Bucs CBs Ryan Smith (29) and Josh Robinson (26) – Photo courtesy of the Buccaneers
FAB 5. SR’s BUC SHOTS
• The Glazers have to be incredibly excited about the prospects of the Bucs’ 2017 home schedule in terms of ticket sales. Not only will there be more Tampa Bay fans in the stands as a result of the team’s improvement this year, the Bucs also have several northern teams on the schedule whose fans travel extremely well. Chicago makes a return trip to Raymond James Stadium, and as it stands right now, both New York teams – the Giants and the Jets – will also play in Tampa Bay.
Tampa Bay plays the corresponding team in the NFC East at home in 2017, and right now both the Bucs and the Giants are in second place in their respective divisions and that’s not expected to change. The Bucs will also host the Patriots, which is a popular team with a national following due to quarterback Tom Brady and New England’s success, for the first time in eight years.
It’s possible to think that those four Bucs games could be instant sell-outs when individual game tickets go on sale during the summer. Hopefully it will be Tampa Bay fans gobbling them up first.
The Bucs defense celebrates a stop – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
• Bucs team captain Russell Shepard expects the team to bounce back quickly from a 26-20 loss at Dallas that snapped Tampa Bay’s five-game winning streak. With a loss by the New York Giants on Thursday night, the final two NFC wild card spots remain up for grabs and the Bucs need to win out to get to 10-6. That starts with a win on Christmas Eve at New Orleans.
“You need to snap back quick because of the importance of this week and the next week,” Shepard said. “A good team rebounds very quickly. We lost to a very good team – if not the best team in the NFL. It doesn’t hurt as bad, especially when you are coming off a win streak. At the same time, we’re looking to rebound. I think we’re going to be fine.”
Shepard said the Bucs are at a point where they don’t need any more of his inspirational pre-game speeches.
“No, we know we’re a good football team now,” Shepard said. “We beat some very good football teams – home and away. The team gets it. We don’t need the hoorah and the ‘Guys, come on!’ every time. Good teams get it, and I think we’re a good team now.”
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• The biggest shock about playing in the NFL for Bucs rookie tackle Leonard Wester, who played at small school Missouri Western? It’s the size of the crowds in NFL stadiums.
“Coming from Division II, I played in front of maybe max 3,000 people,” Wester said. “And before the Eagles game in the preseason I was thinking, ‘ Hey you’re about to take your first snap ever at left tackle in front of 70,000 people.’ That’s pretty crazy. And then just in the regular season, for the Saints game I wasn’t feeling too many jitters, but once I actually ran out, I was thinking, ‘Yeah, you’re about to do this, man. Go out and make the most of it.’
“The thing with playing in Dallas last week, it wasn’t even until I sat down and realized after the game was over that I just played my first snap in a two-minute situation. In the moment you’re just trying to get the play, get the snap count. You’re just trying to do your job and compete. You’re just trying to get the basic things down to put you in a better situation to win on every rep. I got a long way to go. There’s a place we all want be, and all the coaches say you’ve just got to keep climbing that ladder and keep making improvements.”
• If Tampa Bay wants to make the postseason and have any type of playoff run it has to do a better job running the football. The Bucs have only had two 100-yard rushers this year, and that was Jacquizz Rodgers in back-to-back wins over Carolina and San Francisco. Doug Martin has failed to eclipse the century mark running the ball in over a calendar year and hasn’t averaged at least three yards per carry in each of the last five games.
We haven’t been successful, no, not as successful as we’d want to be,” said Bucs right guard Ali Marpet. “Again, you try to just be more detailed and focused and you hope that could be what turns it around, but if it was an easy fix it’d be done. So for us, all we can do is control what we can control, which is our footwork, pad level, effort and I think we do a pretty good job of that.”
The Bucs need to establish the run, not only to help the team avoid third-and-long situations, but also to set up their play-action passing game.
Ali Marpet blocks Aaron Donald – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“I love that Coach Koetter has confidence in us because when you get away from the run, it throws off the rhythm of the game and it’s awesome that he keeps running the ball,” Marpet said. “We’ve had those [big] games those this year, it’s possible. I think if we continue to stick with it and take our shots, it will come. A 150-yard, 175-yard rushing day isn’t out of our grasp.”
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• And finally, we have a special announcement coming on Monday on PewterReport.com. Don’t miss it along with our Bucs vs. Saints post-game coverage, and do not miss next Friday’s SR’s Fab 5 column, either. I’m already working on it, and it’s shaping up to be another good one and it will end 2016 with a bang. Stay tuned.
