FAB 2. Sapp Weighs In On Bucs’ Lack Of Pass Rush

Just how bad is the Buccaneers’ pass rush this year? It’s awful.

Tampa Bay had one sack in 128 pass attempts coming into Thursday night’s 19-14 loss to New England. The Bucs recorded three sacks against Tom Brady, who dropped back to throw 45 times, and now have four on the season, which ties the team with San Francisco for the lowest sack total in the league through four games.

I don’t have any official statistics to support this claim, but I’m guessing it’s the worst start in Bucs history in terms of its pass rush.

As I’ve written before on PewterReport.com, the internal metric the Bucs would like to hit is one sack for every 14 pass attempts. If Tampa Bay’s defense were on target the team would have 12 sacks by now. Instead it has just four.

That’s just 19 sacks behind Jacksonville, the current league leader.

The staggering inability to get to the quarterback is somewhat out of the blue, too, as Tampa Bay has done nothing but increase its number of sacks over the last several years from 27 quarterback captures in 2012 to 35 the next year, to 36 in 2014, and 38 sacks in each of the last two years. The Bucs are on pace to record 16 sacks in 2017.

Bucs DL coach Jay Hayes - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs DL coach Jay Hayes – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Nobody saw this coming outside of the fact that only two starters, Noah Spence and Lavonte David, got sacks in the preseason – and both came on blitzes.

Entering the New England game on Thursday night, the Bucs had gone two games and 10 straight quarters without a sack since Spence took down Mike Glennon in the second quarter of Tampa Bay’s season opener in Week 2.

To say that Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith is concerned would be an understatement.

“We have not been able to get the quarterback on the ground,” Smith told the media on Tuesday prior to the Patriots game. “We had some pressures where we’ve gotten him to move off the spot. Sometimes sacks are like turnovers – they come in bunches. We haven’t been able to turn the ball over. Those two areas are the biggest concerns of what we have not accomplished in the last two weeks. It’s not always just the guys that are rushing. It’s also what’s happening with the coverage. We’ve got to do a good job of making sure when the quarterback is trying to throw the ball that if it’s a man coverage, we’ve got to be in phase with the guys. If it’s a match coverage, we’ve got to be matching them. It’s across the board – we’ve got to be better and we’ve got to be more productive though in terms of putting pressure on the quarterback and affecting the quarterback.”

Don’t think Smith is thinking about this non-stop? When asked a question about defensive end Jacquies Smith’s return to the lineup against New York, the defensive coordinator gave a one-sentence answer about Smith, who wound up being released on Wednesday, and then went right back into the team’s pass rush woes unprompted.

“We’ve got to do it, as coaches, a couple ways,” Smith ranted. “We’ve got to look at what we’re doing schematically first. Secondly, we’ve got to look at the guys that we’re asking to do it and what we are asking them to do. That’s something that we’ve really dove into the last two weeks after the way that we rushed the passer. There are some things I can do better. There are some things I think that all of us can do better. The guys that we’ve got are the guys that we’ve got and we certainly hope that we can produce more pass rush whether it is something that we do schematically, moving guys into different spots. We’re willing to try anything when you have two games that you haven’t had the production that you need.”

When I asked Smith about Will Clarke IV, he replied with a few sentences on the Bucs’ new defensive end then kept harping on the team’s lack of pass rush.

“We’ve got to find a way to get in a rhythm to put some pressure on the quarterback,” Smith said. “In terms of doing it, whether it’s changing what we’re doing schematically or changing it with different players lined up in different spots or calling it at the right time – we’ve got to find a way to do that.”

Hall of Fame Bucs DT Warren Sapp - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Hall of Fame Bucs DT Warren Sapp – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The Bucs took a step in the right direction on Thursday night as Clinton McDonald and Gerald McCoy got their first sacks of the season, and linebacker Adarius Glanton got the first sack of his career and forced Tom Brady to fumble. That’s all well and good, but keep in mind that the Patriots offensive line had given up 13 sacks in the first four games, so that’s about their average.

I’ve always loved defensive line play. To me watching defensive linemen rush the passer is the most exciting part of football. I spent six years coaching defensive line on my son’s Pop Warner football team. I’ve spent hours talking pass rush with former Bucs defensive line coach Joe Cullen and attended his pass rush clinic.

I’ve spent years learning about the pass rush from former Bucs defensive line coach Rod Marinelli, a true guru, and spending time with former Tampa Bay starting defensive linemen like Chidi Ahanotu and Brad Culpepper, former backups like Ellis Wyms and Tyoka Jackson and legends like Warren Sapp and Simeon Rice. I’ve gained knowledge from conversations with present day Buccaneers like Gerald McCoy, Clinton McDonald, Will Gholston and others.

