Yesterday, Today And TomorrowDecember 16th, 2013
A long look at the Bucs yesterday, today, and what to expect tomorrow and beyond.
If there was one redeeming value in the Bucs getting curb-stomped by the 49ers yesterday, it was the Bucs currently still have a great 2014 draft slot – seventh overall factoring in Joe’s calculation of strength of schedule tiebreakers for the entire season.
Frankly, there are any number of ways the Bucs could go. Joe is awfully sure secondary, linebacker and running back will not be on Bucs rock star general manger Mark Dominik’s notes for the first round.
Joe would be fine with a first round pick of any of the following positions, but of course would love a certain quarterback from College Station who Nick Saban couldn’t slow down: Offensive line, wide receiver, quarterback, defensive end.
Joe has a hunch Dominik will go offense first, a combination of Dominik being gun-shy of drafting another defensive lineman high and the offense having a lot of leaks. Just a hunch, nothing more.
Now here is why Joe wouldn’t draft a defensive lineman. Why? The way Will Gholston is steadily improving, he may just be that guy. Gholston plays more every week and produces more every week. Seems the sky is the limit.
Add to that Gholston is flexible. He can play inside and he can play outside. Not sure about you, but it fires Joe up when Gholston bats down passes. About time the Bucs had a guy do that. Chris Sims, Jeff Garcia, Josh Freeman, all three were always getting passes batted down. Glad the Bucs can return the favor.
Look, it is as simple as this: If a receiver catches a ball before the first down marker, it is not a first down. Got it? Good.
Then why doesn’t Mike Sullivan get it? It just frosted Joe yesterday watching the dinks and dunks way short of the first down marker, thus, a dance line to the punt team. Why?
The only two drives the Bucs scored on, Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon was throwing the ball deep, at least past the first down markers. Shouldn’t that have tipped off Sullivan?
Unless you have three receivers all built like Vincent Jackson or Anquan Boldin, throwing short routes are hanging out receivers to dry. You can’t expect Tiquan Underwood and Chris Owusu to break two or three tackles on each catch in order to get a first down.
The 49ers are the defending NFC Champs. After yesterday, the Bucs are going to need an incredible amount of work on offense in order for this team to be playoff ready. The defense is nearly there. But sketchy blocking. Virtually no run game. Lousy pass game (but for two possessions). Man, take a good look at that offense the next two weeks. Joe’s pretty sure it’s going to look a lot different in 2014. If not, the playoff drought will surely continue.
Joe wrote yesterday how he is still not (yet) sold on Glennon. But was Glennon handcuffed by the Bucs? In retrospect, it seemed Bucs coaches had Glennon locked in a cage. Twice, the Bucs decided to go hurry-up and throw the ball downfield and both times Glennon rose to the occasion and capped the drives with touchdowns.
So why in the world did Bucs coaches put the brakes on a successful thing? It’s almost like Glennon and the offense were doomed from within.
Perhaps Glennon can be that guy, that franchise quarterback, if the right offense and right plays are called?
Joe’s not going to quibble over when that special teams play should have been called. If it worked, Bucs commander Greg Schiano would have been hailed as a genius. But it didn’t work, and people are mocking Schiano for the call (which he didn’t make).
Joe’s not going there. Joe noticed a lot of people were coming to the defense of Russell Sheppard on the play, which Joe still maintains was a bad handoff by Eric Page.
You may doubt Joe all you want. But answer Joe this: If Sheppard was truly the culprit on the play, why did two Bucs coaches, including Schiano, chew out Page right after the play and not Sheppard, and why was Page benched and not Sheppard? Do the math.
At least both Page and Sheppard manned up and spoke about the play after the game. Much respect to them for that.
So, About The Need For Points?
Joe still can’t figure it out. Last week Schiano exclaimed how points in Sunday’s game would be at a premium. Yet with fourth-and-two from the 49, trailing by a touchdown in the first quarter, why punt? Why not go for it? What do you have to lose? You said points would be at a premium?
Yes, Joe knows if the Bucs fail there, San Francisco has a short field. OK, then why the exclamation for the dire need of points? You can’t say how you need points so desperately then turn around and play for field position. Can’t play aggressive and not to lose at the same time.
Chargers: They are not out of the playoffs yet. Very much in the running. Joe loved how crazy Philip Rivers outdueled the holy Peyton Manning on his own turf.
Dixie Chicks: A one-point win over the tanking Redskins? Joe doesn’t know if that is call for celebration or scorn. The Redskins are circling the drain. FYI, Joe knows Bucs fans (some of them) are pining for bratty Jay Cutler or Rivers, but how about Kirk Cousins who shredded the Dixie Chicks?
Bears: Speaking of bratty Jay Cutler, Jay Glazer reported a player in the Bears locker room said 95 percent of the team did not want Cutler starting. So, Cutler got run from Denver and the coach killer isn’t wanted by his own teammates? And the Bucs should grab him, why exactly? Didn’t the Bucs just go through this drama with Rip Van Freeman?
Colts: They won their division already, but is anyone really scared of them in January? All of Andrew Luck’s best weapons are hurt.
Bills: What a wretched waste this must have been, watching the bungling Bills slug it out with the Jags. Ugh. This may have been the first decent road game EJ Manuel has played in the NFL.
Dolphins: Ah, ha! The Dolphins thwarted a Belicheat rally late. More and more this looks like a playoff team. Beating the Dolphins was a very good win for the Bucs.