On behalf of the PewterReport.com staff, I want to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season. Thank you for visiting PewterReport.com and making us the number one website for Bucs news and inside information.
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 protected]
I don’t agree with the defensive end need. I would prefer a DT. As impressed as I am with McCoy, there is only so long that a DT can be that dominant. Since they are playing a lot of cover 2, the DT becomes the cornerstone of the defense that allows them to only rush 4.
I would put Center on my list as a need to make a change. Joe Hawley & Evan Smith are too small, but atleast we have some other in house talent who should be considered to up grade the Center spot. Lets not talk about acquiring OL from other teams as we haven’t done so well. I’m for drafting them. TE is a need and we should bring in a couple players thru a signing and the draft. Let’s still keep focus on a DE; we are one short and same for a big WR and super fasr WR. Looks like BAP might be in order for the early rounds. Go Bucs
My wishes for you and your family are a very Merry Christmas and a New Year filled with health and happiness!! Again another truly insightful and ORIGINAL info in your SR’s FAB5. In my opinion you cover the Bucs like a GM. You focus on the NOW but you always have one eye towards the future. Great feature on two up and coming players on Ryan Smith and Leonard Wester. These next two games are HUGE for the Bucs! I hope they come up big. I believe the Bucs need to get the run game going in order the finish strong in this playoff push. In my opinion some fans are killing Martin for the run game but I really think the problem in our running game is our OL. I think they miss Logan Mankins leadership ( I know his skills were declining) so that got me thinking about the offensive line next year and how could the presence of JR Sweezy affect it. 1st off have you heard any updates on Sweezy’s injury? (career threatening? healthy and ready to go for next year? still cloudy?) Anyway my guess without having any knowledge of Sweezy’s injury status, next year’s Starting five will be Left OT Smith, Left OG Sweezy, C- Marpet, Right OG- Pamphile, Right OT- Dotson. What do you think? Am I even in the ballpark? Go Bucs! Thanks again for having the Best Bucs info anywhere!!
Sounds like a pretty decent offensive line, Tassonedna. Sweezy was supposed to be a top shelf addition, so if he does fully recover that should help a bunch.
But, we also need to be on the lookout for a possible addition in free agency, as always. And we oughta draft at least one offensive lineman every year, just to keep the pump primed.
The Bucs have 3 DEs on IR – Jacquies Smith, Howard Jones, and George Johnson. Presumably, they will all be back – all have produced in the NFL.
Ordinarily, I would say we’ll be okay. But every once in a while a player come along, a freak if you will, that possesses all the traits the NFL is looking for – size, speed, high motor, and good character.
This year that yet unknown player is Tanoh Kpassagnon 6-7, 290, and runs a 4.76/40 from Villanova by way of Uganda. I going to bet he is a combine story and shoot up draft boards. I’m thinking that because he didn’t play FBS, but FCS, he could be had in the 3rd round.
He is big and strong enough to play DT and fast enough to play right DE. Noah Spence is good but not strong enough to collapse a pocket. He has to run around the OT and come in the back door – too late for a QB like Drew Brees.
Imagine if William Gholston is pushing from the LE and Tanoh is pushing from the RE, McCoy and McDonald are going to eat. Lol. I have no idea how Tanoh or the Bucs will turn out, but you can tell I’m impressed!
great post. I just looked him up and love the idea.
None of those guys you named on IR is going to come back and give you what the Bucs are missing at DE. We need a Micheal Bennet Type of DE and non of them pose that type of threat. Love the kid from Villinova myself but will the Bucs scouts do their job and go and get him. he’s probably the kalil mack of this yrs draft
The wish list should have cornerback at the top. It’s a tough position to learn and Grimes should have one more good year in him then it’ll be time to replace him. Have that guy in house and ready to roll when that time comes. I think WR has a lot of options in FA that could help either in the form of Alshon or Desean both bringing elements this offense could use. TE is another position that could be available this summer as Martellus Bennett only signed a 1 year deal in NE and although its tough to leave NE we could offer him some money to make that interesting. I agree DE should be fine and think we need to find an impact DT to pair with McCoy. I like McDonald more as a rotational DT bc he seems to stay healthy in that role. Ayers could benefit and rush from the end spot a little more as well spell the guys inside. The NFC goes through Dallas so the formula to beating them is stopping the run. Get some explosive big bodies up there and that task becomes a lot easier. That said, Beat the Saints!
