FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots
• Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter pointed out that his offense is in the Top 10 in seven NFL categories, and one of them is scoring with a 25.5 points per game average, which ranks 10th in the league. Yet the troubling issue is that the Bucs’ scoring has gone down as the season has progressed.
Taking away a defensive touchdown in Week 1, the Bucs offense still scored 41 points in a 48-40 win at New Orleans, which was the team’s highest-scoring output of the year. Tampa Bay averaged 27.7 points per game on offense over the first seven games of the season.
Week 1: 41 at New Orleans
Week 2: 27 vs. Philadelphia
Week 3: 27 vs. Pittsburgh
Week 4: 10 at Chicago
Week 6: 29 at Atlanta
Week 7: 26 vs. Cleveland
Week 8: 34 at Cincinnati
The Bucs only had one game in which they scored less than 26 points per game, and that was a 10-point outing at Chicago. With 13 games already played, Tampa Bay’s scoring average has fallen significantly over the last six games of the year. The Bucs have averaged just 21.8 points per game with three games in which the team has scored 24 points or less.
Week 9: 28 at Carolina
Week 10: 3 vs. Washington
Week 11: 35 at New York
Week 12: 27 vs. San Francisco
Week 13: 24 vs. Carolina
Week 14: 14 vs. New Orleans
That six-point differential came up big in three-point loss at New York, which was Tampa Bay’s third such defeat this year. The Bucs are 3-4 in games decided by seven points or less this year.
• The holiday shopping season is here and there is ONE PLACE to turn for all of your Bucs, NFL, NCAA, NHL and NBA shopping needs and that’s Fanatics.com. PewterReport.com has partnered once again with Fanatics.com to provide our readers with the best online shopping experience and widest array of team merchandise and apparel found on the Internet.
The best part about it is that when you click on the Fanatics.com banners or links on PewterReport.com a portion of the sale goes to PewterReport.com to help pay for operating costs of the website you’ve come to love and trust for your Bucs news. So whether it’s NFL, college football, college basketball, NHL or MLB gear you are looking for, you’ll find it at Fanatics.com where they have the retro Starter pullover jackets now in stock. Click here and shop today.
DRAFT DIAMOND: ALABAMA OT JONAH WILLIAMS
PewterReport.com is the undisputed leader in Bucs draft coverage each year. During the 2018 draft, we accurately forecasted the selection of three Tampa Bay draft picks as defensive tackle Vita Vea, offensive lineman Alex Cappa and wide receiver Justin Watson were all Bucs’ Best Bets.
Draft season for the PewterReport.com staff starts in September as we do a great deal of scouting during college football season. Trevor Sikkema, who also provides content for TheDraftNetwork.com, provides SR’s Fab 5 with a weekly segment called Draft Diamond where we focus on a different draft prospect each week. This week’s Draft Diamond is Alabama left tackle Jonah Williams.
Football starts up front, and unfortunately for the Buccaneers, that message is being pounded into their heads week after week in the worst way.
Going into the season, the Bucs’ offensive line was projected to be one of the team’s strengths. Tampa Bay had Pro Bowl-caliber guard Ali Marpet moving from center back to his more natural position. The Bucs had Donovan Smith at left tackle, who was poised to take his big jump in consistency in a contract year. They had the ever-reliable Demar Dotson on the right side. They signed the best free agent center out there in Ryan Jensen. And they were giving Caleb Benenoch a real shot at a starting slot in a position many believed was better suited for him at guard.
Instead of all those things coming together and gelling, they seem to be unraveling as the season has gone on. Marpet has been about the only constant on the line. Smith is having his worst year statistically, Dotson’s age is showing, Jensen has been a loose cannon with penalties, and Benenoch just isn’t a starting-caliber offensive lineman in this league. The results haven’t been pretty.
If the Bucs are going to upgrade on the offensive line in this offensive line class, they’re going to want to do it early. If they do, Williams, who has been the left tackle of the Alabama Crimson Tide for three seasons, is the guy to do it with. He’s taken on some of the best pass rushers in the country year after year, and has done so in some pretty big and important games, too. Williams has shorter arms, so some project him to be more of a guard at the NFL level, but with such good tape at left tackle for such a long period of time, it’s silly to think he can’t reproduce that production in the NFL.
Whether he plays right or left tackle for the Buccaneers, drafting Williams in the first round will make sure the Bucs don’t keep going backwards in the offensive line category.
• Speaking of Alabama left tackle Jonah Williams, Scouts Inc. has released its grades for the top offensive line draft prospects, and he’s tied for the top position.
