The Stinking Panthers And The Bucs

July 15th, 2014
ESPN examines how the Bucs are building their team compared to the Stinking Panthers, and the rest of the NFC South.

ESPN examines how the Bucs are building their team compared to the Stinking Panthers and the rest of the NFC South.

Training camp is — what now? — 10 days away. And before you know it, the exhibition season preseason begins. And just when you are getting over your massive hangover from the three-day Labor Day weekend (Joe warned you about the Guinness), the NFL is back!

From Tampa to Fort Myers to Orlando to Tallahassee and beyond, Bucs fans will be giddy when the Stinking Panthers take the field to open the season at the Stadium on Dale Mabry Highway.

In many ways, types ESPN’s Bucs blogger Pat Yasinskas, the Bucs are being constructed just like the Stinking Panthers. And it doesn’t seem to sit right with him.

Anyway, I look at that Carolina team and then I look at the plan coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht have in place for this year’s Buccaneers. It’s the same thing, right? Yes, in many ways it’s the exact same strategy. A defense led by defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David is going to keep the Bucs close in most of their games. In some of those games, a running game featuring Doug Martin with a little bit of passing from Josh McCown will do the trick.

But is that enough to get the Bucs anywhere close to the Super Bowl? I’m not so sure. There’s no question that formula worked quite nicely for Hurney and coach John Fox back in the day, and it could do wonders for a Tampa Bay team that was 4-12 last season.

Could the Bucs turn things around and make a Super Bowl run? Amid all the optimism that came with Smith’s hiring — and I think that was a great move — I’m more than a little skeptical.

Joe understands what Yasinskas is getting at, and he later touches upon what Joe will type right now: There is one major difference right off the bat in the way the Panthers constructed their playoff team and the way L&L are building things over at One Buc Palace; the Stinking Panthers drafted a quarterback in the first round, No. 1 overall even.

The Bucs decided to go out and get a 35-year old backup and pray he can rekindle his five-game magic from last season.

As Joe has stated previously, and it drives Bucs fans nuts despite it being the unvarnished truth, if you have the fourth-best quarterback in your division, then that’s one helluva steep hill to climb to get to a Super Bowl.

As much as Joe wants to see Josh McCown succeed, until proven otherwise, he is the fourth-best quarterback in the NFC South.

36 Responses to “The Stinking Panthers And The Bucs”

  1. Mort Says:

    Good thing quarterbacks are just a part of the larger picture otherwise you’re right, the bucs wouldn’t be winning anything.

  2. BucsQcCity Says:

    Dunkaneers will take care of the offense. No worries

  3. biff barker Says:

    Just who is Cam going to throw to? Tiquan?

  4. Joe Says:

    Just who is Cam going to throw to? Tiquan?


  5. Nick2 Says:

    To play devils advocate I am not sure how many people were crowning Russell Wilson as the next Hall of Fame quarterback before last year or even now. But the point is a good one and 3rd and long is alot easier call when you have Cam Newton who can get it with his feet rather than McCown who will have to be throwing a jump ball to Jackson.

  6. Harry Says:

    I agree with you Biff, the Panthers are not in real good shape. Cam has NO weapons to throw too. If I was a Panthers fan I would be screaming at their GM.

    But I think the point is that the Bucs have not invested a high draft pick in a QB and come up a winner. You can’t get to even a Conference Championship game without a top QB. Look at the QBs of the four teams from last year: B-rady, Manning, Wilson and Kap. And this is one step away from the SB.

  7. Harry Says:

    Yeah Joe, can you believe the Panthers are projecting Tiquan as a friggin starter!!! OMG, if we loose to the Stinking Panthers I will be sooooo p.o.-ed!

  8. Joe Says:


    But the point is a good one and 3rd and long is alot easier call when you have Cam Newton who can get it with his feet rather than McCown who will have to be throwing a jump ball to Jackson.

    You may be surprised at McCown. He’s not a statue. Pretty good athlete, though not as much as Newton, obviously. There is video floating around of McCown playing basketball. Guy has some skills. Not an immobile quarterback.

