Yesterday, Today And TomorrowDecember 23rd, 2013
A long look at the Bucs yesterday, today, and what to expect tomorrow and beyond.
Look, Joe likes Mike Sullivan, the person. He is kind, considerate, a really decent man. Joe really respects him. He’s a West Point grad and a former Ranger. Major props!
But whatever that display was yesterday in the Ed Jones dome along the Mississippi River in St. Louis was worse than whatever is flowing down America’s biggest liquid polluted artery.
Joe is pretty sure that Sullivan sealed his fate yesterday as the Bucs offensive coordinator. If he returns (yes, there is a chance), Joe is pretty sure there will be an offensive co-coordinator hired and Sullivan will be relegated to working with only quarterbacks; his strength.
What the Bucs did offensively yesterday was flat embarrasing. Five minutes into the second quarter, it was painfully obvious that Bobby Rainey could not run up the middle on the left side. It was not working. Period. Yet Sullivan continued to pound away. Nevermind Rainey was often mauled by two and three tacklers before he hit the line of scrimmage. It was so bad Jamon Meredith got benched.
When did Sullivan come to believe Rainey was the reincarnation of Larry Csonka or Jim Otis or Jerome Bettis? The best runs Rainey had yesterday was when he bounced to a new hole, or for some odd reason, Sullivan lost his mind and had Rainey run outside. Imagine!
It just blew Joe away how well into the second half, Sullivan would not give up running Rainey up the middle. To Sullivan’s credit, Rainey’s numbers in the second half nearly doubled to a Canton-like 1.9 yards a run.
Joe really believes Sullivan is a good quarterback coach. Seriously.
Offensive coordinator? Well, having the No. 32 offense in the league says it all.
At least Joe rested comfortably last night sure the Bucs practiced running Rainey up the middle last week.
As Joe wrote last night, Glennon, outside of spurts throwing the ball downfield, just has not won Joe over as an NFL starting quarterback. At least not a quarterback that can lead a team to the playoffs.
To be fair, Glennon is not a dink-and-dunk guy, but that’s what the Bucs have him doing too often. It’s not who he is.
If Bucs commander Greg Schiano returns, and if he still believes Glennon is a starting quarterback, then the offensive coordinator (whoever is the new coordinator) must craft an offense that thows the ball downfield and not five yards over the middle on 3rd-and-9.
Joe appreciates the candor of the team’s best player, Gerald McCoy. He got his ninth sack of the season despite being double- and triple-teamed each and every play.
GMC confessed his defense got their rear ends kicked in by Zac Stacy, the Rams talented running back. GMC is as frustrated as anyone and he is tired of the excuses and giving people raw emotion and frank insight. It’s hard to argue with a word of what GMC said.
The annual day when NFL coaches are launched is a week away. Joe wasn’t so sure this would affect Schiano but after yesterday’s game, well, Schiano has crept closer to the guillotine.
Joe knows this will rankle Bucs fans, but Joe can see both arguments for and against keeping Schiano. He didn’t infect the Bucs locker room with MRSA. He couldn’t predict leaky, sleepy Rip Van Freeman would completely meltdown and do his best to sabotage the team in order to get out of town. As much as the truth hurts, the Bucs have yet to recover from that.
Schiano was brought in to change the culture and weed out malcontents. He did that. While that is nice, the NFL is all about wins. That hasn’t happened with him.
No matter Schiano’s 2014 fate, Joe would understand Team Glazer’s decision.
Both Darrelle Revis and GMC talked about how the Bucs knew the Rams were going to try to bludgeon them with Stacy running the ball. And it happened. The Bucs slowed down Stacy in the second half, but it was not enough.
Here’s the thing: The Rams trotted out the immortal Kellen Clemens and a bunch of nobody receivers (Tavon Austin was inactive) and still the Bucs didn’t bunch people up front to stop Stacy.
You force a clown like Clemens to beat you! If you have to put nine men in the box to stop Stacy, you do that. Make a bunch of scrubs beat you, not a budding superstar running back.
Now has Dashon “Hawk” Goldson learned how to legally hit people? The evidence would suggest, no. That’s why he served a one-game suspension for illegal hits. That is why he is targeted.