But I’m no expert and don’t claim to be. Having only played two years of high school football on the defensive line, there is still so much I don’t know about pass rushing, and I didn’t play a down in college football or the NFL.

So after a few weeks of getting the expected company line general answers about the pass rush from Smith – the guy that runs the defense – McDonald, Clarke, Jacquies Smith, Chris Baker and others, I wanted to dig deeper.

So I turned to Sapp – the greatest living pass rusher in Tampa Bay history – for help. Make no mistake. Sapp is still a Buccaneer. He lives and dies for Bucs football on Sundays. His close mentoring relationship with McCoy has been well documented.

He was at Sunday’s Bucs vs. Giants game and had a chance to review the coaches film, just like I did on the All-22 Game Pass on NFL.com. Because he has a far greater understanding of what he sees than I do, I’ll pass along what he saw from watching the Bucs vs. Giants game – a game in which Eli Manning dropped back to pass 52 times (49 pass attempts, three scrambles) and was hit just twice – and wasn’t sacked at all.

“My opinion is that they have got to communicate and execute,” Sapp said. “That’s the biggest thing you have to do as a defensive front – communicate. Then go execute what you’ve communicated. Right now I’m looking at a bunch of lone wolves out there thinking they can get it done. What they have to realize is that the pack will survive, and the lone wolf dies.

“They want to play well and you think you are doing the right thing, but you are not communicating with your teammates. I’m watching them run into each other.”

Review all 52 of Manning’s drop backs and you’ll see a few collisions between Bucs defensive linemen – more than defensive line coach Jay Hayes or Smith want to see for sure. The communication Sapp thinks is missing isn’t just between the defensive linemen on the field. It’s likely between the players and the coaches, too.

Smith seems to feel that as well and I’ll repeat his quote from earlier:

“We’ve got to do it, as coaches, a couple ways. We’ve got to look at what we’re doing schematically first. We’ve got to look at what we’re doing schematically first. Secondly, we’ve got to look at the guys that we’re asking to do it and what we are asking them to do.”

Looking at the tape, Sapp said he didn’t see any communication on the field between the defensive linemen, who ran plenty of games – twists and stunts – against the Giants. Who is making the game calls for the Bucs then? Is it Hayes from the sidelines? Is he making the calls or is Smith making the calls from the press box to linebacker Kendell Beckwith, who then relays that to the defensive linemen?

What I saw on tape – and Sapp confirmed – was that the spacing of the Bucs defensive linemen was too wide to run games, and the ends were split out so wide that they couldn’t get to the quarterback. Take a look at the play below and you’ll see Ayers and right defensive end Ryan Russell (to the left on the screen) try to execute a TE (tackle goes first, end loops around) stunt on third-and-9 in which the tackle penetrates outside and the end loops around inside. The spacing between the two is too far and there’s too much ground for Russell to cover. Also notice how far Spence is spaced out so far away from the ball. He has no chance of getting to Manning.

In the second half the Bucs defensive line tightened up their spacing, so there was an in-game adjustment made. Yet it wasn’t enough.

“Evidently something is missing in this thing,” Sapp said. “We would be in the meeting room and Marinelli would be talking about 1-on-1’s and I would be laughing. He said, ‘Why are you laughing?’ I said, ‘Who in here gets the 1-on-1?’ He said, ‘That’s you.’ I said, ‘All right then. So now we’re doing this like a pack of wild dogs. If I ain’t getting the 1-on-1s and I’m getting beat up all day then somebody better be hitting the quarterback, all right? That’s the rule.’ We devised a system where we [ran our games and] went right to left and then left to right. And when we figured out that somebody was trying to do something against us we would adjust in-game and figure out a way to sometimes run double games on them and stuff like that. That’s the kind of adjustment that has to be made in-game with the players that are on the field.

“When I saw the tape and took the emotion out of it like you have to do, they’re just not communicating. Communicating and execution – those are the two things I would go to. The one thing I would take out of it is the games are being called from the sideline. If that’s the case, I don’t agree with that. You’re not out on the field. You’re not setting the guy up. When you get your guys to the sidelines you say, ‘Hey fellas, we’re staying straight but the quarterback ain’t going down. Do you want to throw some games at them?’ That’s what Marinelli used to say to us. That’s what you do. You talk.”

Sapp said that he doesn’t understand some of the technical ways the Bucs’ pass rush is constructed. For example, the Bucs ran some T-T stunts, which are twists involving both defensive tackles where one is the penetrator and attacks the center and one is the looper.

