FAB 4. Bucs – Steelers Game Notes

If time permits in my schedule, I plan on adding some notes about the previous week’s Bucs game from my film study during the week into each week’s SR’s Fab 5 column. I’m not going to spend a lot of time rehashing the obvious. Instead, I’ll try to dig deeper and offer some insight you may have missed when watching the game and tie it into the up-coming match-up.

Here are my thoughts from re-watching the Bucs vs. Steelers game.

• Bucs center Ryan Jensen was listed as questionable heading into Monday night’s game against the Steelers, and his effectiveness might have been impacted because he was not 100 percent. Whatever the reason, Jensen did not have a good game versus Pittsburgh in a couple of run situations, getting blown backwards to stymie Peyton Barber.

Bucs C Ryan Jensen - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs C Ryan Jensen – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

But Jensen’s biggest gaffe came on Ryan Fitzpatrick’s pick-six when he was driven back into the quarterback’s lap in the end zone from Steelers nose tackle Dan McCullers. That forced Fitzpatrick to release the ball quicker than anticipated and the throw came out high – too high for Jacquizz Rodgers and it was picked off by linebacker Bud Dupree and returned 10 yards for a key touchdown. Although McCullers is a grown man at 6-foot-7, 352 pounds, Jensen is no shrimp himself at 6-foot-4, 319 pounds.

Jensen has played better than Ali Marpet did at center last year, but he hasn’t been dominant or consistent yet in Tampa Bay’s first three games, and he hasn’t been the best center in the NFL despite being the high-paid center in the league. If the Bucs’ ground game is going to be better than 30th in the league and average more than the 72.7 yards per game it is right now, Jensen will have to really get some push up front.

Jensen isn’t the only one that needs to improve with run blocking. Right guard Caleb Benenoch is the weakest link on Tampa Bay’s offensive line and was rocked backwards more than once in the run game and in pass protection. Benenoch played 52 snaps (71 percent) on Monday night, while Evan Smith played 21 snaps (29 percent) at right guard. I know that Benenoch – or perhaps Alex Cappa – is the future at the position, but I thought Smith played better. Benenoch missed two blitz pick-ups from what I could see.

Bucs RT Demar Dotson - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs RT Demar Dotson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

And right tackle Demar Dotson was exceptionally shaky in the running game, especially down blocking to his left in the team’s zone blocking schemes. Dotson, who still isn’t 100 percent from his offseason knee surgery, allowed too much inside penetration on Monday night, and that’s been a recurring theme thus far this season for the veteran right tackle.

• Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter seemed agitated about the lack of success in the running game following Monday night’s loss to the Steelers.

“We just need to run it more, alright?” Koetter said. “We need more volume runs. I think we had 16 rushes, but a couple of those I’m sure are scrambles. We just need to run it more times. But, when you get down three scores in the first half, I think we had that ball the last drive of the third quarter and our analytics guy is telling me in my ear we only have three possessions left and we’re down three scores. So, guess what? You’re not going to run it too many times.”

Koetter wasn’t necessarily suggesting that the Bucs run the ball more in the second half trailing by 20 points, but there were some key instances where running the ball likely made more sense after watching the game film.

The first instance was when Tampa Bay was backed up to its own 2-yard line after a punt late in the second quarter. Jacquizz Rodgers came in for Barber – I would have left the bigger Barber in – and got two yards on first down. But instead of trying to run it out again to create more room for the offense to work with – or for Bryan Anger to punt – offensive coordinator Todd Monken called for a screen pass to Rodgers on second down and Fitzpatrick’s throw was off target, intercepted and returned for a touchdown to make the score 23-7.

Hindsight is 20-20, but Barber, who had an 18-yard run earlier in the game, might have banged out a first down and gotten the Bucs out of the shadow of their own goal posts.

Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Another instance where Koetter likely would have favored running the ball was after first-and-goal from the 5-yard line in the second quarter. Barber got a 2-yard gain on first down, but it could have been more if not for left tackle Donovan Smith, left guard Ali Marpet and tight end O.J. Howard failing to block defensive end Stephon Tuitt. Somebody should have blocked Tuitt instead of advancing to the second level. Tuitt and linebacker T.J. Watt, who knifed inside Dotson, both tackled Barber three yards from the end zone.

Then on second-and-goal from the Pittsburgh 3, Monken called for back-to-back passing plays, which were incomplete, and the Bucs had to settle for a field goal. If Tampa Bay gets a touchdown there, that’s four more points on the scoreboard and the Bucs win 31-30.

The Bucs ran the ball eight times in the first half and called 23 passing plays. Koetter wants more balance in the team’s offense moving forward, and he’s right to demand that from Monken, who has done a very good job of calling plays in the first three games.

