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FAB 1. Could Rivers Replace Winston?

Bucs fans have mixed opinions when it comes to whether or not they want to see Tampa Bay re-sign Jameis Winston – be it a multi-year extension or the franchise tag.

But there is more of a consensus about former Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers possibly replacing Winston. That’s not a popular idea.

Fans look at the fact that Rivers had the third-highest interception total in the NFL with 20 – to go along with just 23 touchdowns – and the fact that he is 38 years old. That, plus the Chargers finishing with an 5-11 record, doesn’t inspire much confidence that Rivers would be as good or better than Winston.

Because I have tunnel vision on the Buccaneers, I can’t speak about Rivers or the Chargers with any authority, outside of telling you that he has completed 4,908-of-7,591 passes (64.7 percent) for 59,271 yards with 397 touchdowns and 198 interceptions in his 16 years with the team. Rivers’ career TD percentage is a sterling 5.2 percent, along with a career INT percentage of 2.6.

Rivers completed 390-of-591 passes (66 percent) for 4,615 yards with 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in 2019, and had eight 300-yard passing games last season.

Rivers hasn’t missed a start in 14 years, and he has thrown for 4,000 yards in seven straight seasons, and 11 times out of the last 12 years. He’s a big-time competitor who has a large family that just moved to Florida. That’s about it.

So I decided to look at every one of Rivers’ throws in three of his best games and three of his worst games from the 2019 season to evaluate if he’s lost any arm strength with his advancing age and if he’s in the same class as Winston when it comes to being a turnover machine. I wanted to find out if there was any merit to the criticism of Rivers.

Before getting into the results of my film study, keep one thing in mind – the clock is ticking for both general manager Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians. Licht has been at the helm of this team six seasons with one winning season and no playoff berths. He needs to win now.

Bucs GM Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians
Bucs GM Jason Licht and head coach Bruce Arians – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Arians will be 68 this year and wants one more shot at a championship before he retires. He has four more years left on his contract, but I believe he’ll retire in the next two or three years. Time is of the essence, and he had success in Arizona with an aging, experienced quarterback in Carson Palmer, who helped take the Cardinals to three straight playoff appearances from 2013-15.

I’m not saying the Bucs won’t draft a quarterback in 2020 – they may do so even as high as the first round. But Tampa Bay won’t be starting a rookie QB this season. Not with Licht and Arians on the ticking clock. If the Bucs don’t re-sign Winston, Rivers or another veteran quarterback would be added to help get Tampa Bay to the playoffs instead.

Let’s go to Rivers’ tape.

Rivers’ 3 Best Games In 2019

Week 1: Chargers’ 30-24 OT win vs. Colts
25-of-34 (73.5 percent) for 333 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Sacked 4 times
Film Notes: Rivers threw lots of short passes, but he was forced into that due to Indy’s tight coverage downfield. Rivers showed nice touch and good zip on intermediate throws. His lone interception came when he didn’t step into a short throw in the end zone and Malik Hooker made a great play on the ball at the right time. That’s one flaw about Rivers that I saw on tape – an overreliance on his arm strength and not adhering to good QB form of stepping into throws. Yet Rivers showed good poise in engineering the game-winning touchdown drive in overtime. It was a solid, effective performance, but not necessarily a spectacular showing.

Week 9: Chargers’ 26-11 win vs. Packers
21-of-28 (75 percent) for 294 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs
Sacked 2 times
Film Notes: Rivers made a lot of risk-averse throws to the backs and tight ends in this game. Was that the game plan or was Rivers taking what the defense gave him? It’s hard to say without knowing what the game plan was. Rivers was efficient in moving the ball into field goal range, but too often the Chargers had to settle for field goals in the red zone. That wasn’t just in this game, but in several games this past season, and that contributed to the team’s 5-11 record. Rivers showed plenty of zip on his short and intermediate throws, but just didn’t seem interested in taking many shots downfield other than a beautifully thrown 46-yard pass to Mike Williams, which was right on the money late in the third quarter.

Week 14: Chargers’ 45-10 win at Jaguars
16-of-22 (72.7 percent) for 314 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs
Sacked 1 time
Film Notes: Rivers fired two perfect deep balls that were right in the receivers’ hands but were dropped. He should have had a completion percentage of 81.8 percent. Rivers’ short throws were quick, decisive and on the money. A big part of the Chargers’ game plan was to have the receivers run clear outs and to throw to wide-open running backs in the flat. Rivers’ throws to the backs were on time and accurate. Rivers threw a great play-action 30-yard touchdown pass to tight end Hunter Henry right before halftime. He also had a beautiful, 44-yard touchdown strike to Mike Williams in the end zone. With the game out of reach, Rivers was replaced by backup Tyrod Taylor in the fourth quarter.

