PewterReport.com is beginning a new feature off an an old one this week called the PR Roundtable. In the new edition of the Roundtable the staff will take just one topic each week and share some brief thoughts. Take a look and tell us what you think, and share your feelings on the topic in the comment section.
Pewter Report Publisher Scott Reynolds: Will Sunday’s 15-10 win over the New York Jets spark a turnaround for the 3-6 Buccaneers? No. I could see Tampa Bay winning one of its next three games by beating the Dolphins in Miami, but only if the defense plays remotely close to how the unit played against the Jets on Sunday. The Bucs haven’t given up less than 30 points per game in any of the team’s four road games this year, so that has to change this Sunday if the team has any chance of winning its first road contest of the year. Offensively, this team is going nowhere as it can’t run the ball consistently. Backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is completing just 57.3 percent of his passes and completed only 50 percent of them in his first start for the Bucs against the Jets. By not having a strong running game, Fitzpatrick will be asked to make more throws and that could lead to more turnovers as he already has three interceptions in seven quarters of action this year, including one versus the Jets.
There won’t be any turnaround for the Bucs if they aren’t scoring more than 20 points per game, which is something the team hasn’t done in the past three weeks. After scoring just three points at home against Carolina, Tampa Bay had 10 points at New Orleans before scoring 15 against New York. I guess you could say that’s progress, but it’s the middle of the season and shouldn’t this team be capable of scoring more points than a combined 28 over the last three games with the weapons it has in its arsenal? It should, and the fact that it’s not, coupled with how poorly the defense plays on the road leads me to believe that Tampa Bay will either be 4-8 or 3-9 by the time the Bucs return to Raymond James Stadium to play Detroit – and out of any hope of making the playoffs.
Pewter Report Editor Mark Cook: Ummm….well I mean quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said it could. And DeSean Jackson addressed the team saying the Bucs need to build off of the win and make it seven in a row. So technically yes, it could spark the team. Will it? Let’s see what happens this week at Miami and we will know more.
Football is a game of emotion and momentum. You never really know what it is that helps teams all of a sudden just get into a groove – or a free fall. We saw it last season after a 3-5 start. A blowout loss to the Falcons on Thursday Night Football and then the Bucs reel off six wins in eight games. And just like yesterday, it started with a turnaround on defense. This team is capable. And while Bucs fans would love to see the team win six of their final eight, then the question is, why did it take so long two straight seasons for this team to get things together? The what-ifs come into play leaving Bucs fans and the organization scratching their heads all offseason. If it does happen it won’t be easy. Rematches with Carolina and two more games with the Falcons leaves me wondering where many more wins can come from.
I am going with the cautious approach and the conservative answer and said no, and hope they prove me wrong. I don’t mind being wrong, but as I mentioned, it will have to start and continue with defensive play like we saw on Sunday against the Jets. I just can’t say I have much confidence in it continuing.
Pewter Report Intern Austin DeWitt: Following the victory over his former team, Ryan Fitzpatrick said that this is the type of win that can spark a turn around for a team. Coming into the year, no one thought that this would be the language used to describe the Bucs’ season nine games in, but here we are, and the Buccaneers are in dire need of a spark. The Bucs ate the all-important W on Sunday, but I’m not so sure their performance against an overachieving Jets team is a sign of a turnaround.
The next four games are winnable. The problem is, three of the next four come on the road and, as our own Scott Reynolds has pointed out, the Bucs have been abysmal. They haven’t come out of an opponent’s house without surrendering at least 30 points. The defense will need to channel shades of their home form if there is any shot at righting the ship.
The offense will also need to be much more consistent in all phases. The running game has left much to be desired and the Bucs have often failed to convert sustained drives into touchdowns. It was great to see the ball in the hands of DeSean Jackson’s early and that trend needs to continue regardless of who is under center.
This was a great win in terms of lifting spirits. For the first time in a long time the atmosphere in the locker room was lively with grins even extending to the face of Dirk Koetter. While it’s great to see the morale of this team lifted, I fear the damage has already been done. The Buccaneers have dug themselves into quite a hole and I don’t see them finishing any better than 8-8. In reality, even .500 seems overly optimistic.
Pewter Report Beat Writer Trevor Sikkema: A week or so ago people asked me if this Buccaneers team was going to win a single game again this season with eight games to go. I told them that absolutely they would, and people were skeptical.
It has looked bad for the first eight weeks, but I knew that, one: the NFL is a whacky league and teams that aren’t suppose to win win all the time, and two: this team was way too talented to go 0-8 in any stretch, even with suspect coaching.
So, what do we take away from the Bucs’ first win in over a month? Well, I don’t see them rattling off nine or ten in a row, so playoff potential isn’t a takeaway, for me. What I do take away from the game is some big time positives on the defensive side of the ball. I like the fact that Ryan Smith, Justin Evans and Kendell Beckwith are getting playing time. Beckwith is getting better every game, as is Evans. Those two are have been the most consistent players, along with Lavonte David, over the last few weeks. I also love that this defense is playing more aggressive, both in execution and in play style. For the early parts of the season, we saw this team run soft coverage and stunt blitzes; it fail them miserably. On Sunday against the Jets, we saw them get closer with press coverage on third downs while adding blitz pressure up the middle and it resulted in the Jets going just 3-for-15 on third downs.
On another note, I love the fact that Robert Ayers and Kwon Alexander got into it on the sideline. If you missed it, after a penalty on Chris Baker that led to the Jets only TD pass, Alexander went up and confronted Baker. Ayers saw Alexander getting in Baker’s face and then got in Alexander’s face. The two had to be separated by Gerald McCoy. But, the thing I love is that after the game, both players were fine; it was just passion coming out. You need a team that is fiery enough to hold others accountable, yet respect each other to know that that’s what it is. The defense playing well, playing aggressive and playing passionate was my takeaway from the Jets game. Maybe they can be what they thought they would be in these last seven games.