• As much as Tampa Bay’s defense is to blame for Pittsburgh adding a touchdown right before halftime after taking over at their 25-yard line with 1:15 left in the second quarter, the Bucs’ inability to run the ball also contributed. After a 2-yard run down to the Steelers’ 3-yard line, Monken called for back-to-back passing plays that only consumed five seconds off the clock. Chandler Catanzaro’s 21-yard field goal came with 1:17 left in the first half.

Had the Bucs decided to run the ball on second and possibly third down, another 20-40 seconds would have come off the clock. Even if Tampa Bay had to settle for Catanzaro’s field goal and not scored a touchdown, the Steelers would have had less than 40 seconds left before the end of the half. That would have greatly diminished their chances of getting a touchdown by halftime.

Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Instead, Ben Roethlisberger was 8-of-9 passing for 75 yards on that drive, and threw a touchdown pass with 10 seconds left before halftime to push the score to 30-10. Had the Bucs given Roethlisberger less time to work with and made the Steelers have to settle for a field goal, Tampa Bay would have prevailed 27-26.

• Looking back at the game film, Fitzpatrick played much better than I thought he did in the first half. He was under duress a good deal of the time and two of his interceptions were due in part to poor protection issues. His other one, which was an overthrow of Mike Evans, was due to the fact that Evans stopped running his route, as Trevor Sikkema pointed out in his latest Cover 3.

The Bucs are doing the wise thing by starting Fitzpatrick in Chicago. He deserves another week to start based on his three-game performance, throwing for 400 yards in three consecutive starts, which is an NFL record. Head coach Dirk Koetter is doing the right thing.

• Tampa Bay rookie running back Shaun Wilson inexplicably strayed from his path of blockers several times during kickoff returns against Pittsburgh. On at least three occasions, Wilson was seen veering away from where the Bucs’ blocks were set up, and trying to create something on his own. The results were disastrous.

Wilson had five returns for 68 yards – a paltry 13.6 yards per return – with a long of 17 on Monday night. Wilson is now averaging 16.2 yards per kick return and has a long of 29, and Tampa Bay needs a better showing from the undrafted free agent.

Bucs KR Shaun Wilson - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs KR Shaun Wilson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“We were very poor in that last night,” Koetter said on Tuesday. “Our biggest issue last night [was] our returner and our blockers weren’t on the same page. More than once, we were blocking it one way and returning it the other and that’s just not going to work. That was disappointing. Obviously Pittsburgh challenged us to bring the ball out. They kicked it high and tried to get hang-time. When a team does that, you’ve got to get it past the 25 yard-line to make it a successful play. We can’t have that.

“It’s just like any other play, if two different parts of the play are on the wrong page or not on the same page, it’s not going to work out [well] and that’s exactly what happened with our kickoff return. I don’t care where we’re ranked in the league. It didn’t take a brain surgeon to see that we weren’t in sync with kickoff return last night. We’ve got to get it fixed right away.”

1
2
3
4
5
Previous articleReynolds Talks Bucs QBs And Bears With WFLA.com
Next articleTampa Bay at Chicago Injury Report: 9-28
Scott Reynolds is in his 24th 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 spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

53 COMMENTS

  1. “It’s ironic that the Tampa Bay Times – almost universally – wants Winston to start immediately when its columnists were calling for the Bucs to cut him during the summer when his three-game suspension was announced.”

    Almost as ironic as a certain PR reporter praising Koetter, yet was leading the “Fire Dirk For Gruden” campaign all off-season.

    How’s that working out?

    +29
    -3
    Rating: +26. From 32 votes.
    Please wait...
    • Man, it’s cold in the shade!

      +2
      0
      Rating: +2. From 2 votes.
      Please wait...
      • Then let’s fight there.

        +1
        0
        Rating: +1. From 1 vote.
        Please wait...
        • Huh?

          So, my comment isn’t so obvious. Let me fix that…

          Man(Donkeyhunter), it’s cold(blooded) in the shade(that you’re throwing at PR)!

          +1
          0
          Rating: +1. From 1 vote.
          Please wait...
          • I agree BucWild. I was referring to the 300 Spartans:)

            0
            0
            No votes yet.
            Please wait...
    • My favorite is all the reporting PR did about how Winston would never do anything bad. To quote Scott Reynolds:

      “September 20, 2014 is the day Winston changed. That was the day that football was taken away from him…”

      And then when the Uber driver came out it was “nothing’s happened in the 2 years since!”

      It’s hard to keep things straight when you got so many darts!

