Tagged: FitzMagic

The Self-Destructing Buccaneers

Here’s how misleading stats can be.  The numbers will tell you that Tampa Bay had almost 500 yards of offense against Washington.  Based on that, the Bucs still have one of the best offenses in the league.  But what that number doesn’t tell you, is how much this team self-destructs week in and week out.  Two interceptions, two lost fumbles, two (more) missed field goals.  And most of that happened in Redskins’ territory.

 

Oh, and Dirk Koetter acknowledged after the game that this was the first time all year that’s he’s called the plays.  The Bucs scored three points in this game.  Yeah, that sounds about right.

 

Heck, the defense had what was arguably its best game of the season.  The Redskins got less than 300 yards of offense and only scored 16 points.  Everything’s relative, of course.  However, this unit still hasn’t forced a takeaway since temperatures were in the mid-70’s around here in greater Boston.

 

So now what?  Do they go back to Jameis Winston at quarterback?  Ryan Fitzpatrick has been making just as many as mistakes over the past couple of games.  I ripped Winston for bad decisions, and I’m not going to let Fitzmagic off the hook now, either.  Tampa Bay has 25 turnovers this season.  You guessed it: that’s worst in the NFL.

 

Keep drinking, Bucs fans.  No amount of alcohol can completely satisfy us at this point.

 

Photo courtesy: Washington Redskins

 

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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

 

Dear Bucs: Please Fire Mike Smith NOW

Let’s face it: when your team loses by a score of 48-10, there is absolutely nothing positive worth writing about.  I could go on and on about so many things that happened in Chicago on Sunday.

 

But the bulk of my anger – and the anger of many Tampa Bay fans – is pointed directly at defensive coordinator Mike Smith.  I have seen enough.  If I’m the Bucs, I send him packing by noon tomorrow at the latest, and bring in someone who can try to fix this laughingstock of a defense.  And if they don’t fire him during this bye week, I will gladly borrow someone’s blowtorch and literally set him on fire.

 

The Bucs have given up 139 points through four games.  In two of them, their opponent scored at least 40, and Pittsburgh put up 30.  And it’s not just all those points.  We the fans are sick of seeing wide-open receivers on just about every play.  How many of those touchdowns they’ve allowed could be classified as “too easy?”  The answer: too many.  And it’s not just the first four games of this season: we saw too much of this in 2016 and 2017.

 

This team brought in, and drafted, a lot of defensive talent.  Yes, I know there are injuries.  Yes, I know they’re young.  But for goodness sake: can we please get someone who can cover somebody?

 

There are other problems, of course: I think we’ve seen the end of Fitzmagic.  And the Bucs still don’t have much of a running game to speak of.  But the defense – or lack thereof – is by far the biggest problem.  To those in charge of the organization: you’ve got a week off to make what appears to be an easy decision.  Please, throw Smith in one of the cannons and fire his ass out of Ray-Jay, and into a bay full of alligators.

 

Photo Courtesy: USA Today Sports

 

 

No Monday Night Magic For the Bucs

They made too many mistakes.

 

When you turn the ball over four times and make other costly miscues – like committing a holding penalty on what would’ve been a punt return for a touchdown – you usually don’t win in the NFL.  The Buccaneers dug themselves a big hole on Monday Night Football against Pittsburgh, and there wasn’t enough Fitzmagic left in the air at Ray-Jay to complete a miraculous comeback.

 

Ryan Fitzpatrick threw three interceptions, including one in the red zone and one from his end zone that ended up being a pick-six.  He played much better in the second half, but it wasn’t enough.  The Steelers gave the Bucs every opportunity to pull it out, but there was no miracle on this night.

 

Let’s look at the big picture here.  After three games without Jameis Winston, the Bucs are 2-1.  And they’ve done it with a backup quarterback, Mike Smith’s still-awful defense (especially the secondary) and no….and I mean no…running game whatsoever.  I will gladly take a 2-1 record given those facts.

 

So now that Winston’s suspension is over, now what?  Who gets the start at Soldier Field next Sunday?  Will Koetter stick with Fitzpatrick for one more game, knowing the bye week follows?  Or does he think Winston will be ready to go?  That will be a very interesting decision the coach has to make.

 

Photo courtesy: Associated Press

More FitzMagic: Down Go the Champs!

I don’t know about you, but I kind of like this whole FitzMagic thing that’s going on right now.

 

Two games, two wins.  And we’re not talking about wins over cellar-dwellers.  The Buccaneers have started the season by beating the NFC South champs and the defending Super Bowl champs.

 

Take that, so-called experts who had the Bucs losing their first three games.

 

There is no question who the story is right now: it’s backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.  Sure, other players stepped up on Sunday.  I’ll get into that in another article.  But Fitz is the headliner right.  He threw four more touchdown passes, two of which went for 75 yards apiece.  He had over 400 yards passing.  He did throw his first interception of the season, which was more the result of O.J. Howard’s inability to hang onto the ball after making a catch.

 

Fitzpatrick has eight touchdown passes in the first two games (and a rushing TD to boot.)  He is just the third player in NFL history to have at least four TD passes in each of his team’s first two games.

 

Let that sink in for a moment.  We’re talking Ryan Fitzpatrick here.  A Buccaneer quarterback is doing this!  Keep pulling magic out of that beard, sir.

 

Photo Courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

A Fitz-Magical Season Opener For the Bucs

One of the big questions coming into this season was: how would the Buccaneers start out with Jameis Winston suspended for the first three games?

 

Wow.  Just wow.

 

Enter Mr. Fitzpatrick.  He was unbelievable in Sunday’s 48-40 stunner over the Saints in the Superdome.  How amazing was Fitz?  He was 21-28 for 417 yards and four touchdowns.  He also ran for a score.  And, he made arguably the biggest play of the game by running for a first down late in the fourth quarter to help the Bucs run out the clock.

 

Remember last year how Winston couldn’t connect with DeSean Jackson on the deep ball?  Fitzpatrick had no problem.  The two connected for two long touchdowns.  Fitz also hit Mike Evans for a deep score.  We didn’t see much of that last year.  Evans and Jackson combined for almost 300 receiving yards in this one.

 

It’s worth mentioning that offensive coordinator Todd Monken – who called the plays during the preseason – was calling the shots in the opener.  Dear coach Koetter: please keep it this way.

 

This was not a perfect game by any means.  Mike Smith’s defense is still a sieve, allowing 40 points to Drew Brees and company.  The pass rush – even with all those off-season acquisitions – only had one sack.  The secondary had its struggles.  They did force two turnovers, including a fumble return for a TD, but Smith is lucky the offense bailed him out.

 

But this was all about “Fitz-Magic.”  I said it before, and will say it again: what if the Bucs win 2 out of 3 without Winston?  Well, they’ve got the first one.

 

Photo Courtesy: Associated Press