Rivers’ 3 Worst Games In 2019

Week 10: Chargers’ 26-24 loss at Raiders
17-of-31 (54.8 percent) for 207 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs
Sacked 5 times
Film Notes: Rivers opened the game with a nice 23-yard strike down the middle to Williams, but the drive would end with Rivers’ first interception of the game when his pass to Keenan Allen sailed on him because he didn’t step into his throw and threw off his back foot. Later in the first quarter, Rivers threw a pick-six as he was being dragged down. It was a poor read and an ill-advised throw. Rivers had an awful short throw into the end zone that was intercepted as he stared down his receiver, but that play was nullified due to an offside call. Rivers’ best throw was a perfect 45-yard deep ball to Williams down the middle of the field. Rivers’ third pick of the game came with just 27 seconds left and the ball at the L.A. 30-yard line on a desperation pass.

Week 11: Chargers’ 24-17 loss vs. Chiefs
28-of-52 (53.8 percent) for 353 yards, 1 TD, 4 INTs
Sacked 2 times
Film Notes: Rivers completed a lot of short and intermediate passes before throwing his first interception as Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark hit his arm as he threw the ball, which floated into the arms of defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi in the second quarter. Rivers’ perfectly thrown deep ball to Mike Williams was dropped on the next series, and safety Tyrann Mathieu recorded a pick on the next play. Mathieu was playing Cover 2 and read Rivers’ eyes and stepped in front of the pass. Rivers threw a nice red zone TD to Allen, and was quick to find Henry in the end zone for the two-point conversion. On his third interception, Rivers didn’t put enough on a deep ball that was picked off. Was there some arm fatigue? Perhaps. Rivers had thrown the ball 40 times by that point and it was Week 11 of the season. Rivers drove the Chargers down to the red zone trailing by seven points with 24 seconds left, but his end zone pass to Austin Ekeler on a wheel route was very well defended by the Chiefs’ zone defense and the pass was intercepted. All of the other receivers were covered on the play. It’s weird to say, but despite throwing four interceptions, it really didn’t seem like Rivers had that bad of a day.

Week 15: Chargers’ 39-10 loss vs. Vikings
28-of-39 (71.8 percent) for 307 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs
Sacked 3 times
Film Notes: Rivers threw for 307 yards and completed nearly 72 percent of his passes, so how was this a bad game? Well, losing by 29 points while only putting up 10 points on offense, and throwing three interceptions isn’t good. And that’s what I wanted to investigate this performance. Rivers opened up the game with great throws of 19 and 39 yards to Williams. The Chargers took a 10-9 led in the first half when Rivers found Williams for a jump ball in the end zone for a touchdown. Trailing 12-10 before halftime, Rivers was hurried and didn’t step into a deep throw and it was picked off by Pro Bowl safety Harrison Smith, who was playing Cover 2 and made a play on the fluttering pass. Down 12-10 with 23 seconds left, Rivers was sacked by Danielle Hunter and fumbled, and the Vikings scooped and scored to put Minnesota up 19-10 at halftime. That would be one of four – four! – Chargers fumbles on the day. Rivers made several clutch throws, including a 24-yarder to Henry on fourth-and-1 at the end of the third quarter, but he did make a bad read on his second interception, throwing into double coverage deep down the sidelines. The game was out of hand when Rivers tried to throw deep down the middle, but the Vikings were playing two deep and safety Anthony Harris undercut the throw and came away with the INT.

So what were my takeaways from watching Rivers for six games?

From the film I watched, Rivers – with his funky side-arm delivery – was a little risk averse in the red zone. The Chargers had to settle for a lot of field goals and that led to their 5-11 record due to the fact that L.A. averaged just 21.1 points per game, which ranked 21st in the league. Keep in mind that the Chargers were the sixth-highest scoring team in 2018, averaging 26.8 points per game while posting a 12-4 record.

Rivers is not particularly mobile – at all. He stands in the pocket no matter what – similar to the way Brad Johnson used to do in Tampa Bay. If Rivers replaces Winston he won’t be extending the play with his scrambling like there is with Winston.

Chargers QB Philip Rivers
Chargers QB Philip Rivers – Photo by: Getty Images

Can the Bucs’ offensive line protect Rivers? That’s a good question. Will his ability to get rid of the ball quickly and not hang on to the ball assist Tampa Bay’s O-line’s efforts to protect him? Maybe.

While Rivers doesn’t have Winston’s mobility, he doesn’t have nearly as many bone-headed or head-scratching plays as Winston does, either, and doesn’t take nearly as many sacks because he will throw the ball away if no one is open. He has a good internal clock that he adheres to.

Rivers is not an older, more experienced version of Winston. He really isn’t a gunslinger. He is an accurate chain-mover and a game manager at this stage of his career – similar to what Johnson was for the Super Bowl Buccaneers in 2002.

