problem. Why do the Bucs NOT DO what everyone knows are their strengths? It’s maddening.

eaustinyoung
8 months ago

Really don’t want to see what depths this team needs to sink to before people start asking for coaches heads.

RW
RW
8 months ago

In what coaching world do you only run the ball 4 times and yet keep using play action passes? Also virtually no screens were called; with the no run /no screens game plan how are you supposed to keep the pressure off Brady?

Dman
8 months ago

So…. Bowles game plan is the most confusing. He’s too good a coordinator for that to happen but between the Saints and Chicago, he’s repeated the flawed zone coverage scheme. Leftwich has never been a good play caller. This season has been awful, but I was screaming about him last season too. BA acts like the guy is at the threshold of a HC gig while he’s failing as an OC.

PissedOffBuc1988
8 months ago

Yea, they learned how to break our hearts and our will as buc fans. I am so tired of this! Why is it that hard to play football? Its not. Talent is one thing, but you have control over your will and desire. Tampa has none of it. Brady is starting to really piss me off and Im happy I’ve held off on getting his jersey. I’m done being positive. Now, I’m going to be extremely pessimistic. These guys don’t give a crap. They don’t care because at the end of the day, Brady is goiñg to his 50million dollar… Read more »

rocky
8 months ago

WELP. Marpet is our best player it would seem.

PatrioticChief
8 months ago

Anyone have Brady pressure % for the game last night?

buddah
8 months ago

Overreaction Monday. No excuses. We weren’t ready to play and they were. Plain and simple. A lot of distractions this last week. I am surprised, however, that nobody at Pewter report has remarked on the scheduling this year. Let me specify: Packers had two weeks to prepare for Buccaneers. (Coming off bye). Then Raiders had two weeks to prepare for Buccaneers. (Coming off Bye). Then Giants had ten days to prepare for Buccaneers. (After Thursday night game). Then New Orleans had had an extra day.(Buccaneers on 6 days after Monday night game). Last year we got screwed on travel.. This… Read more »

htownbucfan03
Reply to  buddah
8 months ago

I see what ur saying but this is an excuse… these are vets on both sides of the ball… this is the saints ur enemies the shit talking saints who say they were used to playing in empty stadiums because of the Bucs this was a game where we should’ve been jacked and overly aggressive and we were pu$$ies clear and simple… everyone from front office down… brees should have been hit late to make a point to set the tone but we showed we are terrified of the saints

SenileSenior
8 months ago

As a strong supporter spouting “In BA I trust!” I will admit that my trust has been shaken. To see our coaches and players go into this game so unprepared for the challenge in front of them deflates my bubble like a balloon that you blow up and then let go to squeal around in the air and finally flutter to the flour.

I am going to suspend any hopes or thoughts about the potential of post season and take it from game to game, week to week, at this point.

__________________
Go Bucs!!!

EastEndBoy
8 months ago

“But this Bucs team, with this much talent”…maybe, maybe we need to accept that actually this Bucs team doesn’t have “this much talent”. Maybe we have talent in certain players (LvD, Evans, Marpet, Davis, Godwin, etc) at certain positions, and some players that have it on certain days (Brady, RoJo, Fournette, Barrett, Suh, JPP, etc) but maybe we have huge gaping holes of talent too (D Smith, SMB, Dean, Whitehead, Nacho, etc) …maybe. And maybe that means we need to have an actual/better game plan to make sure our talented players get the ball on offense and face the plays… Read more »

fredster
8 months ago

Depends what your definition of “Bounce back” is. Lol. Bounce back and still have winning season? Sure maybe 9 or 10 wins. Will they win division now? Hell no! No freaking way. Saints are better coached and have better remaining schedule.

twspin
8 months ago

The saints O and D lines were pumped. Did you see the reactions from our bench when they came off the field? Almost as if they knew they had been hit by sledge hammers. We had that..Look of defeat on our faces. Sure we will bounce back. But I’m sayin it now. Superbowl? Forgetaboutit! Simply to many good teams who will get even better the 2nd half of the season. And to add insult to defeat last night, ole Jameis would have taken them into the end zone had the Saints coaching staff not shown Mercy. Ruck up Bucs..Back at… Read more »

Horse
8 months ago

White is no Brooks
White is faster than Brooks
White is not as fast to react as Brooks.
White is way behind where Brooks was as to passing coverage.. Right now he’s awful, but yet the coaching continues to not use him correctly which is his speed to get to the QB. I said this when we drafted him we needed DE’s over LB’s and especially not small LB’s that can’t cover TE’s. I am more concerned about the Defense, not the Offense as we can correct it, but we can’t on the Defense until the next draft.