Ole Miss OT Greg Little: 92
Alabama OT Jonah Williams: 92
Oklahoma OT Cody Ford: 91
Florida OT Jawaan Taylor: 89
Washington OT Trey Adams: 83
Stanford G Nate Herbig: 81
Wisconsin OT David Edwards: 80
Notably missing are West Virginia tackle Yodny Cajuste, Boston College guard Chris Lindstrom, Kansas State tackle Dalton Risner. All have appeared in various mock drafts around the Internet, and all three have accepted Senior Bowl invites.
• PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook, Trevor Sikkema and I analyzed the upcoming Bucs at Ravens game in the new Pewter Nation Podcast that was recorded on Thursday. Be sure to listen to Pewter Nation Podcast Episode 100 Part 19: That’s So Ravens by clicking here.
If you missed Sunday’s Pewter Nation Podcast, Episode 100 Part 18, which came out after Tampa Bay’s loss to New Orleans, make sure you listen to it while you are out and about this weekend doing some holiday shopping. You can listen to Pewter Nation Podcast Ep100 Part 18: Bucs vs. Saints Breakdown by clicking here.
Listening to the Pewter Nation Podcasts on your drive home from work on Fridays or on Saturdays while doing some chores around the house or running errands this weekend is fun and will bring you holiday joy. The next Pewter Nation Podcast will be taped after the Bucs – Ravens game on Monday. Don’t miss the post-game thoughts from Sikkema, Cook and yours truly as Tampa Bay tries to get its second road win of the year and improve to 6-8.
The popularity of the Pewter Nation Podcast continues to grow. In addition to listening to the Pewter Nation Podcasts on PewterReport.com you can also subscribe to the free podcasts at PodBean by clicking here and on SoundCloud by clicking here. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode.
• Our @PewterReport Twitter account is closing in on 31,000 followers. If you aren’t following PewterReport.com on Twitter please do so right now so you don’t miss out on Bucs press conference and interview footage as well as breaking news and injury updates. To follow @PewterReport on Twitter please click here. To follow us on Facebook please click here. And to follow @PewterReport on Instagram and you can do so by clicking here.
• One of my favorite draft prospects this year has been Memphis junior running back Darrell Henderson, who is second in the nation in rushing with 1,909 yards – trailing only Wisconsin sophomore Jonathan Taylor, who has 1,989 yards rushing. While Taylor has averaged 7.1 yards per carry and scored 15 touchdowns, Henderson has averaged a gaudy 8.9 yards per carry, while scoring 22 touchdowns on the ground.
On the heels of a 210-yard, four-TD performance against UCF in the conference championship game, Henderson has declared for the NFL and will skip his bowl game to train for the draft. The 5-foot-9, 200-pound Henderson had three 200-yard rushing games this year, and 16 games in which he went over 100 yards rushing for the Tigers. Henderson added six receiving touchdowns in his career, threw a touchdown pass in his last game at Memphis against UCF, and also had a kick return for a TD as a freshman.
Henderson has raw speed, elusiveness and tackle-breaking ability that remind me of a faster Kareem Hunt. I think he’s a first-round talent, but have yet to see the courage from any mock drafter put him in the first-round yet. Maybe he gets drafted in the second round. All I know is that he’s better than Ronald Jones or Peyton Barber and would look awfully good in red and pewter.
• And finally, the holiday season is upon us and that means holiday shopping at nights and on the weekends. Who has time to cook? When you are out and about, make sure to stop into Ford’s Garage restaurants for a great meal.
You’ve heard the Pewter Reporters rave about Ford’s Garage during the Pewter Nation Podcasts, of which they are a big sponsor. Now it’s time for you to try one of the best burgers around for lunch or dinner and try the rum cake for dessert. I highly recommend it, and it’s my personal favorite. And Ford’s Garage has an outstanding selection of local craft beers on tap, in addition to dozens of specialty craft cocktails you won’t find anywhere else.
Ford’s Garage has several Tampa Bay area locations, including Wesley Chapel, which is the one I frequent, Westchase, Countryside, St. Petersburg, Lakeland, Brandon, where Mark Cook eats, and a brand new location in Orlando by the outlet mall. Ford’s Garage is also found in Estero, Fort Myers and Cape Coral in Florida, as well as in Dearborn, Michigan, too.
Ford’s Garage has new menu items, including the 1/3 pound Roadsters burgers that are delicious. To find the nearest location near you and to look at their menu, visit FordsGarageUSA.com. When you eat there, post a picture of your meal and tag @PewterReport and @FordsGarage on Twitter and tell Ford’s Garage about your experience and let them know that PewterReport.com sent you.