SR’s Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, PewterReport.com publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place and around the NFL:
FAB 1. SMITH’S WEEKLY GOAL FOR BUCS: +3 TURNOVER MARGIN
Tampa Bay’s biggest foe on Sunday, September 13 may not be the Tennessee Titans. It may be the Buccaneers themselves.
The first rule of football is don’t beat yourself. That could come in the form of penalties, which plagued the team last year at times, and also in the 2015 preseason on occasion.
But turnovers are the absolute killer in the NFL. A team that constantly turns the ball over and loses the turnover ratio is surely headed for a high draft pick the following year, and a seat on the coach when the NFL playoffs roll around.
Beating an opponent is hard enough without teams beating themselves. A big reason why the Bucs were 2-14 a year ago? Tampa Bay was minus-8 in the turnover ratio, which ranked 26th in the league.
Titans QB Marcus Mariota – Photo by: Getty Images
There is optimism heading into the 2015 regular season with a much better showing in the preseason. The Bucs finished with a favorable plus-7 turnover ratio in August, while the Titans finished with a plus-1 turnover ratio. That’s marked improvement over last year’s minus-10 ratio, which led to Tennessee’s 2-14 record and prompted the drafting of quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Tampa Bay’s goal is to bring pressure and force Mariota to play like a rookie quarterback and turn the ball over. Bucs head coach Lovie Smith preaches takeaways on defense and has a new goal for his team this year – finish each game plus-3 in the turnover margin.
“It’s something that is certainly ingrained in this team,” Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon said. “The first thing Lovie shows us every day is the percentages when you win the turnover ratio by plus-one, plus-two and plus-three. That plus-three number is close to 100 percent. It’s ingrained in our minds from the head coach down to the offensive coordinator. The majority of times you win that turnover ratio you are going to win.”
Statistically speaking, teams that finish a game plus-3 in the turnover ratio win 90 percent of their games. Ideally, that’s playing turnover-free football on offense and forcing three takeaways on defense. If the offense commits a fumble or an interception, that means the defense must take the ball away four times to achieve a plus-3 turnover ratio. While the goal is to be interception-free in every game, that might be a tall order given the fact that Tampa Bay will start a rookie quarterback in Jameis Winston.
One of the knocks on Winston coming out of college is that he threw 28 interceptions in two seasons at Florida State, including 18 last season, which was the second most in college football. Conversely, Mariota threw just 14 interceptions in three years, including four last season. Yet the Bucs rolled the dice on Winston due to his intangibles and dynamic playmaking ability rather than select the quarterback that did a better job of protecting the ball at a record pace.
“It doesn’t matter who is at quarterback for us, our goal will always remain the same,” Bucs safety Keith Tandy said. “We always want to be plus-3 in the turnover battle every game. It doesn’t matter if we’re going against Peyton Manning. It doesn’t matter if we are going against Marcus Mariota. It doesn’t matter if we have Jameis Winston on our team or if we have Peyton Manning. Our goal is the same.”
Glennon isn’t concerned about Winston’s ball security on Sunday despite the rookie throwing two interceptions in three preseason games.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“It’s very important to take care of the ball and Jameis knows that,” Glennon said. “With our defense, if we don’t turn the ball over we can win a lot of games. Plays are going to present themselves. We have a lot of playmakers on offense and we have to let those completions come to us. Protect the ball and move the chains and good things will happen. We’ve talked about that as an offense and in the quarterback room. We know the importance of taking care of the ball.”
Glennon started 13 games as a rookie two years ago and did a good job protecting the ball by throwing 19 touchdowns against just nine interceptions. Tampa Bay actually had a plus-10 in the turnover ratio in 2013, which ranked seventh in the NFL – yet the Bucs finished just 4-12. Sometimes winning the turnover ratio doesn’t help a team’s win-loss record and playoff hopes, but those instances are few and far between.
Consider that of the 12 playoff teams last year, only one team, Indianapolis, had a negative turnover ratio (minus-5), and only two teams, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, had a zero turnover margin. The nine other playoff teams all had positive turnover ratios led by Green Bay’s plus-14 mark.
It’s no surprise that last year’s Super Bowl teams, New England and Seattle, ranked tied for second with a plus-12 turnover ratio, along with Houston, which finished 9-7 and just missed out on a wild card playoff berth.
