FAB 2. Winston Is Ready To Lead Bucs

Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter did the right thing in benching Ryan Fitzpatrick for Jameis Winston in the second half of Tampa Bay’s 48-10 loss at Chicago, and inserting Winston as the team’s starting quarterback for the rest of the season.

I was clear about what it would take for Winston to get his starting job back after Fitzpatrick’s hot 2-0 start that featured him winning back-to-back NFC Offensive Player of the Week awards. I said that Fitzpatrick needed to have back-to-back losses in games he started and for him not to play well in those games.

That’s exactly what needed to happen in order to effectively turn the offense back over to Winston without snubbing Fitzpatrick and abandoning a hot hand, and that’s exactly what happened. Smart move by Koetter.

Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR
Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

Fitzpatrick scored nine touchdowns and had one turnover in the first two games, but had four turnovers and three touchdowns in the next two games, which were losses. It’s time to give Winston, who would have been the starter from Week 1 if not for a three-game NFL suspension, the rest of the season as he is the quarterback of the future – not the 35-year old Fitzpatrick, who may retire at the end of the season.

Trailing 38-3 at halftime, Koetter admitted that he put Winston in an awful position to see his first action, but to his credit, Winston showed very little rust. There was a bad interception on his final throw of the game where he was staring down tight end Cam Brate, and a misfire on an easy out to DeSean Jackson that would have been a first down. Winston also threw an interception when his arm was hit by Khalil Mack in the third quarter, but that was Ali Marpet’s fault for a poor block attempt – not Winston’s.

Winston was sacked twice, and the second one was his fault for hanging on to the ball too long. Otherwise, he looked poised, he looked patient, and when the pocket was breaking down Winston showed remarkable escapability in breaking tackles and getting out of sacks.

“You see some plays where Jameis looked really sharp as far as running the offense and getting us in and out of the huddle,” Koetter said. “We ran a fair amount of no-huddle when he was in there. Obviously, his scrambling – he didn’t forget how to scramble and he made a couple of plays in that area.

“At the same time, and I think a perfect example was that out rout to DeSean right in front of our bench where Jameis is going to hit that 99 times out of 100. He didn’t just miss it by a little. He missed it by a lot. That’s one of the benefits to him playing [on Sunday] instead of that possibly happening in Atlanta. As much as we try to practice at game speed, it’s not game speed.”

Bucs QB Jameis Winston - Photo by: Mary Holt/PR
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

In his first half back in action, Winston completed 16-of-20 passes (80 percent) for 145 yards and one touchdown at Chicago along with those two picks. Winston looked to be in better shape physically than he did when he left after training camp, and remember that he is coming off his best preseason yet in which the fourth-year quarterback completed 30-of-41 passes (73.2 percent) for 388 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions and a QB rating of 126.9.

Winston’s hard work during his three-game suspension paid off. Winston didn’t just hit the gym and throw the ball around the yard. The 24-year old showed incredible maturity in mimicking the Bucs practice schedule during the week and assembling a team of practice players.

Here is Winston’s daily schedule for three weeks with his personal QB coach George Whitfield, Jr. that was revealed on the Fox broadcast on Sunday:

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
7:00 am – 10:30 am – film session at Winston’s home
11:00 am – 12:15 pm – walk through at Skyway Park
1:15 pm – 4:00 pm – stretch/practice with former player

Saturday – mock game
Sunday – watch game at home with family

“I did my best impersonation of what it would be like as an in-season schedule being here,” Winston said. “I got the guys from Orlando area. Ft. Lauderdale, Lakeland. Louis Murphy even came out there and threw a couple passes – brought him out of retirement – and we just went to work. I didn’t want the guys in this building to be working hard and I wasn’t out there doing my thing. Other than spending a lot of quality time with my family – because I didn’t have a chance to spend time with my Buccaneer family – we did a lot of great things. After every practice, I catered meals to my teammate just so I could have that team-bonding that I missed here. I feel like we had a pretty good plan together.”

Bucs QB Jameis Winston - Photo by: George Whitfield, Jr.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: George Whitfield, Jr.

Koetter was blown away by Winston’s dedication to his craft and how serious he took football during his three-week suspension. I was too.

“I wasn’t there so I don’t know, but knowing Jameis the fact that he came up with that plan and put it into motion and recruited people to help – I’ve never seen that before,” Koetter said. “It really doesn’t surprise me knowing Jameis like I know him. I actually wouldn’t mind seeing the film of it to see what it looked like. I’m sure Jameis got his wish – he was the player and the coach at the same time.”

Yes, Winston got himself into this suspension mess with his behavior two and half years ago. But one has to be impressed with how he handled his time away from the Buccaneers and the leadership and self-discipline he showed in continuing his football grind away from his teammates and the AdventHealth Training Facility.

That’s the type of stuff leaders are made of, and an 80 percent completion percentage in his first game back is an example of the effectiveness of his hard work.

New Orleans’ QB Drew Brees set the single season completion percentage record in 2009 (70.6 percent), beat it again in 2011 (71.2 percent) and after Sam Bradford completed 71.6 percent of his passes in Minnesota in 2016, Brees topped it again with a 72 percent completion percentage last year.

Bucs QB Jameis Winston, George Whitfield, Jr. and practice players - Photo from George Whitfield, Jr.'s Twitter
Bucs QB Jameis Winston, George Whitfield, Jr. and practice players – Photo from George Whitfield, Jr.’s Twitter

No, I don’t think Winston will break Brees’ single-season completion percentage mark. He might not even reach 70 percent on the season. But Winston very well could continue his climb as a more accurate passer.

We’ve seen Winston’s completion percentage rise from 58.3 percent as a rookie to 60.8 percent in 2016 to 63.8 percent last year. If he can increase that to a 66-67 percent completion percentage this year and cut down his interceptions the Bucs offense will continue to be a threat to score 28 points or more per game.

Winston spent some extra time at the team’s practice facility during the bye week and I would look for him to be ready to take it to an injury-depleted Atlanta defense next week.

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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]

39 COMMENTS

  1. You say the first interception is not Winston’s fault and i disagree. He had a good amount of space in the front and he needs to step up the pocket when there is pressure. All the good QBs step up when they sense pressure on the outside provided they have space in the front. Any QB can throws dimes when given a complete clean pocket. I’m don’t know if these small things are instincts or things that can be coached but sure are required to be a franchise QB. Winston for now just doesn’t have them. He is definitely a good QB just not great.

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  2. No one knows better than Koetter & Smith that they are coaching for their jobs. Changing DC after 4 games is crazy. Maybe modern NFL football has passed Smith by, but making a coordinator change at this point has more down side than upside. Most defenses are getting torched with the new rule changes, shoot look at NO, Minn, Philly, ATL just to name a few (they were supposed to be good). Did Zimmer & Quinn forget how to coach D? There are only a few defenses that are good under old standards: Bears, JAX and that is about it. The rest are treading water.

    Scott you predicted the BUCS to be 2-2 by now, and they are (they just didn’t get here how you thought). You predicted the Bears winning, and they did. It was ugly, and NONE of they players came to play except JPP. You predicted that they would NOT be a playoff team, and they won’t.

    Overreaction to the BUCS winning early and overreaction to the BUCS losing late. Injuries have decimated the defense, and a pile of rookies or 2nd year players playing on the back end. The offense is going to have to win games (like they did in the first 2 wins). How long did it take Barber & Lynch to be good NFL players Scott? I believe it took years as you often write about.

    If the BUCS drafted James instead of Vea they would have no D-line because of injuries. Pick your poison. They are a couple of years away of drafts & player development.

    As all of PR predicted they are somewhere between a 7 and 9 win team, period. If they are what you thought they were then what the hell are we screaming about!!??

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    • PS-If Monken is so great then why didn’t the BUCS score more than 10 points against the Bears, and in 4 games why don’t the BUCS run the ball more effectively? (Barber isn’t great, but he doesn’t suck either)

      The back-up QB, OC, and DC are always better than the starter that loses.
      Come on we’re better than that

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    • MudManVA – agree completely. No one should be screaming about them being 2-2. Maybe beating the high flying Saints and their offense and the Super Bowl champs made everyone think in one year this team is fixed and ready to go. It is not.

      One other thing to add what you wrote – who thinks Koetter, who Smith stuck with in Atlanta no matter how bad things got after they won division titles and never won a Super Bowl, is going to now turn around and dump his life-long coaching friend? I like the suggestion above to keep him on as consultant and try Duffner at calling plays with his background, but I don’t see Koetter doing that with his history with Smith protecting him in Atlanta. Nice suggestion, not going to happen.

