SR’s Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, PewterReport.com publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place and around the NFL:
FAB 1. SMITH SHOULD BE FIRED IF BUCS LOSE TO JAGUARS
Lovie Smith should be fired if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
Bucs fans can’t take another home loss. Not to Jacksonville.
This organization can’t withstand a home loss to the Jaguars, which is the worst team in football in recent history.
Jacksonville hasn’t had more than four wins in a season since 2010, a year they went 8-8 under Jack Del Rio, who was fired during the next season, in which Jacksonville went 5-11. Mike Mularkey presided over a hapless 2-14 season in 2012, only to be replaced by Gus Bradley, who has gone 4-12, 3-13 and 1-3 since.
At least Bradley has won three games in a season – something Smith can’t yet claim in Tampa Bay.
Since 2010, the Jaguars have a terrible record of 15-53. The Buccaneers aren’t far behind with a record of 18-50. To put that in perspective, Cleveland and Oakland both have a record of 21-47 from 2011-15.
Bad football will be on display at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday in the battle to see which team is the worst in Florida – and perhaps the NFL. Give the Jaguars a slight edge to beat the Bucs because they’ve already beaten Miami, another awful 1-3 team.
Without a miraculous playoff run to end the season, I don’t see how Smith could recover from a loss to the Jaguars. He would lose the fan base entirely with a defeat on Sunday – if he hasn’t lost them already.
A loss to the Jaguars might put a dent into the trust the players have in Smith, too. How could it not?
Bucs head coach Lovie Smith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“Everything is on me,” Smith said. “I’m a head football coach on everything that we do here.”
Smith was talking about his decision to keep kicker Kyle Brindza around for an extra week after he missed three field goals and an extra point in a 10-point loss at Houston in Week 3. Brindza then missed two field goals and an extra point against Carolina last week.
But what about Smith’s other personnel decisions? After all, he has the final say on the 53-man roster when the season rolls around.
Smith already jettisoned his three hand-picked guys in free agency from last year. Quarterback Josh McCown, defensive end Michael Johnson and left tackle Anthony Collins were all disasters in Tampa Bay last year.
Let’s not forget that Smith was the one who hired offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford, who was in over his head in the NFL, and quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo, who had no NFL experience.
The free agents signed by the Bucs this year – safety Chris Conte, cornerback Tim Jennings, defensive tackle Henry Melton, nickel cornerback Sterling Moore and linebacker Bruce Carter – either played for him in Chicago or played in the Tampa 2 scheme in Dallas, which is run by his good friend, Rod Marinelli. Yet this is a defense that has is allowing an average of 25.75 points per game.
Despite showing improvement last year after the bye week, Smith took over defensive play-calling duties from defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. In the final seven games of the 2014 season, Frazier’s defense only allowed opponents to score more than 23 points just once and allowed an average of 19.7 points per contest. Smith’s defense has already surrendered 30 points to the Panthers and 35 points to the Titans this year.
Two defensive players that Smith has continued to hype up – safety Bradley McDougald and cornerback Mike Jenkins – haven’t made many impact plays this year. Linebacker Lavonte David actually seems to be regressing in Smith’s Tampa 2.
David has just 12 solo tackles this season and 31 total stops with two tackles for loss to go along with a forced fumble. To put that in perspective, David had 31 solo stops through the first four games last year, and 38 total tackles and eight tackles for loss, in addition to two forced fumbles.
In his first four games under Greg Schiano in 2013, David had 30 tackles (20 solo), but also had five tackles for loss, four sacks and an interception en route to an All-Pro season. Even as a rookie under Schiano in 2012, David had 33 tackles (28 tackles) with six tackles for loss.
Smith was supposed to turn David into the second coming of Derrick Brooks in the Tampa 2 defense. That has yet to happen.
To be fair, David dropped an interception at the goal line that hit him right in the hands on Sunday against Carolina. So he has to take some responsibility for his less than stellar play after signing a contract that made him the highest-paid 4-3 outside linebacker in the NFL.
Bucs LB Lavonte David – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
There just seems to be some kind of disconnect between Smith and his players for the Bucs to lose this many games. I don’t think they are tuning him out because they do respect him, but it’s obvious that Smith’s message is sinking in, either. That’s evident in the fact that Tampa Bay is one of the most undisciplined teams in the league, and is tied for the second-most penalties in the NFL this year with 38 – an average of 9.5 per game.
Smith is not a good game manager on Sundays, either. That was evident in Sunday’s 37-23 loss to Carolina. With Tampa Bay trailing 17-10 in the second quarter, Cam Newton was sacked by defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to set up a second-and-24 situation at the Carolina 21 with 2:35 left. Smith waited until there was 2:05 left before calling his first time out.
After an incomplete pass on second down stopped the clock with 2:01 left before halftime, the Panthers picked up 10 yards before punting the ball with 1:55 left after the two-minute warning. Tampa Bay took over at its own 45-yard line with 1:46 and two timeouts. Had Smith called the timeout earlier, the Bucs would have still had a timeout, the two-minute warning and about 20 more seconds to work with.
The Bucs had a first down at the Carolina 11-yard line, but only had six seconds on the clock. Had Smith managed the clock better, Tampa Bay could have 26 seconds left, which would have been enough time for Winston to throw two or three passes into the end zone to try to get a game-tying touchdown. Instead, Smith trotted the beleaguered Brindza onto the field for the first of his two missed field goals on Sunday.
“We wanted to get points at the end as much as anything,” Smith said. “We had a chance for momentum, where we were down by seven and at the very worst we were going to be down by four going in with momentum. Yeah, that’s what we were trying to do. We would like a touchdown, of course, in that situation, but we needed points and at the very worst we thought we would get three.”
There have been other instances of poor clock management, such as the St. Louis game last year in Week 2. The Bucs were trailing 10-7 with a first down at their own 32-yard line with three timeouts with 23 seconds left, but instead of going for a deep pass, the Bucs ran Bobby Rainey for eight yards to the Tampa Bay 40 and then didn’t call a timeout to try another pass play to get into field goal range.
Smith was content to let the clock run out in the first half and go into halftime with three timeouts in his pocket. The Bucs wound up losing 19-17.
Who was the quarterback? Austin Davis.
Austin Davis beat the Bucs a week after Derek Anderson did for Carolina. In fact, Anderson, Carolina’s backup, beat Smith’s Bucs twice last year.
It’s one thing to have Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco and Drew Brees – all Super Bowl winners – beat you, but to go 0-5 against Anderson, Davis, Ryan Mallett and rookie Marcus Mariota, who was playing his first NFL game in Tennessee’s 42-14 beatdown in Week 1, over the past two seasons is unacceptable.
In last Sunday’s press conference, Smith actually said, “You can get better without it saying it on the scoreboard.”
That’s true, but at some point, improvement has to show up on the scoreboard, which is the ultimate measurement of success in the NFL. Twenty games into Smith’s tenure as Tampa Bay’s head coach he has a record of 3-17. Smith’s predecessor, Greg Schiano, won more than twice as many games and was 7-13 in his first 20 contests with the Bucs.
Heck, even Raheem Morris was 6-14 in his first 20 games, and did it with a rookie quarterback in Josh Freeman and a far younger and less talented team in 2009 and 2010. Smith has a rookie QB in Jameis Winston, but that can’t be an excuse for losing given all of the veterans he has on defense.
“Even though there is disappointment behind this, that doesn’t have anything to do with us going forward,” Smith said. “Again, we just finished up the first quarter of our season and we’re behind and we’re disappointed. One win, but an opportunity to get a lot more the second quarter starting with Jacksonville.”
