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There it is. The 2018 season has come to a close for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a loss to their divisional rivals, the Atlanta Falcons.

The Bucs now finish the season at 5-11, an identical mark to their disappointing 2017 season, despite a 2-0 start behind a dash of Fitzmagic and the addition of some high-profile veterans on the defensive line in Jason Pierre-Paul, Vinny Curry and Beau Allen this past offseason.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers
By winning this meaningless game against the Falcons the Bucs could have pushed a possible top-5 draft pick nearly out of the top-10 with a win, so the Bucs truly won in the grand scheme by losing to Atlanta.

You can’t blame head coach Dirk Koetter for calling a gameplan that he thinks gives the team the best chance to win or blame the players for fighting. With Koetter’s dismissal looking more and more likely as the year comes to a close he has no reason to improve the Bucs’ draft stock and the players are competitors who you should never expect to go out with the specific intention of losing.

But still, it’s a double-edged sword. Fans rarely want to see their team lose but the difference in just a few spots that high in the draft can be the difference between getting the guy you absolutely want and just getting the talented guy who’s there. With the Bucs needing to fill some major weak spots in their roster, a top-5 pick is always a sought after commodity.

With that said, Sunday’s collapse on the way to a 34-32 loss was so typical of this Buccaneers team that it was almost expected. After leading the Falcons 17-0 with 51 seconds remaining in the first quarter, the Bucs allowed the Falcons to go on a 24-3 comeback run before failing on two fourth quarter two-point conversions and allowing Matt Bryant to kick a game-winning field goal with one second remaining

T Donovan Smith
Once again Donovan Smith finds himself on the most disappointing list for the Buccaneers.

All season we have seen Donovan Smith play some good football, but repeated instances of poor protection and blocking in both the pass game and run game. On Sunday we saw much of the same, with Smith showing multiple times his struggles playing a full 60 minutes of good football.

With Smith at left tackle the Bucs can’t run it to the outside in his direction, he struggles with zone blocking – much like the rest of the offensive line – and he allowed a sack and multiple pressures on Sunday in pass protection.

In a contract year you can’t predict what the future holds for Smith, but as of now he continues to be one of the Bucs’ most disappointing players at one of the team’s most critical positions.

RG’s Alex Cappa and Caleb Benenoch
Caleb Benenoch, who has started every game at right guard for the Buccaneers this season, and Alex Cappa, the team’s third round draft pick this past draft, combined to arguably make right guard the weakest position on either side of the ball for the Bucs this season and not much changed that argument on Sunday. Benenoch left the game early with an illness, allowing Cappa to get more snaps, but Benenoch would return later in the game.

The tandem were repeatedly beat in pass protection, ineffective in the run game and put their quarterback in danger repeatedly through allowed pressures and hits.

Look for the Bucs to likely make a move to improve the right guard position in the offseason while possibly letting Benenoch battle Demar Dotson for the starting spot at right tackle.

Bucs Secondary
While the Bucs secondary had their most pass breakups as a unit all season with eight, as a whole they gave up 378 passing yards and three scores through the air. Yes the Falcons are talented at quarterback and receiver, but the secondary time and time and time again failed to make a play on third down and ended up giving up 27 second half points in the 34-32 loss to Atlanta. The Bucs will have a lot of work to do this offseason in improving a porous back end.

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About the Author: Taylor Jenkins

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TheBaron70
2 years ago

You should put the whole coaching staff on the list. They were out coached again. It was pathetic to watch.

Wausa
2 years ago

Brate played poorly and the Bucs secondary is unquestionably the worst in the NFL.

It’s amazing how well Jamies played with such awful offensive line play.

Buc76
2 years ago

Brate contract is another reason to fire Licht. You don’t people like that to big contacts

bucballer
2 years ago

U cut Brate. Not that he’s a bad player. It’s just we have OJ! Take some of Brate’s money and resign Hump!

Devasher
2 years ago

Alex Cappa was a 3rd round pick not a 4th.