2014 AFC Playoff Teams’ Turnover Ratio
AFC East: Patriots +12
AFC West: Broncos +5
AFC North: Steelers 0
AFC South: Colts -5
AFC Wild Card: Bengals 0
AFC Wild Card: Ravens +2
2014 NFC Playoff Teams’ Turnover Ratio
NFC East: Cowboys +6
NFC West: Seahawks +12
NFC North: Packers + 14
NFC South: Panthers +3
NFC Wild Card: Cardinals + 8
NFC Wild Card: Lions +7
For teams like Tampa Bay and Tennessee that want to make a quick turnaround, the better the turnover ratio, the more likely that happens. Two years ago when Andy Reid arrived in Kansas City, the Chiefs were the surprise team of 2013 – thanks largely to a plus-18 turnover ratio, which ranked second behind Super Bowl champion Seattle’s plus-20 mark.
The Chiefs made the playoffs with an 11-5 record in 2013, but missed out on a wild card berth due to a 9-7 record last year. The reason? Kansas City’s turnover ratio plummeted from plus-18 to minus-3, which ranked 21st in the NFL.
The same could be said for Tampa Bay’s NFC South rival New Orleans. The Saints were an 11-5 team in 2013, but fell to 7-9 last year largely due to the turnover margin. The Saints had an even turnover margin two years ago, which ranked 15th in the NFL. Last year, New Orleans was minus-13, which ranked 31st in the NFL.
Bucs coach Lovie Smith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Tampa Bay went 2-2 in the preseason and it’s no surprise that both of those wins (25-11 vs. Cincinnati, 22-17 vs. Miami) featured a plus-3 turnover margin in each contest, and pick-sixes by the Bucs defense, which illustrates the importance of creating takeways. Last year, Tampa Bay produced only 14 interceptions with just two from the safety position and one from the nickel cornerback spot all year. In four preseason games this year the Bucs had six interceptions.
“A lot of it is the second year of being in the system,” said Tandy, whose two interceptions against Miami led Tampa Bay in the preseason. “You know the exact spot you are supposed to be in so that allows guys to get a break on the ball and that’s when interceptions come.
“Coach Smith starts every meeting off every day preaching takeaways and the turnover margin. He is making sure we are conscious of it and we are making an honest effort of trying to strip the ball out or get the ball with interceptions.”
The winner of Sunday’s Bucs vs. Titans game will likely come down to which team commits less turnovers and which quarterback plays more like a veteran and less like a rookie. And which defense takes the ball away more.
That has been Smith’s focus every day at the start of every team meeting and will continue to be that way until the Buccaneers turn their ship around and sail into the playoffs.
FAB 2. MOST DEPTH AT BUCS WIDE RECEIVER POSITION IN RECENT MEMORY
Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht told me over the summer that “Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither were the Buccaneers.” With so many holes to fill this offseason coming off a dreadfully disappointing 2-14 campaign in 2014, Licht, director of player personnel Jon Robinson and head coach Lovie Smith attempted to upgrade as many positions as possible.
Drafting Jameis Winston with the first overall pick significantly upgraded the talent at quarterback, and the offensive line was addressed with the drafting of left tackle Donovan Smith and right guard Ali Marpet in the second round.
On defense, the middle linebacker was tended to with the free agent signing of Bruce Carter and the selection of Kwon Alexander in the fourth round. The nickel cornerback position was improved with the addition of veterans Tim Jennings and Sterling Moore, while Chris Conte and D.J. Swearinger helped the depth at safety.
Bucs fans will groan at the lack of attention paid to the defensive end position outside the trade for Detroit’s George Johnson, and rightfully so. Remember that Licht tried diligently to land Trent Cole and Greg Hardy in free agency, so it wasn’t for a lack of effort.
The one position that wasn’t a critical need in terms of addressing heading into the offseason was wide receiver, yet the Bucs are suddenly well stocked at the position after several surprises in training camp and the preseason. And that bodes well for the Bucs in the future.
Bucs WR Rannell Hall – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Tampa Bay entered the offseason with its first pair of 1,000-yard wide receivers in franchise history in Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson, and had re-signed veteran slot receiver Louis Murphy. Yet the Bucs viewed Nebraska’s Kenny Bell as better than any pass rusher available late in the draft in a weak crop of defensive ends and drafted him in the fifth round. Needing a return specialist, Tampa Bay added Kaelin Clay, a wide receiver out of Utah, in the sixth round.
To help round out the roster, speedster Donteea Dye, big-bodied Rannell Hall and Adam Humphries, who has a penchant for getting open in the slot, were all signed as undrafted free agents in May. Buccaneers safety Keith Tandy was impressed by the level of talent in Tampa Bay’s receiving corps.
“They were challenging us all during the offseason in OTAs and mini-camp, and then in training camp, too,” Tandy said. “Every day it was a new guy stepping up. Who is 16? Who is 17? Who is 11? That group has a lot of talent.”