      +5
      -6
      Rating: -1. From 11 votes.
      Please wait...
      • As for me saying “September 20, 2014 is the day Winston changed. That was the day that football was taken away from him…”

        Yeah, I did think Jameis Winston’s behavior had changed since that day. Apparently not given what happened with the Uber driver. However, if he is to be believed, he did give up drinking and yes, it is a fact that nothing else has happened in two years since that we are aware of.

        0
        0
        No votes yet.
        Please wait...
        • Scott, to be blunt I was hugely disappointed in how PR and yourself covered what happened with Winston.

          Because I’d had such respect for your and PR’s work, I listened to everything you put out about Winston and the Uber driver.

          And what I heard was a lot of poorly informed and regressive defending of Winston (both explicitly and implicitly). Yourself and the rest of PR went out of their way to minimize both the timeline (“It was 2 years ago”) and the nature of his actions. Both yourself and Mark defended him by, literally, stating that “Did he even remember what happened?” and “We’ve all done stupid things when drunk”. It’s a straight line between this kind of thinking and the abetting by inaction the sexual assaulting of women.

          I remember in the leadup to the Winston draft how much you pushed the narrative that Winston learned from his mistakes and would be squeaky clean. I provided an example of that above. Yet, here was an example of the complete opposite and you sought to aggressively downplay it. The most hypocritical part was when you argued that nothing had happened in the last 2 years which was a bizarre argument and a retread of what you’d already said – simply with context changed. At one point you even restated that he’d learn from having football taken away, a tragically comical retread from 4 years previous.

          0
          0
          No votes yet.
          Please wait...
    • Gee, I also remember Scott flogging his “defense doesn’t matter anymore in the NFL, now it’s all about the passing game” all last off-season and pre-season.

      Yet, here we are, about to face the Bears, and suddenly Scott is worried that our defense can’t even stop a mediocre defense, while he frets that the very good Chicago defenders are about to throttle the league’s best offense.

      Could it really have been that Scott was just making up excuses for Licht’s rotten record in drafting and signing free agent defenders for his entire tenure at Tampa Bay?

      Naw, really?

      Look, yes, the NFL is more pass happy, but mainly because offenses are mostly going to the short passing game in substitution of the running game. So it skews the numbers to make even good passing defenses look mediocre. But that does nothing to negate the value of a top notch defense. Chicago may or may not throttle our no. 1 offense, but the fact that our defense continues to suck every single year under Licht is what really should bother most of us.

      It is pretty clear that a high octane offense can get you into the playoffs if you also have a fair to middling defense. Similarly, a high octane defense can get you to the playoffs if you have at least a fair to middling offense. But a a high octane offense combined with a sucky defense is not the way to build a playoff team.

      There are no more excuses for Licht this year. There weren’t any good excuses last year either, but here we are. It is long past time to hold Licht (and the coaches) responsible for a bottom dwelling defense, year in and year out. It is great to have a very good offense, but teams cannot rely upon perfection in offense to wipe out horribility in defense.

      0
      -2
      Rating: -2. From 2 votes.
      Please wait...
      • Correction to my my second para. above … should read:

        Yet, here we are, about to face the Bears, and suddenly Scott is worried that our defense can’t even stop a mediocre offense, while he frets that the very good Chicago defenders are about to throttle the league’s best offense.

        0
        0
        No votes yet.
        Please wait...
      • LA Rams have the best defense in the NFL, arguably. They have a defense filled with Pro Bowl players, All PRos and future HOF candidates: Donald, Suh, Brockers, Talib, Peters, amongst others. They just gave up 31 points at home to a Minnesota team that previoiusly lost to the (laughingstock)Buffalo Bills.

        DEFENSE IS DEAD.

        0
        0
        No votes yet.
        Please wait...
    • I didn’t call for the Bucs to fire Dirk Koetter and replace him with Jon Gruden during the “off-season.” Gruden was already hired by the Raiders and the Bucs had committed to Koetter by the end of December – after Gruden turned the Bucs down. It’s important to get your facts straight.

      During the season when the Bucs had an interest in potentially hiring Gruden I reported what I knew at the time. There was significant interest in replacing Koetter with Gruden during a few months of football season while team’s record was nose-diving.

      At the start of this season I even wrote in an SR’s Fab 5 that the Bucs dodged a bullet by not replacing Koetter with Gruden.

      0
      0
      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
  2. Compelling case to keep Fitz in at starter. Respectfully I disagree.