Last year, Rivers had six games with no interceptions and four more games with one pick. He had three games with two picks, and three more games with more than three INTs.

Winston had four games without throwing a pick in 2019, and three games with just one interception. Yet he had four games with two interceptions and five games with three or more INTs.

After putting up with 30 interceptions and nine fumbles last year from Winston, does Arians want a little less risk it and a little less biscuit, especially to pair with what he believes is an improving defense on the rise?

A big concern at One Buccaneer Place this offseason is that the team knows it can’t win with 30 interceptions again. The evidence is that Tampa Bay went 7-9 last year.

Bucs QB Jameis Winston
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Say what you want about the Bucs’ young secondary, the lack of a consistent running game or a few missed field goals, and a bad call here or there, but Winston’s league-leading and career-high 30 interceptions and NFL-record seven pick-sixes were just as much at fault for the team’s losing record.

What did a 5,000-yard season do for Winston and the Bucs last year outside of getting Mike Evans and Chris Godwin in the Pro Bowl? Not much outside of a 7-9 season.

Is Rivers a sure-fire upgrade over Winston? Not necessarily.

But I don’t think he’s on the same level or worse than Winston, either – even at age 38. I think Rivers could be slightly better because he has the experience that comes with being an eight-time Pro Bowler – most recently from 2016-18. And despite making the Pro Bowl in 2016 for throwing 33 TDs, Rivers also threw a career-high 21 interceptions, which raised some eyebrows because he was 35.

Was that the beginning of the end for Rivers?

No. He bounced back.

The following year in the 2017 season, Rivers completed 62.6 percent of his passes for 4,515 yards and threw 28 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions. And in 2018, Rivers completed 68.3 percent of his passes – the second-highest completion percentage of his career – with 32 touchdowns and only 12 interceptions while leading the Chargers to the playoffs with a 12-4 record.

Arians was a commentator for CBS in 2018 and covered the Chargers’ win over the Raiders and gushed over Philips in the article I posted on Thursday on PewterReport.com, saying that Rivers was “a winner” and one of the Top 5 QBs currently playing the game.

“He is a classic, drop-back quarterback and, I mean, those are the guys I love coaching,” Arians said. “I mean – 40 (years old) – that number anymore, you can throw that out the window. All these guys, I think, are going to play to 40, 42 because they’re taking such great care of themselves.”

Does Rivers have another bounce back season in him in 2020 – perhaps one with a better group of wide receivers like Tampa Bay’s Evans and Godwin? Possibly.

Chargers QB Philip Rivers
Chargers QB Philip Rivers – Photo by: Getty Images

I’m not necessarily advocating for Rivers or against Winston, but based on my film study his 2019 season was not nearly as bad as some Bucs fans think. Keep in mind too that he didn’t have his security blanket – future Hall of Famer Antonio Gates, who retired following the 2018 season.

And I believe a lot of Rivers’ detractors in the Tampa Bay fan base didn’t watch a single Chargers game last year and just based their opinions about him on his age and his stats sheet from 2019.

I do think Rivers would turn the ball over at a lesser rate than Winston would in Tampa Bay. I think Rivers’ 20-interception season is a bit of anomaly because he didn’t make as many bad decisions with the football as one might assume – certainly fewer than Winston did – after watching the game film.

If the Bucs are looking for more of a risk-averse game manager that could maybe throw for 4,000 yards with 24 touchdowns and 14 interceptions rather than a guy that could throw for 5,000 yards with 33 touchdowns and 30 interceptions, they really might be tempted to make the switch to Rivers to increase Tampa Bay’s chances of making the playoffs in 2020. Rivers reminds me of better version of Johnson, whom the team won a Super Bowl with – only with with a stronger arm.

Signing Rivers and then drafting a QB prospect to groom under him for a few years to replace Winston as the team’s long-term starter is one of the scenarios the Bucs have to be pondering this offseason. Then again, the Bucs’ brass might feel that one more year in Arians’ system can produce even better results for Winston (i.e. fewer interceptions) in 2020.

Can’t wait to see what ultimately happens under center in Tampa Bay this offseason.

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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]

52 COMMENTS

  1. With all due respect Scott I watched the Chargers this year, particularly the last 7, and came away with the complete opposite impression of you (definitely the Chiefs game where you say he “didn’t play that bad”). I have multiple texts to other Bucs fans during those games to the effect of “Can you imagine if Jameis played like this in prime time? He would get absolutely destroyed by everyone”

    I saw a QB that didn’t have nearly enough zip on his passes, made consistently boneheaded decisions and throws (protection didn’t matter, he did this no matter what pressure he faced) and just looked like he had lost a lot of what made him great. I think his reputation and name saved him from a lot of well earned media criticism.