“They do read TOMs,” Sapp said, explaining to me that a TOM is a twist stunt between both the nose tackle and the three-technique tackle. “That means when you get off the ball you take off and you have to decipher which way the center is going and then he becomes the penetrator and the other guy loops around. What? Read TOMs?! It has to be designated prior to the snap – nose or three. If we get it wrong we both push the hell out of the same A gap.”

If Sapp is correct about the read TOMs, the twist between the defensive tackles takes a split second longer to execute because of the time it takes to see which tackle the center is attacking. That split second is the difference between getting a sack, getting a hit on the QB and not getting a hit at all. The twist below results in a hit on Manning – only after he completes the throw for a first down.

Sapp said the Bucs’ pass rushers look too robotic while executing games and getting after the quarterback.

“Most people ain’t trained monkeys – they don’t like to be told what to do, especially these new age kids,” Sapp said. “There’s no communication going on out there on the football field. That’s the rebellion that a D-lineman would take against the system if, I’m being told what to do, as I understand it. I would rebel. If you told me what to do from the sidelines I would do it just like a damn robot. I would hate it. If I was a defensive lineman I would rebel.”

Sapp went on to explain the importance of communication between the players and the position coach, and that the coach needs to be willing to take some input from the guys on the field who are doing the actual pass rushing.

“One time we were playing the Minnesota Vikings and they were running Fan Iso, and you can go back and look this one up in 1996 at the Ol’ Sombrero,” Sapp said. “The Minnesota Vikings were running one of the silliest plays where the O-line stands up and they act like they are going to give it to the running back like a little sprint draw, but it’s right down hill in the A gap. I’m sitting in the B gap and Monte Kiffin is cussing everybody out about being outside his gap. ‘If you’re playing in my defense you’re staying in your gap!’ I’m watching this and we need to play a seven-man front because the Minnesota Vikings were throwing the ball with Chris Carter and Jake Reed. They didn’t have Randy Moss at the time, but they had Jake Reed and a couple of okay tight ends so they could spread the field and come after us. We needed to get two safeties back and we developed this Cover 2 – Tampa 2 thing.

Rod Marinelli and Monte Kiffin - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Rod Marinelli and Monte Kiffin – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“I was standing in the B gap and watching this play go in the A gap and I mean they were going berserk on the sidelines. Marinelli looks at me and says, ‘What’s going on?’ I said, ‘Do you want me to stop that play?’ Marinelli looks at me said, ‘Yes!’ I said, ‘No problem.’ They ran that shit again and I snatched the guard and went underneath into the A gap and grabbed Adrian Murrell – and this is one of the first times I ever picked anybody up because I was mad – picked him up and slammed him down. I was mad. We never saw that play again. When you leave it up to your players on the field that understand what it is, you get reward out of it as a coach, and I now get a rapport where we can build something.”

The Bucs defensive line accounted for 27.5 of the team’s 38 sacks last year, and at times it was the same four rushers in the game – McCoy, Ayers, Spence and Russell – that recorded four of the team’s five sacks against Seattle in 2016. So what’s different this year?

“They had a nice little rotation going, and once you have a nice little rotation going and you know the strengths and weaknesses of the men that can rush on your team, that’s when you put yourself in position where you can do some special things,” Sapp said. “This is a group of guys who most people think can get to the quarterback and we’re watching these kids just spin their wheels. When you’re talking about a defensive line that is not communicating and is running into each other – that’s like Keystone Cops, Three Stooges stuff.

“Every time you see a game that is being called – and if it ain’t by the men in the trenches that’s where I think the disconnect is. When you are asking men to do something and they have no say in what they’re doing that is the ultimate recipe for a rebellion.”

The Bucs may not be at that point where they are rebelling against the coaches now, but if the defensive line continues to fail at getting to the quarterback there could be some division between the coaches and the players if there isn’t good communication going on. Keep in mind that Sapp is retired and isn’t in the defensive line meetings or at practice. He’s just offering his opinion on what might be contributing to the team’s woeful pass rush.

I put in a request to speak to Hayes to discuss some of the things that might – and I stress the word “might” – be happening on the field and in the meeting room this week, and I didn’t have the opportunity to due to the fact that it’s a short week. My attempt to talk to some Bucs defensive linemen about this subject was limited to post-game interviews after the Patriots game due to the short week. They did confirm that almost all of the twists and stunts that are called are called from Smith to Beckwith with Hayes making some calls from the sidelines. The players rarely call their own games and don’t have the freedom to as Sapp and Culpepper once did.