    The healthy #1 overall draft pick QB whose future with the franchise is tied to the future of the front office and coaching staff need to put their guy out there. Every game he’s on the roster, healthy and not starting is one more game that argues against keeping him or them. It’s a shot to his confidence, his team mates confidence, and the fan’s confidence. Make no mistake, at their level, confidence is everything. There isn’t a better opportunity to put Winston back in there. He’s the starter, he plays if he’s able.

    Fitz was hot in relief, but he’s a temporary reliever, not a permanent starter. Anyway, he’s cooled off and the Bucs lost MNF mostly because of Fitz, Grimes, and Koetter’s two huge mistakes(1.Not bitching and forcing a review for ejection about the crown of Bostic’s helmet being lowered on the hit to Fitz early and 2.The punting call on 4th down late).

    +14
    -7
    Rating: +7. From 21 votes.
    Please wait...
    • We have seen you state this probably 20 different times. We know your take. It is not going to happen. Fitz WILL start this game. He should. His Teamates want it and have publicly said so (D-Jax). It is the correct play for where we are right now.

      Don’t worry BucWild, Winston is not going anywhere and he will start this year. Just not until after the bye. And no, Koetter will not be shown the door for making that call. I believe the GM and Ownership think this is the right move too.

      Go Bucs!

      +9
      -10
      Rating: -1. From 19 votes.
      Please wait...
      • I see. So it isn’t a mystery after all? We all KNOW it’s going to be Fitz starting. I wonder why the Bucs haven’t come out and just stated it then. Are they gaining a competitive advantage by keeping it a secret? Some secret. Lol. And DJax said after Philly but before Pittsburgh that he would ride the hot hand at QB just like NBA2K when a player is on fire. Fitz isn’t on fire any more. He lost. He threw 3 picks and could have thrown 3 more if the passes weren’t dropped by Pittsburgh players. DJax – 3 catches for 37 yards vs the 29th ranked defense in the NFL.

        +12
        -4
        Rating: +8. From 16 votes.
        Please wait...
        • “DJax – 3 catches for 37 yards vs the 29th ranked defense in the NFL.”

          Oh boy, we’re cherry picking stats? I want to play!

          Last season when we faced the 31st ranked defense in the NFL, DJax had 2 catches for 20 yards.

          Crazy, right? He’s already matched his TD total, halfway to his yardage total, doubled his YPR total from last season.

          +1
          -3
          Rating: -2. From 4 votes.
          Please wait...
          • I didn’t think I was cherry picking stats. I was just pointing out that Fitz and DJax had a connection in week 1 and 2 which was when he made his comment about the hot QB. Week 3 was a totally different story. That’s why I put D.Jax’s numbers up.

            +2
            -3
            Rating: -1. From 5 votes.
            Please wait...
      • I’m trusting Koetter on this. He wants to win – period. This isn’t about the future, it’s about Chicago. That said, I expect Jamies to be starting coming out of the bye week. Jamies is our #1 guy. He was our best QB in preseason. He finished last year strong. And he is the long term guy. He needs to get back on the field.

        +4
        -2
        Rating: +2. From 6 votes.
        Please wait...
  3. After this week, Tampa’s offense will be in the top ten still, but definitely not #1. The Rams will own that spot after destroying Minnesota in a shootout on TNF. Does that really matter most? The Raiders are averaging 400 yards per game(0-3), Texan 396 per game(0-3), Lions 393 yards per game(1-2), and the Vikings 391 per game(1-2-1). Thats 4 teams with top ten offenses that are a combined 2-10-1.

    +7
    -1
    Rating: +6. From 8 votes.
    Please wait...
    • We happen to be 2-1. I wonder who was at the helm???

      I am not in favor of Fitz being the long term option but I am for the hot hand that damn near got us back in that game last week. We lost as a Team not because of Fitz. We were in that game but not in spite of Fitz.

      You are stuck on one idea. We will agree to disagree. Enjoy the game Sunday!!

      +7
      -4
      Rating: +3. From 11 votes.
      Please wait...
      • You good Philly man.

        I’ve brought up multiple points. I’ve brought up multiple comparisons to other players who have been suspended or injured and came back. I’m not stuck on anything other than the Bucs winning this week and in future weeks while keeping the front office and coaches from getting fired.

        Fitz is great. The team is lucky to have him as Winston’s backup. He lead a very talented offense to a couple of good wins against three really good playoff teams that were missing some of their most talented players.

        +1
        0
        Rating: +1. From 1 vote.
        Please wait...
    • Your comparing apple to Oranges when comparing Foles to Fitz. If Foles would have played at Fitz level he would still be starting or if Fitz would have played at Foles level then Winston would be starting this week. Foles never played at a pro bowl level or even top 10 QB level. Fitz is playing at a top 2 Qb level right now. Find me a comparison where the back up is playing as a top 3 Qb and filling in for a QB who is out because of behavior not injury or is even out because of injury. You cant because this is a unique situation.