Licht traded up for him so the coaches could honestly say that Caleb Benenoch wasn’t the worst offensive lineman on the team. And the trade up worked to perfection. Also, are we really saying that Benenoch should now try to be the starting RT after all the bad film he put up this year? If you’re trying to kill Jameis I guess that makes sense 😂

BucRy
Reply to  Taylor Jenkins
2 years ago

Isn’t Tackle supposed to be harder to adjust to than guard? Benenoch struggles horribly playing on the inside, he would struggle horribly against quicker defensive ends.

dbenn2012
Reply to  BucRy
2 years ago

Just saying different skill sets – Guards should be as big and strong as possible with the nastiest of attitudes. Tackles need to be as big and strong as possible with great footwork and agility. I just can’t understand why we keep drafting tackles and trying to turn them into guards? Also, today’s college game makes it extremely hard to project a tackle as the spread offenses doesn’t show how they will adapt to that extra 2 seconds of needed projection.

Devasher
Reply to  Taylor Jenkins
2 years ago

Bad pass protection at guard doesn’t translate well to space and at tackle. If Benenoch can’t get his feet set and his leverage right when he’s got lineman to either side of him he sure as hell won’t be doing it on the edge.

But by all means feel free to find NFL guys who started at guard for a season, played abysmally, then became successful tackles. I’d be interested to know who that is.

dbenn2012
Reply to  Devasher
2 years ago

I’d like to know that to – also, why do scouts and GMs seem to think if a player is a good buy not great left tackle, switching them to the right will suddenly work – especially if they haven’t played the opposite side.

Horse
2 years ago

I thought Grimes played his typical game this season as almost defended the pass, and I hardly him hit/tackle anybody running with the football.

76Buc
2 years ago

Jones should be the RG and go get a LT.

Malcolm-Reynolds
2 years ago

This was a weird one. It kind of worked out exactly as I was hoping. The Bucs (and Jameis) played pretty well offensively, but DIDN’T end up winning a completely meaningless game to end their season. Last year missing out on Quinten Nelson really shows that a meaningless win can really hurt you at draft time. I mean it’s not like “Second place is the first loser”, but all that did last year was postpone the inevitable for the Bucs coaching situation. Keeping Koetter (with staff intact) was a HUGE mistake. Unfortunately the way the season has gone, the draft… Read more »

Dman
2 years ago

Did McCoy play today? As always, no where to be found in the fourth quarter when we take a late lead and need the D to hang on to seal the win. GMC should be on this list simply for being AWOL in the clutch – Again!!!!

JohnGaltsGhost
Reply to  Dman
2 years ago

I don’t know what game you were watching but GMC was running down running backs 10 yards downfield when all the young guys were standing around looking

Dman
Reply to  JohnGaltsGhost
2 years ago

Give me ONE impact play he made today – ONE. Did he pressure Ryan, sack him, hit him [without apologizing], tackle any RB for a loss, stop anyone on a crucial third down? Appreciate his hustle, but we’ve got Noah Spence for that.

dbenn2012
Reply to  Dman
2 years ago

You all realize that we don’t play the Tampa 2 anymore right and all the DT’s under Duff Man are supposed to do is clog the middle? Apparently, never read the news and injury reports and realize McCoy has played with bad hamstrings, a shoulder with years of beating, and a bad ankle. His best days are no doubt behind him due to his age; however, bring an LB into plug the gaps, show a CB blitz once in awhile, you would no doubt see much different individual stats if half healthy. McCoy & JP are the only two on… Read more »

Dman
Reply to  dbenn2012
2 years ago

Right, it’s all about scheme. But no matter the D coordinator, he’s never been an impact guy in crunch time since he’s been here.

He’s a decent player with great ‘get off’ and a great guy. Not the super star so many make him out to be outside of Tampa.

dbenn2012
Reply to  Dman
2 years ago

That is true, the 53 players on the Tampa Bay roster and a million people in the Tampa Bay area were able to elect him to 6 Pro Bowls, silly of me to not understand your great insight and genius on how to manipulate the system.