SR- Another really great fab 5. I want to say how much I admire your taking responsibility for your misstatement on the Assistant Coaches’ availability. We all make mistakes and it takes a big man to admit them. KUDOS to you. I really like the Santa’s wish list portion. I much prefer the draft to Free Agency. Outside of trading two picks and trading up for RA, and drafting JW ahead of MM, Licht’s drafting prowess has been outstanding!!! I think JW needs above average weapons to be effective so, let’s draft weapons for him! Great job.
What a shock reading your revelation that you preferred Mariota over Jameis. Never figured that out from your posts. Don’t you think Jameis’ fiery personality was more what this downtrodden team needed than the comatose Mariota? Can’t they both be good for their respective teams? I think it’s time you moved on, stop seeking evidence to support your case or switch your loyalties.
Scott’s Santa’s Wish List shows that, in spite of the team’s improvements, a case could be made that there are needs at nearly every position. Needs change. That’s why the best player available will always be my approach to the Draft.
I’m glad that we’re on Christmas Eve eagerly anticipating the game and not secretly wanting to lose for a better Draft position.
I find it amusing when folks in the media and TV announcers comment on certain teams “traveling well” when they show up in droves to games away from their home stadiums. Oh, I’m sure some come here from the far north and other places, but the vast majority who infest our “home” and that of other warm weather places like Miami, Jacksonville, San Diego and Arizona, live within 200 miles. These are the front-runner fans like my neighbor who moved here from New England when the Patriots sucked and became a Gator fan, caring little about the NFL. He became a casual Bucs fan when the local team became play-off contenders and ultimately champions. But as soon as the Gators ended their glory days under Spurrier and the Bucs declined, he was once again sporting his Flying Elvises gear. That is typical of the transplants who choose to align themselves with the perceived better team.
Me, I’m from Pittsburgh. I moved here after graduating from high school to go to UT. The Dolphins were our team at the time so I converted to being a fan until WE GOT OUR OWN TEAM! I don’t know how someone can decide to live here and not adopt the local teams of their new chosen hometown. When I left Pittsburgh in June 1967 I left my girlfriend Sandy behind, telling her I’d see her in August. I met my wife with whom I’ve been married for 47 years and never returned. Twenty eight years after my departure from Pittsburgh, my wife and I, while visiting the area, stopped by to surprise Sandy. It was quite funny. But had the encounter been less than amicable and had the ladies gotten into a tiff, I can assure you I would have sided with my wife and not the girl I left behind.
Hey Scu- I moved from Tampa to Pittsburgh last year. How funny. BTW, I have given up on the JW/MM thing. I have my opinions on that and only time will tell who is the better QB. As far as the draft, I think we need to improve O-line and get more weapons for JW. He needs them. Best,Buc
That’s hysterical Bucnut! Watch out for those folks in western Pa. They all think everyone should be -a “Stillers” fan. If it’s going to become your permanent home perhaps a little black and gold will invade your closet.
Visited last year during the Bucs bye week and went to the Cardinals-Steelers game. How nice it was not to be surrounded by enemy fans. You’ll need to learn some Pittsburghese. It’s “Yuns, as in you-uns not y’all.
We’ll be there in August for my 50th high school reunion. Stay warm.
Totally agree with your proposed Draft needs. Protection and weapons for Jameis.
Shocker bucnut thinks we should’ve taken mariota. Haha let me educate you on something since you have a tough time understanding how football works . For one mariota has a superior offensive line and run game. For 2 he’s had the pleasure of facing one of the weakest schedules in the NFL this year. Oh except his last three games against good defenses were he’s completed 35% of his passes for 1 td and 4 to’s. They’re both good for the teams they are playing for. Leave it be already with your screwed assessments.
Hi guys! did you see your “franchise”qb today? He looked great, didn’t he. He is a turnover machine.
See yours getting carted off after a dismal showing?
Enjoyable read. Speed receiver would be welcome. Lets beat the Saints please.
Bucnut2 make sure you get on the Rolling Rock. When I spent a year in Hershey I found the case of RR in the 7 oz Pony bottles my choice.
— Go Bucs !!!
SR, the error on the assistant coaches leaving was my comment on the last Fab 5. I didn’t think that they could leave. The only exception was if they were made an assistant HC as part of their title. I still love your work!
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