Tagged: Jason-Pierre Paul

Some Final Thoughts on the 2018 Bucs

 

As we say goodbye to 2018, it’s time to reflect on the Buccaneers season that ended with a last-place finish, and the firing of Dirk Koetter as head coach.

 

BEST MOMENTS: the first two games against the Saints and Eagles, both won by the Bucs.  Nobody outside of us diehard fans thought they win a shootout in the Superdome, then beat the defending champs in the home opener, both with Jameis Winston suspended for the first three games.

 

WORST MOMENT: things started going downhill with the blowout loss to the Bears in Chicago, followed by another defeat in Atlanta after the bye week.  It was only then that the Bucs decided to fire Mike Smith as defensive coordinator.  Smith should’ve been let go before the season began, much less five games in. With Smith at the helm, his defense allowed at least 30 points in four of the first five games.

 

BEST OFFSEASON ACQUISTION: Jason Pierre-Paul.  What a steal this guy was.  He had 12.5 sacks on a team that, last year, hardly got any pressure on the quarterback. 

 

BIGGEST DRAFT DISAPPOINTMENT: Ronald Jones.  The Bucs drafted him in the second round.  He gained a grand total of 44 yards rushing.  He didn’t even play in more than half of the games, and not all of those were due to injury.  The Bucs clearly were not happy with him from the start of training camp, hence the lack of playing time.

 

GOOD RIDDANCE AWARD: DeSean Jackson.  He made it clear he wants out.  I say, get out of town.  This whiner was unhappy that Winston wasn’t getting him the ball.  He pulled off similar antics when he played for Philadelphia and Washington.

 

BIGGEST QUESTION MARK GOING FORWARD: Jameis Winston.  General Manager Jason Licht has made it clear that Winston will return in 2019.  We saw a lot of good Jameis, and a lot of bad Jameis: 19 TD passes, 14 INT’s and three lost fumbles.

 

INTERESTING FACT: on December 2nd, I saw the Bucs beat the Panthers at Ray-Jay.  That was the last time Tampa Bay tasted victory. 

 

Sure, there are other good and bad moments, but these are the ones that come to mind at first.  I wish all of you a Happy New Year, and go Bucs.

 

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Buccaneers Midseason Report Card

We’re halfway through the 2018 season, and the Buccaneers sit at 3-5, in the cellar of the NFC South.  So, it’s time to hand out some midseason grades.

 

DEFENSE: F

I’m starting here, because this is the no-brainer.  What other grade can I possibly give a unit that’s giving up 34 points a game, can’t cover, can’t tackle, can’t take the ball away, etc.  This was the worst defense in the league last year.  There has been no improvement, with the exception of Jason Pierre-Paul, who has eight sacks.  Mike Smith got canned, and he may just the first person to lose his job over this pathetic unit.

 

OFFENSE: B-

Here’s the crazy thing about this team.  As bad as the defense is, they’re ranked second in the NFL in terms of total yards per game, and they’re averaging 28 points a game.  And yet, they’re doing almost all of it through the air – no running game to speak of.  Why isn’t this grade higher?  Oh, those turnovers…all 21 of them.  The Bucs are -15 in turnover ratio.  If they’re going to make a second-half run, the mistakes need to go down dramatically.

 

COACHING: D

I mentioned Mike Smith finally getting canned for his awful defense.  But geez, doesn’t Dirk Koetter deserve some of the blame for his team’s performance?  You’d better believe he does.  Tampa Bay is one of the ten most-penalized teams in the league.  A lot of that is attributed to coaching.  And what kind of coach calls for a fake punt from deep his own territory, trailing by 21 points?  If the Bucs don’t get hot down the stretch, it’s adios, Dirk.

 

SPECIAL TEAMS: C-

Chandler Catanzaro has missed four extra points this season.  That’s four too many.  He’s 10-of-12 on field goal attempts, which actually isn’t that bad, but it just feels that way.  Remember how shocked we all were when he hit from 59 yards out to beat the Browns in overtime?  As for punt returns, why isn’t DeSean Jackson getting more touches?  He’s an explosive player.  Remember that punt return for a TD against Pittsburgh that was called back?  Yes, I know it didn’t count, but this guy has the knack to make big plays on special teams, and I don’t understand why he’s not getting more touches.

 

The Bucs face the Redskins on Sunday at Ray-Jay.

 

Photo courtesy: USA Today

Bucs Extra: Improved Defense, Kicking Problems Continue

This week, I start a new feature called “Bucs Extra.”  It will focus primarily on other elements of the game that might otherwise go unnoticed.

What a little pass rush can do

The Buccaneers sacked Nick Foles three times in this game, and disrupted him on many other plays.  Remember when Tampa Bay had no pass rush whatsoever?  Gerald McCoy, Jason Pierre-Paul and Kwon Alexander all sacked the Super Bowl MVP.  That helped ease the pressure a bit on an injury-plagued secondary.  Ryan Smith also had a strong game.  The defense allowed over 400 yards for the second week in a row, but they made enough key plays to be a factor.

 

Struggling running game

As great as the offense has been, the Bucs have struggled to get much of a running game going through two weeks.  43 yards rushing isn’t going to cut it.  Second-round pick Ronald Jones has been a healthy scratch for each of the first two games.  What’s up with that?  He did struggle in the preseason, but I wonder if there’s more we don’t know.

 

Inconsistent Kicking

Can this issue please go away someday?  Chandler Catanzaro missed an extra point that really could’ve come back to haunt the Bucs.  The PAT needs to be automatic; end of story.  He also missed a FG last week in New Orleans.  Ever since Connor Barth’s basketball injury way back in the day, our kicking situation has been a mess.

 

Photo Courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

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