It’s Time For the Bucs To “Wreak Havoc”

If you believe the team’s apparent new slogan, then yes.

 

The Buccaneers just released a new set of promo videos – one of which features Gerald McCoy – and it looks like “wreak havoc” is what we need to get used to this season.  No more “Siege the Day.”  No more “It’s a Bucs Life.”  Apparently, the banners outside Ray-Jay have all been changed to reflect as well.

 

I like the change.  On social media, the post is accompanied by the words, “keep doubting us.”  That’s a reference to the fact that no one expects the Bucs to do much in 2018.

 

Oh, how I wish the Pewter Pirates prove the “pundits” wrong…

 

Photo Courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

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It’s Official: Jameis is Suspended

The other shoe has dropped on Jameis Winston.

 

What had been rumored for about a week became official Thursday afternoon: he’s been suspended for the first three games of the season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.  For those who don’t know, this all stems from the alleged groping of an Uber driver two years ago.

 

I read Winston’s statement.   He apologizes to the driver of that Uber.  One thing he doesn’t say, is that he’s going to appeal, at least at the time of this writing.  And a statement released by the team a short time later also makes no mention of an appeal.  I think that’s telling.  So, Ryan Fitzpatrick will likely be the starter to open the season against three playoff teams from a year ago, including the Super Bowl champion Eagles.

 

When the Bucs drafted Winston, the one thing I kept telling myself was: he has to stay out of trouble off the field.  Clearly, he did not.  And now, his reputation is marred even more so than the issues he had at Florida State.  What does his future hold in Tampa?  I think he’s okay, for now.  But what if the Buccaneers surprise everyone and get off to a hot start?  What if when Winston returns to action, he still doesn’t perform like a #1 overall pick should on the field?  Those are questions that will be answered down the road.

 

Photo courtesy: Getty Images

 

A Good Draft for the Bucs? I Say Yes

Admittedly, I don’t do much with the NFL Draft when it happens, mostly because I don’t follow much college football on the national level.  So, when the Buccaneers draft someone, more often than not I say, “who?”

That said, as I look over who Tampa Bay picked over the last few days, it looks like they’ve done a decent job addressing their most pressing needs.  First-round pick Vita Vea provides much-needed help up front.  When I wrote about his selection the other night, I said I hoped the Bucs would address their awful secondary with the remaining picks.  Well, three of their next four picks are either cornerbacks or safeties.  And RB Ronald Jones could…. could be the heir apparent to Doug Martin.

We’ll see how it all plays out.  But it looks like Jason Licht did pretty well, at least on paper.

Photo courtesy: Tampa Bay Times

 

The Big, New Buccaneer Up Front

After a disappointing 5-11 season, the Buccaneers need help in a lot of areas.  Among the biggest needs – the defensive line and the secondary.  With their first pick in this year’s draft, they addressed the former in a big way.

 

The key word here is…. big.

 

Vita Vea is a 347-pound defensive lineman from Washington.  347 pounds!  The Bucs traded down from #7 to #12 (via Buffalo) to get him.  Put him in the mix with Gerald McCoy and free agent pickup Beau Allen, and the recipe is there for a unit that may actually lay a finger on the quarterback.  Tampa Bay was dead last in sacks last year.

 

So, what about the early reaction on social media?  Well, it’s mixed.  It seems a lot of fans were hoping the Bucs would get a stud to help in the secondary.  Me?  I’m okay with the pick, as long as the use their three picks in the second round to do something about the worst pass defense in the NFL.  If they don’t…. well, you don’t want to know how I’ll feel.

 

Photo Courtesy: Associated Press

Some Thoughts on the Bucs’ Schedule

The Buccaneers’ 2018 schedule is now out.  Now it’s time to dissect it, decide which games are most winnable, and for out-of-town fans like me, think about which game to head south to see.

 

My first thought after taking a look at this: ouch!  What a tough five-game stretch to open with.  The Bucs face four playoff teams, starting with the division champion Saints in the Superdome, followed by the Super Bowl champion Eagles in the home opener.  Then, they get the Steelers on a Monday night.  How does a Bucs’ team that went 5-11 last season end up on MNF?  Oh, that’s right, they’re playing the Steelers, which will give the idiots at BSPN something to crow about while at the same time dissing Jameis Winston, even if Winston gets off to a good start.

 

Tampa Bay goes to Chicago in September.  It sure beats December.  But Baltimore in mid-December could be interesting to say the least.

 

There is a stretch of three straight home games in late November/early December.  And wouldn’t it be interesting if the finale against the dirty birds from Atlanta is meaningful?  One can dream, anyway.

 

Here’s the schedule:

 

Sept. 9 — @ New Orleans

Sep. 16 — PHILADELPHIA

Sept. 24 — PITTSBURGH (Monday)

Sept. 30 — @ Chicago

BYE WEEK

Oct. 14 — @ Atlanta

Oct. 21 – CLEVELAND

Oct. 28 — @ Cincinnati

Nov. 4 — @ Carolina

Nov. 11 – WASHINGTON

Nov. 18 @ NY Giants

Nov. 25 – SAN FRANCISCO

Dec. 2 – CAROLINA

Dec. 9 – NEW ORLEANS

Dec. 16 — @ Baltimore

Dec. 23 — @ Dallas

Dec. 30 – ATLANTA

Whoa! The Bucs Just Overhauled Their Defensive Line

The Buccaneers’ defensive line – you know, the one that couldn’t rush the quarterback – is going to look a lot different next season.  And on paper, it actually looks impressive.

 

The biggest move came today, when the Bucs got Jason-Pierre Paul from the Giants.  Throw in Vinny Curry and Beau Allen, and with Gerald McCoy already in the mix, you’ve got a unit that looks sure to get more than the 22 sacks Tampa Bay got all of last season.  Robert Ayers and Clinton McDonald are both gone.

 

As I mentioned, this all looks intriguing on paper.  Will any of it matter as long as Mike Smith is still the knucklehead running the defense?  And lest we forget how awful the secondary was last year.  Part of that was a lack of a pass rush, but part of it was the generally-awful play of the corners and safeties.

 

And just to get caught up on all-things-Buccaneers, offensive stars Mike Evans and Cameron Brate both have new deals.  They also signed a new center – Ryan Jensen – who will hopefully help the offensive line.

 

But Jason Licht is opening his checkbook, ladies and gentlemen.  It’s not often the Bucs go on spending spree like this.

 

Photo Courtesy: Associated Press

 

Doug Martin Done in Tampa Bay

We all saw this coming, but now it’s official.

 

Doug Martin’s tenure in Tampa is over.  The Bucs released him today after six seasons in red and pewter.

 

The Buccaneers took Martin in the first round of the 2012 draft.  He rushed for over 1400 yards, twice.  I will never forget that game in Oakland where he ran wild for about 250 yards and four touchdowns.  Heck, he was one of the top running backs in the NFL.

 

But it’s impossible to ignore how this all ended.  There was the second-to-last game of the 2016 season in New Orleans, with the Bucs still in playoff contention, and Martin was inactive.  At the time, we thought it was a benching, only to learn later he had been suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.  And Martin announced he had entered a drug rehab program.

 

In 2017, he just wasn’t the same.

 

This was a move that had to be made.  So now what?  Well, right now Peyton Barber moves into the lead running back role, pending what the Bucs do in the draft.

 

Photo Courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers