Smelling Another Five-Game Winning Streak

October 11th, 2017

Ira Kaufman is the most beloved, revered and esteemed Buccaneers columnist in town. He has hung his hat at JoeBucsFan.com world headquarters since July 2016. Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira busts out columns here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can also see Ira every football Sunday at 10:30 a.m. on FOX-13, Scott Smith’s Tailgate Sunday.

BY IRA KAUFMAN

This was as close to a bye week as the Bucs are going to get during this strange season, so they need to pounce.

I’m smelling another five-game winning streak.

Why not? Tampa Bay reeled off five consecutive victories following the 2016 bye as a 3-5 team vaulted into playoff contention, awakening a slumbering fan base. Few supporters saw it coming, but the Bucs fixed a porous defense while establishing themselves as a franchise on the rise.

This time around, the Bucs haven’t dug a prodigious hole. They find themselves 2-2 at the quarter-pole, and that .500 record seems about right for The Gang That Can’t Kick Straight.

Adding to the challenge, the rest of the NFC South has lived up to expectations, with a cumulative 11-6 mark that ranks No. 1 among the league’s eight divisions.

Heading into Sunday’s matchup at Arizona, the Bucs will benefit from extra time to prepare. Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander could be back to join stud rookie Kendell Beckwith and if they all dress, the Bucs would arguably boast the premier linebacker unit in the NFL.

The Cardinals, missing their best offensive player, are so desperate to replace injured David Johnson that they just signed Adrian Peterson — a washout in New Orleans.

Righting The Wrong

We all know what happened the last time the Bucs ventured into the desert. They were not competitive in Week 2 last year against an Arizona team that finished 7-8-1.

Guess what? The Cardinals aren’t very good this season, either. In the NFC, only the Bears have scored fewer points and only the Cowboys have allowed more.

The Bucs find themselves rare road favorites, and for good reason. Tampa Bay has a far superior roster and the Bucs will board a plane on Friday with close to a full arsenal.

Then it’s on to Buffalo, home against the rejuvenated Panthers, back on the road to New Orleans and home against the surprisingly competitive Jets.

Is it crazy to think the Bucs can run that table and stand 7-2 when they journey to Miami to attack Jay Cutler and the game Hurricane Irma washed out?

The adjustments are far less daunting a year later.

Except for a lost weekend in Minneapolis, Tampa Bay’s defense has been good enough. Based on Doug Martin’s stellar effort against the Pats, the ground game could be ready to blossom. The offensive line is playing well.

If Jameis Winston starts to find DeSean Jackson on time and in space, this offense should take off.

Fixed?

At this point, the biggest repair job needs to come at kicker. Patrick Murray has to be a big step up from Nick Folk and if he’s not, dump him and try someone else.

At midseason in 2016, the Bucs couldn’t stop anybody. Right now, the Bucs are stopping themselves with an awful kicking game and an offense that isn’t quite clicking the way it should be, given the talent at hand.

Dirk Koetter needs to be a more imaginative play-caller, and he knows that. He stresses balance, but the Bucs are throwing on 65 percent of their snaps … that’s far from balanced.

If the Bucs roll out five wins in a row, no one should be shocked. Unlike last year, this isn’t a reeling team that needs major renovation.

A tweak here, a tweak there, a few more healthy bodies and some reliability from Murray is all that’s required for this team to get on a roll.

It starts Sunday in Arizona, where the Bucs seek payback and the start of something big.

23 Responses to “Smelling Another Five-Game Winning Streak”

  1. InJameisWeTrust Says:

    If we got a streak in us, it’s gotta be now or soon. Certainly won’t be during all those backloaded divisionals.

  2. darin Says:

    Hard for me to look past this week after that blowout in arz last year. We know how they usually play out west. Having said that tho, the defense is playing well. A streak is possible. I hope dirk scripts a much better first 15 this week. Some early running and short passing success would set em up nicely in the 2nd half. Like you said the cards arent very good this year. No reason to give their defense any more confidence than their fans will. Go Bucs

  3. Frank Pillow Says:

    That streak Ira’s seeing is opposing WRs toasting VHIII snap after snap

  4. J 2.0 Says:

    Need to figure OJ Howard out.

  5. JMarkBuc Says:

    So this is completely off topic, BUT, how do we start a movement to return to our red and pewter uni’s ?

    These Burger King digital clock radio things are the worst!!!!

    At the very least, if they won’t let us throwback to creamsicle orange, when can we throwback to our SB uniforms? Those were tough and manly. A five game win streak would be much easier in those 🙂

  6. 813bucboi Says:

    the streak is possible but dirk has to get better….

    don’t abandon the run…
    call about 5-7 plays just for djax(2slants..2screens..2 deep post..1reserve)
    better clock management….
    creative play calling….
    get both TE involved….
    use Winston on a boot leg to keep the defense honest….

    I must say…defense has been playing pretty good despite all the injuries….looks like smitty wants to be an HC soon….GO BUCS!!!