Smith means the second quarter of the season – not games. The Bucs need to focus on the first quarter where they have been outscored 38-6, including two pick-sixes by Winston against Tennessee and Carolina. Getting off to a quick start against Jacksonville is a must this Sunday.
Smith preaches fast starts to his team all the time, but it hasn’t happened. Now he’s preaching patience, especially with a rookie quarterback, to the Bucs’ fan base despite a 3-17 record.
Losing to the Jaguars at home on Sunday would mean hitting rock bottom as a franchise. The Glazers, who are still paying Schiano $3 million per year through 2016, likely wouldn’t consider making a coaching change until the offseason.
I think they should consider it because they have two former head coaches on staff in defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who coached the Vikings from for three and half years after taking over as an interim head coach in 2010, and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who was a head coach for nine years at the collegiate level at Boise State (1998-2000) and Arizona State (2001-06).
I would actually prefer to see the well-liked and respected Koetter take over if Smith were to be relieved of his duties during the season. Giving him a chance to keep the continuity going with Winston past 2015 is important in the young quarterback’s development.
I would definitely keep general manager Jason Licht and the scouting staff on board, too. The Bucs have had two good drafts, have had some free agent finds like defensive end Jacquies Smith, and are upgrading the team’s talent. Talent is the key in the NFL and I think the Bucs are making some headway in that area. Keep in mind that Licht didn’t hire Smith, either. Smith was hired first and brought Licht on board.
Smith was supposed to bring credibility to Tampa Bay from Chicago having taken the Bears to the Super Bowl and the playoffs numerous times. But didn’t Sam Wyche take the Bengals to the Super Bowl before he was fired by Cincinnati and landed with the Bucs, too? We all know how that turned out in Tampa Bay and I’m afraid Smith is heading down a familiar path, especially if the team loses to Jacksonville on Sunday.
If the Bucs beat the Jaguars, the pressure is off Smith for now with what would be a 2-3 record and a much-needed home win. But the Bucs will have to show some real improvement and should get to at least six wins for him to see the third year of his contract. There’s still time for Smith to turn things around, but it has to start on Sunday against the Jaguars.
A loss to Jacksonville would be a clear sign that Tampa Bay is heading in a very wrong direction. Even though the Glazers don’t want to fire their third head coach in the past five seasons they’ll need to if that happens.
FAB 2. WINSTON’S PLAYMAKING ABILITY SETS HIM APART
Through the first four games of Jameis Winston’s initial NFL season he is on pace to throw for 24 touchdowns this season, which would be a rookie record in Tampa Bay and be the fourth-most TD passes thrown in team history.
On the flip side, Winston is on pace to throw 28 interceptions this year, which would be second behind the franchise-high 35 picks Vinny Testaverde threw in 1988. That would also match the same number of interceptions that Peyton Manning threw in 1998, so Winston would be in good company.
After throwing a career-high four interceptions and having a fumbled snap with center Joe Hawley in Sunday’s 37-23 loss to Carolina, Winston knows he needs to limit his turnovers.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by Cliff Welch/PR
“The letdown was just five turnovers,” Winston said. “You know, you can’t win football games with five turnovers.”
Bucs head coach Lovie Smith chalked up Winston’s bad day to being a rookie and not making the right decisions with his passes.
“You say the same thing about most picks,” Smith said. “It’s not a good decision on throwing the football. It’s as simple as that. He would like to have some of those back. We had some options, just some tough decisions that were made.”
Following the game, Winston’s teammates rallied around him, including wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who hauled in 10 catches for 147 yards and a touchdown in the final minutes of the game.
“We love Jameis,” Jackson said. “We’re going to rally behind him. He’s our guy, and there’s not going to be a blink in that locker room about that. We can do better things to make his job a little bit easier. There are things that are done that may seem like it’s his fault but there’s plenty of things that we can do to make him successful, and we all take the accountability for all those plays, those turnovers. It’s never a one-man show. Jameis is a young guy. He’s going to continue to learn.”
Part of Winston’s appeal to the Bucs during their pre-draft scouting was his swagger and supreme confidence. Sunday’s loss and his five turnovers did nothing to faze him.
“You just snap and clear, and stay positive,” Winston said. “You can’t think negative. Just snap and clear.”
“I will never lose my confidence. No, I will never lose it. Confidence will never be an issue. I’ve just got to work harder. That was a wakeup call to my work ethic. I have to work harder.”
As Tampa Bay Times Bucs beat writer Greg Auman pointed out this week, there have only been five quarterbacks with more interceptions than Winston’s seven through four games. New England’s Drew Bledsoe and Dallas’ Hall of Famer Troy Aikman had six picks four games into their rookie seasons, while Manning had 11 interceptions in Indianapolis through the first quarter of his rookie year.
Conversely, Winston has six TDs in first four games and only Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota (eight) and Andrew Luck (seven) have had more. And don’t forget that Winston has rushed for a touchdown, too, so he’s accounted for seven touchdowns in Tampa Bay.
Winston came into the NFL with the knock of throwing too many interceptions after throwing 28 in two years at Florida State, including 18 as a sophomore. But offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said it’s unfair to label Winston as a turnover-machine.
“Playing in college is not playing in the NFL,” Koetter said. “It’s just different animals. Did we throw too many interceptions in this game? Yes. Can we base the whole rest of Jameis’ career on that? No.”
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
It’s not uncommon for young, successful quarterbacks to see their interceptions decline with experience. Winston’s opponent on Sunday, Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles, threw seven interceptions through his first four NFL games last year and 10 threw his fifth game, but has just 10 interceptions in the 13 games since.
Here’s the big takeaway when it comes to Winston. It’s easier for a playmaking quarterback to reduce the number of mistakes and interceptions than it is for a non-playmaking quarterback to make more plays. Once a quarterback gets to the NFL level, he’s either a playmaker type or he’s not.
Winston has shown he can makes through the first four games. He just needs to reduce his number of mistakes and that can happen due to his level of self-confidence.
What separates Winston from former Bucs quarterbacks like Vinny Testaverde, Trent Dilfer, Chris Simms and Josh Freeman is his confidence. Those aforementioned quarterbacks would throw an early interception or two and not show the resolve that Winston did in leading the Bucs to a late-game touchdown.
“He’s a competitive guy,” Jackson said. “He never got down on himself on the sideline – I love this about him. He comes back in the huddle in the second half and he’s like, ‘Hey, let’s go get some points, let’s go win this game,’ and that has never changed since Week 1 and I really enjoy playing with the guy.”
Once those former Bucs quarterbacks started in the downward spiral they simply couldn’t get out. That’s not the case with Winston, and that’s why he has so much promise.
“It’s not a time to fall,” Winston said. “It’s a time to get better, a time to rise.”
The good news for Winston is that through four games the Jaguars only have one interception, which is the lowest total in the league. That’s a welcome stat, as the Bucs will likely be forced to throw the ball with greater regularity this week.
“They are excellent against the run,” Koetter said of the Jaguars. “The reason is that they always outnumber you by one. It’s the Seattle defense that Coach [Gus] Bradley brought from Seattle. Single high (safety), eight guys in the box if you have two backs or two tight ends, seven guys in the box if you have one back and one tight end. They are always going to outnumber you by one. In coaching terms, you are always running uphill. How do we get a hat for a hat?”
Bucs QB Jameis Winston and OC Dirk Koetter – Photo by Cliff Welch/PR
In last Sunday’s 16-13 overtime loss to Indianapolis, quarterback Matt Hasselbeck attempted 47 passes as Jacksonville held the Colts to just 60 yards on 24 rushing attempts (2.5 avg.) led by Frank Gore’s 17 carries for 53 yards.