The call against Goldson yesterday was pure, unadulterated bullspit. But you know what, Goldson has such a rep as a headhunter, anything close to a bad, illegal hit is going to be flagged.
Either Goldson is going to have to learn how to hit (memo to coaches, perhaps being benched might get the message across if six-figure fines don’t?), or he is going to cost the Bucs 15 yards a game, likely at the worst times.
Is it fair? No. But that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
Both Joes thought Penn did an admirable job on Rams sackmeister Robert Quinn yesterday. One Joe was at the game, the other watching on TV. The Joe in St. Louis kept his binoculars on the Penn-Quinn matchup and far more often than not, Penn won the battle.
Did Quinn get sacks? Yes. In the first half, Penn whiffed on Quinn twice, one of which resulted in a sack. Quinn’s other two sacks came in garbage time when the game was already decided.
If you still think Penn got manhandled, as some Bucs fans want to believe, then why in desperation did Jeff Fisher start calling linebacker blitzes from the right side late in the first half? Then why did Fisher have Quinn line up far to the right to avoid Penn and force Brian Leonard to try to block him? Because Penn was largely keeping Quinn off Mike Glennon, that’s why. If Quinn was consistently getting heat on Glennon, there would be no reason to blitz, no reason to line him up four yards wide of Penn.
If Schiano is indeed shoved out the door and awarded parting gifts next week, it likely will be largely due to players playing dumb. For a disciplined guy like Schiano to have his players make silly penalties, like encroachment (watch the damned ball!), stupid hits, etc., that’s hard to jibe.
The Bucs running back is an absolute class act. He blamed the loss on himself, saying he is the reason the Bucs did not win.
While Joe is really impressed with his taking responsibility, Rainey was hardly the reason the Bucs lost. He wasn’t the one calling the plays where he had to run up against a brick wall time and time again. He wasn’t the one calling typical dink-and-dunk plays that did nothing.
No, Rainey got sold out by his offensive coordinator.
Joe was galled with roughly three minutes left and the Bucs down two scores; the Bucs were calling plays for Glennon to throw four-yard passes deep in their own territory. WHY??? If you are going to throw the ball, throw the friggin’ ball!
There was no way the Bucs were going to tie the game or take the lead throwing four-yard passes from their 20. There shouldn’t have been one play called where there was even a route run that would result in a four-yard catch!
If every damn person watching the game, whether at the stadium or on TV, could see Rainey wasn’t going to work up the middle, and Glennon can’t throw short passes to succeed, then why couldn’t the 65 Bucs coaches all wearing black shirts on the sidelines?
Steelers: They are still alive for a playoff berth entering the final week of the season. Imagine, the Steelers started the season with four losses, just like the Bucs. But Mike Tomlin has done a wonderful job turning that team around, despite a rash of injuries. The Bucs? Meh.
Colts: Wow, a dome team in the snow and bitter cold rises up and spanks one of the better teams in the AFC, which was still fighting for a division title? That is impressive. It seems just about every former Ravens assistant has been successful to some degree as an NFL head coach.
Bills: How did the Bills whip up on the Dolphins? Guessing the cold had something to do with it. That pitiful defense shut out Miami? Man. As Chris Thomas would say, the no-freaking-logic league.
Bengals: Joe has a hunch Jay Gruden would make a find head coach. Maybe the wits of his older brother with not as much baggage. Many folks hate Andy Dalton, yet Gruden gets good results from him.
Jets: Are the Jets fighting for Captain Lou Albano’s job? Geno Smith actually threw for two touchdowns and over 200 yards. Pretty impressive.
Cowboys: Just take it to the bank: Next week with a playoff berth on the line, Tony Romo will choke. It’s what Romo does in December.
Stinking Panthers: Cam Newton stunk for much of the game. Yet in crunch time, Newton found a way to win for the game-winner. That’s clutch. Joe is impressed. That’s what a top first round pick is supposed to do.
Titans: So the Titans beat the Jags and the only thing Joe can think of is that some poor souls actually paid hard-earned money to watch that slop.
