Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Panthers

December 24th, 2017


They ravaged the NFL’s No. 5 defense for 392 yards. They kept Greg Olsen in check and punted only once. They scared the bejesus out of Jerry Richardson, who surely has bigger issues to worry about.

Still, they lost.

That’s five in a row in the wrong column for Dirk Koetter, who lasted a little more than three minutes on the podium following Sunday’s setback before the media ran out of questions or Koetter ran out of answers.

The end of the season can’t come soon enough for Buc fans eager to see what changes are in store for the perennial also-rans of the NFC South.

The bottom of NFL rosters churn over every year, that’s a given. Most Tampa Bay supporters would like to see some churn at the top.

With one week remaining at One Buc Place before a pewter purge, here’s how the latest heartbreaker went down in Charlotte.

* It could have been anyone, but it had to be Swaggy. That’s right, Chris Baker couldn’t stop himself from crossing the line of scrimmage prematurely with the Panthers facing fourth-and-3 and the game on the line.That yellow flag is a perfect complement to the blue mood of all those Buc fans fed up with Baker’s play for 15 games.

* Jameis Winston came close to personally willing the Bucs to victory. Yes, he made some mistakes, but he also made throws all over the field while converting 6-of-11 third downs against a fierce defense that hounded him all afternoon. And about that late-game tantrum … I say bravo.

* Tampa Bay’s two longest plays from scrimmage this year have come from rookies, with Chris Godwin’s 70-yard catch-and-run on Sunday topping the 58-yard reception by O.J. Howard against the Giants. I’d have no problem with Godwin emerging as my No. 2 target in 2018.

* Red-zone issues were critical vs. Carolina, but the bitter truth is the struggle to finish drives has plagued the Bucs all season. Coming into the game, Tampa Bay had scored only 23 TDs in 44 possessions inside the 20. Koetter said his red-zone calls stunk on Sunday. No argument here.

* A 1-7 record on the road and an 0-5 mark within your division are both embarrassing failures for a franchise that is weighing down the best division in pro football. If the Bucs don’t beat the Saints in the season finale, they will finish 0-6 in divisional play for the second time in the past 4 years.

* Julius Peppers will end up wearing a gold jacket as a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but he turns 38 in a few weeks. The man’s going to haunt Winston’s dreams this week after schooling Caleb Benenoch, who was 8 years old when Peppers broke into the league in 2002.

* Doug Martin? Really?. Did we just see Martin in the Bucs backfield during crunch time? Another six carries worth seven yards for a player who has absolutely zero chance of wearing pewter next fall. This nutty backfield situation is a bigger mystery than Stonehenge.

* On a day when the Bucs needed contributions from all corners, special teams were no bargain. Carolina scored on a kickoff return and Patrick Murray pushed a 51-yard FG try that could have put the Bucs up 22-15. Murray is now 2-for-5 on kicks from 50 yards or more. Not good enough.

* The Jon Gruden rumors are flying — and nobody is denying a word. That includes the man himself and the Glazers. In this case, the sounds of silence speak rather loudly.

* That’s three consecutive three-point losses for the Bucs, preceded by an OT setback in Green Bay. Close doesn’t count in the NFL, but these  players don’t look like they’ve given up on their head coach. That should be factored in, unless ownership has already decided Koetter’s fate.

Ira Kaufman is the most revered sports personality and writer in town. He has hung his hat at 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.

34 Responses to “Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Panthers”

  1. Lakeland Says:

    They get a Top-5 draft pick for sucking so much.

  2. JonBuc Says:

    Bravo to Winston’s fire and brimstone indeed. Ira always a bright spot at JBF.gong

  3. Pa Privateer Says:

    If I was Licht I would have CUT BAKER after the game. BOOM, bye-bye Lazy man. Set the precedent before the end of the season that his poor play is not acceptable anymore.

  4. Bird Says:

    49ers won so bucs get better pick. “Sad but true”

    Sad to say but garbage wins at end of season mean nothing when you are cleaning house. They need Chubb with their pick or Barkley at running back. I do like the fight in the players. They haven’t given up on koetter and that’s cool to see as a fan.