    Another thing to think about here…if Rivers was at his previous levels, or even close to it, why in the world would the Chargers let him go without even attempting to keep him? He’s a beloved player, a legend and the face of the franchise. They have a perfect set up to franchise him, keep him for one year and let the 6th pick of the draft learn from under him. You really have to wonder if they know something about him relative to his age and skill to let him walk (and BTW, Scott, 38 is a lot different than 34 so I’m not sure your comparison of the last time Rivers sucked and then bounced back means anything)

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  2. Pass on Phillip Rivers. Pass on Josh Jones.

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  3. I agree with the post above, i have also watched rivers play this year and it would be stupid of the bucs to take him. This guy has 3 years of 20+ picks and has averaged 14 a season in his career so its not like last year was an abberation. And in those game rivers had plenty of bone headed throws. You also forgot to mention scott how rivers played behind a better line with a vastly superior running game. What happens when he gets to tampa and they average another paltry 90 yards a game?
    He doesnt have melvin gordon or ekler to bail him out. I dont know what the bucs do, but taking rivers is a band aid that might not even work, in a new offense. Every qb that has played in arians offense has had 20 picks their first year. Rivers will too.
    As for that lineman from Houston, he looks the part, i cant say ive watched or seen anything from him. But wed better get a runningback at some point real soon and finally get a running game going for the first time in like 4 years. If a guy like cam akers is there in the 3rd take him. And i dont want to hear that anti nole crap. Akers is a beast who played behind an offensive line that would make the bucs line look like 5 all pros.
    Lineman in the first and second runningback in the third and safety in the 4th. For the love of god don’t take a safety before that. We’ve wasted a pick on that position like 4 years in a row.

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  4. No.

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  5. Fab 3:
    “Bucs running game coordinator Harold Goodwin and offensive line coach Joe Gilbert joined general manager Jason Licht, director of player personnel John Spytek, and director of college scouting Mike Biehl and the rest of the team’s scouts in Mobile, Ala.”  

    This indicates or suggests strongly that the Bucs ARE going to address RB and OL in the draft.

    I have jumped from Javon Kinlaw’s to Josh Jones’ bandwagon. The quote  “This game can really help my stock. It can show the coaches and scouts that I’m nice in the run game and amazing in the pass game and that I’m a competitor.” is music to my ears! It’s not just because I am easily swayed. It is because you are showing me why you see things the way that you do, Scott.
    ________________
    Go Bucs!!!

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  6. Yea we gotta get someone to protect Timmy Tim Brady

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  7. Enjoyed Fab 1, 2. 3. While your analogy of Rivers (38) was interesting I have to agree with many fans who admit the simple fact that we don’t see him that often. As far as BA’s career and Licht’s career that’s all good but as a fan I would love to live to see another playoff game. So, I am not confident that an aging QB, who is coming off a 5-11 season and who can throw INT’s with the best of them is the answer. I would rather see Jameis (26) with a 1year lease, a running game, without a broken hand, an improving defense, a couple of O-line additions, and a 2nd year under BA. Plus a solid back-up QB pick in the draft. Roll the dice 1 more time…..
    As far as why we can’t win at home, Empty seats full of out of town fans, too many distractions (Pirate ships ect.) and small market mentality. (Major venues are football savvy, focused, rowdy fans.)
    If we are going to take an OT in round one why can’t it be from a Big time program like Alabama, Ohio State, or Clemson. Jones looks good for a guy who comes from a 5-9 program in a low compete conference. Just because we hit on Marpet and possibly Cappa why pass on players who played for teams that could probably beat the Buc’s

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  8. I know that defensive tackle Jordan Phillips of the Buffalo Bills is hitting free agency this year.  If we could secure him for say four years at a good price I think we would have the luxury of letting Suh walk.  We would also relieve some of the pressure for going for the like of Derrick Brown or Javon Kinlaw in the first round this year.  We could, perhaps, draft a developmental DT/DE in a later round also.

    This is another reason I have jumped off Kinlaw’s bandwagon already.

    Again we need to be able to focus on the OL and then RB and SS in the early rounds.
    ______________
    Go Bucs!!!

