Tagged: NFL

Another Kicker Walks the Plank

Well, we’ve been down this road before, haven’t we?

 

A new kicker comes to Tampa, can’t make his fair share of kicks, and gets booted.  It happened again on Monday.  Chandler Catanzaro, who missed two more kicks against the Redskins on Sunday, is now out of a job.

 

So who’s the new Bucs’ kicker now?  His name is Cairo Santos, signed by the team right after Catanzaro was waived.  Santos most recently played for the Rams.  He’s made 84% of his kicks during his career.  All I ask is that he answer the question I’ve been asking for years:

 

Can we please get someone who can make a kick?!

 

Photo courtesy: Tampa Bay Times

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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

 

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

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

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

 

A Most Improbable Victory!

Well, where do we begin to dissect this one?

There is so much that happened in this wacky game.  But for now, let’s focus on the guy who, in the words of Gene Deckerhoff, puts “toe to leather”: Chandler Catanzaro.

For the second game in a row, he missed an extra point that came back to haunt the Bucs.  Then, with the game tied, he had a chance to it with a 40-yarder at the end of regulation.  Nope – wide right.

Fast-forward to late in overtime.  There was Catanzaro, sent back on to the field with less than two minutes remaining in OT.  It was a 59-yard attempt.  The ball starts out heading toward the right upright, then curves back in.  And it had the distance.

Ballgame.  My goodness.

Remember when the Bucs had Matt Bryant?  Sure – that guy was money.  Every other kicker Tampa Bay has had, with the exception of a brief flash of brilliance from Connor Barth, had been terrible.  Was this remarkable kick in overtime enough to save his job?  Stay tuned.

Photo courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers