FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots

• How did you like Super Bowl LII? The most combined yards ever in a Super Bowl or any postseason game occurred between Philadelphia and New England. And did you see the 41-33 final score? It used to be that defense won championships, and I suppose you could say that’s still the case because the game came down to defending a last-second Tom Brady Hail Mary, which the Eagles did. Yet offense now rules the day in the NFL as the Super Bowl featured two teams tied for second in the league in scoring at 26.8 points per game.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson - Photo by: Getty Images
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson – Photo by: Getty Images

Just in case you were wondering how Tampa Bay’s offense measures up, there is still plenty of work to be done in Dirk Koetter’s and Todd Monken’s offensive meeting room as the Bucs were ranked 24th in scoring offense, averaging just 20.9 points per game. Tampa Bay’s offense scored 30 points or more in just game last year – a 31-24 triumph over New Orleans in the season finale due to a last-second touchdown pass from Jameis Winston to Chris Godwin.

The only other times the Bucs put up 30 points or more came in a 38-33 loss at Arizona and a 30-20 win at Miami. But linebacker Lavonte David forced and recovered a fumble for a touchdown in the loss to the Cardinals, while Tampa Bay’s offense only generated 26 points in that game, and the Bucs scored a special teams touchdown on a fumble recovery by Adarius Glanton against the Dolphins, which meant that the Bucs offense only scored 23 points in Miami.

Meanwhile, the Bucs and special teams defense gave up 30 points or more in five games, so those areas also need to be improved or increasing scoring to 25 points per game or so won’t matter too much.

In last week’s SR’s Fab 5 I wrote about how Monken’s number one mission is to increase red zone touchdown production. There’s no faster way to boost point production that to score touchdowns rather than field goals – especially with the Super Bowl champion Eagles coming to town in 2018.

• In a bit of scheduling quirk, the Buccaneers will have hosted the Super Bowl champion in each of the last three seasons when the 2018 regular season schedule comes out. In the two previous years, Tampa Bay has actually hosted both Super Bowl participants, as the losers of both of the previous Super Bowls were NFC South rivals Carolina and Atlanta. The Bucs lost to both of the teams that prevailed in those Super Bowls – Denver and New England – and will now face this year’s champion, Philadelphia, and will try to change their fortunes.

Pewter-Nation-Podcast-Pewter-Report• Mark Cook is back! After a two-week hiatus, Cook re-joined the Pewter Nation Podcast this week and discussed several Bucs-related topics with Trevor Sikkema and yours truly. The PewterReport.com team talked about what the Bucs can learn from the Eagles winning their first Super Bowl championship, we delve into some draft stuff and also talk a bit about free agency. Here is a link to that Pewter Nation Podcast – Episode 60: Return of the Mark

If you haven’t listened to this week’s podcasts 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. 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.

• As I previously mentioned in this edition of SR’s Fab 5, Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick has been one of the more popular players linked to the Buccaneers in some recent mock drafts. But there is a chance that Fitzpatrick may not even make it to Tampa Bay, which has the seventh overall pick. That’s because Cleveland, which has two first-round picks in the Top 5, may select the Crimson Tide All-American before the Bucs have the chance to.

Penn State RB Saquon Barkley - Photo by: Getty Images
Penn State RB Saquon Barkley – Photo by: Getty Images

The Browns have the first and fourth overall picks this year, and one of those selections will be for a quarterback. Cleveland already has two stud defensive ends in Myles Garrett, the first overall pick in 2017, and Emmanuel Ogbah, who was a high second-round draft choice in 2016, so that means the Browns won’t take North Carolina State defensive end Bradley Chubb. With high-priced guards Kevin Zeitler and Joel Bitonio as starters, Cleveland won’t take Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson. That leaves either Penn State running back Saquon Barkley or Fitzpatrick for the Browns at No. 4.

Cleveland is not expected to re-sign running back Isaiah Crowell in free agency, and despite having Duke Johnson as a replacement, Barkley would be an upgrade. But the Browns could also use an upgrade at free safety over Derrick Kindred, and Fitzpatrick would be an ideal pairing with strong safety Jabrill Peppers, who was selected near the bottom of the first round last year.

• Pewter Nation – we appreciate your help in getting the @PewterReport Twitter account to 28,500. If you haven’t followed us on Twitter yet and want everything from breaking Bucs news updates, live tweets during Bucs practices, press conferences and games as well as notifications about new PewterReport.com, join the legions of Bucs fans who do and please click here to follow us. And you can join the increasing number of PewterReport.com Facebook fans by clicking here.

