FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots
• New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur wants to start rookie quarterback Daniel Jones against Tampa Bay. But is that really a wise move? Eli Manning, a 16-year veteran, is in decline for sure, but he’s won five of the last six meetings against the Bucs, including last year’s 38-35 triumph in New York.
Manning was 17-of-18 for 231 yards with two touchdowns in that game despite being sacked four times, and produced a 155.8 QB rating. In his only loss to Tampa Bay, a 25-23 home victory for the Bucs on a last-second field goal in 2017, Manning was 30-of-49 for 288 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions, no sacks and had three carries for 22 yards and one touchdown run.
Manning has had the Bucs’ number over the years. I would have given him the start in Tampa Bay on Sunday if I were running the show in New York, but the future is now for Jones. Expect a heavy dose of blitzes from defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, and for the Giants to counter with screens and draws to running back Saquon Barkley.
• Bucs safety Jordan Whitehead is tied for second on the team in tackles with 14 through two games and is thriving in Todd Bowles’ 3-4 defensive scheme, which has him playing much closer to the line of scrimmage this year. Last year, Whitehead and the team’s other safeties often played back in Mike Smith’s Cover 4 scheme that was largely ineffective. Whitehead has made many more plays in the box this year as a result of the scheme change, and had a huge tackle on fourth down last week in Carolina, stopping a Cam Newton scramble short of the first down.
“It’s good to be near the action,” Whitehead said. “You want the ball to come to you. You want to make a play. The position I’m in there are a lot of chances for me to make plays. I want to make the best of my opportunities. I’m more of a run stopper – that’s what I pride myself in. I want to cover too, but me being at the line of scrimmage – that’s part of my ‘A’ game. I want to get into the backfield and minimize the gain.”
Whitehead said he spent the offseason and summer focusing on one Pro Bowl player that Bowles coached when he was running the New York Jets.
“I was watching the Jets right before Coach Bowles got in here and I was watching Jamal Adams because that’s the position I play,” Whitehead said. “Obviously, he was in the Pro Bowl last year and watching him gave me a feel for the type of defense Coach Bowles plays. He puts me in position to make a lot of plays.”
• GET YOUR PRE-GAME ON WITH A NEW PEWTER NATION PODCAST! – The Bucs are 1-1 hosting the 0-2 New York Giants on Sunday and there is no better way to get ready for the game than to listen to the latest Pewter Nation Podcast. All five Pewter Reporters took part in this roundtable discussion of what Tampa Bay needs to do to slow down rookie quarterback Daniel Jones and Pro Bowl running back Saquon Barkley and get its second win of the season.
With Trevor Sikkema and yours truly in Carolina following Tampa Bay’s big road win last Thursday night, WDAE 95.3 FM’s Len Martez joined Mark Cook, Matt Matera and Taylor “Grizz” Jenkins for a post-game Pewter Nation Podcast last Friday to discuss the big Bucs victory. Make sure you give that a listen this weekend if you haven’t already.
And if you are in the mood while driving around doing weekend errands or handling some chores around the house, here are two other recent Pewter Nation Podcasts for you to enjoy.
There is no better time to listen to a new Pewter Nation Podcast, which is presented by Chris Garrido of Westshore Financial, than on your drive home from work on Friday or early Saturday morning at the gym before college football begins. Enjoy your weekend and know that the next Pewter Nation Podcast will be up just hours after the Bucs vs. Giants game on Sunday night.
The popularity of the Pewter Nation Podcast continues to grow. In addition to listening to the Pewter Nation Podcasts on PewterReport.com you can also subscribe to the free podcasts at PodBean by clicking here and on SoundCloud by clicking here. And of course the Pewter Nation Podcast is also available on iTunes. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode.
• The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced plans for the upcoming Fantennial Weekend, with events taking place this Friday through Sunday, highlighted by the Bucs Beach Bash, a family-friendly, beach-themed music and entertainment event featuring iconic artist Billy Ray Cyrus to be held at the TradeWinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach this Saturday.
