Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
Bucs fans and SR’s Fab 5 readers sounded off about the Bucs not handling success well after the loss to Arizona, as well as their thoughts on head coach Dirk Koetter, general manager Jason Licht, and quarterback Jameis Winston. What does PewterReport.com publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds have to say? Find out right here.
Welcome to another installment of SR’s Fab 5 Reaction where every week I take the time to answer your questions and respond to your comments from the previous week’s SR’s Fab 5 column. Due to time constraints from my responsibilities as publisher, I am unable to respond to every reader comment each week, but I do read every one of them.
Comments have only been edited for clarity and grammar. Now on to your comments.
Topics in last week’s SR’s Fab 5 include: To Make Playoff Push, Bucs Must Go Streaking; Bucs’ Biggest Challenge Is Learning How To Handle Success; Bucs Guards vs. Donald Is The Match-up To Watch; Tampa Bay May Draft A QB Next Year
In my best Jim Mora voice: Playoffs?! You want to talk playoffs?!
I just don’t think they are ready yet. There is a lack of depth and serious lack of receivers after Mike Evans.
Watching the Cardinals smoke the Bucs should be cause for great concern. This offense, which had firepower against Atlanta’s lower echelon defense, was near harmless against playoff-ready Arizona. With defenses like Los Angeles, Denver, Carolina in the future, I hope they can figure it out quickly.
They need players like ASJ to step up … ugh! Never mind. How long is Doug Martin out for? A QB after Round 4 would probably be a good idea. Please no more Roberto Aguayo surprises! – dfk68
The Bucs’ record heading into the bye week will determine Tampa Bay’s playoff hopes in my opinion. A 3-2 record puts the Bucs on track, but that means back-to-back wins over last year’s Super Bowl participants. A 2-3 record might be more manageable, and if this team can steal a win against either Denver or Carolina that would make up for stubbing its toe at home against a winnable foe in Los Angeles.
Like you said, they need to figure things out quickly. The good news is that the NFC South is still there for the taking with Carolina sitting on an identical 1-2 record, and Tampa Bay having a win over 2-1 Atlanta. – SR
It’s time the Bucs players look in the mirror. If Coach Dirk Koetter is everything the players say then the effort needs to increase and remain consistent. We have seen scheme changes, personnel changes, coaching changes but the one thing that still is the same is our attitude.
Bucs LB Lavonte David – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
I see players that when it’s going bad, like Week 1 last year against Tennessee and last week against Arizona just mail it in and quit. This team has to learn how to fight through adversity and start winning games where things aren’t going as planned.
I remember Lavonte David said last year after the Tennessee loss that the team was deflated after a penalty call early on and never recovered. That type of thing is exactly what I saw last week and it’s getting pretty old.
They expect fans to show up and cheer but don’t consistently deliver a product worthy of fans dollars. I can handle a close loss or even a missed FG in the last seconds, but being blown out with this much talent is only about heart. Until this team finds some we will continue to spin our wheels and dollars on players that don’t have what it takes inside to man up when things aren’t perfect. I hope I’m wrong because this group could be special but I see some of the same tendencies that have plagued this team for years. – stlbucsfan
I think this is exactly what Dirk Koetter is talking about when he discusses the Bucs needing a culture change. This is a team that loses, and is somewhat conditioned to lose. Instead of finding ways to win, they find ways to lose. There are some really good players on this team, but they aren’t necessarily winners.
Tampa Bay needs its playmakers to take over games when the game is on the line and become difference-makers. My concern is that a lot of the Bucs’ playmakers are young and haven’t truly tasted much success at the NFL level yet. Will they learn how to win? That’s Koetter’s job to figure it out. – SR
Great Fab 5, SR!
Fab 1. Based on what I saw last Sunday, it is far more likely the Bucs go streaking down Dale Mabry than win four games back-to-back. I just hope the linemen don’t participate:) I know it was only one game. Understood, but that loss was even worse than the lopsided score – it was ugly, no – worse – it was fugly. I just hope the Glazers give Dirk Koetter time. They are known as the Donald Trumps of the NFL (You’re fired!). If they win four it will be in the back half of the season.
Fab 2. First they have to have some success to handle.
Fab. 3 They practiced against Gerald McCoy last year and it didn’t help. I agree that McCoy and Aaron Donald have different types of quickness, but it’s difficult to explain. I think Donald is more cat-like quick, whereas McCoy is explosively quick. I didn’t like that Demar Dotson came out this week saying he thinks Donald is the best tackle in the league. I wonder how that made his teammate feel?