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    • Your comment about Vea vs. James fails to take into account context and needs at the time. Yeah, there are injuries now but even if the defensive backfield was healthy it would still be garbage. The line, when healthy, has the talent to be good.
      I’ve noticed in reading this column that it seems like Scott wants to make a certain point then will put in whatever work is needed to make that point. Some points have a ton of data and back-up whereas others have basically nothing and come off as lazy. It’s a distressing pattern.
      And the James vs. Vea discussion isn’t beating a dead horse as SR suggests because he, and posters like you, continually fail to just admit that the pick was, at best, a questionable decision at the time that has only gotten worse. That’s all that needs to be said to end a majority of these comments. Instead it’s excuses and odd reasoning.
      Bottom line, Vea is a DT whose main specialty is stopping the run in a league that is increasingly about the pass. He’s only a 2 down player for at least this year and more than likely next year as well. Licht signed two players before the draft who already fill this (not especially important honestly) role. To sink even more capital into a sub-package player is inexcusable.
      We all want Vea to do well and he has a chance to be a very good player and every rookie deserves time. But those things and the criticisms of Licht and Vea I wrote above aren’t mutually exclusive. SR seems to think they are and it makes this column come across as biased and not the balanced reporting SR holds himself to

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  3. I am just a huge football fan, I really don’t know football technically but have been a fan of the game for over 60 years and a Buc’s fan since day one. That being said I listen to people who should know some of the answers, former players and coaches who announce and analyze games on television and radio. NFL TV and NFL radio on XM satellite radio. Regardless of our Head Coaches Smart Butt statement that Smitty didn’t miss a tackle or a coverage, down to the last person everyone I listen to says this system will never work. They break down the TB defense and say you get stuck with linebackers on the number one wide receiver the way it is run right now and that will almost always result in a completion. All these experts seem to respect our talent but say it is a lack of coaching and good discipline on defense. I have called into a few programs and ask retired HOF player what do they feel is the problem in Tampa and down to the last person they say the defensive scheme. I guess Koetter knows better all of them. I really hate smart assed answers like the coach didn’t miss on tackle, no his scheme missed them all!!!!

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    • Great point Bob. Well stated, sir.

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  4. GREAT ARTICLE! Will it get done? Probably not. But you can’t expect the offense to carry a 32nd ranked defense into the playoffs and Mike Smith is at the top of the “we’ve seen this before” meltdowns AND the two-year ranking of last place.

    I really sympathize with professional Sportswriters like you guys and everyone else covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It must be incredibly frustrating to try to give us fans other topics besides the ONE MOST IMPORTANT TOPIC that could really give this team hope for improvement on the defense…. hope for more wins… hope for the playoffs.

    But I digress, your article nails the fact that Mike Smith sticks to failing strategies for too long…. very slow to make adjustments in the game…. and also very slow to pickup on NFL trends.

    I’ll also add that I would hate to see the Bucs ONCE AGAIN throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The offense ranked 10th last year and is currently 3rd in the NFL this year. Koetter’s offensive scheme is good and while his play-calling is suspect, he and Monken make a good team offensively. I’d hate to see things get worse as the season progresses where the cries for firings become more ignorant than warranted. As it stands right now, Mike Smith has definitely earned a firing and this QB chatter to start the season has been a distraction to what really holds the Buccaneers back from being winners.

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  5. If the Bucs played vanilla cover 2/cover 3 90% they would definitely not give up 400 yards per game. That is how bad things are that playing vanilla cover 2 would be an upgrade lol.

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  6. I was calling for Dotson, and Grimes to be replaced this year for the very reasons you stated Scott. Time has caught up to both players. It was obvious to many of us why not Licht? Maybe it was, but drafting Cappa, and Stewart wasn’t the answer. M.J. might be to slow for the NFL game, and Cappa coming from a small school had no experience playing either R.G., or R.T.. How as a G.M. do you move up into the 3rd for a player you have to project what they might become in the NFL? Pointing to Marpet as example of a small school success is only true in the mind of Buc fans. He’s on his 3rd position change in as many years, and only in the mind of Buc fans is he a pro bowler. Spoiler alert, he’s not, and so far this year he won’t be again. If you need a R.G., or R.T., for gods sake draft one that has tape playing those positions at a high level for three years at a major program! Vita Vea is a 3-4 nose tackle. He doesn’t have the tools to play a three tech in a 4-3 defense. If the Bucs plan on sticking with a 4-3 they’ll need to draft someone else. As far as blitzing David, and Kwon more, they need a clean shot at the Q.B. to get home. They do not have the size, and power to push the pocket if they get picked up by a blocker. Same goes for the run game. Get a blocker on them, and they get swallowed up, they can’t shed blocks. What I’m saying is every supposed star on our team is way over rated. Licht’s scatter shot draft approach, combined with poor F.A. signings has doomed the Bucs. He needs to go. We need a G.M. with a real vision, and plan for this team.