Sapp isn’t calling out Hayes or Smith, nor is he trashing the Bucs players over the lack of sacks. He would love nothing more than to see Tampa Bay’s pass rush come alive, as it began to on Thursday night, but only thinks that happens if there is a strong collaboration between coaches and players.

“I only know one way to play it because I was trained by a killer Marine,” Sapp said of Marinelli, who served in the Marines in Vietnam. “Most men in the Armed Forces realize that it requires a team to get this thing done. Everybody that has something useful, thoughtful or stupid helps. Sometimes the stupid, far-out stuff helps because sometimes the far-out idea puts you back on the focus of going back to the basics.”

Sapp would like to see the Bucs defensive line have tighter spacing so there is less ground to cover when running ET (end goes first, then tackle loops around) and TE (tackle goes first, then end loops around) twists, as well as rushing from the defensive end positions. Having young ends like Spence, Russell and Clarke play one side of the line and master it and get into a rhythm rather than flip-flopping back and forth might help, too.

In Sapp’s early days he was the three-technique, Culpepper was the nose tackle, Chidi Ahanotu was the left defensive end and Regan Upshaw was at right end. That never changed. In the Bucs’ Super Bowl run in 2002, Greg Spires was always the left end and Rice was always the right end.

One thing is for certain. The Bucs need to change something because whatever they’re doing right now isn’t working with the regularity it needs to.

“It’s crazy, I’m looking at this game and I’m like, ‘Why isn’t the quarterback on the ground?’” Sapp said about the Bucs vs. Giants game. “Gerald had a good start to the game – all in the backfield. He was going to take over this game like I took over those Giants games.

“I hate those snobby, New York ‘I got my bat in the back of the car’ guys. So what? We carry guns in Florida. You don’t want to bring your bat down here, cuz! We’ll shoot you.’ So those New Yorkers can go ahead with their little bats and hoopla and their good pizza and all that bullshit. I’m not a New Yorker. Nothing about them attracts me, so I was saying, ‘Take it over, Gerald!’ I was standing out in the rain watching this because I hate the Giants so bad. We get off to a good start … but then Eli’s still up. He wasn’t down all day.”

The same thing didn’t happen to Brady. Tampa Bay’s pass rush got him three times. Is that the start of something good upfront or the product of playing against a shaky New England O-line? Time will tell, but according to Sapp it’s time for the coaches to listen to the players and start adjusting to what they are seeing on the field.

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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]

41 COMMENTS

  1. Nice article and good podcast last night. All good points:
    Offense choppy
    play calling can be better
    Winston being better in the 1st quarter
    Run Martin more
    Defense short handed
    soft coverage

    All these things are true. All that being said NE didn’t look that much better than the BUCS last night. NE got help with sustaining drives on penalties too. Brady wasn’t great. The difference last night was NE made their field goals & the BUCS didn’t. Period.
    Missing FG’s and not being able to count on your kicker effects play calling, morale, and momentum.

    We all believe the BUCS & Jameis can and should be better than they have played year to date, and they need to improve. But sometimes you gotta win ugly. You need to have a kicker to win ugly. During the prime of the BUC Ball with Sapp & Co. how ugly were those 12-9 games. We all believe we are better than that, but there are going to be ugly games like last night for NE and you win those with your kicker.

    #@&*^$ why can’t we have a reliable kicker!? Why!

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    • You said it all.

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  2. How great would it be to have 99 coaching the D line.

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    • I was thinking the same thing…

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  3. Good Fab 5, Scott, as usual.

    There’s too many missing pieces in our puzzle right now. Jameis’s ability to read defenses is just not very good, and his accuracy on throws is just all over the place … he’ll make a great ball placement on one throw, then just flat out misses on the next throw leaving us scratching our heads.

    The defensive line play was better last night, but we still left Tom Brady too many easy throws. Sure, they’re the no. 1 offense in the league, but our objective is to beat offenses like that, like a drum, like we used to in the good old days of 15 years ago.

    The play calling is also head-scratching. It was roundly criticized by Tony Romo as very simplistic and entirely predictable, both offensive and defensive, not up to the standards for today’s NFL. Is that because our coaches don’t know any better, or is it because they simply don’t trust their players with anything more creative?

    Just the same, we didn’t get blown out by the defending NFL champs led by the GOAT quarterback. Despite the fact that four of our eleven defensive starters didn’t suit up – including four of our starting “middle 5” (LBs and Safeties). We saw some excellent play by a couple of rookies, Beckwith and Evans, and some good play also from some other new guys, including Glanton.

