FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots
• In case you missed it, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston was fined $12,154 for poking Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore, which triggered a brief brawl between New Orleans players and Tampa Bay players, including wide receiver Mike Evans, who was suspended without pay for this Sunday’s game. The suspension will cost Evans $43,125.
• One final note on Winston’s pre-game “Eat A ‘W’” speech. The young quarterback was asked whether or not he was surprised at the criticism he received over it and said, “I’m not. When you’re losing, everything is magnified and everything is worse.”
That’s true. As I mentioned earlier about the focus New England quarterback Tom Brady shows before the game, he does show some emotion about an hour before kickoff before settling into a zone during pre-game. This passage from ESPN.com about how Brady handled the taunting of Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce before last year’s playoff game.
Here’s a hint. Brady didn’t poke a finger at Kelce’s helmet.
“Brady made it part of his pregame ritual to run onto the field for warm-ups while Jay Z’s ‘Public Service Announcement’ blares from the speakers inside Gillette Stadium. You can tell it’s one of his favorite parts of game day by the way he pumps his fist, bounces on the balls of his feet and acknowledges the rabid Patriots fans already in the stands. Against the Chiefs, he trotted the length of the field slowly, knowing it might be his last chance to soak in the atmosphere of Gillette Stadium this season. When he reached the end zone, he roared, slashing the air with a vigorous punch. Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce, looking on from a few yards away, mocked Brady with a celebration of his own, punching the air and bobbing his head. Brady glanced at Kelce, acknowledging he had seen the gesture, but jogged away in a manner suggesting that lions do not concern themselves with the opinions of sheep.”
There is a lot that can be learned from Brady. I know Winston is just “being himself” with his hyped up pre-game speeches, but he has to ask himself, “Are they working?”
In Winston’s 40 games as a starter, Tampa Bay has only led in 15 of those contests in the first quarter, while trailing in the first quarter in 19 of those games. The Bucs were tied in the first quarter on six occasions. Yet in 40 games Tampa Bay has only scored in double digits (10 points or more) in the first quarter just four times.
Winston has a 17-23 record as a starting quarterback. Maybe it’s time the Bucs’ leader tries a new approach to get his team – and himself – more focused on starting faster in games.
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• Thank you, Pewter Nation, for helping us surpass 28,000 Twitter followers for our @PewterReport Twitter account. For those of you who don’t follow us on Twitter, please do so and help us reach 29,000. For the latest Bucs news, observations from the PewterReport.com staff, reports from Bucs press conferences and notifications of the latest PewterReport.com stories, join the masses who follow @PewterReport and help us continue to grow our following on Twitter. And if you are on Facebook, please follow our Facebook page by clicking here.
• ProFootballTalk.com commented on a report that suggested NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is “furious” over the fact that a few owners, led by Dallas’ Jerry Jones, want his next contract to be incentive-laden tied to performance. According to the report, Goodell has been paid roughly $200 million over the past 11 years, and his new deal would pay him roughly the same money that he is making now if the incentives are reached.
Jones’ effort might be too late as the owners approved the NFL Competition Committee to move forward with finalizing Goodell’s contract in May and incentives weren’t on the table for discussion back then. In a league where many players have performance bonuses or roster bonuses tied to their contracts to protect a team against injuries or underperforming, Goodell should face the same scenario. Especially now when instances like the Ray Rice debacle, Deflategate and the Ezekiel Elliott case have given Goodell and the league a black eye, TV ratings and attendance are down, and advertisers are unhappy over the way the league has handled the National Anthem protests.
I personally think it’s time for a new NFL Commissioner as this might be a tipping point for the league, but it’s too late for that now. Goodell has made the league too much money in the past and has too many allegiances with ownership. With the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expiring in 2020 and needing to be renegotiated in a couple of years, and so much hostility existing between Goodell and NFL Players Association executive DeMaurice Smith, I think the owners are making a big mistake by keeping him.