• I wouldn’t count on Tampa Bay pursuing New England cornerback Malcolm Butler in free agency. Butler will be among the biggest available names in free agency, and will likely cash in on a new contract – but I don’t think it will come from the Buccaneers. Butler’s career has been defined by two Super Bowl appearances. The first came in 2014 when he picked off Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson at the goal line in the final seconds of the Patriots’ dramatic win over the Seahawks. The second Super Bowl moment came this year when Butler was active for the game, but didn’t play a single snap on defense in New England’s loss to Philadelphia.

Patriots CB Malcolm Butler and Bucs WR DeSean Jackson - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Patriots CB Malcolm Butler and Bucs WR DeSean Jackson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

That is a glaring red flag that the Bucs took notice of, in addition to the fact that the Patriots let him visit New Orleans last year as a restricted free agent and there was talk of a potential trade, but it never materialized. Bucs general manager Jason Licht, who spent several years working alongside Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and surely picked up on the fact that Belichick doesn’t think much of Butler.

Even more proof came before the 2017 season when Belichick opted to give a big-money contract to free agent cornerback Stephon Gilmore instead of locking up Butler. It’s all but certain that Butler will be signing with the Saints in March, and don’t expect the Bucs to make a run at him.

I get the sense that Butler is like Alterraun Verner 2.0 – a decent, but not great cornerback that wound up being overrated and overpaid by his second team. Verner’s second team was, of course, the Bucs, and I get the feeling that the team feels the same way about my comparison of Butler to Verner.

• I’m going to turn 46 years old in April and I’ve been wearing glasses for reading and driving now for two years thanks to NewsomEye. My vision wasn’t what it used to be and I needed to get my eyes checked out, so I called NewsomEye for an appointment and I’m glad I did. Dr. Hunter Newsom and his staff of trained specialists took great care of me. I’ve never had such a thorough eye exam like the one I experienced at NewsomEye and I highly recommend them.

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With offices in Carrollwood, Sebring and South Tampa, NewsomEye has several locations to serve you. Whether you need glasses, Lasik or need cataract surgery, NewsomEye is your complete eye care practice. NewsomEye is a proud sponsor of PewterReport.com and I was a patient even before they became an advertising partner.

Don’t put off going to see the eye doctor, especially if you are in your 40s like me and your vision isn’t as sharp as it used to be. Give them a call to schedule your initial visit and consultation at (813) 908-2020 or visit their website at NewsomEye.com and tell them PewterReport.com sent you.

 

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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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CrackerBall

The tough thing about being a vocal leader is having the gravitas to influence – otherwise Riley Bullough would be the leader of this team. McCoy will never be the vocal guy we want him to be. In the old days, we had Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks and John Lynch – all vocal with the peaches to back it up. People respected them because they could bring it as well as preach it.

Ah… the good old days.

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FLBoy84

Definitely hit the nail on the head with GMC section Scott. He came out with another “I’m not good enough, thanks for the push, I hear you” tweet regarding not getting a single All-Pro vote last month. Believe Sapp would’ve been more like “F%$k you” instead of “thanks for the push”, which I believe more players respond too. That whole “do your job” and “us vs the world” mentality resonates more with players imo than the “come on guys, we can do better”. LIke Kwon, but just don’t see him as being that guy yet that can lead the entire… Read more »

Cody

Who gets the better end of the deal if the Bucs trade their 7th pick for both of the Bills first rounders this year? I know they need a QB and we need to fill some holes so I feel like this may be a good trade. What do you think?

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FLBoy84

Think you’re spot-on Cody. Would be down for that, as the value is comparable, though it would obviously depend on who’s there at #7 right? Lot’s of mocks out there have the top QB’s gone by #7 so, if the run on QB’s start early, Buffalo is probably calling Cleveland at #4. If we did make the move, good chance a G/C like Wynn or Price and a DL like Bryan or Hurst are there as well.

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Cody

Yeah if Chubb somehow falls to us then I’d stay and take him at 7. But if we get those two first rounders from Buffalo then we could definitely get Hurst and maybe Josh Jackson as well or Harold Landry. I’d also be totally okay with taking Davenport at that point as well.

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TBChucky

I agree on GMC and Fitzpatrick. He’s my least favorite blue chipper, for the Bucs anyway. Not saying that he’s not a good player. I think they’d probably prefer a true CB like Jackson from Iowa, or the kid from Ohio State. I’m hoping you’re right, and they fill that need through free agency. Focus on the lines and RB in the draft please.

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BucFanInNC

Everyone clamoring for Baker & Ayers to be cut but what about Gholston? Dude was trash too.