      Rams avg 468 ypg, tamps 473, N.O 428, KC 398. So 4 of the top 8 offensive teams have a combined record of 11-2 and the top 2 offenses which include us are combined 6-1. Now lets look at scoring offenses PPG where we are currently 4th. The top 6 scoring teams in the NFL which include us are 14-4. Do you know whos not in the top 10 in scoring. All 4 teams you mentioned above.

      +6
      -3
      Rating: +3. From 9 votes.
      Please wait...
  4. If Monken has had a great influence on the Bucs Offensive success, which I think we can all agree with, then why wouldn’t Winston get the benefit of the doubt to put the offense in the same situations that Fitz is doing?
    Can we all not agree that the weapons on this offense are loaded and that this year we are seeing all of them utilized properly? Winston is the better and more talented quarterback. The numbers show it. Look at the preseason when all 3 qbs were playing lights out. Winston was still #1. Look at his stats last year after coming back from his shoulder injury. He was a top 5 QB in the league based on the numbers.
    Fitz is the back up. He did his job. He played great during the 3 games and helped us get to 2-1. But now Winston is back, so let him get us to 11-5.
    Go Bucs!!

    +10
    -5
    Rating: +5. From 15 votes.
    Please wait...
    • And I’ve got to respectfully disagree with you again Scott. Bringing up Fitz record as a starter these past 6 games vs Winston’s last 12 is kinda out of context too. I looked up the combine win % of the teams fitz played and its .465. The teams Winston has faced is .604 and 8 out of the 12 were playoff teams that Winston faced last year….

      +10
      -1
      Rating: +9. From 11 votes.
      Please wait...
  5. Stats can be very misleading and you can analyze some of it anyway you want to.
    The only stat that I know was we missed alot of tackles; two of them resulted in long touchdowns. Also I don’t understand Mike Smith scheme that DB’s can press, but Grimes never has to.
    The other stat that I know is that Fitzpatrick threw 3 interceptions and one was for a touchdown, and his total passing yards were not good at halftime and we were down by 23 points.

    +5
    -2
    Rating: +3. From 7 votes.
    Please wait...
  6. Excellent Fab five Scott! One disagreement and then 2 comments.

    Chicago is not a better team than Philadelphia, New Orleans, or Pittsburgh. They had to come from behind to beat Arizona. If we can beat Philly and New Orleans, It makes no sense that we are bested by the Bears. No one has stopped our offense, and we were dropped passes from winning Monday night. The bears are not a pushover but we should still win

    It makes no sense that we are best at by the Bears. No one has stopped our offense, and we were dropped passes from winning Monday night. The bears are not a pushover but we should still win.

    I love the article about Pittsburgh is kick off’s and I thought the same thing while watching the game. Why doesn’t Tampa do the same thing? Kick it high and have it land right around the goal line. Yes you risk a long return, but 98% of the time you will stop them he I love the article about Pittsburgh is kick off‘s and I thought the same thing while watching the game. Why doesn’t Tampa do the same thing? Kick it high and have it land right around the goal line. Yes you risk a long return, but the many opportunities for great field position makes that a net gain.

    Second, on the whole I thought Ryan Fitzpatrick fared well against the blitz even as he obviously did not do perfect. How many receivers dropped catchable balls? The bears may blitz and it may cause us trouble. But connecting on a hot route overcomes bliss.

    +4
    -1
    Rating: +3. From 5 votes.
    Please wait...
  7. Scott, the Fab 5 articles are still not showing up on the ‘articles’ page. What’s the deal?

    0
    -1
    Rating: -1. From 1 vote.
    Please wait...
    • That should be fixed now.

      0
      0
      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
  8. I think the Bucs are starting Fitz to protect Winston from the Bears pass rush. Winston won’t start the game, but he could finish it after Fitz is knocked silly by Mack. When blitzing Kwon, or David they have to get a clean shot at the Q.B. to be successful. If they get picked up by a blocker they are to small to get past them, or push them back into the Q.B.. The Steelers on the other hand have massive L.B.’s that run right through backs, and tight ends. I also notice when our L.B.’s do blitz they come from way behind the line of scrimmage. I know they’re coming,and so do opposing teams who have more then enough time to recover, and pick them up. Scott if you’re waiting for Dotson’s knee to get 100%, and he’ll get better as the season rolls along, you’re dreaming. Same goes for Grimes. What you’re seeing isn’t rust, it’s old age. Giving up a high percentage of completions is a big enough problem. The real killer is the missed, and awful tackling. The play A.B. scored on Grimes was there all night, but Ben didn’t go to it as much as he could because he was having such great success wherever he thew it. I think Grimes gives up a T.D. 10 out of 10 times on that play. Why did we not sign Breeland at corner? The real bummer was watching Reid signing with the Panthers. I’d take those two over Grimes, and Conte any day. Licht screwed the pooch not making those moves.

