Tagged: Arizona Cardinals

Hey Bucs: Fix the Defense….NOW

There is a lot of anger right now amongst us Bucs fans.  And most of it is directed at one guy: defensive coordinator Mike Smith.

 

After today’s exasperating, last-second, 30-27 loss in Buffalo, a lot of fans say it’s time for Smith to walk the plank.

 

And why not?  This was the third time in six games – and second in a row – that his defense has surrendered at least 30 points (Minnesota is the other one.)  Remember last week when the Cardinals jumped out 31-0 against his defense?  Today, his unit could not hold on after the Buccaneers took the lead late in the fourth quarter.  In the blink of an eye, the score went from 27-20 to 27-27.

 

By the way – Arizona got shut out today.  The Cards’ offense is terrible – except when they face the Buccaneers.  The same can be said for whoever the Bucs face these days.

 

I’m not saying Smith is solely to blame for today’s defeat in Orchard Park.  The Bucs had three turnovers; the third one – the fumble by Adam Humphries – was the mostly costly because it set up the game-winning field goal.  But that final Buffalo drive featured a run for a first down in which there were several missed tackles.  That is unacceptable.  That falls on the coaching staff.

 

The defensive meltdown is what we’re all talking about, instead of a very good performance by Jameis Winston.  He wasn’t perfect by any means (he threw an interception and lost a fumble) but he was much better than in previous games.  O.J. Howard had his best game of the season.  Mike Evans continues to show he’s one of the best receivers in the game.

 

For crying out loud, the Bucs put 27 points on the board against a very good Buffalo defense.  And they still didn’t win the game.

 

We’re six games in.  The Bucs are 2-4 and sitting in last place in the NFC South.  They need to get this turned around in a hurry, or the high aspirations before the season will soon be just a bad dream.  And it starts with fixing this hole-filled defense.

At least they fixed the problem with the kicking game, for now.

By the way, Buccaneer Bri will not be blogging after next week’s game against Carolina.  Vegas is calling next week, and Bri will gladly favor a trip to southern Nevada any day of the year.

 

Photo courtesy: Buffalo Bills

 

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A Postgame Rant on the Bucs’ Loss to Arizona

Head coach Dirk Koetter and defensive coordinator Mike Smith deserve the blame for this performance in the desert, the second year in a row the Buccaneers have stunk up the joint in Arizona.

 

The final score was 38-33.  Forget, for a moment, that the Bucs valiantly made a game of it in the second half, and that the Cards gave Tampa Bay every chance to actually pull it out.  Let me take aim at the aforementioned coaches.

 

Let’s start with the defense.  Adrian Peterson is a good running back.  There is no denying that.  But the Bucs made it look too easy for him.  And how in the world can the defense let the Cardinals’ receivers get so wide open, especially superstar Larry Fitzgerald?  You’d think you’d make sure he was covered on every play.  I guess not.  The tackling was abysmal.  And what all of those defensive offside penalties?  Smith’s unit was the one I was concerned most about going into the season.  Five games in, and my opinion hasn’t changed.

By the way, I was listening to the radio broadcast coming out of the locker room.  When asked about defensive adjustments, Koetter said they had to tackle better.  I think covering wide-open receivers would also have been a good idea.  At one point, it was 31-0.

31-0!!!

 

Now let’s rip Koetter for a few moments.  At the end of the first half, the Bucs were getting whipped 24-0, yet were in scoring position.  Koetter decided to go for it on 4th and goal, and were stopped.  I’m pretty good at math.  When you’re down 24, you need three touchdowns and a field goal.  Why not kick the field goal (with your brand-new kicker) in that situation to at least get points on the board?  The Bucs reached the end zone five times in the second half, and went for the two-point conversion four out of five times.  Had they just kicked extra points after the first three – and taken the FG at the end of the half – we could’ve been looking at a one-score game.  After an awful throw by backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick that gave Arizona a free touchdown, the Bucs went down and responded, yet missed another two-pointer.  Again, this could’ve been a one-score game late in the fourth quarter, with the Bucs having a chance to cap off a miraculous comeback.