Broncos: Enjoy the fun while you can, Peyton Manning fans. Both you and Joe knows how this is going to end. And it won’t be Denver playing in New York in February.
Giants: This is the final nail in the coffin of Jim Schwartz as Lions coach. Interception machine Eli Manning nearly threw for over 300 yards. Please make sure you pick up your parting gifts as you leave Detroit, Mr. Schwartz.
Cardinals: What a great defensive stand by the Cardinals, bottling up the best team in the NFC to keep their playoff hopes alive. Bruce Arians has done a helluva job and Bucs fans continue to pray for the day they can play meaningful games in December.
Chargers: Joe knows some Bucs fans want Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt as the next Bucs coach. But let’s think about this, unless he had a highly talented, studly quarterback (Big Ben, Kurt Warner, Philip Rivers), his teams struggled. Mike Glennon could be the next Kevin Kolb.
Patriots: Well now, all that thought the Pats being overrated, and here comes a curb-stomping of the Crows. Just to hack off Bucs fans, LeGarrette Blount had a pair of touchdowns.
Eagles: Joe knows Bucs fans wanted to jump into traffic watching what could have been with Chip Kelly’s offense. Oh, and Joe hopes all the Bucs fans pining for bratty Jay Cutler watched that drek last night.
Joe’s Non-NFL Thoughts
1) Partially non-NFL: Joe always thought Lisa Salters of BSPN was a horrible sideline reporter when she worked college games. For reasons not quite clear, Joe caught part of last week’s Monday Night Football pregame show, where Salters, with firm conviction, stated how Joe Flacco told her that if the Crows complete passes downfield (as opposed to passes backwards) and moved the chains and protected the ball, they would be in good shape.
You don’t say? Hey honey, you mean Disney is paying you six-figures a year to dig up those pearls of wisdom? A homeless person could figure that out, and he wouldn’t need to talk to Joe Flacco.
The vast majority of sideline reporters are worthless. This is just a prime example. Joe doesn’t give a damn if a player’s grandmother knits socks for them.
2) Joe always gets irritated when non-college football fans say there are too many bowl games. Why? If you don’t like college football, don’t watch it. That’s like Joe saying the NBA should get rid of the shot clock and start calling traveling. Joe doesn’t watch the non-basketball association.
Any football fan not entertained by Saturday’s bowl games must have been passed out drunk. Joe loves college football. Don’t like it? Don’t watch. Oh, by the way, BSPN makes good cash on these bowl games. That’s why they exist.
3) Speaking of bowl games, there is no bowl game on Christmas. There should be a federal mandate that there be a bowl game on Christmas unless there is an NFL playoff game.
4) What ever happened to the NFL playing games on Saturdays late in the season?
5) Joe is reading where some Bucs fans are starting to get excited about Bill O’Brien as a potential Bucs coach. Hold up! While O’Brien did a wonderful job developing Matt McGloin into a respectable quarterback, please look at the track record of Bill Belicheat disciples coaching in the NFL. It’s awful. Buyer beware.
6) Joe would rather see the Bucs draft Allen Robinson in the second round then hire Bill O’Brien.
7) A cute move by someone in St. Louis. Joe landed there Friday and for those that have never flown Southwest to St. Louis, it has its own terminal there. You have to walk downstairs to the baggage claim. At the foot of the stairs was a chorus singing Christmas carols for the busy travelers. Nice touch.
8) Joe has no idea why the Rams want to rip down the Ed Jones dome. It’s a fine facility. The only hang-up Joe can see is the lack of luxury boxes. Surely they could take seats out and add luxury suites cheaper than holding the good people of east-central Missouri to foot a near-billion dollar project?
9) When Joe landed in St. Louis is was 68 degrees. Couple of hours later, Joe was helping an old friend clean out gutters to earn his keep, as Joe stays at his friend’s parents’ empty house when visiting Illinois. Joe did this work in a downpour in the 40s. Yes, Joe missed Tampa Bay very much at that point.
10) Joe still can’t get worked up for college hoops quite yet. It usually takes Joe a week or two into January to get excited for hoops, usually when conference play begins.