With Evans, Jackson and Murphy as locks for the top three spots on the depth chart, the Bucs quickly found out during the OTAs and mini-camp that there would be quite a battle in training camp for the remaining two or three roster spots at wide receiver. Special teams ace Russell Shepard showed vast improvement on offense and locked up the fourth receiver spot with a great game against Cincinnati in the Bucs’ home opener in the preseason on Monday Night Football. Humphries would claim the fifth and final receiver spot with a four-catch, 62-yard effort in Miami that included a first quarter touchdown.
“It says a lot about what they are doing upstairs,” said Bucs receiver Russell Shepard. “They are evaluating talent and finding guys and seeing what they do well. [Bucs G.M.] Jason [Licht] is doing an amazing job. J-Rob (Bucs director of player personnel Jon Robinson) is doing an amazing job of evaluating talent and bringing it in.
“The difference between these guys and the guys we’ve had in the past is that they are able to come in at a young age and do what is expected of them and play their roles at a different level. That’s very different for us and it’s a good thing.”
Hall, Dye and Clay made a strong enough showing in training camp and in the preseason to earn spots on Tampa Bay’s practice squad. Considering that the Bucs are dedicating nearly a third of their practice squad spots to the wide receiver position, which only represents less than 10 percent of the 53-man roster, is impressive.
And don’t forget that the Bucs thought enough of Bell’s performance in training camp to place him on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.
“Kenny Bell, who is on I.R. this year, will take advantage of the meeting time when he’s in here,” said Shepard. “Your time in this game is very short and the positions are numbered. It can be gone like that. You just have to be able to take advantage of every opportunity. These receivers are very fortunate and I’m happy for them. They deserve to be here.”
Bucs WR Adam Humphries – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
The most important thing a young quarterback like Winston needs is protection. The second most important thing is a quality stable of wide receivers to throw to.
Tampa Bay didn’t mean to necessarily stockpile quality receivers this summer, but that’s what happened when Humphries, Hall and Dye unexpectedly stepped up. When Jackson, who will be 33 next year, eventually departs – and he enters the final year of his contract in 2016 with a $12,209,777 cap charge – the Bucs should have plenty of options to choose from if this year’s crop of young receivers continues to develop.
Maybe it’s Murphy moving to the outside on a full-time basis with Bell, Hall or Humphries, who reminds the Bucs of Patriots receiver Julian Edelman, replacing him in the slot. Maybe it’s Shepard who emerges to play opposite Evans in a few years.
With five receivers on the roster, three on the practice squad and Bell on injured reserve, Winston has a stocked reserve of targets to throw to in 2015 and beyond.
“It was the deepest wide receiver position I’ve ever been a part of since I’ve been here,” Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon said. “We have a lot of guys that can play in the NFL. Sometimes it’s obvious who is going to make it and who is not, but this year it wasn’t like that. We were so deep and we had so many guys with similar abilities and similar skills. I think it’s great that we have some of those guys on the practice squad with the ability to develop with Adam making the roster. It’s a really deep position.”
FAB 3. BUCS’ NEED FOR SPEED HIGHLIGHTED IN ROSTER CUTS
Linebacker Khaseem Greene was asked to give it his all and put it all out there on tape for the Buccaneers in the preseason – and for the other 31 teams scouting him. Greene did just that. He forced a fumble at the 1-yard line at Minnesota. He led the Bucs in tackles during the preseason with 18 tackles. Greene also had a 98-yard interception return for a touchdown in the preseason finale.
Yet Greene was cut by Tampa Bay despite having four more tackles than any other Buccaneer, and despite his takeaways. The Bucs opted to sign Jeremiah George, who grew up in Clearwater, Fla. and played at Iowa State before being drafted in the fifth round by the New York Jets last year, to replace Greene.
George has 4.66 speed whereas Greene’s 40-yard dash time is closer to 5.0 flat. In scouting terms, he doesn’t have the juice the Bucs are looking for, and he’s a bit heavy at 241 pounds.
If you want to know what juice is, just watch the way Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander play. Both of them have sub-4.6 speed.
Greene’s pick-six against the Dolphins was a great play for him, but it may have done him in, too. Helped by a convoy of Bucs blockers, it took Greene nearly 15 seconds to cover 98 yards.
Keep in mind that most of Greene’s tackles in the preseason and that pick-six came against second- and third-team offensive players, too. Validating the Bucs’ decision to release him is the fact that he has yet to be picked up by another team – despite being practice squad eligible.
