Tagged: Carolina Panthers

Another Embarrassing Performance By the Bucs

Well, we’ve seen this movie too many times before, haven’t we.

 

You know what I mean.  The Bucs give up way too many points, then rally in the second half to make the score look interesting, only to fall in the end.  That was the case on Sunday in Carolina.

 

I only stayed awake for the first half of this game.  I saw all I needed to see.  Wide open Carolina receivers.  A defense that gets hardly any pressure on the quarterback.  A secondary that can’t cover anyone or tackle anyone.  The penalty flags piling up against the team in the white jerseys.

 

This was another embarrassing effort, one which Dirk Koetter seems to have no answer for.  And don’t even get me started on the play that sums it all up: why you would call a fake punt – from deep in your own territory – when you’re trailing by 21 points?  At one point does the head coach have to take the blame for this crap?  The answer, in my opinion, is every single game.  Barring a miraculous second half of the season, Koetter is gone at the end of the year.

 

I will have more to say about the first half of the season when I hand out my midseason grades.  But I close with this: in the first eight games, the Bucs have allowed at least 30 points in six of them.  In three of them, they’ve given up at least 40.  Mike Smith got canned a couple of weeks ago.  That was only the beginning.

 

Photo courtesy: Associated Press

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Bucs Go Back To Fitzmagic

Fitzmagic is getting another shot in Tampa Bay.

 

On Monday, head coach Dirk Koetter announced Ryan Fitzpatrick will get the start next Sunday against the Panthers over Jameis Winston, who was benched after a dismal performance against Cincinnati.

 

Winston has thrown ten interceptions in four games, including four awful picks against Cincinnati.  The Bucs, believe it or not, actually have the top-ranked offense in the NFL in terms of total yards, and are getting it done primarily through the air.  But, they are minus-13 in the turnover department, and their scoring defense is still dead last in the league.  Enough said.

 

I can hear all the Winston supporters out there, saying Fitzpatrick is not the long-term solution.  You know what?  I agree with that.  But he gives Tampa Bay a better chance to win right now compared to the nightmare that Winston has become.

 

If the Bucs keep losing, you can expect a top-to-bottom house-cleaning at the end of the season.  It feels crazy saying that with nine games still to go, but that possibility becomes more real with each defeat.

 

Photo Courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Winston Benched: Will He Stay There?

I’ve heard it all about Jameis Winston being the future of the franchise, etc.

 

Well, this Tampa Bay fan has had enough of the future.

 

After a dreadful, four-interception performance against the Bengals on Sunday, Dirk Koetter finally put Jameis Winston on the bench.  If coach is smart – and that’s up for debate – he’ll keep the former #1 overall pick there for a while.

 

Winston’s four picks weren’t just bad, they were awful.  The passes were literally thrown right into the hands of Cincinnati defenders, the last one turning into a pick-six that finally led to Koetter to make the move.  Winston has now thrown ten interceptions in four games.  Ten.  I want to know why Koetter waited so long to bench Winston.  Why not put Ryan Fitzpatrick in to start the second half?  That didn’t happen.  After the change was made, Fitzmagic returned, and he rallied his team from an 18-point deficit.

 

There’s more blame to go around, of course, so let’s spread it.  Chandler Catanzaro missed an extra point for the third straight game.  How the heck is he still on this team?  Every time he screws up, it changes the whole mindset.  Do not let the Bucs’ two-point conversion that tied the game mean that Catanzaro is off the hook.

 

In the first half, the defense was getting shredded (again.)  But they held the Bengals scoreless for over 28 minutes of the second half.  Ah, but when Tampa Bay tied the game with just over a minute ago, the defense let Andy Dalton march his team into field goal range.  And I still don’t know why the Bucs were flagged for delay of game after a Cincy completion with about 10 seconds left.  In the end, it looks like it didn’t matter, because the kick that won the game would’ve been good even from five yards further back.

 

Coach Koetter, I was able to watch nearly the entire game, after working an overnight shift nonetheless.  Your seat is not just hot, it’s flame-broiled.  Do us fans a favor, and give Fitzpatrick the start in Carolina next Sunday.  Fitz is not the long-term solution; no one is disputing that.  But if you want the best chance to win, Fitz needs to be the guy against the Panthers.

