FAB 4. Several Bucs On Record Pace

Tampa Bay is off to a 2-2 start thanks to a 55-40 upset in Los Angeles of the previously unbeaten Rams in a game that was sealed with a scoop-and-score by defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh after outside linebacker Shaq Barrett recorded his NFL-leading ninth sack of the season and stripped the ball from Jared Goff’s hands.

Barrett had recorded eight sacks in the first three games of the 2019 campaign and was on pace to record an astounding 42 sacks. With just one sack last Sunday, Barrett’s only on pace to post 36 sacks, which is still an absurd amount, and would still shatter the NFL record of 22.5, which was set by Michael Strahan in 2001.

Bucs QB Jameis Winston
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Getty Images

Barrett, who was just named the NFC Defensive Player of the Month, needs eight more sacks over the final 12 games to break Warren Sapp’s single-season franchise sack record of 16.5 in 2000. But Barrett isn’t the only Buccaneer that is off to a record start to the season.

Fresh off his NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors, Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston has passed for 1,157 yards with nine touchdowns and five interceptions, while completing 62.6 percent of his passes. Winston is on pace to throw for 4,668 yards with 36 touchdowns and 20 interceptions this year, with the yardage and the TDs breaking his own team records of 4,090 yards and 28 scores set in 2016.

Bucs receivers Chris Godwin and Pro Bowler Mike Evans are on pace to post the most receiving yards by a Tampa Bay tandem in team history. Godwin leads the team with 26 catches for 386 yards and four touchdowns and is on pace to post 104 catches for 1,544 yards with 16 touchdowns. That’s close to Keyshawn Johnson’s single-season Bucs record of 106 receptions in 2001.

If Godwin were to hit 1,544 yards not only would it smash his personal best of 842 yards, which he posted last year, but it would also break Evans’ single-season receiving yardage record of 1,524 yards, which was set last year. Evans is on pace to reach 72 receptions for 1,472 yards with 16 touchdowns. Evans has the team record for most receiving touchdowns in a single season, which is 12, so both he and Godwin would break that record if they maintained their current pace.

Bucs WR Chris Godwin
Bucs WR Chris Godwin – Photo by: Getty Images

In 2014, which was Evans’ rookie season, he posted 1,051 yards with veteran receiver Vincent Jackson recording 1,002, which set a team record for having two Buccaneers have 1,000 yards in the same season. Godwin and Evans are on pace to do that again with many more yards than Evans and Jackson had six years ago.

The other Buccaneer on a record pace is running back Ronald Jones II, who leads the team with 234 yards rushing and a touchdown, while averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Jones has already established a new career high in rushing yards after a disastrous rookie season, is on pace to rush for 936 yards and four touchdowns. If Jones can hit 1,000 yards by the end of the year he’ll join an exclusive club of 1,000-yard rushers in Tampa Bay history that includes Ricky Bell, James Wilder, Reggie Cobb, Errict Rhett, Warrick Dunn, Cadillac Williams LeGarrette Blount and Doug Martin.

Bucs running back Peyton Barber rushed for a career-high 871 yards last year and five touchdowns. He’s off that pace this year in terms of yards as he’s on track to hit 728 yards, but Barber has two touchdowns right now and is on pace for eight this season.

Bucs RB Peyton Barber
Bucs RB Peyton Barber – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

Statistically speaking, several Bucs had a very good first quarter during the team’s 2-2 start. But one great quarter, or even a great half, doesn’t automatically mean anything, as Tampa Bay found out after blowing an 18-point lead at home to the New York Giants.

If these Buccaneers players can finish strong statistically – just as the team did last week after building a 21-0 lead against the Rams – then some records should fall in Tampa Bay.

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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]

30 COMMENTS

  1. I think you’re spot-on withe the defense Scott. “Built to stop the run”. We have really 1 pass rusher, and 4 other guys on the line (Suh, Vea, Nassib and Gholston) typically that have fewer sacks in their career than Barret has through 4 games 🙂

    That’s not a knock – it’s a very interesting strategy to playing defense that I think Bowles is pushing quite well…However (there’s always a “however”)…that means teams are going to pass….and our secondary is abysmal. This should be the flashing red light that warns the GM to get some help….unfortunately our GM is like Homer Simpson at the switch watching the red light flash and commenting on how pretty it looks.