 

Hey coach: pick up a manual that tells you when to go for two, and when to kick the PAT.  You really screwed this up big-time.  I don’t know if the Buccaneers would’ve won this game in crazy fashion, but they certainly would’ve been in a better position if you had known what to do, and when to do it.

 

See you in Buffalo next Sunday.  Will Jameis Winston be able to play?  Stay tuned.

 

Photo courtesy: Arizona Cardinals

40-7?! Let’s Pretend That Bucs’ Game Never Happened

Well, that was an old-fashioned clunker.

There isn’t a whole lot of good to say about Sunday’s game against Arizona. Whatever could go wrong for the Bucs, did go wrong.

They turned it over five times. One of them was a screw-up on a handoff between Jameis Winston and Charles Sims. Winston also threw four interceptions, one of which was returned all the way for a touchdown. And to be honest, there were a couple of others that also could’ve been picked. By the way, why was he still playing in the fourth quarter when the game was long out of reach?

They dropped passes.

They missed tackles.

They suffered some key injuries. Doug Martin, Robert Ayers, Luke Stocker and Cecil Shorts were all knocked out of the game.

The defense has allowed 64 points in the first two games, and hasn’t forced a turnover. Lovie Smith is probably laughing his ass off in Champaign, IL.

Arizona is a very good team. There’s no question about that. But I was hoping for a much better showing than this. There is a lot of stuff to fix before the home opener against the Rams.

Photo Courtesy: Arizona Cardinals

 

Some Thoughts on the Buccaneers’ 2016 Schedule

For those of us who love taking road trips to see an NFL game, it’s always fun when the NFL schedule is released. It came out this past week. Here’s how 2016 is shaping up for the Bucs:

SEPTEMBER 11      @ Atlanta 1:00

SEPTEMBER 18      @ Arizona 4:05

SEPTEMBER 25      L.A. RAMS 4:05

OCTOBER 2            DENVER 4:05

OCTOBER 10          @ Carolina 8:30 (Monday Night)

OCTOBER 23          @ San Francisco 4:05

OCTOBER 30          OAKLAND 1:00

NOVEMBER 3         ATLANTA 8:25 (Thursday Night)

NOVEMBER 13       CHICAGO 1:00

NOVEMBER 20       @ Kansas City 1:00

NOVEMBER 20       SEATTLE 4:05

DECEMBER 4         @ San Diego 4:25

DECEMBER 11        NEW ORLEANS 1:00

DECEMBER 18       @ Dallas 1:00

DECEMBER 24       @ New Orleans 1:00

JANUARY 1 –           CAROLINA 1:00

 

A number of things stand out to me immediately:
*The Buccaneers have to make three trips to the western time zone. I can tell you from past experience: things haven’t gone well over the years when they head west.

*Is it me, or does Tampa Bay have more 4:00 games than usual, whether it be 4:05 or 4:25? Even three of the home games are late kickoffs.

*They have to play both Super Bowl teams from a season ago. Obviously they get Carolina twice since it’s a division opponent, but the world-champion Broncos also visit Ray-Jay.

*Cold weather doesn’t seem to be much of an issue, although we’ll see what mid-November in Kansas City is like.

*Wouldn’t it be sweet if the season finale against the Panthers was for the NFC South title? Hey, a guy can dream.

I like to head to Tampa in November or early December. So I’m eyeing the games against the Bears or Seahawks, two teams I have never seen in person before. We shall see.

 

Photo Courtesy: Tampa Bay Times

 

Bucs Blow It Late Against Cardinals

Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

The Buccaneers had a 10-0 lead over the Cardinals on Sunday heading into the fourth quarter. The Bucs were starting a rookie quarterback, who played like…well, a rookie. Yet with the game on the line, Tampa Bay found another way to blow it.

Jay Feely’s 27-yard FG with 1:29 remaining proved to be the difference as the Bucs lost, 13-10.