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  7. As a 42 year season ticket holder I reflected upon having spent about $100,000 on season tickets!
    What could I have done with the money instead? More things for the children and grandchildren? An MBA that I’ve thought about?
    42 years of primarily frustration must be some sort of psychopathology, don’t you think? Yes, I spent time in the Old Sombrero with the paper shopping bag,when they had them, over my head. I’ve sat through raging thunderstorms like many other fans.

    Yes, I have been entertained. Record-setting games by the opponents. There are many more than just Mitchell Trubisky. And as Shakespeare wrote, A Comedy of Errors, by the Bucs.

    I am a very loyal person, perhaps too loyal.
    I have been quantum levels above just foolish.
    The Bucs are both.
    Please pardon my rumination.

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  8. I can only respond to negative comments regarding my son, Brent. One minute you like him and the next he is a liability. Obviously none of you know Brent or you wouldn’t say the things you do. The person that wrote this story with his comments needs to meet with Brent and just maybe you would understand real football actions.

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    • Brent was good in his prime, but he is 35, always injured, and just not the player he used to be. These are facts, he was good, but it’s time for him to hang it up. He has been a liability this season.

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    • No one hates the man. As fans, I think we all admire his journey. I think we’ve been entertained by his game. He just hasn’t been the same this season. There’s plenty of blame to go around for the two losses. Fitzpatrick, Alexander, David, and Grimes will shoulder much of the blame for their performances on the field in those two losses. They played poorly and they aren’t rookies. These are the savvy veteran leaders of the team. Everyone expects better performances from those guys, probably including themselves.

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    • Ms. Hall, you have every right to be proud of what your Son has accomplished. By no means would any crticism be meant towards the person, son, husband or father but to a level of play that is backed up by game film. This does not question the character of the man but it does question the ability of his skill sets at this point in time. His playwas a factor in an embarrassing loss. I am sure he recognizes it as well.

      To say that reporters or fans should not comment on this level of play is naive to the fact that this is exactly what reporters are paid to do and exactly what fans do when their beloved Team shows up to only embarrass us again.

      I personally appreciate what Brent has brought to the Bucs. It may be at a time though that he consider getting healthier before going back out there and potentially put this Team AND himself in harms way.

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      • Brent has been hurt and no one knows that better than him. Yes it is a reporters job to write about the players, but shouldn’t they know and report the truth. Maybe we are looking at different tapes, but Brent does what he is told.

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        • We are not hating on him as a person so please don’t take it that way.

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        • Deborah Hall, I believe it was stated for weeks Brett had an injury. I was quite surprised once Brett was given the okay to play that he would be the starter after missing so much time.
          It wasn’t fair for him or the fans for Mike Smith to start Brett after missing all those weeks. Chicago took advantage of the situation, but it is the game of football.
          I know you’re a very proud of your son and well you should. Brett has had a successful career, but everything must come to an end eventually. I I have the greatest respect for him and I believe most fans feel the same way.
          I myself had three wonderful careers and each one had to end due to age and health, but I did my best and that’s all anyone can ask for; I hope Brett feels the same way when he is my age.

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    • It’s an honor as a Bucs fan to read your post, Deborah. Makes me feel good to see that Brent has a very supportive family. Hope he continues being successful here in whatever capacity he plays, and when football is done, I hope that true success follows him and his family in all his endeavors! God bless!

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  9. Doesn’t matter, Mike Smith is garbage!

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  10. Still giving Jones the benefit of the doubt. The dropped pass was ugly, but the definition of a rookie mistake: trying to run before he caught the ball. He’s not the first to do it and surely won’t be the last. When he had blocking, he looked solid on the ground. Unfortunately, he also got completely blown up in the backfield multiple times again, so until our OL gets their shit together, I don’t expect him to break out. Same goes for whatever QB we put back there…the OL was able to protect Fitz well the first two games and he did some incredible things. But the last two games, it appears the Monstars took their talent and the results have been clear. No matter which QB we play, if we are giving up pressure the way we have been the past 2 weeks, we won’t win games.

