FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots

• For Tampa Bay’s run stuffers like defensive end Will Gholston, nose tackle Chris Baker and reserve nose tackle Sealver Siliga, Sunday was like a dream come true. The Bucs posted their fourth best day against the run in franchise history in limiting Chicago to just 20 yards on 16 carries. Considering the Bears have Jordan Howard, the second-leading rusher from a year ago and speedy rookie Tarik Cohen, that’s quite a feat.

Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith has made stopping the run the number one priority this offseason and his players were pleased with their performance.

“It was a great experience this last Sunday,” the 330-pound Siliga said. “Especially after Coach Smith and all our coaches harping on it all week. To go out there and see the fruit of our labor come to life was a great feeling.”

Bucs DE Will Gholston - Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
Bucs DE Will Gholston – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR

Neither Siliga nor the 320-pound Baker registered a tackle on Sunday, but they did their job plugging the A gap and forcing runs outside where Gholston was waiting.

“He is a big part of our defense,” Siliga said. “Last year when he got hurt you saw that there was a missing part to our defense. With Will, Gerald [McCoy], and everybody, when we’re all together – especially with Will – it helps solidify our D-Line.”

Gholston, who was signed to a lucrative contract extension in the offseason, led the defensive line with five tackles, including a tackle for loss.

“Last year I believe he led, according to Pro Football Focus, he led the league in stuffs behind the line of scrimmage,” Smith said. “He is a big, strong man and he is a penetrating guy and when we get good knock-back and we get the linebackers coming downhill, we are going to have a chance to be successful and Will is an integral part of it. He should win that C gap for us the majority of the time and that’s what we are counting on. When he wins that C gap, it allows us to do some other things in terms of how we’re figuring our linebacker fits and our secondary fits.”

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Melvins-Just-Grillin
Melvins-Just-Grillin

• I had the chance to speak with several Buccaneers this week about ways to improve the NFL product and I wanted to include this quote from sixth-year NFL veteran cornerback Robert McClain, who would like to see the league revert back to the old days of football when the game was more physical and more violence was allowed.

“With the physicality of the game, they are trying to make it safer, so there’s not much you can do that way,” McClain said. “I feel as though some of the stuff – tackling- and hitting-wise, they could be a little more lenient on some stuff. We all know the risks of playing this sport. Everybody does. It’s the same way you know the risk of flying in an airplane, or a firefighter going in a burning building, or even a rock climber. There are risks to everything. It’s all part of the risk you have with football.

“There are proper ways to tackle that can help, but there are times when you just want to be physical. It’s a physical game. Back in the day they didn’t used to call a lot of that stuff. Brent Grimes and I talk about that all the time. That’s what football was. It’s a gladiator sport. We’re going to hit each other. They are trying to make it safer I guess, but there is not much they can really do. It won’t be as safe as they want it to be. That’s the only thing I would change – some of the hits.”

McClain is right. Firemen know that they could get burned, get smoke inhalation or die due to their profession. Police officers and members of the Armed Forces know they could get shot and wounded or killed in the line of duty. Football players know the risks associated with playing the game and banging heads for three hours a week on game days (and several more hours on the practice field), but get paid handsomely for it – much more than the civil servants I’ve listed above.

The spotlight on concussions and CTE and some lawsuits that have emerged has forced the league to adjust its rules favoring player safety instead of big hits. While nobody wants to see anyone get seriously injured, I do long for the days when players like former Bucs safety John Lynch could tee off on tight ends and receivers roaming across the middle.

It’s a fact that audiences love violence dating back to the Gladiator days in old Rome, and even in present day where UFC fighting has generally passed boxing in fan interest because of blood, harder, violent hits, chokeholds and knockouts. Back in the day, the NFL used to take highlights of Lynch and other big hitters and make videos of players getting creamed and sold them to fans. To me, that was the game of football I grew up with and loved. Unfortunately, those days are over.

Pewter-Nation-Podcast-Pewter-Report• The popularity of the Pewter Nation Podcast continues to grow thanks to YOU, Pewter Nation! With Bucs regular season action now underway, we are now producing two shorter podcasts (30-40 minutes) during the week – one mid-week and another one immediately after the Bucs preseason and regular season games. Here is a link to the latest Pewter Nation Podcast – Episode 30: Bucs-Vikings Preview – Pick Your Poison.

PewterCast podcaster Brent Allen joined the PewterReport.com crew this week (and helped us fix our audio issues!) to talk Bucs vs. Vikings, so give it a listen. Make sure to visit PewterReport.com Sunday night for our post-game analysis of Tampa Bay’s road game at Minnesota in a new Pewter Podcast Podcast, which Mark Cook, Trevor Sikkema and I will record immediately following the game. 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.