    Anyway, on to RoJo…it’s amazing what a young kid with talent can do if you let him touch the ball more than 30 times in a season.

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    • That same “Homer Simpson GM” is also the same guy who brought in Suh, Nassib, Gholston oh and wait…Shaq Barrett.

      But you have got to be right, huh?

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      • Well, Gholston was brought to Tampa (in the 2013 draft to be specific) by Dominik….so maybe no more needs to be said about your post, and your need to be right, huh.

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        • …and was kept by Licht with a second contract.

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          • the statement was “brought in” by Licht….Gholston was “brought in” by Dom…but if we want to give Licht credit for re-signing guys, then I guess we need to ding for not re-signing guys like Donald Penn who made two pro bowls after Licht got rid of him and is still starting in the league, still rating higher than Donovan Smith (unbelievably!!); like Bradley McDougald who made the pro bowl last year….TBH, the list should really be a long one, but he’s done so poorly bringing guys to town, that there aren’t more good ones who have moved on.

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    • You obviously missed the whole point of the article. Bowles & BA wants you to throw the ball 70 times BA quote “I have never lost to it”. The philosophical belief is when you throw it that much it will force turnovers. The CB’s are on an island the whole game, there job is to make an open field tackle, not necessarily Pass Breakups.

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      • Not sure if your comment Captain was directed at me, but when I said “it’s a very interesting strategy to playing defense that I think Bowles is pushing quite well”, what I meant was,

        it’s a very interesting strategy to playing defense that I think Bowles is pushing quite well….sorry if that was confusing.

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        • I am referring directly toward your comments “our secondary is abysmal” and our GM starring at a “flashing red light”….

          The GM allowed BA & Bowles to draft the CB’s that fit their scheme. Why are you beating up on Licht when we are winning with the new scheme and players?

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          • Not defending what East said, but the Bucs DBs have to start getting better at following #54’s lead and jumping routes now. They do that, and they’ll become a secondary which opposing teams will have to take seriously.

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          • ok – I’m not trying to be a downer. It’s great that we won last weekend, and that we’re now 2-2.

            But any casual observer can see that turning the corner with our franchise, as we’ve been trying to do for the better part of two decades, is not going to happen with the secondary we have. We can get better – indeed we are much better, but we just got torched for 500 yards (by a guy with the 25th best QBR)…we’re 31st in pass defense! On any given Sunday that Jameis doesn’t have the best game of his career (as he did last Sunday) we are in trouble, and that’s not fair to Jameis, the offense, or the run defense.

            Why? Our GM has spent 5 of our last 11 premium picks (round 1 and 2) in his 5-year draft tenure, on the secondary!!!…which is 31st in the league. I’m hard on him, because he has spent a lot of resources – as our supposed expert in this area – and whiffed repeatedly. In fact, the best player to come through our secondary during his tenure, is a guy he decided to let walk….and made the pro bowl last year for Seattle.

            So, if I’m going to jump on the Jason Licht bandwagon, I’m going to need much more in the results department…10 wins, playoffs, some of the guys he’s drafted actually making the pro bowl, a better track record in FA (I know Barrett is great – he is, but I haven’t forgotten Michael Johnson, Anthony Collins, Swaggy Baker, Vinny Curry, Robert Ayers, and on and on)….you could take as many swings as Licht has and eventually find a diamond…I need something more consistent to jump on that bandwagon.

            At the moment – I’m leaning much more towards all of those fans that said 2019 was going to be better because of coaching.

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  2. Exactly. Suh brings the attitude McCoy never did. Respect from opponents and teammates. McCoy was soft and a cry baby and that tainted the defense. Always excuses and now its stout. Sunday is a big test!

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  3. I won’t play my greatest hits on why McCoy was so overrated. Suh was always going to be an upgrade over McCoy on the field. This team was always going to have to stop the run first to be successful.

    I’m as happy as a puppy with two peters over the performance of the defense so far, even including secondary play. Fast, physical, and swarming to the ball.

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  4. Good information Scott.