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  11. Not sure how the Bucs scouting staff works, but would be curious if the same scout that pimped McNichols also rec’d Jones, being that they are both West Coast RB’s. Sadly Aaron Jones was picked 20 spots after McNichols, would’ve loved to see him as a Buc.

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  12. Gotta hate writing about this because it means at week 5 we are already thinking about coaching changes.

    I’ve gotta say though If the Glazers do decide to clean house after this season if Koetter posts another losing record… I’m not sure who I would be advocating for as the new GM.. But I definitely know who would be the right choice for Head coach. None other then Chris Peterson coach at UW.
    If you follow Coach Pete at all you know his programs are built first on a character and secondarily a winning mentality. I think that’s exactly what the bucs need a culture change. No more losing culture. Chris Peterson would be a huge addition to this franchise. I know the sexy picks lately have been the innovative offensive coordinators from high scoring offenses but I for one am tired of coaching changes every 2-3 years. Chris Peterson would bring a culture change and stability.
    On a side note… Hopefully he would bring Jimmy Lake back to the bay area as a D coordinator. That dude radiates confidence and swagger. I would love for him to mold Davis, stewart, Hargraves, Evans and Whitehead. I mean just look at the dbs he has coached (Marcus Peters briefly, Budda Baker, Kevin King, Sidney Jones, Taylor Rapp, Byron Murphy, John Ross, and Shaq Thompson) The only big time recruits out of those were Shaq and Budda other than that he developed most of those guys.

    Thats just my opinion tho… What do you guys think? Who would be your choice for a new HC?

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  13. He got 1 thing right. Mike Smith did not call any blitzes and has not been.

    On the other side we have not been leaving protection in or changing protection. Why for a full half we let K. Mack rush against just the Tackle with no TE help?

    Putting Winston back in just means more of the same Turnover Machine and he cant connect on the deep ball like Fitz can if Fitz has time.

    5-6 wins this season. Another wasted season, poor coaching and sub-par Scouting.

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  14. I always knew this franchise was not truly serious about Winning another superbowl anytime soon. After all, they hired 2 rejects from the ATL Falcons. Arthur Blanks knew. Due to Koetters Loyalty to his old coach, He will Go down with the ship. Its sad because he will take a few good people with him. Not many fans thought Smitty should have been retained after last yrs sorry Defensive showing. And now, its happenning all over again. Yes, we will flash defensively here and there. Will probably even win in ATL. But I don’t see this team taking off under its current regime. Smitty’s time has come and gone in this NFl. Hell, he won’t even come down out od his pressbox to lead his troops on the sidelines!! Perhaps we should let it just play out and get that top 5 draft pick next year. But I have no confidence in this coaching staff. I got us either going 6-10 or 7-9. The Glazers will have no choice but to..end our Misery.

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  15. Still think i would like DC Mike Smith on sideline! I see no apparent advantages of being upstairs… at least it doesn’t appear to have helped him make calls! i’m just saying…

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    • He might have an “accident” if he’s that close to the players when he’s making such weak calls during a game… Would love to hear how the players REALLY feel about the D he’s running.

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  16. I wish we could all get over the Florida State Washington thing. IT IS OVER!!!!!!!!! We chose the DT not the Safety. Let’s get over it! Please! It’s irrational to keep harping on something that is in the past and can’t be changed. DT is harder and takes longer to develop than safety. Both players are probably going to be very good. Very good safety’s are always available, but 345 pound DTs with speed and athleticism are not. Let’s act rationally. We just don’t what will happen, but we do not have a “way-back machine.”

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  17. Thank you Scot Patterson. There is no excuse for not having a TE help our Tackles by chipping K. Mack. It could have helped avoid a beat down. There also is no excuse for retaining Smitty who is a total BUST of a DC. Otherwise, thank you, thank you, thank you Scott for your written detailed analysis on how to improve the Bucs. Koetter should follow your advice. Your plan is brilliant as usual, and it is a huge improvement over Koetter’s plan to trust Smitty to fix it.

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  18. So what we know about our Bucs this year. We still have lots of holes. Safety,DT,CB,RT,RG. Benenoch and Dot both stink. Koetter is too stubborn to fire Smoth or at least demote him. Looks like will be blowing it up again at end of year. Koetter is an idiot. Smiths scheme is garbage. It will not work. I just hope they can maybe keep Monken as coordinator. I’m 50/50 on Licht too. He’s made some good moves and some really bad ones.