Vikings: Matt Cassel hammered the Eagles. Matt Cassel!!! If you like passing this was your kind of game. Over 800 yards of passing between the two teams. Anyone want to weigh in on how Rip Van Freeman will never, barring injuries, take another snap for the Vikings again, or about how he came up with that mysterious concussion?
Seahawks: Throttled the Giants, throttled. For the Mike Sullivan haters out there: Now Joe understands fans want to run the Bucs offensive coordinator. But he is a helluva quarterback coach. Rip Van Freeman may have had his best games with Sully. Oh, and since Sully left the Giants, Eli Manning hasn’t been worth a crap (short of throwing for 8000 yards against the Bucs to open the 2012 season). Manning threw five picks yesterday. Yes, that’s five picks. Oh, man.
Stinking Panthers: Not a bad bounce-back game against the Sybil-Jets. The Jets are predictably unpredictable this year.
Chiefs: Kansas City ran up a half-a-hundred on the Raiders. LOL. Joe has heard that Raiders owner Mark Davis has been casted for the next “Dumb and Dumber” movie. His hair looks just like Lloyd’s.
Packers: How awesome was this, watching Tony Romo and Dallass melt down in December (again) and lose to Matt Flynn of all people? Joe can’t stop laughing.
Lambs: The Lambs hammered the Saints. In a dome no less, though it was on the road. This was the shocker of the day for Joe, doing this with a beat up secondary and backup quarterback? Oh, guess who the Bucs play next week?
Desert Rats: They are hanging on to a playoff race by the skin of their teeth. Tremendous job by Bruce Arians. A win in overtime, even if it is Tennessee, is a good win.
Steelers: Wow, what a beat down of the Bengals. It looked like the Steelers of not-so-long-ago: Strong running, Big Ben tossing bombs, a stout and punishing defense. Where has this team been all year, Mike Tomlin?
Joe’s Non-NFL Thoughts
1) Though the quality of football isn’t so much worthy of top-flight college programs, the Army-Navy game is cool to watch. Mostly very disciplined football. The pomp and pageantry is very cool. In the snowstorm Saturday, the ground-level shots CBS had with the cadets and the midshipmen all in sharp uniforms in the background was very impressive.
2) Just a hunch, but Joe’s going to guess the Cadets and the Midshipmen who played Saturday didn’t refer to each other as warriors. Their concept of warrior may be just a little bit different than most.
3) So Jameis Winston won the Heisman. Eh, OK. He deserved it, clearly. The only reason Joe watched that show is because Joe was starved for college football. No sport this good has such a torturously long offseason. Baseball and the non-basketball association have a three-month offseason (yes, Joe counts spring training games; they are popular). The NHL has a four-month offseason. College basketball has a six-month offseason. The NFL has a seven-month offseason. College football? Try eight months. Painful. Just freaking painful.
4) Joe, a few years ago, was beginning to get sucked into recruiting season but wised up. The recruiting stories were like cheap romance novels. The stories were the same, just the locations and names changed. And what freaking recruit, after a night of partying and skirt-chasing, would say, “You know, that f’ing school is a joke. I’ve had better times at a prison yard. F’ that place. I ain’t playing there. The beer was warm and the women smelled like Cheetah. They can shove it.” Joe knows there are a lot of good people who make a living on football and basketball recruiting but it’s way, way, way, way too ADD for Joe to follow and borders on fiction writing.
5) Memo to college administrators and to the NHL honks: Will you please schedule more (on in college basketball’s case, some) games on Friday nights? The non-basketball association has a damned monopoly on Friday nights after college football is over. Joe would rather jam a pen in his eye than stomach that tripe. Once the bowl season ends, Friday nights are dreadful until baseball season begins. It drives Joe to sit in a corner of a bar and drink like a mental patient.
6) Every so often Joe hears some radio or TV type demand to hear Winston discuss the night of his alleged sexual assault. Why? This has to be the dumbest demand Joe has ever heard. Why should he waive his Fifth Amendment rights? There can’t be a sober lawyer in this country that would let his client pull that kind of stupid stunt. We are talking about a kid here. All he has to do is say something stupid, say something sarcastic that is twisted, for the accuser’s lawyer to start banging the drum, the investigation is re-opened, and here come the charges and monster legal bills if not prison. Joe cannot think of anything more stupid than for Winston to talk about the night in question because some clown for Yahoo Radio or some other outlet that has 10 listeners wants him to waive his Fifth Amendment privileges. Joe can guaran-freaking-tee you if said talking heads were in Winston’s shoes, no amount of cash would get them to talk.
7) For the first time, just so Joe didn’t look like the Grinch in the neighborhood and be ostracized, Joe bought Christmas lights to hang up in the front of his house. What a waste of cash and energy. Joe put his foot down on buying a tree. Never bought one; never will.
8) Joe thought it was pretty cool last week putting up Christmas lights and working up a sweat doing so. Can’t imagine having to put up Christmas lights in the snow and ice.
9) Why on Earth was Jordan Lynch in New York for the Heisman Trophy Award ceremony? What, Jeff Driskel couldn’t make it?
10) Joe just looked and there is no college bowl game on Christmas. That’s just wrong, man.
11) For the Jimmy Garoppolo crowd: Joe watched Eastern Illinois University Friday night on BSPN2 and at first, Garoppolo looked like a wizard with the football, hitting his first 10 of 11 passes, then Joe thought he really tailed off as Towson State hammered EIU. Well, Garoppolo’s numbers in his final college game were pretty impressive. In a snowstorm, he completed 76 percent of his passes for 321 yards and no picks.