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    • I wouldn’t be so quick to jump off Kinlaw’s bandwagon (Although you may have to.. Just to make room!) but as far as getting an OT in the first, I say yeah over Kinlaw if either Wills or Becton are available. Wirfs maybe but Thomas may not be good in this system due to not having held blocks all that long at Georgia and us being a vertical based offense. Although Thomas is probably more polished than Wirfs I think Wills is a more solid & pro-ready prospect than any of them, especiallycoming from ‘Bama. That said, I think it’s obvious to most that Becton has some growing to do (Despite being ENORMOUS!) as a technician but definitely presents the most upside. I originally wanted Becton in the 2nd Rd but after I watched one game of film THEN saw his listed size, I remembered the same quote from Parcells that dude from NFL Network quoted about there only being so many men that large that can move and realized he’d probably go a lot higher. The reason I really said don’t jump off on Kinlaw is because this draft isn’t especially loaded with IDL with a ton of potential and the ones there are will go quick. If we do go for an OL in the first I’d love to get Davon Hamilton or Marlon Davidson later. And if we don’t resign Barrett and JPP? Hell, even if we DO!! We definitely better think twice before passing on an edge guy (Epenesa 1st then Chaisson.. For now! Oh and Young before them both!! LOL) because no matter how many there are they don’t last past the second. Not the guys with game-wrecking potential anyways. They’re as valuable as elite CB’s and OT’s and again, this class isn’t particularly loaded with any. (An argument can be made for OT) Run over to the The Draft Networks mock draft engine and run through it a few times and watch how quick those three positions disappear! QB’s go first obviously, then EDGE/OT/CB then IDL and this draft isn’t real deep at any imo. It’s fun regardless! Oh and check out James Morgan and Anthony Gordon as later picks at QB!

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  9. 1. Rivers would also need a year to lock in the no-risk-it-no-biscuit offense. I can already hear the “Wait until Rivers comes back in 2021…He’s really got the offense down now!”
    2. If the BIG FOUR are gone (OL), that means there are going to be some serious talent dropping to the Bucs at that position. I think the Bucs would need to trade down to consider Josh Jones vs. who would be sitting there.

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  10. Fab 1: It could really only be considered an uninspiring and baffling move if the Bucs sign Rivers.

    Fab 2: Winning at home is paramount. Before fans will come back, the Bucs will need to win first, win decisively, and kiss a little fan butt by making games much more accessible to blue collar fans by lowering ticket prices. THAT will fill the stands. Let the beer sales and Bucs gear pad the days take.

    Fab 3: Drafting a rapid riser from a small school in OT Josh Jones feels like a reach. SR’s comparable player Tytus Howard shows why the team had better be prepared to be patient while he learns on the job, regardless of being a 1st round pick. This flies in the face of the “Win Now” mantra. Tytus Howard and Houston gave up 18 sacks the first 4 weeks. They then had to trade two 1st rounders and one 2nd for Tunsil and Stills at the trade deadline in order to “Win Now”.

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  11. Much rather keep a 26 year old mobile QB who throws picks that a 39 year old NOT very mobile QB who throws picks. Jameis took alot of hits last year, do we really think Rivers will do better behind our line?
    Chargers line and running game were better than ours. we need to give Jameis 1 more year under BA’s system and then decide. (Doug Williams, Steve Young, Trent Dilfer) I’d hate to add Jameis to this list! He’s only 26, he came into the league with so much baggage and inmaturity, he has matured alot and our team is finally getting better on the Defensive side of the ball. He does alot for the community and has kept himself out of any problems the last few years! Give him one more year!!!!

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  12. I’m more open to something besides Jameis now than I was at the end of the season. But it needs to make sense. Don’t think Rivers covers that square.

    And worried that Josh Jones is moving up the boards with draft heat because the top OT’s will likely be gone. If the top guys are gone and there is comparable talent in round 2 – Adams from Washington, Wanogho from Auburn, Wilson from Georgia, I’d take a legit first rounder that can be a Pro Bowler and take the tackle in Rd2.

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  13. Anytime you can raise the IQ of a quarterback 50 digits you’re better off
    After five years of losing with this quarterback the posters on the site seem to be slow learners five years is not enough for them they want six years of losing. They don’t seem to understand Jameis Winston is a loser
    L O S E R That’s what he does – he loses his 70% of the games he starts Year in year out! Maybe Fredster , CG and the chef like being out of the playoffs by second week in October! Call me crazy but I would like to watch bucs in a playoff game!!!! I think Bruce Arians would look good on national TV during a playoff game

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    • Tell us PR staff member, er, I mean Bob, how did you get the data on the IQ levels of the QB’s in the NFL? Inside info? Clairvoyance? Or are you just spewing made up bullshit again? You always make ridiculous statements but never back it up with facts when someone challenges you.

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  14. Scott, Thank you for the data that you have provided and the efforts you made to make your case if quarterback Rivers comes to Tampa.

    Many of us have other thoughts about Rivers. I have watched him perform in a couples games this year and now at almost 38, I don’t think he can help us and I wish him the best. Go Bucs

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  15. I’ll say it again Rivers is not an upgrade over Winston and throws plenty int as well and is old. A big No!

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  16. I’ll take Rivers, Dalton, as a bridge QB, and draft one of these kids coming out in the first, or second round. Anybody but Jameis. I’ve backed him being here for the full five years. His last play of the season sealed it for me. I’m over him, and would prefer we move in a different direction.