Reserve defensive end Lawrence Sidbury met a similar fate when roster cuts came down. He notched five tackles, had a quarterback pressure, forced a fumble and recovered one in the preseason.
Bucs DE TJ Fatinikun – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Yet Sidbury was released in favor of T.J. Fatinikun, who missed three weeks of training camp practice, and played in just one preseason game against Cleveland where he recorded one tackle and injured his shoulder. Fatinikun will not be ready to play in the season opener due to his shoulder injury, yet he’s still on the team.
Fatinikun, the subject of PewterReport.com’s Training Camp Diary, is a quick-twitch athlete that has 4.63 speed, which is blazing fast for a defensive end. Fatinikun’s speed is a precious commodity in Tampa Bay as he uses it to contribute on special teams and as a pass-rushing specialist. He has the juice the Bucs are looking for.
Despite gaudy statistics – leading Houston with three sacks in the preseason and getting a pick-six as an outside linebacker in the Texans’ 3-4 scheme – “Hard Knocks” star Kourtnei Brown was released. Brown, who was claimed off waivers by the Bucs, felt like Greene must have felt when he was released by Tampa Bay – asking himself, “What else do I have to do to make the team?”
Sometimes a pick-six just isn’t enough if a team sees too many deficiencies in a players’ game. For Houston, based on what was revealed in Hard Knocks, Brown was chastised for his conditioning by getting too tired in games, and the Texans thought that he had reached his ceiling as a player.
“[The Texans] made their decision,” Brown said. “I’m just happy to be on a team playing football.”
Brown admits watching the season finale of Hard Knocks, which aired Tuesday night after he had already been claimed by Tampa Bay.
“Yeah, I watched it,” Brown said. “It’s easier watching it knowing you are on a team, but it’s sad. They chose that and I’m on another team, so I’m not really focusing on that. I’m always motivated, so I don’t need [getting cut] to motivate me. The fact that I’m here motivates me.”
Sometimes it’s more than production that leads NFL personnel men and coaches to make the roster decisions they do. It’s about physical traits, conditioning, intelligence and where a player’s perceived ceiling is that makes a difference.
New Bucs DE Kourtnei Brown – Photo by: Getty Images
Statistically speaking, Greene should be on the Bucs, Brown should be on the Texans, and Fatinikun should be on the street. But that’s not what happened.
Brown, who played defensive end at Clemson, has 4.69 speed in the 40-yard dash and that appealed to Tampa Bay where he joins the likes of Fatinikun and other speedy rush ends.
“I’m excited,” Brown said. “I’m just happy to play football at this time. I’ve probably got to knock the rust off going from standing up [as a 3-4 linebacker] to a three-point stance, but it’s going to be fun.
“When I was with the Rams I was an end there in my last training camp. When I was standing up I had a lot to do coverage-wise. Now I’m a D-end, so there aren’t a lot of adjustments and there aren’t a lot of rules. The technique is easier.”
With Fatinikun still sidelined with his shoulder injury, Brown will likely be active on Sunday and contribute as a part-time pass rusher. The Bucs are anxious to see Brown’s juice out on the field against Tennessee.
FAB 4. SMITH BELIEVES MARPET IS READY FOR HIS NFL DEBUT
The last time we saw Bucs rookie right guard Ali Marpet he was giving up quarterback pressures, getting penalized and giving up quarterback sacks to the Cleveland Browns in Tampa Bay’s 31-7 loss in the third preseason game. While that may have caused Bucs fans to be concerned with the play of the team’s second-round pick, center Evan Smith has a very high level of confidence in Marpet heading into the season opener against Tennessee on Sunday.
“I think Ali has been doing a good job of listening to my calls,” Smith said. “I’ve been helping him out with a lot of stuff and about where I’m going to be when we are working together so we can both work in unison. All of that stuff relates to him working it out, as our game preparation is very detailed. We all know what our plan is going in and what we’re going to do.”
Bucs LG Ali Marpet and C Evan Smith – Photo by Cliff Welch/PR
Smith acknowledged that it was good for Marpet to see a ton of different looks that Cleveland’s 3-4 defense presented in the third preseason game because Tennessee also plays a 3-4 and will be bringing a myriad of blitzes on Sunday while trying to pressure rookie quarterback Jameis Winston.
“I think the biggest thing is that it showed him that he has to work on recognizing looks and defenses,” Smith said. “When I tell him a call he needs to trust that it’s the right call. For him, it’s just another step in slowing the game down in his brain. At the end of the day you are a rookie and you’re jumping into it and it feels like it’s moving a million miles per hour when it’s really not. You’re just speeding it up in your head.