    If we can get most of our defensive starters back for our next game, we should do better on that side of the ball. The communication thing Sapp talks about is clearly something that has to get better … maybe your Fab 5 will get read by the defensive coaches and taken to heart? Sapp is clearly an authority on great D-line play As for Jameis’s ability to read defenses and make accurate throws, it’s hard to say if that is a permanent hard limit on his play, or something that he will get better as he gains experience. Only time will tell.

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    • I agree with Sapp on the defensive changes that need to be made. I would also like to add that one of the things I’ve noticed that we are lacking on the D-line is speed. We’ve got the size and strength all across the line but we are definitely lagging on speed. If you notice the majority of the teams that have an impressive rush have defensive end speed. And that speed is such a force that it causes the protective O-line to collapse. Bottom line no pressure no take always.

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  4. Patrick Murray, our kicker from a couple years ago, may be a free agent. He beat out Connor Barth but was injured and waived the following year. Be nice to see him back at One Buc…..

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  5. koetter offense & play calling sucked… never gets his QB into a rhythm early… all low percentage throws down field

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  6. I wonder if Jameis gets himself too psyched up before the national games? I know he’s the captain his thing is to get everyone pumped; but might he benefit with some kind of medidative focus before he hits the field? Pure adrenaline is great for some of the positions on the field, but maybe he could benefit from a different approach. He’s too fired up early and it shows. As he settles into games and calms down, he seems to play better. I think it would be worth investigating.

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    • e,

      You may be on to something. Did anybody see how lathered up Winston was when he was greeting players as they left the locker room? One of the announcers noted how worked up he was. I love the passion, but if/when it borders on frenzy, it’s probably not a good thing. Perhaps it helps him get pumped to perform and motivates his teammates, so I’m hesitant to say he shoulder wear earpods and chill. lol. I just want the guy to succeed by any means necessary. Go Bucs!

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  7. On one hand you want Jameis to be elite and win games, so he gets the majority of the blame for this loss. But on the other hand the kicker misses 3 fieldgoals and I’ll give him the 56 yarder, but that still 6 points left on the floor for no good reason. 6 points wins us the game. On top of that you can’t blame Winston for not being elite when Brate is dropping TD passes in the endzone. That drop was crucial! Not only did we not get 6 points, but Folk went out and missed the gimme FG. That’s shameful. Take that 7 and the FG that Folk should have made(Folk doesn’t miss the FG because there is no dropped TD and give him a pass on the 56 yard miss) and that’s a 10 point swing. We win 24-19. It’s really that simple.

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  8. The last play of the game was inexcusable and Jamies knows it. He panicked. His will to win showed big-time in the game. He just needed one more sharp throw. The next eight games will be a challenge. They are all winnable and loseable. Six on the road. We have to split the road games and win the two home games. If we can make it to 7 and 5, we’ve got a shot. I thought all along, the team was being overhyped because it would take time to integrate Howard and Jackson into the offense and to establish a running game. Still, they play hard . If Brate holds on to that pass in the endzone, we’re liking not talking about all this other stuff.

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  9. Winston was not the best qb in the draft by most nfl people .Bucs fired 2 head coaches(Dungy,Gruden) who put their vote on M.M. who beat Winston on EVERY category at the nfl combine. Winston has great receivers but look at qb ranking by the nfl. M.M. has been listed ahead of Winston every year since being drafted. Winston may be a local fan fave from a great school but not the best qb drafted, no matter how much he gets praised.( dont hate me:>)).. I am a bucs fan and have season tkts so i will pull for Winston even after watching him last night

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    • Mariota isnt better in # games played, total yards, or touchdowns. Mariota hasnt played a 16 game season yet. Winston grinds every week. Sure, it’s a toss-up between the two at this point. Theyre both quality QB’s. It’s best not to spend too much time looking in the rearview mirror. Winston threw for over 300 yards yesterday without any turnovers.

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    • OH now we have to listen to your carp again? How is mariota? Not playing again this week I see. Look at the stats this year clown.
      60% completion
      3 tds
      3picks
      1 fumble
      oh and hasn’t played a full season in 5 years dating back to college.
      Get over yourself already, Mariota will never QB this team.

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      • It’s not helpful to argue Winston vs. Mariota, period. It’s just not relevant to anything that matters.

        It’s especially not helpful to argue that based on stats. In terms of total QBR, this season to data Maritoa is ranked #6 in the league at 62.6, while Winston is ranked #26 in the league at 40.2, two spots below Blake Bortles (ouch!). Last night Jameis had a QBR of only 27.4.

