2 Wins in a Row for the Bucs

The Buccaneers are over .500.  They’ve won two in a row.  And yet, you get the feeling they’re still not where they want to be.

On Sunday, the Bucs were in control from the start, beating the Broncos 28-10 in Denver.  Tom Brady threw three touchdown passes and no interceptions.  And the defense was outstanding: two interceptions, a safety, and six sacks, including two by former Bronco Shaq Barrett, against an injury-riddled Denver team.  The defense deserves the game ball for this victory.

Still, there is work to be done.  The offense was inept in the second half for the second week in a row.  There were more dropped passes.  There were way too many penalties – again (9 for 71 yards.)  And while special teams blocked a punt that led to a TD, they also had a PAT blocked.  And who knows how serious the hamstring injury is to Chris Godwin.

But we’ll take the wins any way we can get them.  And it’s not every day the Bucs beat an opponent by 18 points.  They’re back home to face the Chargers next week.

Photo courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Shaq Barrett Signs Franchise Tag

Shaq Barrett will be playing in Tampa in 2020, assuming there is a season.

The Bucs’ linebacker – and NFL sack leader last year – signed the franchise tag tender offer.  Barrett and the team were unable to come up with a long-term deal before Wednesday’s deadline.

Barrett had 19.5 sacks in 2019, breaking Warren Sapp’s old record of 16.5.

Here’s hoping there is an actual season, starting in about a month and a half.  In the meantime, stay safe everyone.

Photo courtesy: USA Today

Suh is Coming Back, Too

With all the hoopla surrounding the Tom Brady signing, the Buccaneers have quietly secured most of their stout defensive line from last year.

On Thursday, Ndamukong Suh signed a one-year deal.  So, he, Shaq Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul will all be back next year.  The only linemen who won’t return are Carl Nassib (Oakland) and Beau Allen (New England.)

One of the lasting images I have of Suh from last year is his fumble return for a touchdown to seal the upset victory over the Rams in L.A.

The Bucs were the #1 defense against the run last year.  There’s no reason to believe they won’t be near the top next year. 

What a month it’s been for the Bucs.  If you’re not excited by now, I don’t know what to tell you.

Photo Courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

J.P.P. And Shaq Are Coming Back

Two big pieces of the Buccaneers’ star-studded defensive line are coming back.

First, the Bucs signed Jason Pierre-Paul to a two-year contract. J.P.P. had 8.5 sacks in just 10 games last season.

Also, Tampa Bay placed the franchise tag on reigning sack leader Shaq Barrett.  He was set to become an unrestricted free agent on Wednesday.  Shaq had 19.5 sacks in his first season with the Bucs.

It remains to be seen what happens to the other members of the front four: Ndamukong Suh and Carl Nassib.  Bruce Arians made it clear after the season ended that keeping the nucleus of this defense together was a priority.

Oh, and what about Jameis Winston?  He should know his fate by the end of the week, perhaps as early as Wednesday.  I don’t know how that it going to play out, but that will likely be the next big development in what’s already been a busy week.

Photo courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Two Wins in a Row for the Bucs

Two wins in a row?  Three wins in the last four games?

Yes, the Buccaneers are playing much, much better these days.

They beat the Jaguars today in Jacksonville, converting turnovers into points to build an early lead, then making a big play in the fourth quarter to seal the victory when the Jags were trying to get back in it.

The biggest star of this game?  Look no further than rookie Devin White.  He had an interception that led to a touchdown.  Then he found the end zone when Shaq Barrett stripped the ball from Nick Foles, White picked it up and took it to the house.

Jameis Winston had a ho-hum kind of day.  But he did not turn the ball over, and that is the biggest stat of them all.

Over the last two days, the story for the Bucs has been the defense stepping up and making plays.  Who would’ve thought that?  The Colts come to Ray-Jay next Sunday, and Buccaneer Bri (a.k.a. me) will be there for that one.  I can’t wait.

Photo courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers Midseason Report

Now that we’re officially halfway through the 2019 NFL season, it’s time to reflect on what we’ve seen so far in the first eight games for the Bucs.  You’ll notice I’m not going through every player or every position.  I’m just going to pick and choose.  So here we go:

OFFENSIVE MVP: Mike Evans.  This guy is a stud; there’s no other way to say it.  Remember how he started off with no touchdowns in the first two games?  Well, now he has seven.  His 842 receiving yards are second in the NFL behind only Michael Thomas of the Saints.  Evans and Chris Godwin have become one of the best receiving tandems in the league.

DEFENSIVE MVP: Shaq Barrett.  What a pickup this guy was.  He leads the league in sacks with 10.5, eight of which came in the first three games.  The drop-off since then is likely attributed to teams paying more attention to him now, but that opens up opportunities for others.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: the secondary.  Even with all those draft picks spent on this group, they’re still terrible.  They’re allowing 31 points a game.  They are second-worst in defending the pass (Oakland sneaked ahead of them!)  And yet, the run defense is best in the league.  Knowing that, it’s no secret why teams are just throwing the ball at will.

BIGGEST QUESTION MARK: Jameis Winston.  Believe me, I read all kinds of comments from the lovers and haters on a weekly basis.  The haters point to all the turnovers and bad decisions.  The lovers will mention the big passing games he’s had, and how the aforementioned secondary is making him look back.  It will very interesting to see what the Bucs do with him after this season.

BEST GAME SO FAR: The Week 4 win over the Rams in L.A.  Tampa Bay pulled a stunner, scoring a season-high 55 points against the defending NFC champs.

WORST GAME SO FAR: the game right before that, against the Giants.  The Bucs blew a 28-10 lead, and made rookie QB Daniel Jones look like a superstar, as they have with so many other rookie and backup quarterbacks.  Has anyone seen what Jones has done since that game?

So, there’s a quick summary.  The Bucs finally play a home game this weekend against the Cardinals.  It’s only their third game at Ray-Jay so far.  And in just over a month, I’ll be heading down to Tampa for the game against the Colts.

Go Bucs!

Photo courtesy: Tampa Bay Buccaneers