• The banged up Bucs are at home this week to face the New York Jets this week, trying to end a five-game losing streak. Check out the Pewter Nation Podcast that previews this Sunday’s battle of current and former Jets quarterbacks and former and current Bucs quarterbacks – Josh McCown and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Get the insight and analysis on the Bucs from PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook, Trevor Sikkema and yours truly in our latest podcast. We talk about the health of the team, Jameis Winston’s pre-game speech and what has gone wrong in Tampa Bay this season in this week’s podcast. Here is a link to the latest Pewter Nation Podcast – Episode 43: J-E-T-S, JETS, JETS, JETS
If you haven’t listened to this week’s podcast yet, it’s the perfect way to enjoy your lunch on a Friday afternoon or battle rush hour traffic on your way home from work. We’ll be taping another Pewter Nation Podcast on Sunday afternoon after the Bucs play the Jets. 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.
• Be sure to check out PewterReport.com’s Preview and Predictions each Saturday where Mark Cook, Trevor Sikkema and I analyze the upcoming Bucs game, give our prediction and our “Pick To Click,” which is the player we think will stand out for Tampa Bay. I currently have the lead in predictions with a 6-2 record – my only misses being picking the Bucs to beat the Vikings and the Cardinals. Cook and Sikkema are both tied with a 3-5 mark.
And before Sunday’s game, be sure to read my PewterReport.com’s 2017 Bucs Midseason Awards column, in addition to Cook’s PewterReport.com’s Bucs 2017 Midseason Offensive Grades. The defensive grades story will be published on Saturday. All three stories are well worth your time.
• I asked straight-shooting Tampa Bay safety Chris Conte if the team believed too much in its own pre-season hype and press clippings to start the season and entered 2017 feeling overconfident. His answer was spot on.
“Football comes down to a few plays and execution,” Conte said. “Just because you talk about being great, doesn’t mean you’re going to be great. You’ve got to go out there and earn it every Sunday, Monday, or Thursday that you’re out there. We have to come prepared. You can’t just expect things to be handed to you, especially in this league. Obviously, as a team, we haven’t done a good enough job of executing and doing the things that make a football team great. You can’t just sit back and listen to what other people say and be like, ‘Okay, we’re good.’ People say we’re good, but now you have to earn it. I think the NFL proves that. You have to go earn it every single day.”
Looking back on the team’s 2-6 start, was being featured on Hard Knocks a distraction for the Buccaneers?
“No, – well, I don’t know,” Conte said. “Yeah, Hard Knocks is a distraction, but I don’t think that’s the reason why we’re where we’re at. I think people are stupid if they bought in to what other people said about us before the season. I’ve never done that and I don’t think anybody should ever do that. I try not to read anything out there and listen to all that stuff. If anybody did, they’re stupid.”
Well said, Chris.
• The holidays are rapidly approaching and you’ll want to have your house nice and clean before company comes over for Thanksgiving dinner. That’s where When I Say Maid comes into play. You don’t have to be rich to have a maid. Between my wife and working full-time and having four kids that are active in youth football and cheer after school and on weekends – especially during football season – we don’t have time to keep our house clean. And trust me when I say that a household of six can dirty up a home rather quickly.
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• And finally, I will be taking a family vacation for Thanksgiving for the first time in 24 years. It’s so hard to find time around the holidays to fit in a vacation during football season, but I’m doing so this year as we’re driving to Kansas City for a week so my wife and my kids can see my hometown and meet my college roommates and their families. We’re also going to Kansas State University, my alma mater, to see a Wildcats football game and basketball game. Mark Cook and Trevor Sikkema will handle the writing on PewterReport.com and the Pewter Nation Podcasts while I’m gone.
I’m already writing next Friday’s SR’s Fab 5 column presented by Discount Garage Doors, and I believe it will be one of the most talked about SR’s Fab 5 columns of the year – DO NOT MISS IT! It will also be my last one of the month before I go on vacation, so enjoy your Black Friday shopping.