“I think he’s doing a great job of slowing the gears and really working more efficiently rather than thinking you have to go 100 miles per hour. It’s just about slowing your mind down and just playing. You may be slowing the game down in your mind, but your body is still playing fast because you are able to react and put yourself in position to win more often than trying to fight yourself and getting out of position. I think he’s been doing a great job of slowing it down.”
One concern with Marpet is that he has played just a few offensive series next to new right tackle Gosder Cherilus in the preseason. Reid Fragel got the start at right tackle in both the Cincinnati and Cleveland games and Cherilus didn’t see action next to Marpet until the second quarter of each game. Smith addressed possible chemistry concerns regarding Marpet and Cherilus.
“It all comes down to Ali making sure he’s communicating confidently with his calls so that when I give him something he can communicate it to Gosder and make sure that he’s got it right,” Smith said. “I think Ali has been doing a good job progressing and I think he’s very prepared for this game – Gosder, too – and very prepared for what we’re going to do.”
Smith understands that Marpet is not only making the jump from Division III Hobart College to the NFL, but also from playing left tackle to guard, and has been an invaluable source of wisdom for the rookie.
Bucs RG Ali Marpet – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“I used to play left tackle in college so I understand it,” Smith said. “We’ve talked about it. Things happen much quicker playing inside at guard. But once you figure out how to play inside it actually becomes a lot easier. Then you know you have sideboards (center and tackle) to your left and right, whereas at tackle you have a guard next to you and all that space to work in on the other side. Once you learn how to play inside you can slow the game down and you realize that guys are a lot closer to you and things do happen a lot faster. But if you have the size and athleticism to play in there, which Ali does, it’s not as hard as you would think it is to play inside.”
Smith also likes what he’s seen from left tackle Donovan Smith, who has battled a sprained ankle, and feels that both he and Marpet have made the necessary strides behind the scenes in practice and in the film room over the last few weeks to be ready for their first NFL regular season game.
“I think for Donovan it’s a natural progression in terms of getting his technique down better and trusting that Logan [Mankins] is making the right calls,” Smith said. “Sometimes you are hearing the call from a guy, but you are looking at the defense and you are saying, ‘I’m pretty sure that’s the right call,’ but you are second-guessing yourself. Both Ali and Donovan are doing a good job of slowing their minds down so they can play faster with their bodies. They’ll be ready.”
FAB 5. SR’s BUC SHOTS
• On Thursday I filmed the Pewter Panel with Buccaneers.com’s T.J. Rives and Scott Smith and long-time Bucs beat writer for the Tampa Bay Times Rick Stroud. The Pewter Panel debuts Friday afternoon on Buccaneers.com, so please check it out. I thought Stroud made an excellent point that is worth repeating to the PewterReport.com audience. One of the reasons why winning Sunday’s season opener against Tennessee is so important to this young Buccaneers team is so they won’t have to chase the first win of the season like they’ve had to do the last two years after a 0-8 start in 2013 and a 0-3 start last year.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by Cliff Welch/PR
When a team starts off by losing, the pressure builds to get that first win and the media naturally piles on by trotting out the statistics how 0-2 teams statistically fail to have a realistic shot at making the playoffs. Stroud said the Bucs aren’t going to have any better opportunity to win any other game this year than on Sunday against a 2-14 team with a rookie quarterback, and he’s right. Of course Tennessee is feeling the same way about 2-14 Tampa Bay and its rookie quarterback, too.
• The Bucs went through a youth movement in 2009 when the team purged several aging veterans, and seven years later, Tampa Bay is still quite young. In fact, only four players on the team’s 53-man roster are 31 or older. Left guard Logan Mankins is 33, followed by 32-year old wide receiver Vincent Jackson. New cornerback Tim Jennings is 31, while right tackle Gosder Cherilus is also 31.
• Kudos to Tampa Bay strongside linebacker Danny Lansanah for first beating out Kwon Alexander during OTAs and seeing the Bucs move Alexander into the middle linebacker role where he beat out Bruce Carter after the first preseason game. Carter was moved to strongside linebacker, the position he played in Dallas, but Lansanah beat him out to retain his starting job.
I came across this tremendous story from this past summer about Lansanah’s struggle to make it in the NFL while doing some research for next week’s SR’s Fab 5. Take a few minutes and read how Lansanah kept his dream alive and wound up starring in Tampa Bay.
• Tampa Bay was wise to claim former New Orleans quarterback Ryan Griffin off waivers for several reasons. First, Griffin can begin learning the system so that if an injury happens to starter Jameis Winston and Mike Glennon has to replace him, Tampa Bay doesn’t have to go out and find a backup quarterback who doesn’t know the playbook off the street at the last minute.