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athans5

I don’t understand why everyone is so hot on Fitzpatrick. I personally think that Derwin James is the better player of the two. I’m actually a Florida fan so I’m not a homer, I just think that guy has the abilities to be special. In my opinion, him, Nelson, and Barkley should be our top prospects at 7. Why does no one talk about Derwin? After the combine I guarantee he will be a top 10 pick in mock drafts. If you don’t believe me please refer to this http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000844755/article/derwin-james-scouts-see-future-nfl-star-in-freakish-fsu-safety Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please… Read more »

macabee

Thought of you my friend when I saw this. Enjoy!

https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/news/2018-nfl-mock-draft-both-new-york-teams-get-qbs-49ers-give-jimmy-g-a-running-mate/

Oh, btw, PFF has the same idea. Good luck on your picks. Go Bucs!

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surferdudes

McCoy isn’t going to change as a leader, and he’ll never give up the C on his chest because he’s a media whore. It’s obvious his goal now is to make more pro bowls, and go on to a career at ESPN, or NFL Net when he retires. Eight years going on nine we hear the same song, and dance from McCoy, time to realize it’s all talk. If the Bucs don’t move on from Gerry then they better draft Vita Vea instead of a safety. Put a top ten D line talent next to McCoy to finally shut up… Read more »

Tampa 2.2

I totally disagrees with your FAB 2. The great number of NFL executive of the year award having, HOFer William Patrick “Bill” Polian Jr. once said, “If you are drafting in the top 10 you must select a player who scores TDs, protect the passer blind side, sack QBs, take the ball away or score TDs.” In other words the only positions you should draft in the top ten are LT, QB, DE, RB, or WR. Offensive Guard Quenton Nelson or Defensive Tackle Vita Vea doesn’t fits Bill criteria to be selected with the Bucs 7th pick. Let’s take a… Read more »

JustaBuc

The amount of criticism McCoy receives for absolutely nothing is frankly f*cking pathetic. You’d think the guy played every position on the football team. Dude’s done nothing but ball at an elite level for us, half the time injured and with no help, and the fanbase thinks he’s the problem. Lmao. People write about leadership like its some possession that McCoy can just dig out of his locker and hand to some louder rah-rah man since everybody should aspire to the masculine fantasy that being a hard ass is the de-facto best and only valid leadership style. Christ, let’s go… Read more »

Bucsfan1983

Seriously Scott?

The Bucs should absolutely not pass on Fitz, if the opportunity is there. There are 4 players they should be looking at #7, Chubb, Fitz, Barkley and James. If all four are gone, then look to trade down for Nelson, Davenport, Vea or whoever.

I don’t think all 4 will be gone by 7, at least 3-4 QBs will be going before 7.

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stlbucsfan

It makes no sense that we are still having articles written about GMC not being a vocal leader. Tony Dungy didn’t lead the same as Gruden but they both have the same amount of rings. Writing articles that even suggest that GMC is the problem is asinine. The problem with this defense is the guy who surrounded GMC with “top notch” talent like William Gholston, Robert Ayers, Chris Baker, Michael Johnson, Stevie T, George Johnson and I could go on but you get the point. GMC doesn’t need to be Warren Sapp to win in the NFL, plenty of players… Read more »

RootsCrew

Unfortunately, the Fab 3 likely won’t happen. Koetter is a dinosaur in terms of how he views football. Despite the overwhelming evidence that his defense couldn’t hold leads/or consistently hold the other teams offense, he still punted or called plays “not to lose” instead of going for the win. That’s just who he is. He thinks it’s still 2008. The lack of using the QB sneak has driven me mad since 2015. He’d rather go 5 wide on 3rd and 1 than use the sneak with Jameis. In regards to the Fab 2, I’m not against drafting Minkah dependent on… Read more »

RootsCrew

And you really can’t compare teams when evaluating if McCoy elevated his teammates play. The talent is night and day different. 1997: Sapp’s 3rd year Hardy, Brooks (HOF), Lynch (HOF worthy), Donnie, Culpepper, Upshaw 1998: Sapp’s 4th year Hardy, Brooks, Lynch, Donnie, Culpepper, Upshaw, Ronde (HOF worthy) 2000: Sapp’s 6th year Booger, Brooks, Lynch, Donnie, Ronde, Quarles, Robinson Contrast the supporting casts 2012: GMC’s 3rd year LVD, 37 year old Ronde, Barron, Bennett, Foster, Ahmad, Miller 2013: GMC’s 4th year LVD, Barron, Foster, Dashon, Clayborn, Revis, Banks, Akeem 2015: GMC’s 6th year LVD, Kwon, Conte, Gholston, Jacquies, Lansanah, McDougald, Moore,… Read more »