“I’m adjusting to this game and trying to get better at something every week,” Winston said. “Last week it was third downs. We were way better on third downs. We struggled on third downs (in Houston) and we came back. Red zone touchdowns – we had (three) red zone touchdowns, so that was important.
“Every week I’m trying to work on something, and for now until the rest of the season I have to work on not turning the ball over. That’s an easy thing to do because if I don’t … it will be bad.”
Smith is confident that his sharp, young quarterback will rebound from last week’s game with a better performance against Jacksonville.
“Jameis had a tough day,” Smith said. “Jameis will be fine. A tough day at the office [Sunday], but he’ll bounce back this week.”
Sunday and a chance at redemption can’t come soon enough for Winston. The last time he threw four interceptions was in a 24-19 win against Florida last year. He came back the next week and he completed 70 percent of his passes for three touchdowns and no picks in a 37-35 victory in the ACC Championship Game against Georgia Tech.
“I have to play better,” Winston said. “It’s not a mystery. It’s a learning curve and it’s learning for me. It gives us a chance to bounce back.”
That’s what playmakers do.
FAB 3. PATIENCE PAYS OFF FOR RAINEY THE RETURNER
Tampa Bay’s return game was a mess last year as the Bucs rolled through several return men – Solomon Patton, Trindon Holliday and Marcus Thigpen – last year before settling on reserve running back Bobby Rainey at the end of the season. Rainey finished 2014 with a 26.3-yard kick return average, which led the team and a 7.9-yard punt return average, which left little to be desired.
That prompted the Bucs to draft a return specialist in Utah’s Kaelin Clay in the sixth round, and give several other rookies, including Adam Humphries and Rannell Hall, a shot at returning punts and kicks in the preseason. Rainey was also in the mix, but the Bucs had an idea what he could do and wanted to get a closer look at the team’s newcomers.
He had to be patient.
“I’ve been learning to be patient since I went to college,” Rainey said. “I’ve learned how to be patient and wait my turn. It’s been tough, but as the years went on I’ve gotten better at being patient. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, I know to take advantage of it.
“It’s very hard when they bring guys in to do your job and they draft a guy to return kicks and punts and take your position. It was frustrating, but at the same time, patience is a virtue.”
Bucs RB Bobby Rainey – Photo by Getty Images
His patience paid off, and when the newcomers didn’t sizzle, the Bucs opted for Rainey’s steadiness in the return game. But he’s done more than just be steady.
Rainey is starting to excel as a returner. The Bucs rank fifth in the league and Rainey’s 29.5-yard kick return average ranks 11th in the NFL. Among players with at least six returns, Rainey ranks fifth overall.
Tampa Bay ranks 14th in the NFL in punt returns and Rainey ranks 21st in the league in punt returns with a respectable 9.5-yard average. That’s an increase from last year.
“Bobby’s doing a great job,” Bucs running back Charles Sims said. “He’s an explosive player. His returns get us going. They are a huge advantage for us. He’s picking up another first down or two for us [when he takes the ball past the 30.]”
Rainey has ripped off a 23-yard punt return this year and had a 38-yard kickoff return last week at Carolina in which the kicker had to make the tackle.
“I was so close on that one,” Rainey said. “It’s been frustrating to me as a returner because I’ve been close to breaking a few returns. In the Texans game I was pressing too much and had a couple of bobbles there. I got too excited because I saw some openings, but now I’ve calmed down and let it come to me.”
Despite having a revolving door at the return specialist job last year, the Bucs ranked eighth in punt returns, so the scheme worked and Tampa Bay could be even more productive with a more explosive returner.
“I think that’s where it starts,” DePaola said. “Our blockers know the kind of guy they have back there in Bobby. They try to give all they can to help spring him one. I feel like we have some momentum going and it all starts with Coach O’Dea, who puts together our scheme. He studies harder than anyone else I’ve ever seen. Our guys trust him and his schemes and they do their job to the best of their abilities and Bobby sees the hole. That’s what he does best. He hits it and he hits it hard.”
Rainey is capable of ripping off big runs and had an 80-yard touchdown dash against Buffalo in 2013 as a running back. Tampa Bay’s last kickoff return for a touchdown was an 89-yarder by Micheal Spurlock in 2010. The Bucs’ last punt return TD came on a 77-yarder by Spurlock in 2009.
“It’s been a while since our team has had a kick or a punt return for a touchdown and that’s something we want to do,” DePaola said. “We definitely feel Bobby is that guy. He’s done an awesome job. He’s a special returner.”
Rainey’s confidence in the return game is at an all-time high, and he’s coming off a game in which he averaged 30.7 yards per kick return against Carolina.
“I think our momentum is building,” Rainey said. “We’re putting our offense in good field position. There have been times when our return game has given the offense great field position and they went down and scored. It’s going good, but it can be even better.”
FAB 4. MASIFILO MASTERING THE TRANSITION TO GUARD
He has yet to play a down on offense and has been inactive for two games this year, but one of the more amazing stories is that of guard Matthew Masifilo, who made the successful switch from playing defensive line to offensive line this offseason. The fact that the Hawaiian-born Masifilo beat out more experienced players like Kadeem Edwards and Patrick Omameh, who have been playing offensive line since high school, in the preseason is quite remarkable.
A season-ending injury to veteran offensive lineman Garrett Gilkey likely aided Masifilo’s cause, but he had a very good preseason in his first action as a blocker as opposed to being the guy charged with the responsibility of beating the blocker.
“Everybody needs to remember that he just started doing this in April,” Smith said. “I’m pretty sure he was told beforehand, but he wasn’t getting coached by Hop (Bucs offensive line coach George Warhop) until late April or May when we actually took the field. The strides he’s made are enormous. He’s done a great job, and coming over from defense he’s got a high motor and aggressiveness. That stuff translates to the offensive line and it’s easy for him. It’s just the technique stuff that he’s never practiced or performed before. He’s been doing a really good job of listening to Logan [Mankins] and Hop. I think it’s impressive. I’ve been very happy for the guy and he continues to do an outstanding job.”
Bucs G Matthew Masifilo – Photo by Cliff Welch/PR
Masifilo said that having a former Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion like Mankins on the team playing the same position he’s trying to learn is an enormous advantage.
“It’s huge as I’ve always admired Logan’s intent to try to finish guys,” Masifilo said. “Since my first day I’ve tried to pick his brain and mimic everything he does. I’m always asking him questions, especially on the field when I’m getting coached up. If I don’t understand what’s being said I just line up behind him and see how he does and mimic him.”
A product of Stanford, Masifilo’s intelligence has aided his transition to playing guard. He played nose tackle and defensive end in the Cardinal’s 3-4 scheme in college and was signed as an undrafted free agent by San Francisco in 2012. The Bucs signed him off the 49ers’ practice squad in November that year and he bounced between Tampa Bay’s active roster and the practice squad as a defensive tackle for the last three years before the switch to guard was made during the offseason.
The Bucs had signed defensive tackle Henry Melton in the offseason and the defensive line room was getting crowded, especially at defensive tackle, so Masifilo, who is physical and quick, was moved to guard to help the team’s depth on the offensive line.
“I’m going to say it was a staff decision,” Smith said. “As we’re looking at it, we had some guys we liked on the defensive side and maybe Matt wasn’t quite what you were looking for at that position, but all the other things you loved. Nobody works harder – he’s strong, tough, smart. He’s not the first defensive lineman to make that adjustment, so it’s not surprising what he’s being able to do.”
Bucs center Evan Smith appreciates how far Masifilo has come in such a quick period of time.