British buc
8 months ago

Wow guys, let’s be honest that game was atrocious from start to finish, poorly called and poorly executed, but let’s chill a bit. We’re still 6-3 and in with a shout, the last thing the players need is the fans getting on their backs and piling the pressure on, let’s dust it off, call it what it was and keep the faith. Like Bruce said the game is done now, onto Carolina and LA, and 8-3!

htownbucfan03
Reply to  British buc
8 months ago

I can see the Bucs being 6-6 way easier than I see 9-3 or 8-4 right now today… Carolina has been tough despite there record… LA has the best defensive player and the chiefs will be a nightmare for a defense who is clearly reeling at this point of the season

British buc
Reply to  htownbucfan03
8 months ago

Carolina is fighting to be fair to them, but we already beat them once and the rams have been handled comfortably by the dolphins and a beat up 49ers. All I’m saying is after years of being consistently rubbish let’s not help to tear the confidence out of a team that is actually winning for a change, after last night I expect a major bounce back, if not then yeah it could go south.

toucan
8 months ago

It was a team loss. Maybe the Saints have the Bucs figured out. It happens. Given the starting points on the field for the Saints in the first half losing the game was expected before half time. Brady did look really bad last night. Every player wears goat horns.

FinkleisEinhorn
8 months ago

These are really good questions. PR – could you at least attempt to answer them? No offense, but you basically just repeated each question with no actual answers. It would be great to get at least an educated guess behind these legitimate Qs.

Q: Is there any confidence in the play-calling? A: I’m speechless

Q: Why aren’t they throwing to Mike? A: They should.

Q: Why can’t this staff see the obvious flaws? A: They did ok in the first few games.

SappAttack
8 months ago

Anyone else notice we have lost the first game of every quarter so far this season and then we go on a 3-0 run the next three games? Let’s see if history repeats itself and we beat the Panthers on the road, the Falcons at home and Chiefs at home

McKay Curse
8 months ago

I think everyone just needs to take a deep breath and relax. Yes we were outreached, outplayed, out hustled, and basically out-everythinged. My concern is that this is the second week in a row that we looked unprepared. I chalked up the Giants lack-luster game to us already preparing for the Saints. Apparently that was not the case. However, we have time to correct our deficiencies. It is time for Bruce to take the reigns of the offense because I do not have much faith in Byron. We have, at times, the most predictable offense in the league. Every week… Read more »

Eddie
8 months ago

Both Coaching staff and the players have been reading too much of newspaper clipping. Should have spent time practicing and preparing game plan instead

The Wall
8 months ago

I could see it coming from Leftwich but Bowles’ poor coaching was a surprise. It was the worst game I have ever watched. It was awful!

Ron Potter
8 months ago

They can bounce back and win the next game. Sure. But make no mistake, Super Bowl aspirations received a major kick to the nuts!! Defense allowed 38 points. Offense only generated 3. In a critical Divisional matchup! The “it’s just one game” narrative just can’t apply to this one. So let’s be realistic. As long as there is THIS potential for the coaches to totally screw the pooch from the get-go in game-planning and scheme installation for a game, we have ZERO chance of winning the Super Bowl. Regardless of whether we make the playoffs or not, expectations need to be a lot lower… Read more »

JoeyJoeJoejr.
8 months ago

Not to be a contrarian Mark, but I’ve never felt that Leftwich was in a groove. I think most OC’s would put up 30 with this team, and I’m surprised at how hard it is for them to get guys open. It seems like Brady often has to throw a great ball into tight coverage just to pick up 5 yards. I guess that could be on Brady, but…

plopes808
8 months ago

As someone who is by no means an expert at football game planning, I find it hard to believe that a professional staff could come up with the absolute worst game plan on BOTH SIDES of the ball. The one thing you DON’T do against Brees is give him time. We played zone off-coverage and rushed only 4 most of the night. The one thing you DON’T do on offense when your line can’t hold onto their blocks is take deep shots down the field consistently. This team somehow planned to do both these things. It’s completely baffling to me… Read more »

Bucco-Bruce
8 months ago

They liked so bad Sunday night that I don’t think they can recover, please prove me wrong but they ar done for the season!!!