Second, Griffin spent the past two years in New Orleans, and the Bucs travel to play the Saints next week. He could offer some insight to help Tampa Bay game plan.
But perhaps most importantly, if Griffin can excel in the classroom and on the practice field behind the scenes, it provides Tampa Bay with an opportunity to trade quarterback Mike Glennon next offseason or before the trade deadline in 2016. Glennon is a valuable commodity that could fetch a third-round pick. Glennon will be entering a contract year in 2016 and the Bucs would be wise to deal him for a draft pick rather than let him walk away and search for an opportunity to start elsewhere in free agency in 2017.
• Be sure to visit PewterReport.com every Saturday morning beginning tomorrow as my SR’s Pick 6 column debuts to preview the Buccaneers vs. Titans game. If you like the in-depth analysis found each week in SR’s Fab 5, you’ll love the game preview content found each Saturday in SR’s Pick 6, which highlights six match-up areas and lists whether Tampa Bay has the advantage or not. I’ll also have my prediction for each Bucs game. Check PewterReport.com tomorrow to see if I pick the Titans or the Bucs.
• If you aren’t following PewterReport.com on Twitter, please do so now. Here’s the link to @PewterReport on Twitter. Also, please share on social media with your friends that are Bucs fans so they can follow us, too. We are nearing 19,700 followers and are closing in on 20,000 followers on Twitter thanks to you!
• Please take a brief moment today and pause to remember the families whose lives were touched by the tragic events on September 11, 2001. Thousands of innocent Americans – including many first responders – were killed by militant Islamic terrorists on that day in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. Please pray for or think of the victims and their families and the thousands of Americans that were able to help and save countless others from certain peril in New York’s World Trade Center and on Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania after Americans fought back against the terrorists and took down the plane that was headed for the White House in Washington, D.C.
• And finally, I need you to help me and support DraftKings, which is one of PewterReport.com’s advertising partners. If you are interested in playing one-week fantasy football and trying to win some money, sign up to play DraftKings’ Week 1 games today.
Here is the link for the Week 1 $1 million Play-Action fantasy football contest, which features a $100,000 first place prize and the top 84,950 top finishing positions are paid out. The cost is FREE for new players or just $3 to play if you have played DraftKings games before.
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Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
Its a wonderful article and I hope some of the bucs fans understand why teams do this and that go bucs!
George ran a 4.91 combine 4.66 proday 40 and Greene ran a 4.71 combine and proday
I put more stock in combine 40 generally players run “faster” on pro days
Fab 3 was insightful…I was wondering why they cut Greene after his cumulative preseason performance. It does make me wonder if they knew the weren’t going to keep him despite his performance because of his size why did they bring him to training camp at all? It’s not like he’ll ever get any faster. Anyways, I hope everyone is ready for the game on Sunday…I know I am. A little over 48 hours to go…
Couldn’t be more excited Pink. Excited and nervous, we are so young at so many key positions, we have no idea how things will turn out. Definitely going to be a roller coaster of a ride I think.
Pingback: SR’s Fab 5: Bucs’ Weekly Goal +3 Turnover Margin; Bucs Stocked At WR | Buccaneer Bruce
Fab1) there is a danger in setting unrealistic goals (namely that everyone just ignores you and them). +3 every game as the goal…even if we somehow contained JW to just 1 INT per game, that means our D is set the goal of 4 turnovers per game…1 per quarter…which is basically taking the ball away on every other possession or so…as our goal (again, assuming we can keep JW to 1 pick per game)…good luck with that one.
Fab2) maybe….but I seem to recall a lot of hype about Tiquan Underwood, Arrelious Benn, and so on and so on…I am psyched about Evans and VJax, let’s not get carried away after that.
Fab3) interesting point – thanks!
Fab4) ready or not, the game is on Sunday.
Fab5) never heard of Ryan Griffin…hope you’re right.
Speed kills. And spedd can create more turnovers too! Nice 5 Scott. We really NEED this one on Sunday, we NEED to come home feeling good for the first time since December 8, 2013. Been THAT long since a home field Buccaneer win and that is just not acceptable.
If Tampa stops the run and keeps Marcus in the pocket it will force him to beat us with his arm. If we combine that with winning the turnover and penalties battles… we win. Simple-not easy.
Pink, just curious. Are you happy with the way Jamies has been conducting himself, on, and off the field? I know you had concerns before the draft about his off field antics. I liked his answer when asked where his favorite Tampa hang out is and he said One Buc Place!