Clemson WR Mike Williams – Photo by: Getty Images
Fab 4. I agree we need a QB. Ryan Griffin has not set my heart on fire and we need two good backups. I think they will get more than one QB from somewhere. We need a burner at wide receiver, the best safety we can find, and lots of defensive linemen and one good offensive lineman. However, the first pick should be the best player available.
Fab 5. Why won’t that idiot ASJ play? You don’t think he’ll be sober by then? My Buc shots: I hope we don’t go for the wide receiver Mike Williams coming out of college next year. That’s almost as bad as drafting a Clemson pass rusher. All the Mike Williams receivers have been big and slow in the NFL. – 76Buc
Thank you, 76Buc. The Bucs defense has to, has to, has to turn it around and do it quickly. I think Mike Smith is smart enough to adjust. If you’ll recall, the Bucs gave up a ton of points to start the season in 2014 and then made adjustments to reduce opponents’ scoring.
Tampa Bay did a much better job of neutralizing Aaron Donald this year, holding him to just two tackles, including one tackle for loss. I do think going against Gerald McCoy helped the Bucs’ interior linemen.
As for Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams, wouldn’t that be something if Tampa Bay drafted another receiver with that name? I happen to like Clemson’s version better. He’s a pretty good receiver with good size and possibly a first-round grade. – SR
Another SR’s Fab 5 with great insight. That was an intriguing point with facts to back it up about having to go on a streak to make the playoffs. I never looked at it like that before. I always broke the schedule in to four quarters and felt if there were two quarters of the schedule where they go 3-1 and then the other two quarters of the schedule they can go 2-2 then the playoffs should be almost be a lock.
As I look at the schedule, the Bucs need this Rams game so they can go at least go 2-2 these first four games and then hopefully 3-1 the next four games which would then put them into position the last half of the season to have a chance.
As for your Fab 2, I don’t buy that the Bucs lost the game to the Cardinals because they couldn’t handle success from Week 1. I just think they paid the price for having to go face the Cardinals after their disheartening loss to the Patriots.
Thanks for the insight about how the Rams will try to use Aaron Donald and how that might be a key to the game. I will definitely watch to see how that goes. Again, PewterReport.com is the best in the business and I absolutely love the new design of the website! Keep up the great work! – Tassonedna
I appreciate the kudos about our reporting and the new re-designed PewterReport.com website, Tassonedna. I learned a lot about what it has taken for the Bucs franchise to get to the playoffs and a winning streak of at least three games – if not four – is the common denominator. Not terribly surprisingly, but important data nonetheless. Many do look at the records at the quarter, but those aren’t quite the indicator that streaks are in Tampa Bay’s playoff trips.
As for the Cardinals game, no, the hangover from Week 1 wasn’t the primary reason the Bucs lost. However, I think they weren’t as mentally prepared as they needed to be and it showed. This Tampa Bay team doesn’t know how to win on a regular basis and handle success when it does. That’s becoming apparent. – SR
So I will be the negative post here. SR, both you and Mark Cook, the most experienced and knowledgeable writers on this site, predicted a win last week and we were blown out. Here is my take on this team and this season.
Buccaneers GMJason Licht and Head Coach Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Dirk Koetter is an average NFL coach. Jason Licht is an average NFL general manager. We have average overall talent and an average NFL caliber QB. Jameis Winston is an excellent leader and an average QB. So with this group we will be an AVERAGE team. Think Bengals, Cowboys, Chargers, etc.
Winston is not a franchise QB. The Bucs don’t play the way he does. I predict mediocrity for 10 years. We will need to move on from Winston, it’s just a matter of how long it takes. Five years from now fans will be making Josh Freeman comparisons. – Bucnut2
Wow. Those are some bold predictions, Bucnut2. You may be right in the end. Time will tell. Jameis Winston’s stats – 405 yards passing with three touchdowns – certainly weren’t average against the Rams after an awful game against the Cardinals, but he played average on that final drive with two big overthrows.
The first was to Vincent Jackson on a likely touchdown on the play where everybody, myself included, wanted Dirk Koetter to take a timeout. The second was an overthrow to Charles Sims. Had Sims caught the ball he likely would have picked up yardage to the 5-yard line, which could have been a game-changer.