        No matter the stats. Jameis is our quarterback, and he is playing only sort of OK so far, rather than the big leap forward in his third season that PR writers and a few others were predicting this preseason, i.e., elite status, even MVP candidate, no less. The reality of his performance is not good enough, let alone elite. True of the entire team, actually.

        There’s plenty about the team, from play calling to pass rush defensive backfield play to running game production, etc. that altogether explain why we’re 2-2 this week, instead of 3-1 or 4-0. Not good enough.

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        • Actually Naples, thats’ using ESPN’s corky ass formula. Going to an actual NFL site the ratings are as follows.
          Jameis 4 154 94 61.0 38.5 1,198 7.8 299.5 7 4.5 3 1.9 58T 12 2 7 46 92.4
          Mariota 4 110 66 60.0 27.5 792 7.2 198.0 3 2.7 3 2.7 55T 11 2 2 5 79.8
          The last numbers are NFL ratings. SO yeah I can use stats to back up my claims. Point is, I”m tired of hearing about mariota so I’m going to respond with facts every time I do.

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          • Total QBR is the gold standard of quarterback stats. You can cherry pick whatever you like, but 95% of the NFL world relies on Total QBR. The stats aren’t “corky ass” – they reflect everything that a quarterback does, from the basic matters of completion ratios and yards per attempt, to the game conditions (downgrading “garbage time” stats), etc.

            Per the gold standard of QB stats, Jameis is a bottom tier (bottom one third of the league’s starters) player this season to date. Jameis was much better last year, in the upper half, but still far from elite.

            I’m not saying Jameis is a bust. Far from it, at least in his career to date. But he was expected to get significantly better than last year, both due to the normal progression of young quarterbacks entering their third year in the league, and because he was given a plethora of offensive skill players to support him. And one quarter of the way through the season, the results are not good.

            And Jameis is the first one to admit that – he says it virtually every every week after a bad performance, including Thursday’s game. Elite quarterbacks make the reads, and make the throws, that Jameis didn’t make on Thursday.

            Virtually all Bucs fans fervently wish that Jameis becomes elite. I expect that a majority of Bucs fans think that he will make that leap. I personally wish he would, and I think he still can. But I am disappointed that he hasn’t lit it up this season as so many of us thought he would, but hasn’t.

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          • The gold standard? Please. So explain when they show qb stats before a game they don’t be use those stats? And yes they do take into account situation. Jameis quarterback rating isn’t 113 when the team is within7 points. So explain how he has more td, better completion percentage, and and his best qb right when the game is close. SO You can cherry pick and stick to espns “golden standard” I’ll stick to my stats. Golden standard, my goodness you come a crossed as a condescending know it all sometimes.

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          • Oh and one more thing, your precious QBR has mariota ranked ahead of Mathew Stafford, Drew Brees and Aaron rogers this year, and if you think that, you need to stop watching football.

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          • If you think anybody in the league, or who covers the league professional, seriously believes that Jameis is performing well this year, or is “elite”, or is making progress towards becoming elite, you’re smoking crack.

            You’re letting your garnet and gold slip show, CG.

            Jameis’s performance this season so far is described by virtually everybody but cracked out Nole homers as mixed, mediocre, up and down, take your pick. Jameis himself describes his performance that way. Bucs fans (as opposed to rabid Nole fans) describe his performance that way. His coaches describe his performance that way.

            That is not to say he won’t get better with time. That is not to say he’s a bad quarterback, or a bust, or anything suggesting he should not have been drafted by the Bucs. But he’s clearly not elite today, and he does not appear to be getting closer to elite, but actually regressing in some respects. That is what frustrates his coaches and Bucs fans.

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        • Give Jamis a valium before a game.

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  10. Sure, Winston could have played better but he was one of very few bucs who kept us in the game yesterday. You cant have a 23 year old QB throw 47 times a game and expect to win consistently. He missed Jackson on a few deep balls and forced a few others. But the game isnt won and lost on the quarterback. You cant blame winston for missing a throw to a rookie TE as time expires without any timeouts, and no hope that the kicker is behind you. Brate got hit in the chest with two passes in the endzone on previous drives – we had to settle for a missed FG b/c of it which would have been the difference in the game. We were 0/6 on 3rd down conversions at one point. Martin/Sims dropped some short-intermediate passes, then OJ Howard and Ryan Smith on ST had some rough penalties. As a side note, Donovan Smith at LT was a beast yesterday… saw him get two pancakes on one passing play. Justin Evans also played very well – much better than anyone anticipated, and looks like our most athletic safety. Interested if this was a one game wonder or if Evans can bring it consistently.