“This 100th season of NFL football is a yearlong celebration of our game as well as a chance to provide our great fans with unforgettable moments,” said Buccaneers chief operating officer Brian Ford. “Our Fantennial Weekend features something for every football fan, with Buccaneers Legends kicking off the festivities Friday night under the high school lights and continuing into Saturday with a full-blown music festival at TradeWinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach. Sunday at Raymond James Stadium will serve as the perfect ending to a memorable weekend of football and fun as we induct Buccaneer legend Ronde Barber into our Ring of Honor during halftime of our game against the New York Giants.”
To kick off the Fantennial Weekend, the Buccaneers will have a Friday Night Football Campus Tour at Plant High School, as the Panthers take on Bloomingdale on Friday, September 20. Buccaneers cheerleaders and Captain Fear will join Buccaneers Legends Anthony Davis, Vincent Jackson, Ricky Reynolds and Super Bowl XXXVII MVP Dexter Jackson at the event. Fans in attendance will have the chance to play games, win prizes, try on a Buccaneers uniform and experience the Buccaneers Street Team RV, which is outfitted to include Madden gaming stations.
Also kicking off on Friday is the inaugural Bucs Beach Bash —a free music festival on the beach at the TradeWinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach. Friday’s activities include a beach cookout and partying with Pirate Flag, the premier Kenny Chesney tribute band in the United States. On Saturday, September 21, the event begins at 11 a.m. and will feature a variety of local bands, DJs, trivia, unique partner activations, Buccaneers/NFL 100-themed contests with prizes, the Jr. Bucs Kids Zone, Street Team, Cheerleaders, Captain Fear, pirates and Buccaneers legends.
The highlight of the event will be the free concert featuring multi-platinum selling recording artist Billy Ray Cyrus, who recently paired with Lil Nas X to perform the hit song Old Town Road. The single set the record for most consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, holding the top spot for 19 consecutive weeks. Cyrus, perhaps best known for his chart-topping hit “Achy Breaky Heart,” will take the stage at approximately 8 p.m.
Parmalee, whose 2013 breakout hit Carolina shot to No. 1 in Country Airplay, will precede Cyrus, beginning at approximately 5:30 p.m. In between the two acts, the show will pause for a Sunset Celebration to allow partygoers the opportunity to watch the breathtaking view over St. Pete Beach, annually rated as one of America’s top beaches. The night sky will light up with fireworks as the concert concludes and the RumFish Grill After Party will keep the celebration going into the early morning hours.
The Fantennial Weekend concludes on Sunday, September 22, when Tampa Bay faces off against the New York Giants and Buccaneers Legend Ronde Barber will be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor during a special halftime on-field ceremony.
• Tampa Bay has had a good deal of success stopping third-and-short situations through the first two games of the season, so much so that Carolina went for it on fourth-and-short three times last Thursday night. Thanks to a stingy effort from Todd Bowles’ defense, the Panthers came up empty all three plays.
The Bucs defenders know exactly how important being aggressive is in short yardage and have already seen the fruits of their labor.
“That’s one of the most critical times in the game – when they’re going for it,” Bucs defensive end Will Gholston said. “That’s when you steal a possession and getting our offense back on the field. It’s demoralizing for any defensive lineman when a team can run the ball on you. It doesn’t matter if it’s fourth-and-short or first-and-10. That’s something that you don’t like. We take pride in stopping the run and stopping the quarterback.”
Although the Bucs had just one turnover on Thursday night – a fumble recovery by Ndamukong Suh after Cam Newton was hit by linebackers Lavonte David and Anthony Nelson – stopping Carolina on fourth-and-short three times was essentially three more turnovers, as it wound up giving the ball back to Tampa Bay’s offense.
“It’s huge and B.A. (Bruce Arians) has said it – there are a couple of plays that decide each game,” Bucs left guard Ali Marpet said. “Those plays can be those short yardage plays. Those types of plays are huge and the fact that we can make those stops and for us to have the confidence in our defense is also huge. As an offensive lineman it’s extremely frustrating when you can’t get those short yardage plays – those ones that you have to have. It can be defeating and that’s how I think that’s how the Panthers felt. Our defense did a really nice job. It was a huge win for us.
“Those guys are doing a phenomenal job of doing what B.A. says, which is to defend every blade of grass. Those guys take that to heart and it means something to them. It shows up on game day.”