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  5. Our run defense is incredible with those 2 big boys taking up space. Its not even close if you ask me who id rather have, suh or mccoy. It also speaks to how coaching can make a huge difference, although some don’t believe that. Im looking at you naples.
    Amazing when a coach has faith in you what it can do, in the cases of jameis and jones in particular. Barret is just an animal and you cant say enough about this guy. And hes only going to get better once jpp gets back in the thick of it.
    As for the cosching staff, anyone looking at Atlanta and seeing things eerily similar? A crappy run game and a qb that has the most picks in the nfl? Thats koetter in a nut shell and he looks worse by the day. I have a ton of faith in this staff, stack a win this week and we will be in great shape!

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  6. Suh brings an attitude that permeates the defense. Sure he’s past his prime, but there’s no mistaking his impact on the run defense and he looked pretty fast on the scoop fumble. Listened to an interview with Jordan Whitehead this week and he said Suh is pretty quiet, goes about his business but works hard. Then vs. the Panthers Suh speaks up in the huddle late fourth quarter and said they were gonna stop ’em and everyone took notice. I like that.

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    • Licht and his guys in the front office are going to have some tough decisions to make this off season. It seems like we’re finally going to spend some real money on defense (Shaq and hopefully Suh as well), justifiably so based on the first 4 games of this season. However, I’m thinking it will only come at the expense of cutting or trading some solid players on both sides of the ball. If we keep getting better as the season wears on, it just makes the off season next year more interesting.

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  7. “I’ve learned a lot from watching him play,” Vea said of Suh. “He’s all about his business. He’s a real professional and I’ve learned a lot from him on and off the field. He gets a lot of double teams for us. He does a lot of the dirty work and I get a lot of the one-on-ones because of him. Obviously they are going to double Suh before they double me.”

    Mic drop on Geraldini.

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    • I would like to see Suh run at the goal line with Vea as his lead blocker!

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  8. The secondary is young you don’t fix it overnight. It will get better but calling it abysmal and trashing Licht is stupid imo. They will get better and can’t fix every issue on this team in one draft.

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    • Reps will turn our inexperienced speedy young  DBs into experienced, speedy and competent professionals.  They are still “terribly” young.

      ___________
      Go Bucs!!!

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  9. Suh is a beast I don’t care about stats he’s one of big reasons for run defense being number 1. Vea been stout as well.

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  10. Suh is everything we all hoped McCoy would be, but never was, or could be. Glad we got him, and he’s rubbing off on the rest of the defense in a good way. I wouldn’t mind seeing him get a carry, or lead block near the goal line like Sapp used to. His speed on that scope, and score was impressive. He sure doesn’t look past his prime to me. Rojo has put on some muscle this season, but Koetter’s offenses just don’t commit to the run game. Just look at Atl. Freeman only had 12 carries last week while Ryan threw 60 something times. The last time Freeman’s numbers looked this bad was his rookie season, when Koetter was his O.C.. Backs have to get carries to be effective, and O linemen have to get opportunities to run block to wear down defenses. I’m glad we’re finally doing just that.

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  11. I agree that the secondary has left a lot to be desired. I do not agree that they are hopeless. Football Outsiders rates Carlton Davis as the 10th best cornerback in the NFL based on the first four week and with a 65% success rate. He has played very well as have the two safeties who show a lot of potential.

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  12. Bucs need another CB to step up. Edwards, Whitehead and Davis will be fine long term.

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    • Don’t forget Justin Evans. That Safety’s room is looking pretty solid as it stands, but add Justin back to the mix….. MJ’s snap count is gonna be WAY down.

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  13. Good read!

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  14. That Baldinger video of Shaq Barrett has me laughing and laughing and laughing! How can you not get excited watching what SB has done in the first quarter of the season?! INCONCEIVABLE! Baldy is right, defensive ends around the league would love to end a FULL season with Shaq’s stats 1/4 of the way through! GO BUCS!!

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    • Not sure if it was intended, but I definitely heard Vizzini’s voice when I read this

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      • Definitely the intended implication! LOL! Funny moment in that movie!

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  15. The Lams had a very young coach and we had an old pro. The results are to be expected.

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