• Although he only played in the first quarter before exiting due to swelling in his hamstring, Bucs middle linebacker Kwon Alexander made a splash play for Tampa Bay’s defense, intercepting Bears quarterback Mike Glennon in the red zone. For Alexander, it was redemption as he felt he didn’t improve against the pass last year, finishing the season with only one interception and seven pass breakups in 16 games after recording two interceptions and nine pass breakups in 12 games as a rookie.

Bucs MLB Kwon Alexander - Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
Bucs MLB Kwon Alexander – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR

“It was a great way to start the season for me,” Alexander said. “I’ve been working hard all offseason on the JUGGS machine trying to get my hands and my coverage right. It all paid off. Catching 300 balls a day. Why would you drop it?”

Technically, Alexander is averaging an interception a game to start the 2017 campaign, but he certainly won’t finish with 16 by the time the season is over. But with one under his belt already, it’s a safe bet to assume that Alexander will be setting a new career high with at least three picks this year.

• While it was great to see Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston and wide receiver Mike Evans add a few wrinkles to their “Euro Filaay” celebration after the two connected for a touchdown in the first half, it was awesome to see celebrations take place around the NFL again after scores. Yet the best celebration of all came in Oakland where new running back Marshawn Lynch, a native of the area, danced for the crowd to the rap song “Oakland” in last week’s game against the New York Jets. Check out this awesome video of Lynch having a blast with the Black Hole rocking and dancing along.

“It was just joy,” Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie told MMQB’s Peter King. “So much fun. And it was all natural. It just happened. Football needs more fun like that.”

Absolutely. Thank you for being you, Marshawn.

• The Bucs’ 2017 season is underway and sure you follow PewterReport.com on social media for all of the updates from practices, games and press conferences, in addition to getting updates on the latest stories to hit our website. To join our 27,5600 followers on Twitter, click here to follow @PewterReport. To follow us on Facebook, click here.

• And be sure to read the Bucs vs. Vikings Pewter Prediction column Saturday morning on PewterReport.com to see if Mark Cook, Trevor Sikkema and I pick Tampa Bay to win in Minnesota. Thank you for visiting PewterReport.com and making us a trusted source of Bucs news for Pewter Nation.

 

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Scott Reynolds is in his 25th 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 sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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wnb0395

Scott, another great fab 5. As to part 3 about the ratings. I agree with what you have but I have to add that I believe the athletes not standing for the national has had a major effect on the ratings. Following facebook and twitter I see many posts about how many Americans feel its disrespect to our military forces who are currently serving and have died for this country to not stand and honor them. I get that athletes want to protest and have the right to protest and them not standing is not to disrespect our military forces,… Read more »

BucWild02

I am not a fan of hijacking the national anthem for a discussion on race relations or politics or policing, especially at the expense of offending those who have sacrificed and served. Also, football is my entertainment. It’s my getaway from the reality of everyday life. I am a white, middle aged, middle class guy who has served. I am not a racist. Colin Kaepernick is mixed. He is probably wealthy. He is a public figure with a platform, only because he is a part of the NFL. By taking a knee during the national anthem, he has risked his… Read more »

wnb0395

I can think of a more effective way. You can do what the Dallas Cowboys did last night. I loved it. They protested before the national anthem, then stood up for the anthem so they didn’t offend anyone, while still holding arms. It was a non offensive protest that also promoted unity. My Grandpa Died serving this country. I never got to meet him. I was raised in a different era with respect. Majority of the kids now days don’t have any respect or morals. I was taught to always stand for the national anthem to honor those who are… Read more »

Iowabucfan

I was just shocked last year that David had no tackles in the Arizona game. I still find it unbelievable. He is too good of player for that to happen. I am definitely glad to see that he is back. My favorite touchdown celebration was Billy “White Shoes” Johnson of the former Houston Oilers. It was unique, yet simple. I also liked Barry Sanders. He get into the end zone, which was often, and just flipped the ball to the referee. He acted like he been there before and it was par for the course. To me, that was more… Read more »

e

To chime in on #3, Scott… I would say that Goodell, over his tenure, has turned an institution into a commodity. I think that when you look at the overall arc of the popularity of the game, the NFL has reached, and is now surpassing that profit-pushing saturation point. NFL games don’t feel like they used to back in the day. I believe that when you are watch CFB these days, you get a feeling that those players are fighting for something a little more, even though it’s still a business. I agree that they need to only have one… Read more »

cgmaster27

Great Fab 5. It’s funny as a fan , when a player is so good for so ling, you kind of take them for granted. David is one of those players. We all agree he had a bit of a down year last year, but when you see his career stats so far, that is eye opening. I think he continues and has a big week this week with a pick. I love the f act that the NFL relaxed the rules on scoring celebrations. I love them. Scoring a TD has to be an exhilarating experience, let them enjoy… Read more »

tpeluso

Please, let’s not go down the road of college’s overtime rules. I hate how they take special teams play (save for field goals) out of the game, I hate how they gift the offense a shot at a makeable field goal without doing anything, and I hate how they artificially inflate scores (which you mention, but it’s important when scoring still factors into half of the NFL’s tiebreaker criteria, even if they’re the ones that are the last resort). The NFL’s existing overtime system has produced plenty of exciting and controversial moments, and is not screaming out to be messed… Read more »