 

Photo Courtesy: Pewter Report

 

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

Yes! Thank God(win) For One Last Bucs’ Victory

If you’re like me, you’re still trying to comprehend how the Buccaneers beat the Saints in the season finale.

 

Jameis Winston threw three more interceptions, including a horrendous one into triple coverage.  The Bucs gave up a 100+ yard kickoff return for the second week in a row (but scored their own special teams touchdown in the fourth quarter.)  A missed extra point by Patrick Murray was looming large.  There’s no way Winston would drive his team 95 yards in the final two minutes.

 

Oh, but he did.  Yes, the recent turnover machine hit Chris Godwin on a deep ball with nine seconds left in the contest to win it.  And before all of the Saints fans in attendance could wipe away their tears of disbelief, they found out they’d won the NFC South anyway, because Carolina choked against Atlanta.

 

This Godwin kid is pretty good, the more I see of him.  He’s made some acrobatic catches, and with the disappointing season turned in by Desean Jackson, Godwin could be the number-two receiver on next year’s team.

 

Was this game perfect?  Of course not.  I mentioned the interceptions and the kickoff returns.  Mike Smith’s defense is still a sieve.  The lack of a pass rush was a problem all year, though they did sack Drew Brees twice.

 

But it was nice to finally win a game.  I’d much rather see them win than intentionally lose to improve their draft pick order.  Heck, this team needs help just about everywhere, so any decent player will do at this point.

 

Coming on Monday: my ‘year in review.’  As you might expect, with a 5-11 season, it won’t be pretty.  But tonight is a night to be joyous, because the boys in Pewter finally won another game.  Happy New Year, and good night.

 

Photo Courtesy: Tampa Bay Times

 

No Merry Christmas For the Bucs

How many ways can a football team lose a game?  When you’re 4-11, you find new ways every single week.

There were the Buccaneers, nursing a four-point lead in the closing minutes on Sunday against the Panthers.  They had a chance to extend it to seven.  Patrick Murray – who had already made four field goals – missed one that would’ve put Tampa Bay up by seven.

Admit it: you just knew Carolina would go down the field and win the game after that.  That’s what 4-11 teams do.  There was Chris Baker – jumping offside on 4th down – giving the Panthers new life.  Then Cam Newton – arguably my least-favorite player in the NFL – fumbling the shotgun snap, only to pick it up and run it into the end zone for the game-winner.

Carolina 22, Tampa Bay 19.

Winston continues to struggle with ball security.  He lost three more fumbles, the last of which led to a meltdown which I’m sure is already on every highlight reel across the country.  And lest we forget about the 100+ yard kickoff return that featured several missed tackles by the Bucs.

Does all of this sound familiar?  It should.  I’ve been writing about it all season, and Bucs fans have been seeing it for themselves all year.

Anyway, from all of us at Buccaneer Bri (which is actually just a one-man band for those who don’t know) Merry Christmas.  Some of us have to work our real jobs on Christmas Eve, and that group includes me.  And to my fellow fans: one more week of this torture!

Photo Courtesy: Getty Images

 

 

Bucs Give Aguayo the Boot

That didn’t take long.  We have our first big headline of the season.

 

Roberto Aguayo, the kicker taken by the Buccaneers in the second round of last year’s draft, has been kicked off the team.  The Bucs made the move after he missed a PAT and a field goal in last night’s preseason opener in Cincinnati.

 

I don’t think any of us fans are surprised by this.  Aguayo has been scrutinized – and criticized – ever since Tampa Bay moved up in the draft to select the kicker in 2016.  Last year, he missed nine field goals and two extra points.  And while he did make some clutch kicks (the one to win the game at Carolina comes to mind) that was not nearly enough to save his job.

 

So now what?  Don’t think the kicking competition is over.  Currently, Nick Folk is the only kicker on the roster.  But you can be sure the Buccaneers will bring in someone else to challenge him.  I get the impression the team isn’t 100% sold on Folk, but we shall see.

 

Photo courtesy: Associated Press