“He came in our room with a blank slate, so you can kind of get all the bad stuff corrected before it starts,” Smith said. “He didn’t have any bad habits because he’s never played offensive line before. It’s like trying to teach someone how to play golf. It’s best if they have never tried to play before because there aren’t any bad habits. He’s been doing a great job learning because unlike the defensive line, there are so many more nuances you have to learn playing offensive line.”
One advantage that Masifilo has to help him adapt so quickly to playing guard is that he is going against the position he used to play.
“It definitely helps in the fact that I’m seeing things I’ve done before as a defensive tackle,” Masifilo said. “It’s not like I’m staring into a black hole. Whenever things are going too fast for me, I slow my thinking down by asking myself, ‘What would I try to do to me as a defensive tackle?’”
With Mankins and rookie Ali Marpet entrenched at both starting guard spots, Masifilo has the luxury of developing behind the scenes without the pressure to play right away. Much more effective as a run blocker at this stage of his NFL career, Masifilo understandably needs some work as a pass protector.
Bucs DT Matthew Masifilo – Photo by Cliff Welch/PR
“I think the tape would tell me that my pass pro needs the most work,” Masifilo said. “For the last eight years I’ve been going straight forward as a defensive tackle, so obviously pass pro is an unnatural movement for me. Now I’m going backwards, and it’s a completely different ball game learning the athletic movements of pass protection. It’s a 180 from playing defense. Run blocking is more like defense because you are going straight ahead.”
Some NFL players might have looked as a switch to the other side of the ball where they may not have had any playing experience as career suicide. Not Masifilo, whose effort and work ethic helped drive him to master the guard position enough to earn a 53-man roster spot with a breakthrough training camp and preseason.
“Not at all,” Masifilo said. “I saw the position switch as a great opportunity and I embraced it with a want-to, can-do attitude. I did my best to seize the opportunity and I made the roster, but I have miles to go to be where I want to be. It’s an every day battle to get to where I want to be.”
FAB 5. SR’s BUC SHOTS
• One of the big question marks about Matthew Masifilo’s switch from defensive tackle to guard was his weight. At a listed weight of 280 pounds on the Bucs roster, would he be big enough to hold up against defensive tackles weighing in excess of 320 pounds?
“The lightest I’ve been here in Tampa is 290 pounds,” Masifilo said. “I think the roster has me listed at 280, but the last time I was at 280 I was in college. I think it’s a misprint. Before I came here I was a 3-4 nose tackle and defensive end in San Francisco. I’m around 300 pounds now, which is a typical offensive lineman weight.”
Masifilo gained a few pounds to help his transition, but he was never lower than 295 pounds in the offseason.
“Not much weight,” Masifilo said. “It’s been five months or so since I made the switch, so I’ve put on maybe five pounds. These days in the NFL the offensive linemen are smaller because we need to move. It’s not like the 1990s where the linemen were 340 pounds. As far as altering my training, it wasn’t too drastic. But I’m around 300 – not 280 like I’m listed as.”
• Look for the Buccaneers to go to a more up-tempo style of play on offense against Jacksonville. Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter likes what he has seen from Winston when the Bucs have used a no-huddle offense.
“Jameis is definitely playing better in no-huddle,” Koetter said. “Obvious next question is, why aren’t you going no-huddle more? You can’t do everything you want to do game plan-wise out of no-huddle. It’s harder to do some of the things you want to do, especially with this being everybody’s first year in the system. We probably should be doing no-huddle more. We are playing better probably in no-huddle than when we’re not.”
Winston feels more comfortable with the rhythm of his throws with a faster pace and that could help him avoid turnovers against Jacksonville this Sunday.
“I just have to make the right decisions more consistently,” Winston said. “In no-huddle it’s easier to make the right decisions because it’s quicker. You have to make a quick decision because you have to get the ball out of your hand.”
Bucs C Joe Hawley- Photo by Cliff Welch/PR
• Speaking of offensive linemen, Tampa Bay has a real weapon in new center Joe Hawley due to his ability to pull. Hawley, who played for Dirk Koetter in Atlanta, pulled on a fourth-and-1 play in the second half of last week’s game against Carolina and made a block that helped spring running back Doug Martin on a 24-yard gain.
“I think pulling plays to my strengths,” Hawley said. “I’m pretty quick for a lineman and they like to get me on the edge. I enjoy it. When Dirk was in Atlanta we ran a lot of similar schemes and we pulled the center a lot. As a lineman you don’t get credit for a lot of things, but to be out on the edge leading the way it feels good when you make a good block.”
So it is better to go up against a 185-pound cornerback on the edge instead of banging heads with 300-pound defensive tackles in the trenches?
“Yes, getting out in space is something I like to do, but sometimes those guys are ruthless and they go right at your legs,” Hawley said.
Hawley is playing very well in place of the injured Evan Smith, who might not get his starting job back when his sprained ankle heals.
• There has been a lot of roster turnover in Tampa Bay over the past two years, but running back Bobby Rainey was one of a few Buccaneers that were on the team the last time it won a home game. That victory came on December 8, 2013 in a 27-6 beatdown of the Buffalo Bills. Rainey had an 80-yard touchdown run and the Bucs defense had four interceptions and sacked E.J. Manuel seven times.
Since that day, Tampa Bay has lost 11 straight games, including going 0-8 last year at home. That marked the first time since the inaugural season in 1976 that the Bucs have gone winless at home. The streak needs to stop this week against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“It’s very frustrating because we have the guys to win games, but then to be close and in games and find a way to lose it – it’s frustrating,” Rainey said. “It’s just like last year, being close in games and not finding a way to win it. And we’re a much better team than last year.”
Rainey knows about losing streaks. His alma mater, Western Kentucky, went 0-26 before beating Louisiana-Lafayette in 2010, which was Willie Taggert’s first year as head coach. The Hilltoppers would finish 2-10 that year, but made a big jump the next season thanks to Rainey’s running, and finished 7-5 with a bowl berth.
“I had a tough first two years in college,” Rainey said. “We were 0-22 or something like that. When we got our first win we just went on a winning streak after that. That would be huge for us to get a win at home [against Jacksonville] – not just for us, but for our fans. That would mean a lot to us. Everybody’s happy when you win.”
• After three straight games with double-digit penalties to open the 2015 season, the Bucs had their lowest penalty output of the year against Carolina. Tampa Bay was flagged five times for 48 yards.
The Bucs’ penalties and penalty yardage has dropped each week, but Tampa Bay is still averaging 9.5 flags per game and is on pace to record 152 penalties this season, which would be the most in franchise history.
• It’s been four games and the Bucs only have two interceptions – one each by safety Chris Conte and linebacker Kwon Alexander. Despite all of the man coverage the Bucs are playing and the talent the team has at cornerback, the cornerback position has been shutout through the first quarter of the season. That needs to change on Sunday if the Bucs want to win.
• Congrats to former Heidelberg College wide receiver Donteea Dye, a Division III player, for being promoted from the practice squad to the active roster this week. We forecasted the move two weeks in a previous edition of SR’s Fab 5.
Bucs NT Clinton McDonald – Photo by Scott Reynolds/PR
• A big thank you to Tampa Bay nose tackle and team captain Clinton McDonald for coming to talk to my South Pasco Predators Pee Wee Pop Warner team on Tuesday night. McDonald talked about playing nasty and physical and that was a message our 4-1 team needed to hear coming off a 25-0 loss last week after three straight shutouts. Our Predators will take on the New Tampa Tigers this week. A win and we’re in the playoffs. Let’s hope McDonald’s message delivers a victory for both us and the Buccaneers this weekend.
• Before our tackle football season began, several boys on our team played in the Under Armour Under The Lights flag football league in the spring and won the championship game. You may have seen the Under Armour Under The Lights banner on PewterReport.com. It’s a great flag football league for kids with a fall/winter season and a spring season.