Winston is just entering his 20th NFL game. Dirk Koetter is about to coach his fourth NFL game. I think a little patience is needed. As for Jason Licht, his overall record is 9-26, which is awful. Yet there is more talent on this team thanks to his drafting than there was before he got to Tampa Bay. We’ll know a lot more about the long-term success of Winston, Koetter, Licht and the Bucs after the 2016 season. – SR
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: email@example.com
It’s an interesting observation @Bucnut2 and Scott – a lot of average. I guess my rebuttal would be, that’s every team. I look at (pick your favorite team) the Patriots and I see a very average (at best) QB in Garapollo (or is it the other guy now), throwing to a bunch of very average (at best) WRs (I should know their names but they basically are all Adam Humphries), protected by a very average Oline….and we could defense too.
Most (good) teams have a small handful of very good players, interspersed with a lot of very average players…that’s the NFL. Gone are the days of rich teams buying all the best players and creating dynasties….and that’s a good thing.
We have a small handful of very good players (GMC is one of the best DTs in the game…LvD is one of the best WLBs in the game…Mike Evans is one of the best WRs in the game, and a few more too)…if we are waiting until our roster is filled out with all probowlers before we figure out how to win in this league, we’ll be waiting a very long time (just ask JAX how it’s going with all those high draft picks).
Agreed for the most part. But something must be exceptional. Either, players, coaches and or front office. In this organization, at the moment, nothing is exceptional.
sadly, I agree…but if we win this week I will be seeing all roses again 🙂 ah the Bucslife for me!
Too many people trying to make judgments only three games in to a 16-game season with an entirely new coaching staff and a bunch of young and inexperienced players. We don’t know if the team is average or not .. if Jameis Winston is a franchise quarterback or not … if the defense is just bad or it just hasn’t gelled yet … if Koetter is an average coach or worse or better.
It’s going to take another 13 games to begin to figure out what we have and don’t have. Two years to be midway into figuring all that out. Three years at least to have it fully figured out.
Too many sports fans have the attention span of a three year old. It doesn’t matter how bad we’ve been for so long, the “figuring out” part can’t be rushed or short circuited.
I am hoping you are including SR in your too early to analyze comment. After the Alanta game, he declared the Bucs a playoff team an predicted a 10-6 record. No way wither of those happen.
Well, SR gave us his prediction for the season, as did several other writers here at PR. That’s what writers do.
I wouldn’t have predicted 10-6 … my best assessment before the season was 8-8 to 9-7. Yet, it’s far from too late to go 10-6 either, only three games in. Given our very tough early season schedule before the bye week, few thought the Bucs would win more than 2 games. We’ve still go two more shots at 2-3 before the bye. Then there’s another 11 games. 2-3 before the bye, then 8-3 thereafter with an easier schedule is definitely not out of reach. That probably defines the ceiling, not the floor for this season, however.
As I’ve commented elsewhere here at PR, Tony’s first team in ’96 lost their first five (Koetter has already done better than that) and lost 8 of their first 9, then went 5-2 on the back 7, on their way to the playoffs the next season. Monte Kiffen’s D allowed 25 PPG in the first five games, then only 13 PPG in the last 11 games. And there was no offense to speak of on any of Tony’s Bucs teams.
If Coach Smith can get his defense to truly gel, and get his PPG to anywhere at or below 20, our offense can win most of our games. At the current points allowed of 33.7 PPG we’re unlikely to win hardly any games.
The D is the key.
The important thing is not to turn on the team and management before we even play our 4th game. Winston is going to be a super star. For whatever reason Jackson is struggling to produce, and ASJ is gone. Martin is hurt. Until we get him back we are going to struggle. If the team stays united and the coach leads them this team will still have a good season. Defense is going to have to put pick it up. Two DE’s sidelined is not helping. We are going to find out real fast if Noah Spence has what it takes to play in the NFL.
The only people I am turning on is the homer town lap dog media which unforatuatnly now includes PR. I like and respect SR and MC but they have totally bought into the Licht spin on RA and others. They also predicted JW as a franchise QB, he doesn’t look like one now. While I agree it’s too early to say, most of his stats come in garbage time and he has yet to tap the ability to lead teams to wins. In fact, he decision making and execution are a major reason we lost the last two games. He is a GREAT leader, average QB. In the NFL, the tcombiatioan will never win us a playoff game let alone superbowl.
