If the rest of the season continues like this, diagnoses of bipolar disorder are going to skyrocket across Tampa Bay.

One week it’s depression and anger, the next it’s optimism and joy.

Considering the Bucs’ youthful roster and rookie quarterback, the mood swings are going to probably continue all year long.

But what Sunday did show is that all the preseason hype wasn’t just baseless noise. There’s some substance there and chances are the Bucs are closer to the team that showed up in New Orleans and not the version that scuffled through the opener.

MAXIMIZE SCORING OPS

For the second straight year Tampa Bay decided to ditch its kicker from the past season and go with a fresh-faced rookie with no NFL experience.

Kyle Brindza didn’t get much work last week against Tennessee but got his number called plenty yesterday in New Orleans. While it was nice to see the strong-legged kicker from Notre Dame pound four of his five attempts through the uprights, the Bucs will find themselves on the right side of the scoreboard more often this season if they can turn a few of those into extra-point tries instead.

Even the most high-powered offenses are going to have drives stall out and three points are better than none. But the Bucs had multiple short-field opportunities to pad their lead with six-point scores only to run Brindza back out for field goals.

Winston said as much during his postgame press conference, bringing up a third-quarter series when he overthrew consecutive potential touchdown passes to tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and wideout Vincent Jackson.

“Doug was toting the ball and our offense played outstanding,” Winston said. “I’m the only one that messed up when I could’ve had two easy touchdowns and I overthrew them. In this league touchdowns really matter and you’ve got to take advantage of those opportunities.”

Tampa Bay enjoyed good field position all day in the Superdome and had three drives start in enemy territory. All three of those chances ended with field goals, though.

SERVICEABLE SIMS

As long as running back Doug Martin continues running hard and stays healthy, fellow back Charles Sims will remain in his backup/third-down back role.

The Bucs have been high on Sims since bringing him aboard last year with a third-round draft selection, even as an injury delayed his debut until November.

Sims possesses good size (6-foot, 211-pounds) and good open-field speed but tends to make things easier for defenders in traffic by stutter-stepping and not hitting holes hard.

After a relatively quiet day against Tennessee, Sims played well against the Saints by picking up 38 yards rushing on eight carries and catching three passes for 14 yards. His 4.8-yard rushing average per touch was the second-best of his career, behind just a 4.9-yard average on seven carries last December in Carolina.

OFFENSIVE INSECURITY

The Bucs are out of the red when it comes to turnover margin, and that’s always a good thing.

It might not stay that way, though, unless the offense begins taking better care of the football.

The Bucs have turned the ball over four times (two Winston interceptions and two fumbles yesterday) and managed to recover two other fumbles last week before Tennessee defenders could scoop them up.

The good news is that Tampa Bay is on pace to turn the ball over less than last season. The bad news is the Bucs’ 33 giveaways in 2014 were more than anyone except Philadelphia and they’re set to commit 32 this year.

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About the Author: Eric Horchy

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SCLOBERNOCKER
SCLOBERNOCKER
5 years ago

Solid article.
I dont expect the turnover margin to continue. Sure, Jameis is gonna have his fair share, but as the O continues to gell, these mistakes should iron out. At least one would hope.

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
5 years ago

I think this a great article but it should be titled The Puzzle of the Bucs Building Process.
1) we supposedly built a red zone offense (recall the Dunkaneers), but we can’t push it in for some reason?
2) we drafted Sims (instead of Gabe Jackson) but what’s his role…he can’t run between the tackles and he hasn’t been a 3rd down specialist (ala Sproules)?
3) we supposedly have this +3 turnover target for each game but we’re nowhere close to playing like that?

And the puzzle continues…

buclover1988
buclover1988
Reply to  EastEndBoy
5 years ago

when evans has been out for a month, its not gonna be the “dunkaneers”. ya he played but hes working back from a hamstring and that can linger if rushed to much. i will say that jacksons td catch was pretter “dunkaneerish” to me. and we dominated on defense against the saints. we answered the bell so even if were barely around +3 all year, thats still a huge improvement over last yr. we looked more comfortable. idk if its because it was the first game of the year and things went south early, but we looked night and day… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  EastEndBoy
5 years ago

I’d have to agree with BUclover as not having Evans at full health is hurting us in the redzone. He was more of a decoy last week. I was down on Simms myself as he really hasn’t showed anything since coming here, but he ran with a little purpose last week and it was nice to see. AS for the +3 turnover margin per game, that is a pretty unrealistic goal for any team. I think the jets lead the league with 10 forced turnovers through 2 games. so I think as long as you win the turnover battle every… Read more »

EastEndBoy
EastEndBoy
Reply to  cgmaster27
5 years ago

@buclover and @cgmaster: my comment wasn’t meant to be down on our team, just an observation on Eric’s observation. We are 22nd in the league in red zone efficiency – not very Dunkaneer-like (even without Evans)…a puzzle. We have Sims running 8 times but catching only 3 times (for 14 yards) – not very 3rd-down back like….a puzzle. We are supposedly trying to be this +3 turnover machine but I’m not sure how…more puzzling (actually, as I said when this target first came out, I think the +3 target is unattainable)…why we have it…yet another puzzle.

macabee
macabee
5 years ago

Here’s my Monday afterthought and its turnabout is fair play. What a difference a day makes or in this case a week makes! After last week’s loss, the Interwebs were all abuzz about Lovie Smith being on the hot seat with many fans calling for his immediate replacement. PR was so moved as to ask the question – “Is this the beginning of the end for Lovie Smith”? After the win in New Orleans, there is no such talk and Lovie and his much maligned Cover 2 defense is back in vogue. Marinelli’s defensive performance in the Cowboy’s win over… Read more »

NJBuc
NJBuc
Reply to  macabee
5 years ago

Life long Pewter Report member, although not much of a poster these days but I had to chime in and give kudos to this excellent, spot on post Macabee! Well said

niko521
niko521
Reply to  macabee
5 years ago

Great Comment Macabee. Remember last year in here how we read the Tampa Two is a dead defense, yet now Atlanta and Carolina are using it in our division.

drdneast
drdneast
5 years ago

Wow Macabee, quoting a Roman poet, I’m impressed. Don’t see that often on sports blogs.
It’s usually bonehead comments from some meathead who thinks halftime rah rah speeches ala Vince Lombardi are how you motivate a team.
Thought the same thing about the field goals and also about the defense while watching the Cowboys defense dominate the brilliant Chip Kelly offense.
Good t see Winston take ownership on the poor passes and his recognition of how important it is to come away with TD’s.

macabee
macabee