If you are interested in having your son or daughter play flag football and are looking for a league to join, or if you would like the Under Armour Under The Lights league to come to your football organization, I strongly encourage you to click on the banner or click here to visit the website for more information.
The Under Armour Under The Lights league has their games played on Friday nights at Tampa Bay area recreation fields – rather than on Saturday afternoons, which means parents don’t have to spend half of their weekend baking in the heat at a field. Former Tampa Bay Storm quarterback John Kaleo runs the Under Armour Under The Lights and brought the flag football league to our Predators organization this past spring. It was so much fun and such a hit that we will be doing it again next spring. Sign up today for Under Armour Under The Lights!
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd 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 enjoys 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@example.com
Good article but Lovie Smith and crew have not increased the talent level on the roster. Zuttah has blossomed into one of the better centers in the league and we still have no answer for who replaces that Revis guy he claimed his defense didn’t need. You get no bonus points for selecting good players when you’re drafting in the top 10, thats what should happen. I’m not disregarding the J.Smith and McDonald acquisitions I’m just saying we had money to do those things AND keep Revis/Zuttah so no gold star for those pickups. Not to mention the money we are wasting on Bruce Carter who can’t even get on the field. Give me a break they have wasted money, poorly evaluated talent, and provided us with uninspired performances week after week, nothing good has come in the Lovie Smith era.
Citing our scoring defense as an indictment on our defensive performance is misguided.
– our defense has given up fourteen scores, a TOTAL of four scoring drives (2 TDs, 2 FGs) that didn’t come directly off a turnover or missed FG.
– 16/20 (80%) of our offensive drives that resulted in a score or a punt have lead to the opponent punting or turning it over on their subsequent possession.
– of ALL the scoring drives against us (including those off of turnovers) Five have been 7 plays or more, and Six have been 60yds or more.
People seem to forget that we’ve given up 48 points off of turn overs. That’s most in the league. When the defense has had to defend real field position (aka not from a turnover) they’ve given up 17 points per game, that’s good enough for second best in the league. One thing almost all the top defenses have is that they’ve given up 7 points of less off turnovers. Also their teams takeaway/giveraway ratios are also among the top favorable.
That is from the past 3 weeks. The defense was terrible vs the Titans week 1.
Bucs pass defense is currently tied with the Revi’s Jets. I don’t get all this belly aching for an injured, over paid player like Revis.
Good data and analysis Dreadnaught. Go Red Devils! 😉
Stats can be misguided, the Bucs are dead last in the NFL in allowing touchdowns in the red zone. Opponents are boasting an 88 percent touchdown ratio when getting into the red zone. GO Bucs!!
I know Bucs Fans want to hear positive stuff, listen lets keep it real people the Bucs are a horrible team how horrible is the question are we worse than the Jags? Possible, we already got a spanking to a mediocre team like the Titans in our home opener and lost to a pathetic Houston team and made Panthers look great without Benjamin and Keutchly. Lovie won’t survive the season esp if we get trounced by the Jags which at this point is very possible
Speaking of Rainey, why is Sims splitting carries with Doug instead of Bobby. If you look at the numbers from last year (and previous years), Rainey is our best back. It doesn’t make any sense to me… but either does sitting Verner for Jennings. It is impossible to figure out Lovie. The guy is blind.
You just woke up?
Nobody is going to be fired mid-season – it’s not the way the Glazers do business. However, they’ve shown no reluctance to replace an entire administration after two years if no progress is perceived. There’s enough blame to go around for everyone to have a bulls eye painted on their chest!
Like some of you, I sat thru 0-26. I mean literally sat thru because I was in the stadium for every Bucs home game. The only thing I remember about that gawd awful time was that like winning is contagious, losing is also contagious. At some point, it becomes self-fulfilling. The experts expect you to lose, the fans expect you to lose, and worst of all, the players expect to lose. The players might not be playing with a great deal of inspiration, but they haven’t quit yet.
For the last 7 or 8 years, the Bucs have fallen prey to this mentality. We can change coaches, we can draft new players, we can get new uniforms, logos, and themes but nothing will change until we break the cycle with a win and win at all cost attitude by doing some things differently.
We need activist owners – not Jerry Jones activism, but observing owners in the box, occasional sideline appearances, time-to-time press conferences that show fans and players they are committed to winning.
We need independent general management. The downfall of many a franchise has been giving arrogant, inflexible coaches final say over personnel. Even our Constitution requires separation of powers. A yes man GM is a recipe for disaster.
We need capable competent coaches with fire – coaches who are respected but feared, who can teach and motivate. If the DC can’t coach the defense, we don’t need him. If a player can’t play, don’t keep him.
We need supportive fans – fans who do not panic and head for the exits with the first sign of ill weather. Demand excellence and praise individuals. Hold management and coaches responsible first. Players are a reflection of their choices and subsequent success or failure at development.
I rarely make predictions because……..well, I’m not very good good at it. But I am accustomed to going out on the proverbial limb. And I’m going to predict that giving final say over the 53 man roster (written into Lovie’s contract) is going to be the death knell for Lovie Smith and Chip Kelly – two otherwise men that have had some success in the NFL. If Lovie is fired, it will not be because of the much maligned Cover 2 defense, it will be his dismal failures in selecting the right man for the job. And most importantly QB Winston’s perceived success or failure.
I also believe that the lack of success on the Bucs Cover 2 defense began with the failure to land Rob Marinelli as DC in 2014. I believe that the reason Lovie has brought in so many former Bears and Cowboy players – players already schooled by Marinell – is that Lovie can run the Cover 2 defense, but he can’t teach it and doesn’t have anyone who can – witnessed by shelving former HC Frazier as DC, benching former pro bowler Verner at CB and once star LB LVD’s seemingly backslide.
Time will tell. Hope I’m wrong as I have nothing to rely on here but my gut. But I’ve been around this stuff for quite a while and that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
This is for the most part a class organization and they will not fire Lovey before the end of the season. But it is a little early for that kind of talk anyways. Give it a few more games. It is not as bad as it looks.
Losing 10 straight home games as HC already IS totally unacceptable. Losing to the teams in the manner they are lost is, of course, totally unacceptable. Losing to the Jaguars at home SHOULD be the final straw and it would certainly ruin the chances of any home field advantages for the rest of the season as far as crowds go. Fans are sick and tired of being outnumbered by cheering visiting team fans by the fourth quarter. It’s disgraceful, embarrassing and it has got to STOP.
But St. Lovie will get the rest of the season anyway. That’s just the way it is. Part of the hopelessness we are feeling now.
Now should the Buccaneers win and look good doing so on Sunday? A glimmer of hope. I’LL TAKE IT!!!!!!
Garv: I’m one of those fans who never leave before 0:00 is on the clock. I must say, it is no fun to have the opponents fans gathering and chanting their team’s name in what is supposed to be our “home”.
Great JBF article Scott, you guys should combine sites. Asinine to consider firing a coach 4 games into a rookie QB’s first season imo. Another sensationalized article from an overrated hack,how shocking.
I’ve lost all respect for you Scott Reynolds, and wont be renewing my membership on this site, nor will I visit ever again. That is the most irresponsible thing Ive ever heard. You do realize the reason this team is where it is is because of all the coach firing? Do you realize the irresponsibility of coming out with an article like this? How many more coach firings before the Bucs become the next Houson or Baltimore or St. Louis losing football franchises.