The Bucs and other teams have won many playoff games and even Super Bowls with “average quarterbacks”. Seriously, have you no sense of history?
Our sole Super Bowl was won with Brad Johnson at QB.
And absolutely no, Jameis’ performance last Sunday did not cost us a win. The two losses are almost entirely on the D, the league’s rock bottom scoring defense at 33.7 PPG in three games. The Bucs offense, on the other hand, is the league’s 16th ranked in scoring and 7th ranked in total offense. The offense certainly can and should get better – especially the running game which has been anemic so far, especially with Doug Martin out.
Usually when we start slow it is because Jameis is overthrowing his receivers. He gets so hyped up before games his adrenalin level is elevated and he throws too hard. The big problem in addition to the time management problem at the end of the Rams game was the rain delay and Jameis had time to get all hyped up like he does before games and he had his usual overthrows. However once he gets well into games his throwing percentages are remarkable and he is as good as many more established Franchise QBs. Koetter needs to find a way to keep Jameis’s mental state calmed down before he starts games and after rain delays. Listen to calm music or take up yoga before games and prevent hyped talks by him prior to the start of games and during rain delays. Keep him strong but quiet. Let him be a leader on the field after things start rolling well. Also teach LT Smith to yell “watch out!!!” in a loud voice if a pass rusher get’s loose and is bearing down on Jameis’s back, or move LT Smith to Guard.
Get another kicker on the roster who is a proven NFL kicker and trade or bench Aguayo the next tiine he blows another kick. Stop babying him with pats on his helmet when he lets his team and the fan’s down with misses.
No the big problem is not that he is over hyped, JW is NOT accurate.
Did anyone see McCoy’s pregame speech to the team last week.
it sounded like he was taking the team into a church service, not into battle.
For gods sake isn’t there any other players on this team other than Winston who can get this team fired up among the players.
Sorry, emotion doesn’t win games. Making plays wins games, and mental determination wins games. Rah rah is just an external display.
I suspect Bucnut was against the drafting of Winston and is now looking to support his position. I’ve watched our collection of QB’s for 40 years and, while certainly not perfect, he is the best we’ve ever had. Good grief the kid is only 22.
You made a good point Owlykat about Winston getting too hyped up after the restart of the game. I thought he was being too careful.
I try not to even mention Buc nut. He’s one step below a troll. Notice when the tam wins and Jameis has a good game, he’s nowhere to be seen. But the minute things go wrong, he’s on here running his gums.And yes, he was a Mariota fan from what I recall. He doesn’t get the facts like you said that Winston is ONLY 22. He’s not perfect, nowhere near it, but only 35-35 with 5 TD’s will do for Bucnut. As for the Talent level on this team, it’s not average. What’s killing us is our lack of depth, it happens every year.
And then to call our coaching staff average when they are in their third game is hysterical. I mean I’m sure everything Bucnut does the first time, he does to perfection. The problem is people thought this was a playoff team.
I’ll give Bucnut that, people sorely overrated this team. With our schedule I said 8-8 would be a great year this year and I stick to that. We’re another draft away from being that competitive.
I’m not sure people overrated the players (the “team” maybe). As I said above, I think we have our fair share of average, and below average (every team must have someone below average) players, but I think we have interspersed several very good players (Evans, LvD, GMC, Winston, Martin, Alexander, and maybe one or two others).
I feel confident that given the choice, a guy like Belichick would take our talent over what he has right now (sans-Brady) in the Pats. They must have far more average and below-average guys than we do, and fewer very good players (Collins, Gronk….anyone else?).
Something is the difference, and I don’t think it’s wrong for Buc fans to have high expectations given our mix of talent (which again I think looks great on paper). I think Bucnut was trying to describe this as needing something “exceptional”…but maybe I misunderstood his point.
scubog; agree with you.
