FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots
One of the reasons why New York Jets quarterback Teddy Bridgewater would be a good fit in Tampa Bay is his playing style. While he lacks the big arm strength that Dirk Koetter would favor in his vertical passing offense, Bridgewater does a good job of not turning the ball over, while still making plays.
In his two years as a starter in Minnesota, Bridgewater had four games with multiple interceptions, yet the Vikings were actually 3-1 in those games. In the 13 games in which Bridgewater didn’t throw an interception, the Vikings were 9-4 during the regular season.
Now let’s contrast that with Winston. He had eight games with multiple interceptions in his first two years as a starter, and was 1-7 in those games. In the 12 games Winston didn’t throw an interception in his first two years he produced a record of 7-5.
What does this tell me? Winston needs to drastically reduce the amount of interceptions he throws, and picking up a quarterback like Bridgewater, who doesn’t kill a team with interceptions would be a wise investment.
• I saw a recent stat on how few interceptions Green Bay’s future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers throws and it’s astounding. Rodgers is widely regarded as a playmaker at the QB position, but he really excels at staying away from game-killing interceptions.
Rodgers has only 78 interceptions in his NFL career, and his rate of throwing INTs on 1.6 percent of his passes is the lowest for any QB in NFL history. Putting that in perspective, the highest amount of interceptions Rodgers has thrown in any season was 13, which was his first season as the Packers’ starter. As ProFootballTalk.com pointed out, if Rodgers plays until he’s 50 and throws 14 interceptions every single year, he’ll still have fewer career interceptions than Brett Favre.
PFT goes on to report that Rodgers is 10th in NFL history in passing touchdowns, but he’s tied for 159th in NFL history in interceptions. The quarterback directly in front of Rodgers on the career touchdown list, Ben Roethlisberger, has 96 more interceptions than Rodgers. The quarterback directly behind Rodgers on the career touchdown list, John Elway, has 148 more interceptions than Rodgers.
• Bucs training camp is two weeks away! Make sure you are following PewterReport.com on Twitter. Become one of the 29,000 Twitter followers of @PewterReport prior to Tampa Bay’s 2018 training camp. If you want updates from Bucs press conferences, training camp practices and new PewterReport.com story notifications be sure to follow us on Twitter and help us grow to 30,000. To follow @PewterReport on Twitter please click here, and to follow us on Facebook please click here.
• Pro Football Focus had a tweet this week that was eye-opening about training camp.
“On @PFF Training Camp tour a couple of yrs ago, the @Steelers were the 1 team we saw who just went all out. Full hitting every single practice. Completely different style than other teams, and they tend to be a team that out performs their talent level every year.” – @PFF_Sam
Do you hear that, Dirk Koetter?
I don’t expect any changes to the Bucs’ training camp routine, which was the softest of any team in the league with zero periods of live hitting last year. Koetter has a firm belief in avoiding any unnecessary camp injuries that can occur with full contact. It served him well in 2016 when the Bucs went 9-7, but came back to bite him last year as the offensive and defensive lines proved to be too soft as a result.
While I would love to see Tampa Bay have more contact during training camp, it’s interesting to note the level of contact Mike Tomlin’s Steelers teams have and the results they keep producing year after year.
• Despite this week’s new SR’s Fab 5, yours truly is on vacation this week, which means that I wasn’t a part of the latest Pewter Nation Podcast. The good news is that good friend and colleague Greg Auman from the Tampa Bay Times was kind enough to join PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook and Trevor Sikkema as this week’s special guest. As training camp draws near, find out what Cook, Sikkema and Auman have to say about the Bucs in the latest Pewter Nation Podcast. Click here for Episode 81: The Auman Effect
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• And finally, Auman and the Tampa Bay Times have come out with their version of the Bucs’ Mount Rushmore, which is supposed to feature the top four Buccaneers in team history. While Auman’s top three are undisputed – Hall of Famers Lee Roy Selmon, Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks – I have to take issue with his fourth choice.
I can’t support the idea of putting safety John Lynch ahead of the likes of cornerback Ronde Barber, middle linebacker Hardy Nickerson or even fullback/running back Mike Alstott. While I appreciate Lynch’s greatness, especially the role he played in helping to turn around Tampa Bay’s franchise in the late 1990s, Barber was more decorated with honors and records. Simply put, Barber is the best defensive back in team history with 47 interceptions – the most in franchise history and double the amount Lynch recorded in Tampa Bay.
Barber, who will soon be in the Bucs Ring of Honor, and Lynch, who has already been inducted, were both five-time Pro Bowlers and three-time All-Pros in Tampa Bay, but Barber had the franchise’s signature play – a 92-yard interception return for a touchdown in the NFC Championship Game at Philadelphia in 2002 to help send the Bucs to Super Bowl XXXVII – in addition to playing 15 years in red and pewter, which is also a record. Barber is the second all-time leading tackler behind Brooks, and was the first player in NFL history to record 25 sacks and 45 interceptions.
To me, Barber is the fourth-best Buccaneer of all-time, and I would even put Nickerson and Alstott ahead of Lynch in terms of their importance to the team. Nickerson, a three-time Pro Bowler, was the leader that laid the foundation for Brooks, Sapp and Lynch to eventually take over in Tampa Bay, while Alstott, a six-time Pro Bowler, is the second-leading rusher in team history and all-time touchdown producer with signature first scores in the NFC Championship Game in 2002 and in Super Bowl XXXVII.
The best part about features like the Times’ Bucs Mount Rushmore is that there is no right answer. It’s a fun, opinion-based story that helps jog some memories of Bucs fans back in happier times, as well as drive some conversation in the slow news period prior to training camp.