There is nothing wrong with Lovie Smith, nor is there anything wrong with the Bucs, they are progressing just fine. Stop counting last year which was unavoidable without an offensive coordinator. Give Lovie Smith 4 full season to see what he can do, stop being like a loser franchise, and start being more like Green Bay, Pittsburgh, New England…who have had 1 coach during the time the Bucs have had 4. WHat do you expect. Shame on you Scott Reynolds.
Niko- To say “they are progressing just fine” I have lost respect for you my friend, we have lost ten straight home games to the likes of Derek Anderson, Austin Davis, Mariota, Rg3 etc We cut Barth for Murray cut Murray for Brindza then cut Brindza for Barth, this organization has become a laughing stock and the coach is in over his head he looks bewildered on the sideline hell just look at his face in the pic in this article and that’s the face he has all game
Well stated Jon. Me and my brother always make fun of the fact that Lovie has that same face all damn game. There is no fire in this guy and this teams lack of fire comes right from their coach.
Still feel there is no progression?
Coaching changes don’t work? How are Dan Quinn and the 4-0 Falcons doing right now? How are Todd Bowles and the 3-1 NY Jets doing right now?
SR, I think mores specifically coaching changes made by the Glazer sons don’t work. We’ve gotten further and further away from winning with every coaching change they’ve made since firing Gruden. They’ve also given each HC less and less time to turn the team around before firing them. I’m not saying Lovie shouldn’t be fired (at this point I don’t care who they fire at OBP) but I am saying as long as the Glazers are in charge I don’t expect the team to become winners by changing HC’s. Also, if you want to keep Winston and you clearly do, Koetter needs be made HC as you stated above but also signed to a long term contract. Otherwise, Winston is going to get “Freemaned” by the new HC after Koetter completes his term as the interim HC.
First of all, I will apologize to you as your entitled to your opinion. Coaching changes work, I didn’t say they don’t. TOO MANY coaching changes don’t work. Quinn didn’t walk into a situation where he was the 3rd head coach in 5 seasons!!!! In hindsight, you also are NOT pointing out positives either, which there are some, we only needed to wait a little bit. You called the Tampa Two dead, yet QUINN, whom you JUST POINTED OUT… is installing that defense in Atlanta, where its also in Carolina and doing quite fine.
Also, didn’t Baltimore win a Super Bowl and get cheated out of a divisional round win against NE last year?
I guess to me it depends how they lose. If the Jags crush them like the pathetic Titans did at home then I say yes. Fans just cannot keep sitting through this garbage. If it’s a close game and Bucs play decent then it becomes a very hard call and I’m pretty sure he would stay. Thinking they will wait until end of season, but who knows. If they continue to get smoked in embarrassing fashion at home any option is on the table and those who think it won’t happen will be shocked. I’ve said all along I don’t think Lovie can evaluate talent and is not going to work out. That’s my opinion only and I am not going to sit here and say I know it for a fact because I don’t. It would bring me no joy to see another coaching change either. This means we will be set back big time again. It sucks and I will not do any stupid chest pumping and say see I was right like some are doing over the QB situation. I think Koetter is a great O coordinator. I love his no BS way of speaking. Unlike Lovie and his pathetic excuse ridden press conferences that all sound the same to me. I still have plenty of faith Winston can play at a high level too. Just going to take time. With Lovie enough time,enough excuses, and enough horrible personel choices that have been just terrible. Can’t hit on all your decisions but come on!
Agreed Fredster as we not only need an offensive minded coach next time, I love Koetter fire. He’s not afraid as you said to tell it as it is and I like his drive. He seems the kind of guy that will tell you to your face you’re playing like crap and get out. We need that. No more damn nice guys.
Scott, great article and I applaud you for having the guts to write it! If you believe in your heart it’s the right call then you have to say it. I seriously doubt the Bucs Fire Lovie and he thrives elsewhere based on everything that has transpired. Who the hell knows though. Lol.
Great article Scott and you should be commended for having the set to put it out there since I am sure you have to deal with Lovie on a daily basis.
Unlike most morons who just say “Fire Lovie his is a terrible coach,” you state your reasons with concrete facts to back up your
I have been on the fence about this since I first started hearing this idea a few weeks ago and your article definitely has some validity.
At the same time, I realize when Lovie first gor here the talent cupboard was almost bare after close to a dozen years of bad drafts going back to Jon Gruden and his worthless hand picked GM.
Remember, we passed on Arron Rogers and took Cadillac Williams because we had Chris Sims as a QB.
I could write a five page story about all the bad draft picks in the Dominick regime.
They just weren’t bad, they were horrible.
Make no mistake about it, this team, save for a few positions, had terrible or mediocre talent when he got here.
So Lovie got here with a poor excuse for an NFL roster and went FA shopping.
After he was done, critics lauded his selections, said the Bucs won FA and would be headed to the playoffs.
Of course we now know history proved everyone incorrect.
Macabee, as usual I read your post and only saw one problem with it.
The Bucs do not run a Cover 2 full time as many report. In fat, if you saw last weeks game you would have seen a lot of single high safety with one on one coverage.
They do however play a one gap scheme which is an essential element of a Cover 2.
Derrick Brooks gave a lengthy report on this a couple of weeks ago on the radio and it was very informative.
I also agree with you about your comment about winning and losing and the fair weather fans.
I have said this season if the Bucs could put a couple of two or three game winning streaks together, the team would start believing in itself and play with more confidence and swagger which always leads to better play.
Also agree with you about the fans. Was in RJ last week when it started raining and half the fans headed for the exits.
Really, its just rain. Wimps.
Compare that to fans up north who sit in freezing stadiums and snow.
BTW, I was a bandwagon fan who didn’t start going to games until 1977 so I bow to your greatness and suffering, sir.
I will say if the Bucs do choose to fire Lovie if they lose to the Jags, I hope they promote Koetter to the HC position.
I saw no great job performance by Frazier when he was the HC of the Vikings and believe he is just a Lovie Smith Light facsimile.
I like Lovie and don’t believe a rah rah coach like Vince Lombardi or Buddy Ryan is needed.
Lombardi would be laughed out of the league now by players and Ryan has wiped more egg of his face it should be made of Teflon.
As it is, I really have no dog in this fight.
Stay or fire I always support the Bucs no matter who the HC, QB, RB or trainers are.
Let ole macabee help you out here because like me you comment a lot and I want you be crisp!lol.
All football teams both 4-3 or 3-4 run some version of the Cover 2 which has been around as long as NFL football, but nobody runs a pure Cover 2 anymore. You’ve obviously been caught up in the misguided Cover 2 controversy regarding the Bucs and have a narrow definition of it.
The Jets run Cover 2, just Cover 2 – man. The Seahawks run a version called Cover 3 where they bring a 3rd man down into the box. The Tampa 2 run by Dungy and Kiffin was a version of the Cover 2, brought from the Steelers a well known 3-4 defense.
You’re right! The Bucs today only line up in base Cover 2 only about a 1/3 of the time. You inadvertently left out the adjective “Base”. But to say the Bucs do not play a Cover 2 scheme is flat out incorrect. BTW, my post is saying the defensive scheme is not the problem. If there is a problem, it is more likely to be personnel – like Mike Jenkins. lol.
Hope this helps. Ask any time!
Even with a loss against JAX and even if he should be fired, We are stuck with Lovie… Call it class,call it moronic- the Glazer boys are gonna do what they are gonna do and I don’t see them getting rid of him.