    And I give Jameis credit. He still needs to lose those turnovers but he has looked like the qb we have been waiting for…last 2 games were right on…also. He has to get tds in red zone and that has been big struggle. Some is on coaching. Some is on him.

    Funny though how people say kudos for Jameis going mental on sideline yet dogged mike Evans when he went crazy protecting his quarterback.

    Ball bounced right into cams hands at the end of he game which is perfect example of how season has gone for bucs.

  5. Nate Says:

    3 consecutive 3 point losses and 3 going on 4 years of a under 20 point average on offense

    which we needed over that amount in this loss AGAIN……..

    I like Dirk …really do but i know Gruden has more than 20 in his playbook

  6. OneBucPerson Says:

    Sad about Martin but he’s done. Too injury prone and inconsistent to be counted on going forward. On the plus side with us now jumping into the top 5 picks of the draft we’ll be in prime position to add a great DE prospect like Chubb/Key/Ferrell and pick up a great RB prospect in the top of the 2nd like Love/Chubb/Guice or whoever.

  7. Season Is Over Says:

    Bravo on the late-game tirade? He is the face of the franchise. This is the bar the media sets? The whole nation disagrees. Embarrassing.

  8. Nate Says:

    giving up or quitting is not the theme with this team…..its scoring offense (for an avg over 20 pts) when the D shows up

    this team is TOO talented to even try to quit ……that’s why you don’t see that

    unlike the recurring theme before

  9. Bird Says:


    You have security clearance for emails on this site. I m trying to give some bucs fan my 2 tickets for New Year’s Eve game Can’t make it.

    Can you help?

    They are free. 15 rows off field On 32 yard line – opposing bench. Let me know. I will check this post later.

  10. lambchop Says:

    I thought the same thing about Patrick Murray. He’s kicking exactly how Aguayo should have kicked for us; make the short to medium ones and fail miserably at the long ones. So, we got a mediocre kicker who “looked” like the answer to our problems because we sucked so bad at kicking.

    Another position to solidify in the off season. I’m all for giving him a chance, so let him compete next pre-season. But, I would prefer a guy who can nail the kick from any range consistently. 2 of 5 from 51-54 yards is gonna cost us games. There are enough kickers available that we don’t have to settle for mediocrity.

  11. D-Rome Says:

    Playing Drug Martin in crunch time is Exhibit Q as to why Irk Koetter has no business being an NFL Head Coach.

  12. D-Rome Says:

    Sad about Martin but he’s done. Too injury prone and inconsistent to be counted on going forward.

    Why is it sad? What has Doug Martin done in his career here that warrants any sympathy for him? If anyone is a cancer to the team it’s Drug Martin.

  13. lambchop Says:

    Also, why can’t we get creative with the short yardage running game when it’s 2nd and short or 3rd and short? If the OL can’t get a push off the block, then why not PA, bootleg with Winston, misdirection handoff, jet sweep, screen? Anything but run it up the gut two straight times for nothing!

    I don’t know what to do with Koetter. You have to understand your weaknesses and try to maneuver around in spite of the deficiencies by getting creative with your play calling.

  14. TonyC Says:

    I’m so sick of the Koetter apologists.I guess losing close games is acceptable. So who is responsible for this loss? One major question is why does Koetter keep playing Martin when the stats show DM isn’t capable of success. Does Koetter suffer from sort of cognitive impairment that doesn’t allow for the simple recollection of past mistakes? This is so ridiculous. I’ll take anybody at this point. I’m not necessarily sold on Gruden but somebody that can take the reins and make this thing work. We’re not talking rocket science for god sakes.

  15. Brett Says:

    These losses aren’t the same as Raheem’s losses. A few plays each game, including some by the QB (not coach’s fault) and they would be in the playoffs. They lost two or three games by kicks, and they haven’t drafted defense in years. Give Koetter and Smith another year to turn it around.

  16. Season Is Over Says:

    Why didn’t you ask Koetter why he stopped going to Barber in the second half? Sounds like a good question for the press conference. My guess is besides one easy run his YPC was the same as Martin.