  7. Champ Says:

    We’re not going to win but 6 games this year…. Can’t score,,,, VHiii is the worst and another one of Jason Lichts garbage pics….. And what happens next year when Grimes is gone???? Need two starting CBs and like 4 d linemen. And no one is going to come to TB after Djax showed what JBoo really is

  8. orlbucfan Says:

    Murray settles down the kicking game.
    DK and his Offense (finally) blossom.
    No reason why Bucs can’t finish at 6-3/7-2.
    Go Bucs!!

  9. RayJameisStadium Says:

    19 points from the Pats. Defense is not the problem.

    Licht is being proactive in getting replacement to underachievers.

    I agree with Ira. Winston – Jackson will make us not only a playoff contender but a Super Bowl winner AGAIN!

    Beet salad for everyone!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!

  10. The Buc Realist Says:

    @RayJameisStadium

    And that was with the Offense doing the Defense no favors that game!!!!! NFL GM Licht is doing great at drafting BPA, and only has fallen into trouble when he tried to draft for need like mark dominik did his whole career!!!!!!!!!!!

    I do disagree with the JW3-DJ11 for the playoff run, It will be a strong running game from DM22 that will really open up the play action, where many receiving options will start to get behind the defense!!!!!!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Miguel Grande Says:

    I don’t get your math. I’m with you that they can win 5 straight like last year but why end it at 5?

    I saw the Dolphins’s game last week against a Mariota-less Titans. Both teams sucked badly. They will not get better.

    The Dolphins will not stop any winning streaks this year.

  12. Locked In Says:

    Hopefully we see Marpet eliminate those low/off target shotgun snaps. And give Jameis a Valium before kickoff.

  13. grafikdetail Says:

    think dirk needs to let monken have more input on play calling & add some new wrinkles to the offense… he was no slouch in putting up point while coaching in the college ranks… throwing new things at a defense is a good thing compared to sticking strictly to scheme that’s been around since joe gibbs was coaching in the 80s

  14. Pickgrin Says:

    Nice article Ira. Its certainly possible the Bucs could go on a winning run starting this week in AZ.

    We can look ahead but the team can’t. 100% focus on this weeks opponent is the only course of action for the next 15 weeks.

    Win about 12 of those games (including the final 3 of course) and the Bucs will get that bye week the NFL denied us – after winning the NFC Championship game!

  15. Capt.Tim Says:

    A five game winning streak?
    Fantastic!!

    So, we found a DE and a CB?

  16. Kobe Faker Says:

    WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE?

    IS THE TAMPA FANBASE AND REPORTING THAT CLUELESS?

    Kobe Faker started the FREE OJ STocker movement after game 1 because Kobe knows Jacksonville Koetter like the back of his hand

    Did OJ Stocker do something wrong? 4 receptions? OJ was outstanding at training camp and the limited targets at preseason, OJ Stocker was fantastic at catching the pass. Everyone was ecstatic of the possibilities OJ?jameis combo during the regular season

    Where is he? Where is the outrage? no targets thursday but the last hail mary pass?

    You sheep remember this from Kobe.

    “As an Offensive coordinator, It is not only the playcall, scheme, or design but choosing the correct player”

    not targeting OJ Stocker has hurt this offense. carolina used a backup TE last week edd dickson for 5 receptions and 175 yards. Dickson cant even sniff OJs jock when it comes to speed, route running and yac

    OJ STOCKER has the the best yac off the line skills in this team. the short passing game is what is needed to loosen the defense and make all the recievers and running game much easier. give OJ Stocker 5 targets per game and we will be top 5 offense in the NFL.

    IT IS NOT GETTING MORE TARGETS TO DJAX BUT TARGETS TO OJ STOCKER THAT IS HURTING THIS TEAM

    “I picked Dalvin Cook over OJ Stocker this week in my fantasy league”

    Kobe Faker

  17. Mike Johnson Says:

    Smelling a five game winning streal is wonderful. Doing it…is harder but even better. It must start in Arizona. Real champions/gladiators march into an opponents collesium and whip their A’s!! Travelling across country to a 3 hr time zone change is no picnic. Not an excuse either. Ira, we gota have this one. Az is still takin about how they shallacked us last yr out there in the desert. Payback time!!!

  18. LakeLand Says:

    At best 2-3 during the next 5 games.

  19. Pick6 Says:

    love your optimism Ira, but this is the NFL and 5 of those 6 teams you project the bucs to mow down have the same record than us or better, except Sunday’s opponent. to finish that stretch 4-2 would be challenging enough. I’m rooting for 6-0 but the realist in me knows better than to expect or even project it

  20. gotbbucs Says:

    The running game needs to pick up for this to happen. 120+ yards every week is what it’s going to take.

  21. bucs_365 Says:

    As a fan of 40 years, I can only count on one game at a time. A five game winning streak? I’m concerned about a one game winning streak. Once we get that, then we think about 2. The players have to focus like that, and as a long term victim of football abuse, I can only tolerate a narrow focus. Also, I’m not sold on this team yet. They’ve shown nothing to deserve such high expectations.

  22. Sirclicksalot Says:

    Hhg

  23. JonBuc Says:

    I smell some smoke coming off the hippie lettuce Ira’s roasting with his main man Dante the dog. 🙂 I hope you’re right, Ira. I hope you’re right…

 

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