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    • Agreed, though felt that way prior to the last pass. How fitting would it be if JW’s very first and very last regular season pass as a Buc were both pick-6’s…

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  17. If….If Tom comes here it won’t be cheap and….If… If that happens no way you keep this Defense intact.

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    • Winston’s representatives are asking 30-35 million per year. Brady is worth that, Winston is not! Rivers probably comes at a price tag of 25-28 million per year. Winston is younger but hasn’t shown a willingness to improve his penchant for turning the ball over.

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  18. If Tom Brady comes here he’ll bring a Couple free agents with him and the defense will get better-because they do not have go back on field From Jameis Winston interceptions and fumbles the run game will vastly improve.Might have to get rid of a couple overpriced current players.

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  19. Amen lol. Winston gots to go. We need to keep that defense well rested

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  20. River’s nope .

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  21. In Rivers 16 seasons his team has made the Playoffs in 7 of those seasons. In 12 of those 16 seasons he’s had a winning record. That’s 4 losing seasons in 16 years. Winston has had 4 losing season out of 5.

    Rivers to the Bucs on a 2 year deal is a no brainer. Go Bucs

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  22. Update: ESPN moved Josh Jones from #175 Overall Rank to #18 Overall Rank, #2 Ranked OT prospect. Move based on Sr. Bowl work.

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  23. I am ok with re-signing Winston if it is a team-friendly deal. Still, Rivers is a better player than Winston is ever likely to be. That is just a fact. I trust Bruce to make this decision. There is a correlation between signing Rivers or Brady and keeping Winston insofar as attendance and home field advantage is concerned. Certainly, Winston has his supporters on this site, but the Tampa Bay community has never really gotten over his off-field problems at FSU and here. They don’t root for him to succeed and many I knw will not attend a game until he is no longer the quarterback. That is just a fact. I believe in forgiveness and I do root for Winston, but the fans in general just don’t support him–they are not on his side. Sad to say, but that’s the truth. Would that change if the Buccaneers started 4-0. Perhaps. Probably. Everyone loves a winner, but the odds of that kind of a start are rather low.

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  24. We can blame all kinds of things on Jameis, but the truth is, he’s had 3 head coaches, 3 different OC, and never had a good Defense or a Kicker! O line suspect at best, what we need is stability!!! Steve Young was a bust when hw was here, same thing no offensive line no defense no kicker! We could have very easily won 10 games last year! Even 11 if you count the Seatlle Game. We lost to by missed kicks and one by a blown call(Tennessee) Would we be running Jameis out if he threw 30 picks and won 11 games? He threw for 5100 yards! He’s 26! STABILITY!!!!

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  25. Chargers may not choose to bring Rivers back because they may be looking to get a cheaper option at QB in the Draft and use the money to help rebuild. No telling unless you’re in the organization. I believe with the weapons here, if we beefed up the Oline, Rivers could be like Scott said, a better version of Brad Johnson with a better arm.

    What to do with Winston has to be about the toughest decision this team has had to make in a long long time. I think the fact that BA is in his final few years influences the decision big time. Drafting a new WB could be what he needs if you get someone like Goff or Mahomes that hits a home run right off the bat, but he may not be willing to take that risk and plan to get a smart, established Vet that can make a run at it for the next 2 years.

    I personally would Love to see us in the playoffs but if also like to see us get to a point where we are a contender moving forward, not just for a couple years. The decade of Dungy and Gruden was great because there was enough talent to give us a chance year in and year out. Now we have the talent again, we’ve just gotta push the truck over the hump and start rollin. I honestly think Winston would do better next year in this offense, but is better going to be enough in the end? I honestly don’t think they will resign Winston if he won’t come down from the reported $30 mil asking price, they are not gonna wanna our extending David and Godwin to give that to The Question Mark.

    I believe Winston has it in him and want so bad for him to succeed, but the coaches know more than any of us. So it will be interesting to see which way they go and don’t envy them at all for having to make it. Either way, the Bucs will be goin for a run at it next year so it’s gonna be fun to watch!

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  26. E, You have precisely nailed it! I would love to see us be able to trade down and then grab Jones.

    Then we would be able to trade back up maybe into the 2nd, 3rd or fourth round as needed. We could fortify our OL, pick up that RB & Safety and also possibly find another QB, WR or DL guys as desired.
    ____________
    Go Bucs!!!