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  19. Good God Buc fans have become as predictable as Mike Smith’s defense.

    I knen that when Dot struggled against Mack, that the idiotic Buc fans would say that Dot is garbage and washed up. Although he shut down the DEs he face in the first 3 weeks. I understand he had a bad mistake on a blitz pick up against the Steelers, but other than that was very good. Then he was asked for most of the game in which the Bucs trailed, to block to best DE in football..and you yahoos want to say he’s no good because Mack got the best of
    him…Geeeezus!

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  20. Fanofdadabucs your the idiot. Go watch games again you moron. He stinks right now period and to say otherwise makes you a jackass. Don’t put words in my mouth I didn’t say “he was washed up” I said he stinks and Benenoch does too. Given his age and knee surgery he just had it’s not looking good this year but who knows maybe he will bounce back. Grimes is washed up and you quote me on that.

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  21. We also have no depth behind Dot or C. benenoch which is also an issue and why I listed RT and RG as holes.

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  22. The right side of Bucs line cannot run block either. It’s not all about pass protection from that side but the pass protection has been horrible two games now. Benenoch should be benched like the article says. Benching Dot won’t help there is nobody depth wise it’s bad situation and I wouldn’t bench him just yet anyways.

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  23. Can we please stop talking about switching to a new DC being the equivalent of our players having to earn a PhD. These are professional football players. Every DC in the NFL asks his players to do the exact same things. All of our linemen (some better than others) know how to pass rush, play run defense, and stunt. All of our LBs (some better than others) know how to cover TEs and RBs, and they know all of the blitzes ever devised. All of our DBs (some better than others) know how to play press-man and zone.

    What a new DC brings is not some magic new task that our players have never heard of before. The DC is not telling the linemen when to bull rush versus when to speed rush (they figure that out themselves). Same for tactics at LB and DB.

    What a new DC brings is a new strategy as to when, how often, and in what combination (creating disguises) the players are asked to do all of those things that they already know how to do (some better than others).

    If like me, you believe our players are of similar talent (some better than others) to the other teams, and that our players are doing the same things that all of the other teams are doing, then that leaves only this issue of what a DC actually does – when, how often, and in what combination. And that does not require the players to earn a PhD, just that the DC already has one. I would suggest Smitty does not, but there are many out there that do and we should change ASAP.

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    • Agreed, too many people here are talking as if a DC change could possibly make this defense any worse.

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  24. Benenoch should be held accountable by cutting him and picking up another guard to try. Smith should be given a shot and if he cannot do it give Leidkey a try. He should be available at every game because he can play well at Guard and Tackle if needed.

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  25. Mike Smith HAS to go at this point. His defensive scheme has done absolutely zero for this team the last 2 seasons so far and there is little to no chance that it will suddenly click and help the team win this year. Our offense has carried the team so far and the defense has done nothing but drag us down. Koetter’s foolish blind loyalty to Smith will result in the entire staff being blown up and starting from scratch again. This is a shame as our offensive staff has done a really good job not only this year, but since Koetter has taken over.

    The whole Vea vs James debate is pointless unless someone out there has a time machine. One thing I will say for Vea though, I saw him on multiple occasions pushing 2 O-lineman backwards. The push he gets will open things up for the rest of the D-line, and if Mike Smith ever decides to call a blitz, our LBs will have open lanes to the QB.

    The doom and gloom is surely warranted on the defensive side of the ball. Nothing short of a miracle will turn this defense around. At this point all we can hope is that our offense can somehow manage to maintain their success the entire season and win us a few shootouts. The O-line definitely needs to step their game up though for that to happen. Whatever they were doing the first 2 weeks, they need to return to that.

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  26. Why is it that Mike Smith seems to want his players to play his scheme regardless of where the players’ strengths lie? I’m quite certain he was influential on each defensive draft pick over the past 3 years, so I’m sure he knew ahead of time these DBs excel at press-man coverage, not zone coverage. The only player on the entire team who seems comfortable in zone coverage is Grimes, and he completely sucks so far this season.

    It seems like Smith wants to put square pegs into round holes, and hasn’t learned a damn thing from his previous failures on defense. At worst, a change in play callers might put these players into better position to actually stop opposing offenses more often than not. At best, it might just be the morale booster the DBs need right now.

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