    +4
    0
    Rating: +4. From 4 votes.
    Please wait...
    • I was at the game, and that play between AB and Grimes was right in front of me. When I saw that Grimes was lined up in zone coverage, I knew right away that Ben was putting the ball there. The fact that Grimes completely whiffed on the tackle made it all the more bad.

      +2
      0
      Rating: +2. From 2 votes.
      Please wait...
  9. WHY so much love for Winston ????? Has he proved to be worthy of the 1st pick in the draft or has he been passed by by qb’s taken after him on teams with lesser weapons. He is accurate throwing the football or just average with so many weapons? Didn’t he cost his school Big $$ following
    female issues with charges of rape .. Did you see Winston (video) in the cafe screaming the nastiest things he wanted done to some female in front of other students . Didn’t Winston “borrow” crap legs from Publix and tried to lie his way out which the employee and publix both said the items were not given to him? Didn’t Winston forget to tell the nfl and team and the incident with the uber driver and then lied saying he was with another guys? Did he put his team 1st and state he is not allowed on uber and why? Did he try to hide from the truth again which got him suspended ? would you want him to be the face our beloved bucs nationally?? humm ( my opinion)

    +3
    -19
    Rating: -16. From 22 votes.
    Please wait...
    • Crab legs controversy, cafeteria table top meme, bee-bee gun shoot out in the apartment complex breaking windows, Erica Kinsman rape allegation and the subsequent title IX lawsuit vs FSU from poor follow up on the university’s part are all things Winston did BEFORE the Bucs drafted him #1 overall. The took him anyway. He was their guy.

      Uber driver groping allegations occured after his first year with the team. She simply reported innappropriate behavior. She didn’t file a sexual assault or any kind of assault charges. She still hasn’t. NFL investigated and handed Winston a 3 game suspension. He didn’t fight the suspension through an appeal. He acknowledge being drunk. He apologized for his behavior, even if he didn’t agree with her account of events.

      After this incident, he stopped drinking. He settled down and got married. He is active in a number of ways in the community. He has worked to become a better person. He has worked to become a better QB. Bucs PICKED UP his 5th year option after he was suspended. He has the respect of the people in the locker room and upstairs.

      While suspended, he organized and lead football activities to try to keep sharp. He reviewed the games as they occured and texted his teammates along the way, congratulating them for their performances. He is humbled and working hard to be the best asset he can be for the team. Very unselfish.

      He will be the Bucs QB this year and next year. Period. End of story.

      +17
      -4
      Rating: +13. From 21 votes.
      Please wait...
      • Well stated BucWild! Ben is just a HATER and is actually hoping Winston fails so he can be right. I am a Gator fan, not FSU. I sure hope lame ass Ben is not a Gator fan. I am sure he would be a fly by night one anyway…

        Take your hatred elsewhere Ben. Winston is the QB of the Bucs for a long time to come.

        +6
        -3
        Rating: +3. From 9 votes.
        Please wait...
        • Thanks for expressing you opinion even if you don’t agree with mine . .. nope ,not a hater as i have season tkts but don’t like the face of the team being suspended while not being honest with the team or fans. You may overlook poor character which is your choice . GO bucs , see you at the game buc fans!!

          +2
          -3
          Rating: -1. From 5 votes.
          Please wait...
    • Ben ,you keep regurgitating the same opinion every post. We get it ,you wanted the constantly Injured Mariota ,but hes never going to be a bucs qb. Move on

      +6
      0
      Rating: +6. From 6 votes.
      Please wait...
  10. Glad Fitz is starting. Bucs will get their points.

    Bucs D needs to step up this week against an anemic offense. If they can’t stop Mitch & Co. then they can’t stop anybody.

    OL better get their act together or Mack will feast.

    +5
    -3
    Rating: +2. From 8 votes.
    Please wait...
  11. Woho Scott, them’s some fighting words with your journalist colleagues in Tampa….no?

    Anyway, the Steelers gave the whole league the blueprint for defense – and they don’t have a particularly good one. BLITZ, BLITZ, BLITZ….that makes FITZ very uncomfortable….so I surely hope our boys (Monken, Koetter and co.) are ready for some all out assaults from the Bears D. I wish RoJo was dressing so that we had somebody to take a screen pass to the house….we’ll see.