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  27. The Buccaneers and Chargers were pretty similar as far as roster talent and strengths. Nice Edge-Rs, average Defensive backfield, good-great pass catchers, suspect line, hit or miss run game and turnover prone QBs.
    The team has to retain the defensive talent and stocc pile it more. There’s talented players that have question marks that can be employed on 1yr prove it deals or cost effective multi-year deals.
    NFC North and AFC West on the schedule plus the annual NFC South gauntlet(2-4).
    No matter who plays Qb, the team has to upgrade both sides of the trenches. Add a young talented T, continue to coach up the Marpet, Smith, and Cappa as they are right at the start of their prime. Sign a 3tech or move Vea and sign a NT. Get some depth behind Suh to keep him fresh. Continue coaching up the young Bucs. Depth, depth and more depth.
    This team can easily go from 7-9 to 5-11 again. Harder schedule next year.
    I believe Rb Jones can make another jump if the Oline can continue to improve and be cohesive. Seemed like too many plays they weren’t in sync and came close to having some great production.

    Rivers was never known to have a huge arm. He’s not a Chad Pennington but his thing was quicc release, ball placement, timing, intangibles and IQ. Can that arm still be able to make the throws neccessary in this offense. From what I’ve seen through out his career, he’s always played in an offense 180° from the Bucs that was tailored to his strengths. Using the short to intermediate passing game to open up the big play down field. Usually mismatching the TE on LBs or S using fades, wheels, post or corner routes. The wide receivers were mostly big body possession guys that worked the middle for contested and jump ball catches. Till the DBs would start to cheat and then get caught flat footed as the receiver takes one deep. Rbs heavily involved. Everything 2-12yrds while taking timely shots downfield.
    Can he flip that? Can he work in an offense that goes intermediate to deep to push the defense bacc to open up the underneath stuff? Or would Leftwich and Arians have to adjust for Rivers? This playbook is meant to be aggressive and to win games, not to manage. Be smart, make the correct read and ball out.

    The only reason I would even consider Mr. Winston is what can be expanded on with a whole year of tape and experience in the offense. Since the playbook is known, what extra wrinkles and plays can be executed out of various formations. Are we going to see pre snap motion and movement to off balance the Defense? Be chameleon with our line ups. Pre snap that can run the same play out of three formations depending on what the QB sees and making formation adjustments.
    Example: start off by going 12 formation. Depending on the defense choose between run or pass. Go from 12 to single bacc with the TE split out to the slot. Or I formation bringing the TE to the FB spot. Or staggered TE on one side with the Wide receiver close resembling a bunch formation. Just formation movements can be advantageous. Or would that be to much for Mr. Winston and still have the same year because of more responsibilities? Do Leftwich and Arians keep it as it is and coach him to make the better read instead? Will defense notice as well and anticipate every call? Is he going to excel in this offense or hold it bacc?

    Who knows. You just can’t predict a variable like the human variable.

    Instead of agonizing the decision on the signal caller. Which is a crap shoot anyway. None of them insures winning.
    Go for what is known and fortify the rest of the team. This is supposed to be a team sport. Stop pinning the chances of winning or losing on a arm of a Qb that could cause the lose more often then cause the win. If he’s bugging bacc there in the poccet. Have the rest of the team go out and win it. If he wants to throw 3-4 Ints. Then go out and get them Ints bacc. 4th down punt. Special Teams go get six. We’ve seen what can happen if the attitude and cohesion is right. QB doesn’t have to throw.
    Build the team up and whoever the signal caller is will flourish. If not then the problem will be the Qb anyways just like it is now.

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  28. So many of you are forgetting that it’s not just a Jameis vs Rivers/Brady/Dalton argument.

    It’s a Jameis at $30M vs an established veteran QB at probably the $22-24M mark (maybe even cheaper).

    THAT’S where this becomes a much more calculated move. An established vet at a lower cost could allow us to resign all of our defensive starters, maybe even sign a RT/RB (Conklin would look great in a Bucs uniform).

    I’m not even sure which way I lean on this….I just needed to point out that these vet QBs we’re discussing are probably going to be cheaper than Jameis which allows for more room In cap space to shore up the entire team.

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  29. Bruce Arians wants a QB that can push the ball downfield. I do not think the Bucs want a game manager at QB.

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  30. If we bring JWinston back I want us to get a solid game manager as a backup. If we move on from Jameis then I think we should also get another QB with a great arm so that we can groom him to replace (down the line) whoever is our starter.

    This seems like common sense rather than some kind of special football insight to me.
    __________________
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  31. Interesting thoughts on Keyshawn. I completely changed my mind about him in 2001 or 2002, I can’t remember…. after an interception was thrown Keyshawn ran the length of the field to make a tackle on the defender in the red zone. You could never question his effort or will to win!

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  32. Thanks Scott for the analysis.

    It seems your analysis did not change the opinion of most fans on this site.

    It does for me. Rivers seems like a viable option and we should keep him as an option.

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  33. Rivers is not the answer either. I see him forcing passes almost as much as Winston and he doesn’t have the arm strength of Winston but he does make better reads. Those forced passes are the achilles heel of both QBs.

    We need a QB with low Turnovers like a Nick Foles or Teddy B. Our defense keeps improving and putting them on the field with constant TOs just wears them down by the end of games.