I have taken the time to look at our FA signings since Jason Licht has taken over the job and this will show what really needs to change before the Bucs can turn into winners. Lets start with our 2014 FA class of Anthony Collins, Oniel Cousins. Dane Fletcher, Mike Jenkins, Michael Johnson, Josh McCown, Clint McDonald, Louis Murphy, Brandon Myers, Evan D. Smith and Alterraun Verner. Of that entire class the only player that has consistently produced for us is Clint McDonald. Murphy has shown flashes but most are not even on the team. Lets move on to 2015 a much smaller but equally unimpressive class. Chris Conte, Henry Melton, Sterling Moore, Bruce Carter and George Johnson. I actually thought Sterling played well but he wasn’t retained. We brought back Conte but hes nothing more than serviceable, so out of that class we have exactly 1 player remaining on the active roster. Now on to this years class Doug Martin(which I give him zero credit for bc he’s a Dominick find), JR Sweezy, Brent Grimes, Robert Ayers, and Darryl Smith. JR has never even worn a practice jersey, Grimes has looked awful, Ayers was a force during training camp and now hurt who knows what we will see and Darryl Smith looks old and slow. Take a long, hard look at that list, factor in a little Roberto Aguayo, Joseph Iosefu, Kailin Clay and Kenny Bell drafting and you will see why we are in no better spot than when he inherited the team. Minus the fact that him being so terrible we were able to stumble up on Jameis. Some will say its too soon to jump to this conclusion but the results say for every Marpet theres 3 or 4 busts and that type of success rate will doom any franchise. Wake up Buc nation!!
Everybody knows you build winning NFL teams almost entirely from the draft, not with free agent signings which are mostly just stop gap measures to try and cope with poor drafting history over multiple seasons. The salary cap and current labor agreement greatly limits the effects of free agent signings. And, when you mess up a free agent signing, it’s far more costly in terms of managing the salary cap than whiffs in drafting. The very best teams rarely have greater than 50% success with draft picks (as measured by second contracts with the team that originally drafted the player). FA signings make big headlines and most of the time disappoint the fans after the huge bucks are already guaranteed or paid out.
We can’t begin to judge this year’s FA signings til the end of the season, and not even then when injuries get in the way of an evaluation (such as with Ayers so far).
You continue to give Licht a pass I will not. His FAs have been trash and his draft picks have been a mixed bag covering up for his miscues when he took over the job. Sure signing Kwon looks great now but we could’ve kept Mark Barron and had 3 fast LBs flying all over the field. Sure we got Hargreaves this year but we cut Revis and had to waste money on Grimes whose done nothing this year. We find Marpet in the draft but sent out Zuttah who has done nothing but thrive in Baltimore and start from the day they got him. We get D.Smith in the draft but he would’ve been able to play his real position(RT) had he kept Donald Penn who seems to be better at LT than him and that bolsters the team. Mike Evans and Jameis he’s gotten right, everything else has been a cover up for terrible job he did evaluating the talent already on the team. Don’t be fooled by his one step backward one step forward approach.
I’m not giving Licht anything … you judge a GM 80% on his draft picks .. and it takes at least (bare minimum) three or four full seasons of drafting to judge any GM unless he simply melts down or does some other unacceptably crazy thing, which Licht has not done and seems entirely unlikely to do.
If Licht’s actions as GM fail to produce any progress from his second to his third full season, as he clearly did from his first to his second full season, then he’ll deserve to be on the hot seat. Save your Licht-bashing until after this season is over. You have a narrative you’re pursuing, and you’re simply being unreasonable and unfair in judging a GM who has actually made good progress in his second full season, with the third full season to be determined.
I think patience and optimism is needed for the long term. In the short term a win will change everyone’s perspective. We could be the cowboys of the 90s instead of the Rams of the 00’s. Cheer for the team to win and stop worrying about the personalities. Support is all you have to do. Take a look at the Eagles fans…. That’s who we are beginning to sound like. Oh yeah their high right now but week 5 is coming and Wentz’s code will be broken and they’ll be negative Nancy’s again.
It’s just a shame to me how sad this team looks and how sad this team will probably continue to look. We have a lottery ticket in Jameis, but the problem is the revolving door up top. Raheem, Schiano, Lovie, now Dirk. Are any of these good coaches? It doesn’t even matter when they only get 2 years to do the job. Remember everyone who said Lovie was terrible? Well the Rams came into Tampa scoring 9 points in 2 games. They left looking like those 80’s 49ers teams. Why? Because we have no cohesiveness, and we don’t have too many good players. Maybe Lovie wasn’t the problem. Maybe it’s the cohesiveness, and maybe it’s the talent. Because outside of GMC, David, Jameis, Kwon, Evans, and Marpet….who else is above average? I had hoped that maybe I was wrong and maybe Lovie was the problem and maybe we could make the jump. But we just lost to a bad team at home. I thought we were probably 6-10 before the season…now I am hoping we are that good.
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