    On the flip side- I would just repeat that…the Steelers showed us that the way to play D when you don’t have a very good one is BLITZ, BLITZ, BLITZ….please, for the love of Pete would Mike Smith call up some Blitzes this weekend!

    +2
    0
    Rating: +2. From 2 votes.
    Please wait...
    • Bucs blitzed on the play Vance McDonald trucked Conte onto IR(or into retirement?) Blitzes leave one on one coverage and can lead to big plays against the defense. Bucs were better on defense when they rushed four down linemen and didn’t blitz actually.

      0
      -1
      Rating: -1. From 1 vote.
      Please wait...
  12. Meh. I wouldn’t call it wisdom to start Fitz on game 4. I think the wisdom is in whatever Koetter’s seeing at practice right now because I’d start Winston this Sunday if he looked good in practice along with several other factors that would influence that decision for me that can only be seen and heard in that locker room this week. I’m ok with starting Fitz though; however, if we lose this Sunday, I’ll be thinking of the what ifs had Winston been starting. If we win, great! And here’s to hoping Winston is a lock for starting game 5 regardless of winning or losing game 4 cuz the future is now with this kid. He’s earned the starting job breaking NFL records being the youngest QB to do so and on a poor team with the second best play-caller calling the plays. The kid didn’t even know what losing was like until he became a Buccaneer. We gotta find out what we have with him asap with THIS team cuz his rookie deal is about up.

    +4
    -2
    Rating: +2. From 6 votes.
    Please wait...
  13. I just don’t see us not getting at least (1) more point then the Bears. BUCS WIN!!! 3-1 No matter who the QB is this week. I think we would have to have an absolute terrible game against the Bears to lose. Winston should start week 6 no matter what happens or who starts this week IMO. GO BUCS!!!

    +4
    -1
    Rating: +3. From 5 votes.
    Please wait...
  14. Well said, Scott. I am perplex by this manufactured QB controversy. Bucs winning? That’s always a good thing in my book.

    +1
    0
    Rating: +1. From 1 vote.
    Please wait...
  15. I think we will see more of a ball control offense this week and I think Monken will emphasize red-zone scoring as opposed to big plays in the passing game. I think the protection has been solid for the most part this season and Quizz has done better than I expected in blitz pickup. I think that will continue this week. I think Hump and Jackson get touches off of quick screens that will get the Bears out of blitzing so often. Evans and Brate will create matchup nightmares for the Bears secondary and will snag a TD each. Bears offense will struggle against our front 7 and our D will have a great day. It’ll come down to special teams and field position so as long as we tackle well on kickoff coverage and Chandler makes his FG and XPs we should be fine. I predict the final to be 31-14 Bucs.

    +3
    -2
    Rating: +1. From 5 votes.
    Please wait...
  16. If the Bucs get the doors blown off their defense again this week I hope they replace Mike Smith during the bye week. He has talent on the DL and in the secondary he just chooses to misuse it. Ryan Smith played the best week of football we’ve ever seen the week prior then gets benched for Grimes who was slow and small and as usual off in coverage. It was clear to everyone watching that Grimes did not have it at least Monday night, when every game matters we need a DC capable of making that observation and getting that player out of the lineup. We are not generating a pass rush consistently with either the 4 down or the blitz which is purely scheme related considering the talent he’s working with. Bradley McDougald was let go I’ll have to assume bc Mike Smith said he preferred Conte which looks foolish considering how solid McDougald has been in Seattle.

    Fitz should start the next game but I think we bring Jameis back after the bye regardless of how Fitz performs. What we saw was when Fitz has a clean pocket he can make throws, I think Jameis can do the same. We also saw that when Fitz is under fire he is just as prone to make the errant throw as Jameis, which makes the decision very simple. I think this offense is very explosive but could benefit greatly from a stronger commitment to the run. Peyton Barber may have looked fantastic in camp but he’s just been solid during the season and I see no reason Rojo shouldn’t be getting carries. We saw those blitz assignments missed by the veteran backs last week so it’s not like either have run away with the job. Fitz threw 28 and 33 times the first two weeks compared to 50 this past week. The game obviously dictated that he threw more but the main reason we were down so much was bc they put the ball in his hands so much early. We have an explosive offense but I hope they are really assessing this team and not caught up in the record. We have a defense that’s been atrocious despite creating some turnovers and an offense with no running game. I might be crazy but if we really want to make the playoffs I think we will need to shore up at least one of those areas and the status quo hasn’t worked.

    +5
    -1
    Rating: +4. From 6 votes.
    Please wait...
  17. Who believes Martin Fennelly anymore? He was writing back in the 1980s when I lived in Tampa (he was not there in the 1970s), I am a little surprised he is still there.

