Mike Williams’ tenure in Tampa Bay is over.
On Friday, the Bucs traded the wide receiver to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for a sixth-round pick in this year’s draft. He will be reunited in Buffalo with new head coach Doug Marrone, who coached Williams at Syracuse.
Williams was drafted by Tampa Bay four years ago, and quickly emerged as the team’s No. 2 receiver. But he missed most of last season due to injury. And then there are the off-field issues – the most recent coming late last month when he was stabbed. Police arrested his brother in the case.
It’s worth taking a look at the Buccaneers’ situation at wide receiver for a moment. You have Vincent Jackson. And then, you have….well, I think you see the point. The team could sorely use another guy who can stretch the field besides V-Jax.
It looks like that is yet another area to address in this year’s draft, in a year where Tampa Bay could use help just about everywhere.
That was pathetic. That was disgusting. There are other words to use, but those two will suffice for now.
The Buccaneers lost to the Jets in the season opener Sunday afternoon at the Meadowlands, 18-17. The Bucs seemed to have the game wrapped up when Ryan Lindell kicked a 37-yard FG with 34 seconds left. Heck, the ensuing kickoff went for a touchback. But then Jets quarterback Geno Smith hit a long pass play. Then came the stupid play of the game: Lavonte David hit Smith as he was running out of bounds. The personal foul put New York in field goal range, and Nick Folk took care of that with 2 seconds left.
There are many people to point the finger at. Let’s start with the penalties: 13 of them for a whopping 102 yards, including the costly 15-yarder by David at the end. I do question the two personal foul calls on Dashon Goldson. Hey refs: are you not allowed to pop receivers anymore? There was no helmet-to-helmet contact, and that claim of a “defenseless receiver” was garbage.
But I digress. 13 penalties=lack of discipline. Lack of discipline=bad coaching. Greg Schiano deserves the blame for that.
Let’s move on to Josh Freeman. He was so-so. He completed just under half of his passes, he threw an interception right to a Jets’ defender, and he was sacked three times. And what the heck was up with the play-calling communication at the very beginning of the game? Don’t you need to have a backup plan when the device inside the helmet isn’t working? The Bucs burned two timeouts during that debacle, and were flagged for delay of game after one of those stoppages. Yet through it all, Freeman led the Bucs into field goal range in the final minutes, and gave his team a chance to win the game before the last-second meltdown.
Defensively, the Bucs played pretty well – well, aside from the final 34 seconds. They sacked Smith five times and forced two turnovers, two areas that were a concern going into the season. Darrelle Revis had a strong game against his former team. But the meltdown – topped off by the stupid penalty by David – is what we’ll remember more than anything.
Doug Martin couldn’t get much going against a good Jets’ defense, though he did find the end zone following a Jets turnover. Vincent Jackson had a monster game: 7 catches for 154 yards, including a huge play on the Bucs’ final drive. He hasn’t missed a beat from last year. Mike Williams caught a TD pass.
FINAL THOUGHT: it may have been David’s stupid penalty that ultimately cost the Bucs the game. But it was ALL of the penalties that stand out to me at the end of the day. That’s a coaching problem, and it needs to be addressed.
NEXT WEEK: the home opener against the Saints.
Photo Courtesy: Tampa Bay Times
Following his bounce-back season last year, Mike Williams can collect an even bigger paycheck.
The fourth-year WR out of Syracuse signed a new six-year, $40 million contract Wednesday morning that will keep him in Tampa through 2018.
He’s scored 23 touchdowns in his first three seasons with the Buccaneers – nine of them coming in 2012 – as he finished just shy of the 1,000 yard mark. He’s benefitted a lot from last year’s signing of fellow wideout Vincent Jackson. As we saw last year, with those two receivers, the Bucs have a legitimate deep threat that allows them to get the ball downfield a lot more than….well, ever.
Now it’s up to Josh Freeman to make sure they keep catching balls and piling up the yards – and the points.
Photo Courtesy: Reuters