Captain Sly
2 years ago

How could you put the whole secondary when grimes is out there wiping out defenders on the goal line

JohnGaltsGhost
2 years ago

Draft Jonah Williams and get rid of Donovan Smith. We need to get a decent DB in free agency. We need at least one veteran DB to help all the rookies.

dbenn2012
Reply to  JohnGaltsGhost
2 years ago

Totally agree – Draft ANY LT, irrespective of growing pains, sign the best LT you can in FA and let some other morons give him 10-12 million plus

76Buc
2 years ago

I’m not impressed with our OL coach. We have an OL comprised of road graders, yet we run a predominately zone blocking scheme. Huh?

JohnGaltsGhost
Reply to  76Buc
2 years ago

Exactly we are completely misusing Jensen and Marpet

tnew
2 years ago

I could foresee franchising DSmith, at best. Moving him to left guard. Marpet back to right guard. Drafting a LT early and starting with that. The Bucs won’t know what’s up until Warhop is gone.

dbenn2012
Reply to  tnew
2 years ago

If you’re going the FA route to protect a player, Adam H would be a 1000% better than DSmith.

tnew
Reply to  dbenn2012
2 years ago

Hump needs to be signed to a long term contract, plus there is no way he would need that much money to sign. WR required near 16 mil per season this year. Hump could be signed for $16 mil over 3 years. Offensive lineman were franchised at 14 mil per. Donovan Smith will most likely get a contract north of $10 mil yearly if he gets to free agency. I don’t recommend signing him to a long term deal but if he flourishes at 14 under a new staff then he can earn that big pay day as a Buc.

tnew
Reply to  tnew
2 years ago

Plus Kappa projects as a right tackle so this scenario helps that. The Bucs can’t bring in 5 new players in the O line. Smith does enough things correctly he warrants trying to make work as a guard. Putting him out in space at left tackle just exposes what he’s very worst at. Looking left to right..

LT.. new player/draft or sign
LG… D Smith
C… Jensen
RG.. Marpet
RT.. Kappa (sign Dot for depth as a swing Tackle)..

That with coaching might be workable.

EastEndBoy
2 years ago

I think it’s absolutely amazing that this list could be printed in advance each week with:

1) Donovan Smith – another terrible performance…can’t play a full game…looks okay for 75% of game and totally horrendous for 25%.

2) the rest of the OLIne (save for Marpet)…weak link destroying the team.

3) the secondary…ughhh…ugly.

How can the same players show up on this week in and week out and there not be total consensus for the firing of the GM? His only job is to secure talent…and he has failed, week in and week out.

matador
2 years ago

1.) Licht for leaving us with more holes than donuts after a half dozen year reign of terror.

2.) The Glazer babies for letting Licht’s treasonous decision making continue to undermine the team and its fans for yet another year.

3.) SR for making excuses all along the way for Licht and his merry band of draft whiffs (ASJ, Smith, Sims, RoJo, Cappa, Spence, Roberto, VH3 off the top of my head, possibly Winston, plus plenty of lower rounders that dissolved into nothingness) and countless FA toilet bowl signings flushing fans’ cash down the drain.

scubog
2 years ago

The patchwork secondary was playing fairly well until Carlton Davis III got hurt and Ryan Smith put in his place. Disappointed we didn’t see a bit of the players for whom we have questions. With the injury to Nasib, why was Noah Spence just standing on the sideline? I don’t think he ever got in the game. As Jon Gruden would say, “There needs to be an investigation.” Same with Ron Jones. I saw him in one play lined up as a receiver. Can he not even supplant Rodgers at least a few times? How about Justin Watson, who was… Read more »

Horse
Reply to  scubog
2 years ago

Scubog, he got in a couple times and did nothing; that was why most didn’t notice him on some special team plays, and sub/sub for some of the exalted DE’s for a play or two. Total wasted pick; sorry, but true.

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