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  34. Josh Jones does not come from a small school as stated above.

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  35. Bringing Rivers in would be the typical historic Buc move.

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  36. Hard no on Rivers. Old, can’t throw the deep ball any more, turnover prone. In other words, Winston with none of the long-term upside.

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  37. I can’t believe I got up early this rainy Saturday morning to read Pewter Report and found Phillip Rivers dominating the conversation. Look, I loved Rivers coming out of college when many folks criticized his sidearm throwing motion, but that was a loooooooong time ago. I’m not interested in him, Tom Brady or any of those aging QB’s who are ready to take their farewell tour and cash-in one more time while the Bucs tread water searching, once again, for that elusive franchise QB.

    If the decision is to allow Winston to hit the exit and resume the team’s 40+ year quest for a “dependable” quarterback; I’d much prefer a young “draftee” than a soon to be “retiree” who is thought to be more “dependable” only because he’s a candidate for Depends.

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  38. Rather trade for Dalton, and draft a QB. Dalton has one year left at 15 million, perfect price. Draft Eason. The money you’d save not paying the ATM would help keep the D together. Move on. Who know’s how well Dalton would look throwing to Evans, Godwin, Perriman. Yeah, we could sign Perriman back if we’re paying Dalton 15 mill. When AJ Green wasn’t injured, Dalton got him the ball. For the price, he’d be a perfect bridge QB, and might surprise with our weapons.

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  39. Besides, we are the NFL’s red headed step child, might as well have a QB who looks like one.

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  40. Andy Dalton? ANDY DALTON??? That is hilarious!

    If you’re picking the QB based on his salary and not his skillset, just keep Ryan Griffin and Blaine Gabbert.

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  41. Again with the Dalton Red Headed Step Child BS, that’s Hairism…

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  42. Hairism. Hmmmm :-J

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  43. “He has completed 4,908-of-7,591 passes (64.7 percent) for 59,271 yards with 397 touchdowns and 198 interceptions in his 16 years with the team. Rivers’ career TD percentage is a sterling 5.2 percent, along with a career INT percentage of 2.6.

    Rivers completed 390-of-591 passes (66 percent) for 4,615 yards with 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in 2019, and had eight 300-yard passing games last season.

    Rivers hasn’t missed a start in 14 years, and he has thrown for 4,000 yards in seven straight seasons, and 11 times out of the last 12 years. He’s a big-time competitor who has a large family that just moved to Florida. That’s about it”

    Yup, that’s about it… just solid HOF numbers – nothing to see here.

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  44. A few points to make here: 1.) This “30-35 million dollar” rumor that has been bandied about on this sight and local sports talk radio is exactly that, a rumor. There has been no official word from Winston, his agent or the Bucs front office that this is the figure being asked for. Just media people trying to create a story that does not yet exist or something for clicks or listening audience. 2.) For those constantly saying that we should only target players from “big time programs” in the draft; Jerry Rice, Walter Payton, Khalil Mack and many, many others are holding for you on Line #1. 3.) The defense showed great improvement in the last half of 2019 and I expect it to continue, but thinking it can carry a “game-manager QB” with an at best average line and running game is Fools Gold. 4.) Buc-Ass-Bob is obviously a Pewter Report staffer planted as a commenter designed to stir the pot.

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  45. I do not want Rivers in Tampa. I live in California and seen quite a few Chargers games including playoff games and Rivers is just not that good and at 38 time is not on his side. If this was 10 years ago or even 6 years ago then yes this would be a good idea but it is not and therefore it is not a good idea to sign him. Rivers honestly is average at best. If Rivers could not win anything with some of those Charger teams why would anyone think he could be what helps this team to playoff game or the ultimate goal a Super Bowl? If do go in a new direction let it be with a new QB or someone who will be around for more than a year or two. Stop gap QB play has not really worked out. I am fully against Rivers to Tampa let him go play for some other team and bore that fan base to death with his let kick a field goal play. I do not know what to do about the QB situation in Tampa but Rivers is not the answer next year or any year for that matter!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  46. Rivers is only good when he has pro bowl wide receivers, pro bowl running backs, and a top 5 defense, but even then, he has no rings.

    Dalton is only good when Marvin Lewis is the coach, but even then he is abysmal in the playoffs. 0-4. I get stuck watching a lot of Dalton since I live in Indy and Cincy is 90 minutes away. Any person who thinks Andy Dalton is a plug and play upgrade to Jameis Winston is delusional.

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  47. Here is Andy Dalton in week 15 at home vs the Patriots. Imagine him in Pewter and Red making these throws…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0OuMXtTalCw

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    • Yeah… It’s so embarrassing that Dalton can’t just manhandle the NFL’s best defense with so few weapons

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