I said I wouldn’t comment on either Winston or Mariota before Game 1 was over, but since you asked me a question directly I will respectfully answer it. I’m fine with the way he has conducted himself off the field. What I was convinced of was that his off the field antics would prevent the Glazers from wanting to draft him and I was wrong about that. We have years to delve deeper into that decision the Glazers made depending upon how he behaves going forward. I said before that although I believe he is immature that off the field behavior doesn’t bother me and it never bothered me with Talib, Blount and M. Williams. As far as conducting himself on the field I don’t know if you mean his on field performance or his on the field behavior. I don’t have a good feel for his on the field behavior yet but I think my very strong concerns about Winston throwing INT’s at FSU has been validated up to this point. We’ll see what happens on Sunday. If he plays well you’ll hear from me. If he plays poorly you’ll hear a lot more from me.
Another good Fab 5 to read. There’s no question this team is better than last year and hopefully better than the other 16 teams we play. Get this one! Go Bucs!
Panthers, Saints and Falcons all lose. Bucs win and never look back! Hey, it’s a tad optimistic, but why not hope for the best?!
Today is a day when I should just read and not post. But I’ve got something to say and I’m going to say it! Great FAB 5 Scott, as usual, and it’s good news to hear how deep we are at WR, but what we really need is a capable pass-rushing DE!
Today the Raiders signed DE Aldon Smith to a 1 year contract and he’s eligible to play Sunday – the same Sunday we play the Titans led by fleet-footed QB Marcus Mariota – and that same Aldon Smith that I suggested we sign after his release from the 49ers. Adam Schefter says that Aldon Smith – Kahlil Mack may be the best 1-2 pass combo in the NFL. Roger Goodell is on his back with both legs in the air – and will probably do nothing.
I’m sure there are those who will say, I’m glad the Bucs didn’t sign Smith who has 44 sacks – they’re perfectly content that the Bucs signed DE Kourtnei Brown who’s been on 6 teams and has never played in an NFL game. They’re the same people that will say we’re better off with injury prone CB Mike Jenkins than cabbie-slapping Aqib Talib. Or they may think we are better off with that trouble-maker Legarrette Blount gone. Some say we just cut FB Joey Iosefa – a pick that could have gotten then troubled OT La’el Collins.
Does Bill Belichick cheat? I don’t know but he has 4 SB rings and Tomlin said there was a lot of noise in his head set last night. Lol. Am I angry/mad/upset? No! But I’m dang sure tired of losing. The Bucs must deal with the realities of the new NFL. Rex Ryan got Ik Enemkpali one day after being cut by the Jets for breaking Geno Smith’s jaw and is activating Enemkpali to their 53-man roster to keep someone from stealing him off their practice squad while suspended. Greg Hardy is now a Cowboy; Junior Galette is a Redskin albeit IR; and the Browns are now looking at Ray Rice. Per Santa Clara County prosecutor, Aldon Smith charged w/ 3 misdemeanors, inc DUI w/ prior. Before you respond, anybody care to guess how many DUIs Vincent Jackson, a model citizen today, got before coming to the Bucs?
Listen! I don’t want to cheat and I don’t want the Bucs to be a gang of criminals and thugs. We were then and still are in dire need of a proven edge rusher with the skill set that Smith possesses and he is a player who needs the type of firm and steady guidance of a Lovie Smith type coach to get his career on the right track. This was a player worth taking that chance on. He could have helped us and Lovie Smith could have certainly helped him!
We need to take some chances (not starting a rookie O-Line) to win in today’s NFL. If you want to play it safe, then don’t complain when we lose!!!
macabee. i hear you. however they have been trying. they went after trent cole and greg hardy. hell, greg hardy and rosenbag used the bucs just to up the price for dallas, once licht realized what was going on, he backed out immidiately. weve been trying. it just hasnt happened. it will get adressed more properly as time goes on. this team is finally being put together the right way. dont be surprised if all the bucs are having for dinner is “Beef” throughout the 2016 draft because thats what we will be drafting; ends and offensive lineman. im tired of losing and it seems like a perpetual cycle of endless losing, but patience is key. the feeling is completely different with this team than in years past. idk how to describe it other than it just feels mor genuine. so mac, i completely hear you, but we have been trying, it will happen when its supposed to happen. i trust in licht. hes very aware of what this football teams needs are better than anyone here.
I believe they tried @mac…but he wanted to stay in Cali…
Great Fab 5 article. I always look forward to reading these.
Macabee, it sounds like you want the Bucs to have a Rogues gallery on the roster.