  9. bucfan593 Says:

    Tampa is twice the team the panthers are. They can’t touch our WR, RB, DB’s, I’m going to go as far as saying I like our LB’s. We have better TE’s. Both Offensive lines are question masks. Our defensive line is going to be much improved and could rival theirs. And they have scam Newton. Watch him run like Vick 2.0 with Nobody to throw to. All we need to o is bring it all together and they don’t have a chance

  10. ToesOnTheLine Says:

    Know I’ll probably catch some flack for saying this, but regardless of Cam being drafted#1 the Panthers offense was mid-20’s last season. Since Newton has been the starting QB I can’t remember the Panthers ever being a high powered O, so my point is I think Carolina got hosed with that #1 pick on a guy that is a fantasy football hero but mid-pack mediocre as a game day QB. Sure he’ll have some impressive runs and a few good throws, but he’ll make plenty of horrible throws and bad decisions (plus sulks when things go bad). I don’t see him ever being a truly elite NFL QB. Just my $.02 anyway.

  11. gulfcoast Says:

    Lovie got to the big game with Rex Grossman…. I trust he knows what hes doing. Even so, McCown is a great journeyman-vet for Glennon to learn from. Agreed we went 4-12 bu our “coaches” last year admittingly refused to make adjustments at anytime. So, its hard to say what we couldve been last year with proper coaching. Following the carolina model isnt a bad thing-it IS a copy-cat league.. on a side note, thank God one of the other 31 drafted manziel. That is all.

  12. BucDan Says:


    I don’t think the question is about being elite. I think the question is ‘Does Cam provide enough at QB for them to win?’ and the answer is YES. Especially with the skill set that he has. Having the ability to be an athlete in the pocket AND out of it is a major advantage. Look at what NOT having those attributes at QB got us when the QB doesn’t have the mental makeup of Peyton or Brady. Less to worry about as a defense, which makes it easier to defend against.

  13. Harry Says:

    I agree with most of what you said. Can is not going to be elite; he is never going to be Payton, or B-rady. But like BucDan said he MAY have enough skill that if you give him some weapons – like the skill positions the Bucs now have (hopefully) – and he could be adequate to get them to a SB.

  14. Snook Says:

    The Panthers had the 26th ranked offense last season with that No #1 QB.

    All it boils down to is Mike Shula. If Lovie and Leslie can’t come up with a defense to stop a Mike Shula offense, then they have no business being in the NFL. Its that simple.

    Carolina’s offense doesn’t scare anyone. Cam has no WRs (Benjamin is a bust in waiting) and a bunch of old RBs. And an O-Line that’s lost a couple pieces. Not scared at all of the Panthers. Sorry.

  15. stratobuc Says:

    I don’t know how Pat Yasinskas has a job at ESPN/NFL. He must have some compromising photos of an executive there or something. The guy doesn’t know his subject, and writes shite – just like when he was here.

  16. Hawk Says:

    Harry Says:
    “… if you give him some weapons – like the skill positions …”.

    Not to pick on you Harry, but this could be said about ANY QB. Cam ‘did’ have weapons at the skill positions, and what does he have to show for it (Delhomme went to the Super Bowl)? I am keenly interested in what their offensive production will look like this year. ‘On paper’, they look like they will need to win 6-3 type of games. I DO agree with your statement. I believe you can apply it to the Bucs, regardless of which QB takes the field. But the defense will still be the key to the season.

  17. tiny tim Says:

    I totally disagree with Pat Y. All good to great defenses have a good DLs and LBs. Lovie is building this team how he has always built a team. The way Dungy showed him. The defensive scheme calls for a ferocious DLs and linebackers that run sideline to sideline. How quickly Pat forgets how the Bears were built. ONly lovie did try and upgrade his offense with Marshall, Cutler, Forte and drafting Jeffrey. Is the difference the QB as it relates to the bucs and panthers? No. There are many differences. One main difference is the bucs actually have tried to put weapons around the QB. SOmething that Carolina has failed to do for 4 years.