This franchise is a decade deep in poor decision making- and until that changes, it really doesn’t matter who’s coach…I don’t think the Glazers know how to build a winning franchise and seem content with the way things are and have been…every one bad choice seems to lead to at least three more( glazers hire Lovie- bad move one.then bad move one hires Telford,arroyo and Frazier – bad moves 2-4,see how that works?) Every missed Rodgers we get a Caddy,freeman,Adams,Clayton,etc…THIS is the issue with the Bucs- poor choices lead to more poor choices…
Now here’s the trick- it’s a poor choice to fire a coach just weeks into a season that includes a rookie QB- but it’s also a poor choice to keep an ineffective coach in charge of the development if your franchise rookie QB. I don’t feel Lovies coaching is complimentary to the development of our franchise QB but more so a reflection of his ego. His defense might currently be top ten but it’s not helping our QB win games…his concern seems to be how to make his def look good – not developing his rookie QB and winning football games.one win,two losses again- see the pattern?
If this team wants to compete it has to figure out how not to take two steps back with every step forward…keeping Lovie and getting rid of Lovie now are basically both bad ideas- we must now figure which will lead to two steps backwards or which becomes the first step in the right direction…
Makes sense. If I may make a stab at which one is two steps backwards I would say it would be firing Lovie now. One reason is that it sends a bad message to potential HC hires that our last three head coaches got 3, 2 then 1.25 seasons to turn the team around. How many will new HC get, 1? Another reason is if we fire Lovie, Koetter will likely be his replacement and he will surely be committed to Winston going forward along with Licht. I think we should give Winston AT LEAST the rest to see what he can do before we make short or long term decisions that are centered around him. If he continues to suck as he has up to this point, firing Lovie and replacing him with guys that are fully committed to Winston will be your proverbial “two steps backwards”. If Winston clearly gets better as the season progress then it makes sense to keep coaches around him that will keep him around, i.e. the first step in the right direction.
The above should read, “AT LEAST the rest of the season…” Good job getting the photos working on the website PR. Any plans to allow us to edit our comments like in the past?
A good rule of thumb in the NFL these days is if the Redskins or Dolphins are doing it, don’t follow in their footsteps. Both of those teams have owners who do what fans would do if they were owners. In other words, they don’t know what they’re doing.
The Bucs have a lot of rookie starters and new players still learning to work together as a unit. Lovie has only been with the team for 20 games, and only 4 of those with qualified coordinators. To pull the plug now would be like a fan leaving in the third quarter because we’re down by two scores. It’s amateurish, rash, naive, and arrogant to believe that just anyone can step in and do a better job than Lovie can starting week 6. There is no Teddy Roosevelt waiting in the wings in case McKinley gets shot. The success of the new system depends on the vision of its creator. It is too late in the season to start over from scratch!
I’ve lived in Tampa and Laramie but always remained a Bucs fan. One thing you can say about too many of the people who come to the RayJay is that they are not hardcore in the way that Broncos and Packers fans are. Most are fair weather dilletantes who approach football with the same ignorant impatience that drunken talk radio callers have, only without loyalty to the home team. I came late to our home opener last year to discover thousands of fans pouring out of the stadium with 20 minutes left to play. Only a few of us remained to cheer on McCown and Lovie in their first Bucs game, a nearly successful comeback against the Panthers.
You have to love the Bucs to be a true fan. If you only like them when they’re good, you’re not a fan. You’re a whiny football critic. Football critics should stay home and watch some other teams play. They shouldn’t interfere with the people who do care about the short and long term success of the Bucs. Changing coaches in midseason is just shooting yourself in the foot to satisfy the mindless masses. I’m glad the Glazers are too smart for that. I wish we had more true fans to give us a legit home field advantage. You don’t get those from being a winning team in the first place, though. You gotta be a good fan to sustain a good team. Weak, fickle fans who only like you win you win encourage teams to move to LA.
I have never missed a “home” game and I never leave early Russ; but I can certainly sympathize with many who do hit the exit. It is no fun sitting there when the opponent’s fans are treating the victory like they just won the championship. Really annoying when those folks have lived here for decades. Many leave even when the Bucs are winning. Now that I don’t understand. That might explain why some guys are poor lovers. Perhaps a little red pill that allows you to “stay in the game” for 4 hours would help.
My knee jerk reaction is to fire Lovie now, send a message – but pink makes a point, what message does it send? We won’t attract the coach we NEED if we do business like that- we haven’t is all the proof we need.
We do need to put it out there to the right people that we are not happy with Lovies direction choice and are open to new ideas.when season ends- skip Lovie like a stone and bring in the new direction…We then look like a team hoping to right the wrongs of our past.We will likely have a top 5 pick which can help our new coach put his stamp on our future…no more one step forward two,three,four steps back for the Bucs.I can stand rebuilding if we are building for a future – we have been tricked for too long by crappy personnel who are nothing but patch jobs and hole fillers- what can you expect when theses clowns are left in charge?Bucs football currently…we have some young pieces if an Oline and a few def players- we do have a future stud QB, if we raise him right…
Lovie is not going anywhere regardless of the outcome on Sunday. The Buccaneers will win 5-7 games this season and show improvement. They will win decisively on Sunday against Jacksonville. The teams talent has been upgraded. Progress is slow but you don’t judge a season on the basis of four games. I was a Mariota guy, but until or unless the lawsuit comes out differently, I’m backing Winston. But let’s be candid, he was not pro-ready. Rookie quarterbacks only rarely win their first year or two. That is well documented. Oddly enough, the defense has largely played well enough to win three of the four games. We’ve out-yarded two of the four teams we’ve played. And we still haven’t played a game with all of our weapons.
Fab 2- really? Ok, we know your committed to Winston if this is your justification of his play to this point. Truth is he is a rookie making rookie mistakes. it wasn’t long ago Winston was “pro ready.” Language is certainly loosing up now..He is young and has potential but as of now isn’t any good and cannot win games without a stout defense which we don’t have. I really do hope he gets better as I do see great plays at times but I also saw great plays in Freeman.Time will tell. There are great points on all sides as to whether or not fire Lovie. I sensed something wrong with this team after our first game and as much as everyone wants to forget it, I can’t. To me, it is telling from last year’s intentional loss to the saints. Something is not connecting here. The Glazer boys need to do some hard selling regarding our team’s future. Perhaps Belichick can be cottled down here to sunny Florida…lol
So far, the last two coaches(including this one) have been good talent evaluators/drafters; but neither can win a game for various reasons. Schiano actually did the right thing in getting rid of Freeman(in the face of some Freeman fans; apparently, even the Glazers; they fired him instead of weathering all the emotional stuff)
So, Lovie Smith has had more talent to work with, and improved the talent, and still can’t win. He’s taken a ho-hum approach to improving the team. Not a beat them into shape. That’s my problem with coach Smith.
A time table didn’t need to be made(if we win against the Jags or not). I would have fired Smith last year and hired Bowles(yes, I did say this). It’s just like having a good Qb, but you’re in a position to draft a great one; what do you do? You draft the better potential Qb. There was a better potential head coach on the market, so what would you do(or at least I’d do); i’d swap coaches; especially after a 2-14 season. No artificial time table needed to be made up.
then again, there is the issue of not having an O-coordinator last year. Still, that O-coordinator didn’t come back when he could; they didn’t see eye to eye about something. I suspect it’s about coaching.
Tampa Media and fans sure do like to make their Captains walk the plank. I think Vegas put the over/under on the Bucs at 6. I think most media stayed within that ballpark of 5-7 wins, including writers on this site. Owners cut checks. GMs do the hiring. Coaches coach. Players play. The owners of the team are pretty bad. That’s where the problem starts. They have no leadership
Scott, I’m with you. Lose to the Jags making it 12 in a row at home, and I’d have him walking the plank. Koetter has his hands full with Winston, Frazer needs to be with the defense. We need some Hardware! coaching this mess. Ronde said as a rookie he was afraid to look Nickerson in the eye! He was afraid to mess up, and disappoint him. He did learn from him like all our greats did. We can spare a L.B. coach. Can’t lose a coordinator. Hardy Nickerson for interm H.C., Keotter Asst. H.C..