• THANK YOU! PEWTER REPORT HAS SURPASSED 33,000 FOLLOWERS ON TWITTER! Thank you – Pewter Nation – for following the PewterReport.com Twitter account, as we have hit a new milestone with 33,000 followers and we’re now up to 33,200. We cover Bucs practices, Bucs press conferences, Bucs games and break news on our @PewterReport Twitter account. So if you aren’t one of the 33,000 Bucs fans that follow PewterReport.com on Twitter please do so right now so you don’t miss out on our Bucs coverage, including injury updates, breaking news and notifications about the latest stories and columns on PewterReport.com. Follow us today and help us get to 34,000!
• Pewter Report Happy Hour With SR At The Fat Rabbit – Next Wednesday! PewterReport.com fans, join me and other Bucs fans at The Fat Rabbit pub in New Tampa next Wednesday, September 25 from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. Bring your Bucs questions to ask, and I’ll share some inside info and tell some Bucs stories that I just can’t print.
I’ll have some PewterReport.com swag to give away and The Fat Rabbit will have $1 off all draft beer, $6 calls on Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Jameson and other liquor, in addition to $5 wells. Wednesdays also feature half off wine – glass or bottle.
Our advertising partner Heritage Isles Golf and Country Club will also be on hand with some giveaways for PewterReport.com readers, too. Heritage Isles Golf and Country Club is located just minutes from The Fat Rabbit so be sure to check out their driving range and golf course, too.
The Fat Rabbit is located at 16029 Tampa Palms Blvd W. in New Tampa just off Bruce B. Downs Boulevard. It’s one of my favorite places to eat, drink and watch sports in a cool, upscale vibe. You can check out their extensive menu online at FatRabbitPub.com and I look forward to seeing you there next Wednesday!
• We’ve become a very impatient society where a lack of immediate success or gratification turns into instant frustration. Perhaps it’s the rise of the fantasy football culture that has produced so much angst over NFL players’ lack of productivity, but whatever the reason, just know that there are 14 games left on the Bucs’ 2019 schedule.
That means there is plenty of time for tight end O.J. Howard and wide receivers Mike Evans and Breshad Perriman to produce in Bruce Arians’ offense. Evans has just six catches for 89 yards in the first two games and has yet to score his first touchdown in Tampa Bay, as Chris Godwin has been the star of the passing game thus far with 11 catches for 174 yards and two TDs.
Howard has been limited to four catches for 32 yards, and the former 2017 first-rounder hasn’t played well as a blocker or a receiver yet. But Cameron Brate began the 2018 season without a catch in the first two games and wound up with six touchdowns by the end of the year.
Third receiver Breshad Perriman had two catches for 10 yards in the season opener and dropped a potential touchdown at Carolina. But prior to Thursday night’s game at Jacksonville, wide receiver Adam Humphries, who signed a huge contract with Tennessee, had just four yards on three catches through the first two games.
So all of the hand-wringing over the lack of offensive production through the first two games and thoughts of just trading Howard away because he’s had a slow start is just nonsense. There are 14 games left in the season and patience is necessary.
Keep in mind that outside linebackers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb have no sacks through the first two weeks in Denver. I don’t think Broncos fans are wanting to see either player traded away due to their slow start.
• And finally, join me at the Bespoke & Co. 5th Annual Signature Event on Wednesday, October 3 at Armature Works in Tampa. This Casablanca-themed event will be lots of fun – as every Bespoke & Co. Signature Event has been over the last four years. Dress up in your formal wear or business attire and enjoy open bars, heavy hors d’oeuvres, live music, casino gaming tables, and much more.
Bespoke & Co. is the official custom clothier for PewterReport.com and a long-time advertising partner with PewterReport.com. This year they are partnering with Children’s Cancer Center with all of the sponsorships benefiting that charity organization.
Your $150 ticket to the event gets you a fabulous night of fun and fashion, as well as a swag bag filled with great items and discounts to many local companies, including a Bespoke & Co. gift certificate for a complimentary custom-tailored dress shirt valued at $225.
Get your tickets to Bespoke & Co. 5th Annual Signature Event today by clicking here. We look forward to seeing you at Armature Works on October 3 from 7:00 – 11:00 p.m.