  18. tiny tim Says:

    @ Hawk – I totally disagree with you. An aging Steve Smith and an ok TE is not weapons. Most teams with a franchise QB like Indy, Atlanta, GB, Denver, NO, Was just to name a few draft a high pick (1st or 2nd round) at WR every year. This is the only year since CAm has been there that they used a 1st round pick on a WR. When you name the weapons Cam has had since he has been in carolina, then I will agree. BTW, Delhome had a in his prime steve smith, Muhsin Muhammad, Ricky Prohel, and Stephen Davis. Those players are way better than anything Cam has had to work with.

  19. crazy Says:

    L&L don’t expect Brady/Brees level QB play they’re expecting Brad Johnson level play. If McCown can deliver the ball to the playmakers and be durable enough to last the season the Bucs will be fine… for now.

  20. Hawk Says:

    Ask the Buccaneer CB/safties of the last 3-4 years if “an aging Steve Smith” was easy to cover. He burned the Bucs on more than one occasion. But I believe you misunderstood my point. I do NOT believe that Newton has weapons now, which is why I said “did have weapons”. Their RBs have also given the Bucs fits. I will certainly agree that Delhomme had better talent around him, but wasn’t the athlete that Newton is. Isn’t everyone saying that a ‘running’ QB makes for a *better* QB? And let’s not forget the good old standby, “A great QB makes the players around him better”.
    You are welcome to disagree, but until I see otherwise, Newton is going to have a tougher year than the past several.
    “Times were simpler, defenses didn’t move as fast, and the QB was often the best athlete. Now he’s being chased by the best athletes.” Bill Walsh

  21. SAMCRO Says:

    The only QB in our division who can possibly win games on his own is maybe Drew Brees (I even doubt he’d have multiple success). The rest need help from their offense, so with that in mind they are all basically even. Ryan proved fallible last year, before last year the word “bust” was being bandied about with Cam’s name attached to it. I still don’t buy any of your crap that the best QB in our division was in this years draft. McCown could end up being statistically the second best QB in our division this year, ahead of Ryan, and Newton. I’m sorry that your precious Freeman checked out but other than the veteran McCown, who should the Bucs have gotten that would have automatically been the best QB in our division. Your argument at this point is nothing but a tantrum. Pretty lame to even suggest that had we used our 1st round draft pick on a QB everything would be honky dory.

  22. Snook Says:

    So tired of hearing about Cam Newton and the Panthers.

    Ranked 26th in total yards. 29th in passing yards. 29th!!! 300 more total yards last season than Freeman/Glennon! And we’re supposed to be afraid of this team? Really? Averaged 5 more points per game than the Bucs horrid offense. All this with the mighty Cam Newton? Drafted number 1. With Steve Smith. And 3 RBs.

    They won with defense last year. Period. And came out of no where from the season before. Newton doesn’t lead that team. Their defense does.

    Newton is a great athlete. I just don’t want to hear how he’s such a great QB. Its BS.

  23. John23 Says:

    Lovie and licht to draft Winston in 2years watch!!!

  24. Owlykat Says:

    The Panthers have a Big Back Offense with a big running QB. The biggest drawback of the T-2 has been running defense. Carolina will be running right up the middle and until we pull an underweight Foster and put Spence in too with the MLB from the Patriots we will have big trouble with their running game. We can win with the surprises from our Offense and the Florida heat wearing them down and adjustments from Lovie, but I expect a scary game the first half.

  25. Bob Says:

    I wouldn’t put all my money on Cam being worth a number 1 pick. I think the jury still out . Let’s see what he does this year.

  26. bringbucsback Says:

    Joe, don’t you think L&L would have considered a QB in the draft if he would have been an upgrade or a value at said pick. Remember, the consensus, at this point, was that there were no first round grades at QB’s in this draft. Dom & Rah reached on Free and we wasted half a decade.