    The reason we lost this game was our inability to stop short and crossing routes on D. Our secondary plays way too soft…even the announcers commented on this. Gone are the days of man-press. We will give up 400 yards a game for the rest of the year playing 8-10 yards off the X/Z receivers. Something is wrong with the scheme if youre getting beat by a guy like Amendola. CB’s need to step-up.

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    • Your comments makes a lot of sense … that is, until you take account of the fact that our defense limited the number one offense in the league to less than 2/3 of their average PPG in the four prior games this season. And until you consider that our offense only scored 14 points .. virtually nobody can expect to win an NFL game by scoring only 14 points.

      The defense didn’t lose this game – the offense and special teams (kicker, really) lost this game.

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  11. The 49ers spent a high first round pick on a D end yet they have a dismal pass rush. Browns did the same, but due to a foot problem he hasn’t been a factor. If you’re counting on the Bucs using their first pick on a D end to solve their pass rush woes, you may be very disappointed. I like the idea of Sapp as our D line coach. He’d bring an intensity, and attitude to a line that is lacking. His comments were enlightening. Why does an offensive minded coach defer to his 30th ranked defense when he wins the coin toss? Both Minn, and N.E. scored first when given the opportunity, and we had to play catch up the rest of the game, and never could. So you get the ball to start the second half, have a 3 and out, now you’re up shit creek the rest of the game. With the hyper Winston,get him on the field first whenever you can. Having him sit, and watch his team fall behind with a long opening scoring drive is a recipe for disaster. It’s not like we’re trotting out the 85 Bears to start games. We were missing Kwon, David, Tandy, starting a rookie safety, back ups every where, yet you want Tom Brady on the field first? Lucky they only kicked a F.G., but the damage was done, long drive with points on the board, we never recovered. Both our losses we gave them the ball first, I don’t get it. Koetter doesn’t seem to have the ability to manage the game, and call plays,give Monken his shot. To recap. Hire Sapp, HOF Buc legend, Let’s see what Monken can do as a true O.C., take the ball first whenever you can so Winston doesn’t have to stew on the side line, and start off in a hole. If we don’t make some changes, expect the rest of the season to go like the first four, meaning a 500 season.

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    • Note that only one team in the entire league is allowing less than an average of 14 PPG … Buffalo, at 13.5 PPG … and since the NFL does not allow fractional points, our offense and special teams together managed to score what only one team in the league has allowed.

      Offense and S/T simply have to score a lot more points.

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      • Sorry, Surfer … my reply was intended to go to deeznuts, not you.

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  12. It seems to me that both Koetter and Winston play these big games not to lose until they need to play to win.

    Winston also doesn’t seem to yet be able to handle the pressure of being the guy. He talks the talk but I don’t believe he truly believes in himself to be the guy. Again, seems to be throwing passes like a baseball pitcher who’s struggling to throw strikes. He’s dropping his elbow and wishing the ball to a spot instead of trusting his talent and throwing the damn ball with confidence.

    Throwing passes in the fourth quarter that you’re trailing in comes with less pressure because your back is up against the ropes. People’s expectation turns to hope that you’ll come through. Jamies puts a ton of pressure on himself which seems admirable and the talk of getting better everyday seems like a good plan. But this kid is afraid to let us all down more than he actually believes in himself. No matter what his words say, he’s still just a kid trying to impress his father than a man leading other men.

    Love ya Jaboo. Let it go and be the man, brother.

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  13. I’m wondering if Koetter needs to let his OC call the plays. It’s not easy to be the HC and call the game. Our best offensive season in recent memory was when Koetter was OC. I remember him saying when he became HC that he would call the plays, but would be open to changing if needed. I’m wondering if that might be the case. Might be something to consider sooner rather than later. Thoughts?

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    • I don’t know enough about Monken to know whether he’s an upgrade to Koetter from a play calling perspective.

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      • Me either, Fl0nase. But, there’s only one way to find out.

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  14. Loved the points that SR made about his big game ability in college. I don’t watch college but it sounds like he had a sense of belonging, the stage wasn’t too big for him, and he just did his thing like he can.

    To me with him as a Buccaneer, he’s too amped up. I’m not sure the state still isn’t a bit too big for him in his mind. Tom Brady’s an idol and you heard how excited he was to meet him in some of the pregame commentator chit-chat. He needs to put that out of his mind. He deserve’s to be there. He will always be his own player, but that feast/famine approach and doing everything with emotion and passion is too much. Get those ear buds out for a little bit, center yourself. Recognize that you distribute the ball based on what you see… You’re the man. Get comfortable being the man. That’s why you’re there.