Ken - Kfromfla

Great players make plays when it counts. Great defensive players create stops on critical drives. Great player make plays. Ask Brandon Graham about his strip-sack, or Julian Edelman about his ridiculous diving catch in SB – 51, or Von Miller about his sack on Cam, or Malcom Butler about his Int. Great players make plays in when it counts. Now, name that play for McCoy in 8 seasons? Maybe the hurry on Ryan in 2016? I can’t think of another out of 109 games and a $100 Million dollar investment. Please name another. I’ll wait. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit… Read more »

Ken - Kfromfla

I hate the subject of leadership on the defensive side of the ball because when I try to explain my issue with it, I get accused of McCoy bashing, when that is never what I set out to do. Gerald McCoy is one of the best DT in the game, but his position as team leader dramatically reduces his possible contributions. Let me explain. Football is a man’s man sport, alpha male trying to take the heads off of other alpha males, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Yet, the bucs are soft on defense, there is just… Read more »

owlykat

Enjoyed your entire article. McCoy needs to up his leadership by example and pass the Captainship to the caller of the Defense who has the fire to do it. Licht’s failure to build from the trenches forward is the real problem! Koetter used to call QB sneaks when Jameis had the weight to pull it off but he should have never let Jameis lose his weight which led to his injury and increased fumbles. Koetter’s pampered practices does not prepare his teams to be strong enough to dominate. He needs to visit the Gator practices going on right now and… Read more »

martinii

Fab 1 regarding Mc Coy and his leadership strategy absolutely makes me sick to my stomach. This site is beginning to remind me of another Hater site which I have all but stopped visiting. For all you experts on leadership the most basic form is by example. No he doesn’t have the fire and brimstone, no he’s not the animated spokes person or maybe he doesn’t have the Warren Sapp bravado, but every time he steps on that field opposing coaches and players are game planning for him with double teams. So go ahead trade hime, cut him, ridicule him… Read more »

SaskBucs

Fab 1- Agree. I never bash McCoy’s play but I have been in a locker room my whole life and if you can’t confront teammates or even the coach in a proper manner, you aren’t leading properly. Fab 2- Admittedly, I don’t understand the talents and projections of these college ballers as I don’t usually watch but I tend to agree with what you said and I am firmly in the camp of drafting for the trenches. Fab 3- Agree, but only if Koetter can stop telegraphing plays and targets. Get creative, sneak Winston, fake an end around to DJax… Read more »

Garv

It never ceases to amaze me how much crap Gerald McCoy takes from some fans. And of course the media inflames it for even more attention. He is himself, will always BE himself and that is an NFL Pro Bowl DT year after year after year. I do agree that Kwon and Jameis are the leaders now and that’s fine. I love their passion and drive to win the damn games. In fact their drive to win the damn games is, ironically, the very thing some fans were bitching about when they led the team to the final win against… Read more »

Alldaway 2.0

Fix the lines.

Passing superior safety talent in the 2018 draft isn’t a good idea but the Bucs don’t have that luxury with their o-line/d-line.

Fix the lines.

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scubog

I’m a little late reading the Fab 5 this week, but I’ll offer my take on the on going GMC debate. There are lots of ways to lead and certainly being one of the players to demonstrate how it’s done is one of them. It sure would be difficult to get folks to follow your lead when you don’t do things properly or take the easy way out yourself. Gerald and the great Lee Roy Selmon are great examples. But unlike #63, #93 rarely takes over a game or comes through when needed most like Selmon, Sapp, Brooks or my… Read more »

plopes808

GMC’s leadership style is just fine. We already have Kwon bringing the fire on defense so having 2 of the same leadership style is a waste. Not to mention the fact that the “in your face” style is obviously not GMC at all. I hope we don’t reach on Fitzpatrick when clearly our most sure-fire hit would be to draft Nelson and put him next to Ali. Those 2 would bust gaping holes through D-lines and allow our backs to gallop through them. If we can land Michel in the 2nd round, our 2 picks would compliment each other very… Read more »

jp414

Spend a first round, seventh overall pick on a G? Who does that? The last time anybody spent a pick that high on an OG was AZ taking Jonathan Cooper at pick #7 in 2013. How’d that work out for them? SF drafted Mike Iupati at pick 17 in 2010. Other than those two, no guards have been taken any higher than 23rd by any team for the last 15 years! This team needs a pass rush. And, CB help. And, a RB. And, maybe a LT & C. All of those – before OG. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit… Read more »

Dan.B

Yes i totally agree that we should pass on Fitzpatrick with the 7th pick and go for either Vea or Nelson. both are mammoths that move extremely well and will be contributing players for a long time. I also think we should double up on big men with our 2nd round pick of the draft as well. if we take nelson, maybe the Florida DT taven bryan will be there in the early 2nd, or if we take Vea at 7, why not go for a solid OLinemen with our 2nd pick. the game is won and lost in the… Read more »