First off, at the time, I didn’t hear anyone yelling for the Bucs to keep Aquib before they let him go. In fact, it was the exact opposite.
Aldon Smith is looking at a minimum 10 game suspension. Do you want to build you team around players who aren’t going to be here and you can’t depend on.
Blount has some good games, mainly against the Colts, but he also has some games where he looks like his feet are stuck in cement. He is hardly the next Adrian Peterson.
The Bucs pursued Greg Hardy but he wanted to play for the Cowboys, pure and simple. The same as Trent Cole did when he went to the Colts. Frankly, I wasn’t that interested in Cole.
Collin’s agent flatly said if he wasn’t picked in the second round, he would sit out the season. Did you not hear him?
If you are going to bring up points, at least make them valid.
Drdneast if you don’t remember me putting out post after post about how good a player Talib was and how much I wanted him on the team both before and after he was traded then either you don’t read PR very often or you simply forgot.
Macabbe, I hear you and understand the frustration. As much as I have said about the DE situation, I say at this point lets see what happens. Next year season I will feel differently about it as there will be no excuses by then. I’m hoping we have a successful season and this team plays beyond my expectations. We start now with Game One. Lets get this win! Go Bucs!
Nicely said Mac, and I’m glad you said it.
Another great Fab 5!
+3 turnover ratio doesn’t seem very realistic, but the preseason gave me hope that we are definitely improved in that department.
Our receiver depth is looking very promising. If Jameis has enough time, our receiving corps will flourish.
The increased speed on the defense has proven useful so far. Speed will create more turnovers and give us a better chance at winning.
Our rookie OL have performed like rookies so far but still show promise. I am cautiously optimistic about them so far.
As for addressing the DE issue, like buclover says, we tried. Not sure who else was available that we didn’t pursue but we definitely tried with Cole and Hardy. At this point in the season I’d say a top DE is out of the question. On the bright side though, we have a lot of good depth at DT and will get pressure up the middle. Also, some of our DTs can do some work at DE as well. Our improved LBs will also create additional pressure and/or coverage to give us more QB pressure.
Overall things are definitely looking up. I’m looking forward to about 6-9 wins this year and another good offseason where we address our remaining holes. Go Bucs!
Always enjoy your heartfelt posts macabee. I know the Buccaneers organization and many fans would prefer a team of candidates we would want our daughters to marry, But when sitting in the stands getting mocked by the opponent’s followers I don’t get to use the “but we have higher character players than you”. When I see the likes of Penn, Blount, Talib and Bennett having important roles with their new teams I just cringe knowing they are better than who replaced them here and really weren’t so bad. That said, I’m not sure I’d seek out a player with a troubled past. Trying to work things out with your husband who has his flaws but is generally a good man and courting someone who is a drunken, lazy slob hoping to change him is another matter. Often avoiding something bad is as beneficial as finding something good.
What a difference a day makes! You guys are right – the Bucs are trying to go about doing it the right way and it will take time. I acknowledged when I started my post that yesterday was a day that I should be reading instead of posting.
All the comments are good and taken to heart. My frustration from losing and listening to the unanimous chorus of Buc doubters from NFL analysts, I grew impatient. No sooner than I posted I read that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were in the running to sign Aldon Smith, as were the Jacksonville Jaguars and St. Louis Rams, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
You can’t take back print but you can take time to reflect on the principles that you live by and I know that patience is virtue.
We are a better football team and we’re going to be even better in time. Win or lose I’m a Buc fan forever! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go explain to my grandson why even the bad guys won’t come play for us! lol.
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God one Macabee; we all at points in time throw out some things we wish we hadn’t. Lets hope we get this win. Good news, bad news. We have been practicing usually on wet field and rain so playing home should be an advantage on our field. On the other hand we just compromised out quickness and spee for a team that depends on short passes and qB running. Go Bucs! Get this win!
Sorry Pinkstob but I wasn’t out here three years ago so I don’t.
I admit I was ambivalent to the situation. Although I thought he was a good CB and someone we shouldn’t just “give away,” I also remembered Talib totally whiffing on a tackle one time against the Texans and it looked like it was because he didn’t want to try and tackle someone that big. That’s known as a career decision.
Saw the Steelers do a lot of that against the Gronk Thursday night and then cry and whine like babies about their headsets not working.
Chuck Noll must be rolling over in his grave.
Whatever the case about Talib, that was a different administration.
Like blaming the 80s inflation on President Cater when President Ford was promoting those wimpy Whip Inflation Now buttons during his administration.
It doesn’t help to be deep at WR if you don’t have a QB that can actually hit a receiver in the same color jersey.
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