  17. LifeOfABucFan Says:

    Bird..are you on Twitter? Someone would appreciate them there…

  18. King C Says:

    Koeeter in done.
    Looks like Chuckys coming back
    He was praising Jameis so much on the Monday night game

  19. macklemore Says:

    In regards to Winston’s hissy fit in the last seconds of the game after losing his third fumble, there is fire and then there is dumpster fire. That was dumpster fire–nothing to be proud of.

  20. Duke Says:


    If you’re serious about the tixs, I would absolutely love the opportunity to take my wife to Her first Bucs game at Ray Jay. She finally started rooting for the Bucs because of Jameis Winston and hard knocks. Haven’t had the chance to get back home since July and capitalize on this new found fandom. I’ve been looking forward to being back in the area for the holidays and was positive that, this year, there would be a meaningful game to play. Turns out, the most important thing is actually just being there.
    Btw, it’s very generous of you to be giving away your tixs, Merry Christmas.

  21. gilhealy Says:

    macklemore and the other girls on this site who have a problem with Jameis being pissed after the refs gave Carolina the ball are wusses to the nth degree. Y’all have obviously never played any sport at all, or accepted participation trophies easily. I and 99% of actual men would’ve reacted the same way if we got jobbed out of a chance to win the game. You see, that’s what winners do. You chumps are pathetic.

  22. USFBUC Says:

    The Bucs need to make some moves this offseason, and according to OTC they will have a ton of cap space especially if they trade Jackson and cut/trade Martin, Rodgers, Baker plus estimated carry over the Bucs would have 87.5 million dollars to spend (if I read and did the math right from OTC).

    The Bucs could sign LeVeon Bell, Trumaine Johnson, Malcolm Butler, Dontari Poe and fix a fair number of problems right there and still have tons of cap space, even with paying Bell the crazy 15 million he wants. I don’t think any of the FA DEs are worth the money this year so we have to hope we get one in the draft. I would take a chance on Wilkerson who looks like he might get cut. Bring him in to compete on a very team friendly nobody wants your headache type of contract.

    Then we just have to draft a DE, SS, RB, WR, OL, DT

  23. Bird Says:

    Or anyone

    The tickets are yours if you want. How do I get them to you? Tickets can be emailed these days so??????

    I am Not on Twitter. Not on Facebook.

  24. lightningbuc Says:

    Bravo to Lakeland’s QB having a meltdown? I knew Joe was a Jaboo honk, but Ira?

  25. Duke Says:


    Absolutely! If you can email them perfect. [email protected]
    Thank you

  26. Rrsrq Says:

    I’m pretty sure, if Tom Brady recovered the ball they would’ve given the Pats the ball, if not, he would’ve screamed and everyone would’ve talked about his fire

  27. Bird Says:


    They are yours. Just keep communicating thru this one post. It lets you go back to older posts. It asks for general name given on email so I will put duke.

    They are section 137. Row k. Seats 7 and 8. They are money. I will post here when sent. Probably not today as Christmas and family.

  28. Jim Says:

    Applauding immaturity is one big reason why the Bucs haven’t seen the play-offs in ten years. But go ahead…

  29. Destinjohnny Says:

    I thought we had 6-10 talent
    So dirk under achieved by two games

  30. mark2001 Says:

    IRA…this simple….Do they like Koetter? Yes.. Will they play for Koetter? Yes… Will they win with Koetter? Sadly, Not. Great guy…not HC.

  31. Duke Says:


    Thank you very much. I will send you some pix of myself and my wife cheering the team and saying thank you. I hope you are enjoying the day with your family.
    Really just want to say thanks again.
    If you are out west and want tixs to a PAC 12 game, I will take good care of you.

  32. Arealbucsfan Says:

    Hell yea we needed to see Jameis blow up like that. Not very many players on this team have tenacity. The tone needs to be set. I’m tired of losers!

  33. Bird Says:

    Check email I sent

  34. Bird Says:


    Check email sending.