  27. Joe Says:

    Lovie and licht to draft Winston in 2years watch!!!

    Either that means the Bucs will really suck (and both of those guys may be gone as a result) or they are going to get raped in a trade.

  28. buc4lyfe Says:

    I’ll seriously be glad when writers can look at the work being done on Sundays instead of running out of things to write in the off season. It’s an insult to compare us honestly. We have receivers capable of being a vertical threat, we’ve always had great running backs, were the ones with hall of fame d Lineman and now a linebacker. Oh and we’re the ones with the Superbowl ring cuz running game and defense was always our calling card and being that we haven’t had a stellar quarterback since Doug Williams what other choices are there as far as off season game planning goes. Panthers won recently but they’re still the little baby brother and won’t repeat last year’s success if cam Newton is the leader in the locker, he’ll be pouting and complaining to the media week one. Should have kept Steve Smith I think he’s the leader who gave that team their fire

  29. buc'd Up Says:

    As a Bucs fan, I hate Cammy. As a football fan, I still hate Cammy. He’s way too into himself to ever be a leader. Every time I see him rip his jersey open like Superman, I know its only a matter of time before hes seen sitting on the side line sobbing like a little girl that just lost her puppy. So for me, he’s a flash in the pan, mediocre qb. Capable of great things but will never mature. Glad he’s a stinkin Panther.

  30. phil Says:

    With Greg Hardy convicted of assault charges today it would be nice to see him suspended for the first game of the season.

  31. Buccfan37 Says:

    I agree Cam is an overhyped QB and nothing special. Last years blowout losses by the Bucs vs the stinking panthers are not to be repeated history.

  32. Ladyfan Says:

    The article overlooked our WRs and TEs as receivers for starters. So, on paper, we look better than the Stinking you know whos. I am not against having a journeyman QB like McCowan ( and Brad Johnson ) but who knows if McCown IS in fact such an animal.
    Its hard to take part in these conversations at this time of the year because the proof will be in the play on the field. Anxious to go to TC/ BTW can someone tell me why they scheduled all of the TCs so late in the afternoon/eve? I can’t take my grandson , 4, which I had planned to do to get him interested in football and sports generally. Gotta find something to burn off all that energy….lol

  33. Lovie_Me_Some_Bucs Says:

    Quarterbacks are really only as good as the weapons around them. For instance, though relatively successful, Tom Brady’s stats have been relatively flat for a couple of years now due to lack of weapons. Cam now has almost zero true weapons on that offense other than the RBs that are slow
    but powerful.
    The Bucs offense has the most weapons of any Bucs offense I have ever seen right now. I expect Josh to do well because of that. He’s got PLENTY of targets to throw to, and someone is going to get open or snag a jump ball (especially helpful in the red zone) for him quite often.
    Looking at our schedule we start off with 6 relatively tough games. If we can get through those 3-3 or better we could easily reel off 4 wins after the bye and be a 7-3 football team at week 11. Potential playoff team for sure…

  34. WobbleBuc Says:

    Drew Brees is great but see Saints 2012 campaign with Payton suspended for the year…7-9. Basically the same team that had 13 wins the year before minus one major piece, Payton. This is one of the elite QBs in the league, the kind that are rare to find no matter how many number 1 QBs you draft. He couldn’t even carry that team. Nothing against Kap and Wilson but having excellent coaching and an excellent defense make playing QB that much easier. Would they be the same QB on say the Jags, not even close. They are a product of their environment as most players are. Players need skill no doubt but IMO coaching/scheme is the greatest piece to create a winning environment. Payton would make McCown and Glennon look like HOFers because that’s what he does. Brees was a good QB but it wasn’t until he matched up with Payton that he became elite.

  35. Hawk Says:

    @ WobbleBuc

    Can’t argue against a single point, nor say it better. Well done.
    But that bit about making McCown look like a HOFer… :^)

  36. WobbleBuc Says:

    @ Hawk

    Lol yeah, that part about McCown might be a little overboard but you get the point.