    And that’s where the other great failure comes in. When they went soft zone with a cover 2 and 4 scheme, how did Koetter not anticipate that this is what Belichick would do? He deployed the scheme that takes away the Buc’s offensive strength, and challenged the Bucs offense to be better at the short passing game than that Pat’s offense, which specializes in it. If you’re the Pats, you’ve got to love those odds, so why didn’t it occur to the Bucs staff that this might be the strategy? Romo knew it was coming before the game started… How come you guys didn’t?

    Winston is 24 years old. He’s young and because he’s to an extend wise beyond his years it’s easy for us to forget just how young he is still. Koetter’s got to help him by knowing the right adjustment to make, AND empowering Jameis to do the same for himself. Quite slavishly keep trying to do the same thing that isn’t getting you results. I couldn’t believe after the drive Martin basically drove them down the field himself and scored that they didn’t put the ball in his hands once the next drive and went 3 and out on pass plays… What?!?!

    It’s Jameis sure, but it’s Koetter too in last nights case. You’re playing Bill Belichick for god’s sake. You can pretty much be sure he’s going to take away the first two things you want to do most. So what’s the 3rd thing you do well? The fourth? You guys got to be ready.

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  15. Can we please chill a little; I know we want to win every game, but it’s not reality. The blame can be spread all around from players, coaches, and GM. Time to move on and make adjustments where it’s feasible. Go Bucs! Let’s get this next win?

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    • Horse I’m in agreement with you. I’ve been reading on other bucs sites how our unruly fan base wants a new quarterback already! It’s mind boggling. There’s so many reasons for why and how we lost last night and jameis is just a small part. I enjoy knowing we have a quarterback that has the fire and passion jameis does. This team is behind him and after all the issues we had last night, we still took the super bowl champs down to the last play. This is a young squad and our quarterback isn’t even 25 yet.

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  16. Being an old f*rt …

    I have watched the development of some of the best and the “fizzling out” of a few “sure things” in regard to some NFL quarterbacks over the years. I have followed the development of John Elway, Bret Farvre , RG3 and Andrew Luck (?? “jury’s still out”) … just to name a few.

    I see Jameis as “right on schedule” so far. He is still up and down in his play. Now, after the end of this season ……?

    _____________
    Go bucs!!!!

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  17. Elite??
    For 3 quarters Winston wasn’t even GOOD

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  18. Free agent pass rushers Ah oh yeah-
    Calais Campbell.

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    • DrT we should have tried harder to sign Campbell.

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  19. Like all, I’m disappointed that the Bucs lost this game and with a national audience watching. Thought it was a statement game for the Bucs. Having said that… we played one of the premier teams in the NFL with HOF QB and almost pulled it out had we made a kick or two. I think with the key Starters missing we made it a close game! If we have those 4 Starters playing… I think we win the game! We are 2-2 and will get our Starters back next week. While I cuss Jamesis at times with his inconsistent throws… I have to remind myself that he is 23 years old… most QB’s coming out of college are this age and Jamesis has 2 of the 3 highest passing yards( over 4000) seasons in Buc history! Jamesis will be fine. He is OUR Franchise QB! Martin back, LB’s back, I like our chances for a special season… I just dont understand the play calling on Offense and the continual soft coverage( 10 -15 yards off WR) of our DBs… was expecting a little better play from Hargreeves… could these problems be the coaching…I think it might be… I’m just saying

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  20. Please end all discussion about Clemson defensive ends!!! Can’t we learn the lessons of history?

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  21. All the Winston crap can stop…. Yes he didn’t have a perfect game. But the dude is 23 and still got us to a point where we had an opportunity to win the game against the world champs…. Instead of us fighting for a top 10 pick like we did however many years in a row we are now all playoff hopefuls! That’s what Winston is doing. He is developing and learning. He led the game winning drive against NYG and I’m sure he will have a few more this year.

    With that being said.. Yes, he did get off to another slow start. And yes, that is on him but I believe it is also on the play calling and dropped passes…
    Jameis was not I a rhythm at all in the first half. My question is why doesn’t Dirk go no huddle for a drive or two when we are off to a slow start? Winston excels in no huddle and seems like he can always get a rhythm going during that. You can still run the ball during no huddle….

    The pass rush is much more worrisome than Winston… But I do believe Kwon and David will help the pass rush immensely. I know they aren’t exactly pass rushers every down but they are huge playmakers. If Evans and Djax get hurt it will have an effect on our rushing attack…

    Anyways… We are only a game out and are gunna get some revenge in Phoenix this weekend! Playoff hopes still very alive. Go Bucs!!

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