Yeh Scott, let’s just fire Lovie if the Bucs lose. Hell, let’s just load up the trucks and move the Bucs to Omaha in the middle of the night. A little desperate aren’t we. The Bucs are getting better, it’s just not showing in the score yet. We are all pissed after last season, but why screw ourselves for another 2 years. Let’s let this playout for 2015, then if no improvement we move on again. We are conditioned for getting rid of people, but at some point we are going to have to stay the course and let a team mature. There are some good players and there are some rookies busting their butts to put a winner on the field. Everyone has injuries. We definitely have some weak positions, but there not going to get better until they have some experience and time to mold into a cohesive unit.
Now that you’ve set the bar at one game illimination you have exposed your true colors. Here we come Omaha.
Pinkstob, remember history. Everyone who became Ceaser got stabbed in the back, but it never stopped other men lining up to become the next Ceaser! LoL
I see your point, but the difference here is there are 31 other Caesar positions available. Historically there was only one Caesar position available at any given time. Less supply, more demand. Other men will line up, but can we win with the type HC’s that apply to a position where they know they can get fired after one season?
Pink: Any candidate would jump at the chance to be a head coach. All would have big egos who would be supremely confident in their ability to achieve the success that thus far has eluded Lovie. If that frightened them, they don’t deserve the role and I wouldn’t want them.
SR, nice try but you are totally off base. No way they fire Lovie and with all due respect this year is is not his fault. The defense is ranked in the top half of the league. 2 of our 3 losses are on our “playmaker” QB. You are correct, his is a playmaker for opposing teams. I was in favor of drafting him or MM but there is NO denying that while he may have a great career in 2 of our 3 losses he has been a disaster and KILLED us. Retain your credibitly and call a spade a spade, JW is THE reason for out tough start. If MG is playing QB we are 2-2 at worst and perhaps 3-1.
Perhaps 3-1 with mariota? Haha that funny. His own team is 1-2 with the last two coming directly off of his 5 turnovers. Let me guess if mariota was on our team we would’ve never missed a filed goal? If mariota was in our team our receivers wouldn’t have dropped 9 passes against the Texans. If mariota was on our team we wouldn’t have gotten gashed for almost 200 rushing yards that game as well.
I’m sure mariota so plays reszone defense so that would be much better too. Winston was responsible for our loss last week no doubt but you mariota fans are damn delusional.
Bucnut2 said “MG” not “”MM”. “MG” is Mike Glennon, not Marcus Mariota.
You just succeeded in making me dizzy cremdonado.
Again, macabee, I enjoy reading your posts.
I think we are both right.
As far as our corners our concerned, I’m not in love with any of them except for Banks and oray for his speedy return.
Jennings, Jenkins and Verner have all displayed either a lack of concentration or skill in their games this year.
Jenkins was the latest on Sunday when he tripped over his own feet while he was standing 1 yard in the endzone which allowed the WR to catch a 6 yd TD at the goal line pylong.
I’m going to start a new EEB structure to my posts in response to drdneast’s requests for more positivity. Part 1) what’s on my mind, Part 2) always something positive…we’ll see how long I last.
Part 1) Scott, I see a different J Licht than you…he gets no credit for picking WINSTON. He picked Evans over Donald – jury is out still but Donald appears to be surpassing GMC as a star. He picked Sims over Gabe Jackson (a star on the Raider’s OL). He picked a backup FB destined to be cut over taking a chance on some guys with probowl level skills that have issues. He cut (or will soon cut) every FA of consequence other than McDonald. He traded for a DE that is now benched. And so on. What one great decision can you point to that he has made….I can’t think of one…the closest might end up being trading up for Marpet…maybe.
Part 2) there us no chance we lose to the Jags this weekend…we have way more talent….they have nobody that can compete with GMC or LvD (regardless of how bad he’s been this year)…and I have faith that Koetter went back and looked at our first half TD drive last week to realize what to do…just KISS on offense.
You did it again. Another outstanding bold but informed article about a difficult task at hand by ownership. I won’t pretend to know what should or should not be done but I will say the staff of Licht and Licht himself are highly touted and come from pedigree organizations. I don’t believe Licht and Lovie are joined together by job and relational. I feel that Licht has the staff and relationships around the league to find the right guys if Lovie is fired. Lovie game management and ego/stubbornness is one of my biggest knocks on him. He coaches not to lose and some times leave opportunities on the field. I don’t pretend to know more than the professionals but I listen well and observe and I’ve played football in my life and this team just feels apathetic. Again, if you have many soft spoken laid back guys we should get a substantial experienced fiery leader (not like Schiano) but Bowles and Quin are proof that good coaches can coach up their teams. The trick is to find these guys that are ready for the opportunity not some retreads like Lovie. We will see what happens but a loss to Jax will definitely not be a good look for Lovie and his future here.
We are 1-3. But the last loss is hard to pin on Lovie. In fact, it’s hard to assess anything about the Panthers game. Winston turned the ball over 5 times. How do we even evaluate that game? Maybe we win without the horrific QB play. Who knows? My point is that Lovie is 1-2 with an Incomplete. It’s just not enough to fire him, especially with this type of QB play. For the record, I have little faith in his coaching ability. I predict he will get fired, but the Glazers will wait until season end.
Scott you seem to forget that we tanked a number of games last year to get the Overall Number One pick and first shot at the waiver wire. Would you rather they won a few more games and not had the opportunity to select a QB?
I think most folks here are aware enough to know that the Glazers don’t make knee-jerk moves out of their own anger or frustration. I see little chance that they fire Lovie over the bye week if our team loses yet another home game. It might make them and many of us happy, but then we’re left with the “Now what?” dilemma. The sad thing is that many of us welcomed this favorite son who we thought would return us to the Dungy days. There is just no denying that through 1-1/4 seasons it just isn’t working. Something or someone needs to ignite a fire in this team and we fans before too long. Apathy is quickly taking over. Not sure a coaching change in and of itself is enough. What’s that saying, “Here’s a quarter, call someone who cares”. We are reliving the late 80′ through early 90’s. I’m getting too old for this now. What’s that other saying, “Wake me when it’s over.”
“Lovie Smith should be fired if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.” was that Lovie with the 5 turnovers last week? Is that Lovie out there getting flagged for penalties? This team will be no better on offense this year than #3. If someone’s head must be staked, let’s talk about the defense. Poor tackling, gaps being missed, Jenkins …
Agree with your comments Scott! IMO Lovie is not the type of head coach that can build a struggling franchise like the Bucs. His time has passed: no innovation; no motivation; no dynamism…it’s time for him to go NOW or we will be discussing his potential replacement for the rest of the year!
Really…fire the coach? That’s the answer. If we don’t give some coach a real chance to turn this team around…the Bucs will be long-term bottom dwellers. I’m not happy with the results, but it seems just respectable QB play would have this team winning. I really wanted Mariota, but I think Winston will be ok.
What a stupid article. Fire Smith after 1 season when we have a rookie QB, 2 rookie o-linemen and several starters out. Plus he has to clean up the Glazers mess after hiring Raheem and Schiano. Jimmy Johnson went 1-15 his first year in Dallas. He improved 2nd year then went to the playoffs his 3rd year. Then went on to win 2 Super Bowls. You would have called for his head in year 2. I’ll say it again, what a stupid article!!
I never get on here true but I read this post all the time just to gauge the local community my question to all you people on this site how many games has Lovie Smith el coche another coach? If you’ve watched every game of this regime can you really say he’s out coached any other head coach in the NFL??????
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