    Trade Fitzpatrick? Good luck with that. Fitzpatrick resigned for one year – he did not plan to play again this year, he planned to retire. He agreed to play one more year as the Bucs wanted him for this three game stretch when it came to be. So the Bucs got a good QB for three games (perhaps more the way he is playing) and one more year out of him. You try to trade him, he is liable to retire on the spot. He agreed to play for Tampa for one more year – not just anywhere one more year. He might do it, but with retirement on his mind, he just might not.

    +6
    0
    Rating: +6. From 6 votes.
    Please wait...
  18. If Ryan Fitzpatrick stays hot even if FitzMagic lasts all season long, there’s is a lot of good that will come out of it for Jameis Winston as Tampa’s long term starter at quarterback. Standing around with a clipboard and possibly headphones for a year or even watching a proven starter, charting the when and why certain plays are called or audibles called, and generally getting a snapshot of the big picture has been the starting point for many great quarterbacks many of whom are enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Winston never had that opportunity in Tampa because there was no proven starter, so he was left with get in the game and sink or swim, with only the quarterback coaches and OC to offer advice and provide the reasoning after the fact. We saw Winston’s game improve after he was forced to do just that because of injury last year. Think how much his intellectual game might improve after watching Fitzpatrick run the team from the sidelines for most of an NFL season.

    Yes, because injuries Mike Smith is forced to start two rookie corners and one rookie safety. But, while they’re making their share of mistakes, because they’re rookies learning on the job, they’re obviously NFL caliber players, because they’re getting a little bit better every week. Let’s remember even the great Ronde Barber was on the Bucs’ roster for three years before earning his regular starting cornerback spot. As long as M.J. Stewart, Carlton Davis, and Jordan Whitehead keep improving every week, and the defensive line keeps doing the same thing, whether it’s from players returning from injury or better teamwork among the pass rushers, the Bucs will be okay by midseason and they’ll be fine by the end of the season. Maybe they won’t be championship caliber yet, but the defense will likely be good enough with good things portending for next year.

    0
    -1
    Rating: -1. From 1 vote.
    Please wait...
  19. LOL. Good job taking Vea over James.

    +3
    -6
    Rating: -3. From 9 votes.
    Please wait...
    • I guess we will see this weekend.

      0
      0
      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
    • Yep, settled science. Derwin James is going to Canton and Vita Vea is out of the league. Who knew it would only take three weeks? You did Bucsfan1983!

      +4
      -1
      Rating: +3. From 5 votes.
      Please wait...
  20. Play calling, O Line and those receivers getting open all over the place…Like Winston said how could you not do well with the way they are playing! Don’t think Fitzpatrick could even make it to the end of the season having to throw 50 times a game…Our QB will be back after the bye and if your a hater…sorry about that! As always I am more worried about keeping the other team from scoring.

    +1
    -1
    Rating: 0. From 2 votes.
    Please wait...
  21. OMG Sunshineben please stop with the rewiinds. Go get a cafe latte double seat at Starbucks with Tom Jones and Marin Fentanyl.
    We all know about the heinous felonies of stealing crab legs, fountain drinks, shooting BB guns at each other and shouting obscenities in a lunch room.
    We don’t need to be reminded about them ad nauseum.
    But since Winston isn’t doing 5 to 7 in the Atlanta Federal Correctional facility, I am happy to see him behind center for us.
    Just call me a bleeding heart liberal.
    Was glad to see you call out the St. Pete Times.
    Tom Jones spent a whole column last week whining and complaining about Winston’s uber experience but failed to spend one sentence on Big Ben’s past history which is much worse.
    Such hypocrisy.

    +6
    -1
    Rating: +5. From 7 votes.
    Please wait...
  22. Although Tampa has a challenging schedule this year in terms of opponents win % in 2017, they are fortunate with not so many cold weather games and no west coast trips. Expect the passing game to survive the fall and hopefully the winter!

    +3
    0
    Rating: +3. From 3 votes.
    Please wait...
  23. One statement and one prediction
    1. Bucs blew their first round pick last year. They overthought it and did not pick the best player available. Plain and simple, they should have drafted James.
    2. They will lose to the Bears. It might be close, but they will lose.

    I hope I’m proven wrong on both counts.

    +2
    -4
    Rating: -2. From 6 votes.
    Please wait...
  24. Smith said. “I would think this week that would be something they would probably want to do, especially with the way our offense has been playing offensive football.
    The problem is our defense has also been playing offensive football.

    +1
    0
    Rating: +1. From 1 vote.
    Please wait...