Naplesfan

The college football playoff system is fine, it’s very entertaining. But I don’t think it works so good for NFL. Better to keep but tweak the existing rule … no team should lose a playoff game just because they lost the coin toss, even if the other team scores a TD. After all, everyone knows that defenses are usually all gassed out at the end of four quarters, so whoever gets the ball first is most likely to win without the other team demonstrating whether it can score a TD too. After one possession and it’s still tied,then whoever scores… Read more »

surferdudes

Could the down ratings have anything to do with the fact millions of people were affected by two massive hurricanes? I know I didn’t have power for five days, and no internet, cable, for 12 days.

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Naplesfan

On making the NFL more entertaining: 1 – too much of a good thing ain’t good … Thursday night football cheapens the product, get rid of it asap 2 – adding more reviewable plays, nope … we spend far too much time watching flags fly, ref’s chin-pulling and staring at video screens, and waiting for the faceless person back in the review booth to issue the Ten Commandments. Speed makes excitment 3 – too many late night games (again, partly “less is more”) … for people who have to get up early the next morning, an 8:30 kickoff results in… Read more »

cobraboy

#6: Stop the political baloney and Social Justice Warriors from alienating fans. As a former player and lifetime fan, the politics and SJW in the NFL the last couple of years just about has me ready to just walk away from it. That, IMO, is the #1 reason the NFL is slipping and unless the NFL draws a line in the sand, will continue its slide. The #’s 1-5 are peripheral problems to the core issue. Thay6 may be irritating, but #6 pi$$e$ me off. I am a football fan to get away from that crap. Why would I tolerate… Read more »

Horse

Next Owner/Player Contract requires both sides to wake up that they might be over pricing their product; younger people have more toys for options than in past decades. Kids aren’t playing football like they use to; therefore the present and future watching market is shrinking; it’s as simple as that. I have never supported individual celebrating when this is a team sport; it’s just not necessary. Just my opinion.

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spartan

The biggest argument against the “we know the risks” is that is not the current players who submit the lawsuits. It’s either those who are now retired and broke or a family member after the fact. Case in point the concussion settlement. Do you honestly think that is going to be the last one?

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XpfcWintergreen

This is an old-timer’s response to what I see as short sighted trends in today’s NFL. This is an open plea to the owners and the NFL brain trust. Eliminate the Thursday night games. Do NOT expand the schedule to more than 16 games. (After all the payers are just human beings. They are not really supermen.) Do not ruin this game. Don’t let greed ruin the product. Find some other CREATIVE way to squeeze out the extra $$ you think you need. Do not follow the lead of what happened to major league baseball. MLB used to be America’s… Read more »

gafikdetail

the NFL has plateaued… it’s as simple as that… has nothing to do with politics or social justice… kids these days are too busy playing in their phones & trying to be social media stars instead of watching or playing football… as profitable as the NFL has been and still is where murders, rapes, domestic violence, racists rants, DUIs, vehicular homicides & dog fighting didn’t make a dent in it’s popularity but a silent protest is it’s death knell? ROFL get the hell out of hear!!

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scubog

The NFL might not be as popular as it was a few years ago, but it’s still one of America’s favorite pastimes. Almost as popular as posting stupid stuff on social media about which the recipients really don’t care. Instead of hitting the LIKE symbol, there should be a pile of bull crap symbol indicating that you don’t give a shit. And that my friends is what has happened to the NFL. Many former fans have become apathetic and no longer have the passion. Too much of a good thing. Back a few years ago most of us football fans… Read more »

Horse

Scubog, we getting older and are more conscious in prioritizing our time. My hat is off to you four still going out there in the hot sun and supporting the Bucs; I myself passed this effort a few years ago. I still love the Bucs and support them.

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spartan

By trying to be everything to everyone, and not being offensive in way, they end up being nothing to no-one.

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drdneast

Scubog, once again I agree with many things on your list, but the Vikings horn? Come on, I hate it when it’s blowing against us, but during the rest of the games I love it and I have even heard some players say they love it as well. So I’m going to quit watching NFL games because a washed up QB and Michael Bennett, who I respect as both a player and a person, decide to sit down during the National Anthem. Why” They don’t even play for the Bucs. What do I care what they are doing in San… Read more »