Bucs Get First Win in Dramatic Fashion

Here are some thoughts on the Bucs’ first victory of the season: a 20-14 win over the Panthers in Charlotte.

It is amazing what Todd Bowles has done with this defense in just two games.  Take Mike Smith’s swiss-cheese defense, and flip it 180 degrees.  Bowles’ unit kept the Panthers out of the end zone, and has only allowed one offensive touchdown in eight quarters.  After Carolina, not surprisingly, marched down the field for a final drive, Vernon Hargreaves made the play that everyone’s still buzzing about, stopping Christian McCaffrey at the two-yard line with less than 90 seconds to play.  It was a night where the Bucs stifled McCaffrey all the way around.

Another star was Shaquil Barrett.  He’s another new face on defense, and he sacked Cam Newton three times. 

The Buccaneers gave up some long plays in this one, but tightened up in the red zone.  I remember Tony Dungy’s teams winning a lot of games like this.  I’m just throwing that out there.

On offense, Jameis Winston did not turn the ball over.  That is huge.  Everyone (including me) rips him when he screws up, so it is only fair that I praise him when he has a good game.  His stats may not jump out at you, but again, no turnovers.

Chris Godwin is a beast: 121 yards and a TD.  He, not Mike Evans, is the Bucs’ leading receiver after two games.

Peyton Barber churned out 82 tough yards on the ground, and scored a touchdown.  He had to work for every one of those yards against a tough Carolina defense.

This was not a perfect game by any means.  There were way too many penalties again (p.s. – someone tell Bruce Arians and Bowles that you can’t call back-to-back timeouts.)  Going 2-for-12 on third down isn’t going to cut it, either.  But at the end of a late night, the Bucs beat a division opponent on the road.  That is huge.

Photo courtesy: Associated Press

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Derrick Brooks Part of 2014 Hall of Fame Class

No. 55 is heading to Canton.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers legend Derrick Brooks found out Saturday night that he’s one of seven players who’ll be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in just his first year of eligibility.

Brooks was one of the stars of the team’s outstanding defense in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. He was a Pro Bowler eleven times. When the Bucs won the Super Bowl after the 2002 season, he was AP Defensive Player of the Year. And I will never forget his interception-return for a TD in the fourth quarter that sealed the deal against the Raiders. He had 25 interceptions for Tampa Bay over his 14-year career.

Brooks will join Warren Sapp and the late Lee Roy Selmon as the only Buccaneers inducted into the Hall of Fame. Two other Bucs – former linebacker John Lynch and head coach Tony Dungy – did not make it this year. But it’s probably just a matter of time before they do.

Photo Courtesy: buccaneers.com

Bucs Bring Back Lovie Smith as Head Coach

The Buccaneers have a new head coach – and he’s someone very familiar to Tampa Bay fans.

Welcome back to Tampa, Lovie.

Lovie Smith was a defensive assistant assistant under Tony Dungy, so he knows how things used to be in Tampa when the Bucs had a nice run during the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  Not only that, he has previous NFL head coaching experience – something Greg Schiano did not have. Smith took the Bears to the Super Bowl seven years ago, and was 81-63 in nine seasons in Chicago. In other words, he knows how to win. From a public relations perspective, this is a great move – one that I agree with 100%.  Whether it translates into success on the field remains to be seen.

Lovie’s staff is also starting to come into focus. According to ESPN, former Vikings’ head coach Leslie Frazier will be the Bucs’ new defensive coordinator, and former Cal coach Jeff Tedford will be running the offense.

We’re still waiting to see who the Glazers will choose to be the new general manager.  That will be the next big move they make.  In the meantime, Smith will be formally introduced at a Monday afternoon news conference.

Photo Courtesy: AP