There is one play in particular that has Bucs fans calling for Greg Schiano’s head (again.) With just over three minutes remaining, and nursing a seven point lead, the coaching staff called a pass play with Tampa Bay deep in its own territory. Mike Glennon picked a bad time to throw his first career NFL interception. Patrick Peterson picked it off, and on the very next play, Carson Palmer found Larry Fitzgerald for the game-tying touchdown.

Glennon had a chance to mount a comeback in the final minute. But he was picked off by Peterson again, and that was that.

Glennon finished 24-of-43 for 193 yards and a touchdown to go along with the two picks. He had some good and some bad moments, typical of what you’d expect from a rookie making his first start. Mike Williams caught the scoring pass in the first quarter. Doug Martin could only muster 45 yards on 27 carries against a Cardinals’ defense that’s among the best in the league in stopping the run.

The defense is not the problem here. This unit has been playing fairly well, and Sunday was no different. They intercepted Palmer twice, including the first by Darrelle Revis as a Buc. When you only give up 13 points, you normally have a good chance of winning. But these are anything but normal times in Tampa.

So now, the Bucs are 0-4, and fans are furious with Schiano and offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. It’s hard to argue with that, since Tampa Bay has scored a measly 44 points through the first quarter of the season. Will we see another change soon?

The Bucs have their bye week next week. Praise the Lord for that.

Photo Courtesy: USA Today

Week 4 Preview: Buccaneers vs. Cardinals

On Sunday, the winless Buccaneers will host the Arizona Cardinals at Raymond James Stadium.

The headline here is obvious: this will be rookie Mike Glennon’s first career NFL start.  He takes over for Josh Freeman, who was benched this week after an ineffective first three games.

Glennon takes over an offense ranked 31st in total yards.  The Bucs have only scored 34 points in three games, and six of those came on an interception return.  So it’ll be a challenge for Glennon to put points on the board.  He does have Doug Martin in the backfield, who’s rushed for nearly 300 yards so far.  Expect him to see a lot more action in an attempt to take pressure off the rookie quarterback.  The Cards, however, are third-best in the league in stopping the run.  Wide receiver Vincent Jackson suffered a rib injury against the Patriots.  It’s unclear whether he’ll be able to play on Sunday.

Defensively, the Bucs will try to control the league’s 26th-ranked passer, Carson Palmer.  The Cardinals rank 23rd in total offense.  That’s bad, but not as bad as Tampa Bay.  And just as the Bucs got blown out in New England last week, Arizona suffered a similar fate in New Orleans.

Kickoff is at 1:00 on FOX.  Your announcers are Sam Rosen and Heath Evans.

Photo Courtesy: USA Today

Bucs Bench Freeman After Abysmal Start

The decision that seemed inevitable has finally been made. Quarterback Josh Freeman is walking the plank.

The Bucs, off to an 0-3 start and sputtering badly on offense, have benched Freeman in favor of Mike Glennon. The rookie from North Carolina State will make his first career NFL start on Sunday against the Cardinals at Raymond James Stadium.

After setting passing records last season, Freeman never got his act together through the first three games of 2013. He completed just 45% of his passes (43-of-94) for 571 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Tampa Bay has only scored 34 points through three games. Only Jacksonville has scored fewer. Yes, his receivers have dropped some passes. But in the NFL, when things are not going well, the quarterback is the first player on the offensive side of the ball to take the fall. And if things continue to go south, how much longer will Greg Schiano be the head coach?

Then there are the off-the-field issues: missing the team photo, not being elected as team captain. Freeman is in the final year of his contract, and you have to wonder if he’s played his final game in Tampa Bay. There are rumblings that the Bucs are willing to trade him.

The Bucs picked Glennon in the third round of this year’s draft. He becomes the third rookie QB to start in the NFL this year. Geno Smith (Jets) and E.J. Manuel (Bills) are the others.

The way things have gone so far, Tampa Bay had to do something to shake things up. We’ll find out if Glennon is the Bucs’ quarterback of the future. He has 13 games to show what he’s got, starting Sunday against Arizona.

Photo Courtesy: USA Today