“Bad Teams Think About Field Goals”

September 18th, 2014
Bucs coach Lovie Smith irks Chris "Mad Dog" Russo.

Bucs coach Lovie Smith irks SiriusXM’s  Chris “Mad Dog” Russo.

Joe remembers when the Bucs hired Lovie Smith to man the pirate ship, there were kudos offered and glasses clinked all over the place with folks from coast to coast thinking the Bucs got a steal. That is, all but one guy.

The one and only Chris “Mad Dog” Russo was not among the chorus. He scoffed at the hire. Thought it was uninspiring. Thought Team Glazer could have done better.

Subsequently, after talking to the likes of Peter King of theMMQB.com, Russo decided to keep an open mind and sort of became a quiet believer in the Bucs, laying a sizeable chunk of cash, even, that the Bucs would win more than seven games with his short-term investment broker.

Then came the nutkick of a loss to the Lambs and a third-string neverbeen Sunday night.

It reminded Russo of why he was not a fan of Lovie and used his weekly meeting with the “Custodian of Canton,” eye-RAH! Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune, as a sounding board during yesterday’s broadcast of “Mad Dog Unleashed,” heard on the channel that bears the host’s name, “Mad Dog Radio,” heard exclusively on SiriusXM Radio.

Chris “Mad Dog” Russo: Why do coaches do this? Harbaugh did it on Sunday night. They ran the ball late, early in the third quarter when they had the chance to put the game away at the goal line. So they lost – the Bears came back. And Lovie – the Buccaneers now. This is a team that has done nothing. It is 14-13. Five, six minutes to go, whatever it might be, fourth quarter. They go right down the field. They are throwing the ball all over the place with those two big targets, those big wide receivers. And they run the ball twice while in field goal range on second-and-short and third-and-short, down by a point. They kick a field goal. What happens? Austin Davis, he looks like Sammy Baugh. Right down the field. Field goal. Game is over. That is why I don’t like Lovie Smith. That sequence right there Ira, when you have the chance to put the ball in the end zone, take some chances, throw the ball. He is too damn conservative. He’s a bad strategist from an offensive standpoint. That drove me crazy Sunday in Tampa. How about that?

eye-RAH! Kaufman: Not bad there Chris, not bad. Nice little wrap-up. And Chris, here is the cherry on the top: Jeff Tedford is supposed to be the offensive coordinator. He has never called a play on the NFL level. He is still recovering from a stent procedure with his heart. He hasn’t been calling the plays – he still hasn’t called his first NFL play. They have the quarterbacks coach filling in for him. Chris, to go to your point directly, bad teams I feel, when they get into the red zone, bad teams think about field goals. That’s what they think about.

Russo: Excellent point!

Kaufman: All they want to do is come away with three points…

Russo: Excellent point! Excellent point!

Kaufman: And you know, Chris, if you have an elite defense, maybe the Seahawks can get away with that although I don’t think Pete Carroll fits into that conservative class. He could, maybe with that defense. Maybe Carolina? But, the Bucs defense is struggling, Chris. They can’t stop anybody. They faced two back-up quarterbacks at home; lost to both of them. Now they are going to play Matt Ryan, [Ben] Roethlisberger and Drew Brees three straight weeks on the road. So, you are right. The way I put it, and I think I have said it to you before, is, I believe Lovie Smith is more Tony Dungy than Dungy, in terms of his philosophy. He thinks you can win 17-14. They don’t have the kind of defense to pull that off. And you make a solid point, he didn’t trust Josh McCown to make a play and that is very alarming for Bucs fans because McCown was his hand-picked guy this summer.

Russo: Yeah, terrible. That game really bothered me.

It bothered Bucs fans, too! Joe heard the boos. Loud. Joe has read the comments. Irate. Bucs fans are PO’ed.

Here they were all told about the Dunkaneers and the wizardry of Jeff Tedford and that the Bucs are going to win. To date, we have not seen the Dunkaneers in the red zone, that is for sure. Joe feels bad about Tedford’s health. Nothing you can do about that. The winning? Well, how about trying to score a touchdown instead of going full turtle as if the end zone had a vile of the Ebola virus atop the grass?

There were many things that got under Joe’s skin about that loss. Probably the most galling was the Bucs had the ball and seemed to be moving it late in the first half and let all of their timeouts rot away like a gallon of old milk in the fridge.

That kind of clock mismanagement was and is shameful.

27 Responses to ““Bad Teams Think About Field Goals””

  1. DB55 Says:

    7 new coaches only 1 is winless. Go bucs!!

  2. Brent Says:

    Everybody’s worried about mccown tonight. Based on 1st 2 games I’m worried about defense getting shredded. Plus no mccoy! Well see hopefully they get pissed and play good. Nfl is weird maybe they bounce back I hear falcons I-line is average..

  3. Biff Barker Says:

    Vanilla offense, porous defense and really bad special teams play.

    Still no QB. Still no pass rush.

    Buc fans are not getting what they were promised. I really feel for the season ticket holders being fleeced by the Glazers.

  4. Brent Says:

    O- line not I-line go bucs!!

  5. robert9 Says:

    personally I love field goals, walks on the beach and floppy hats

  6. Thebucssuck14 Says:

    Well said Joe, and excellent example of why we are 0-2. Winless. Beginning to wonder about the HC hire. Are we SOL again for 5 more yrs?

  7. billy buckaroo Says:

    Easy to see why they call him mad dog.
    New everything and win out of the gate or blood

  8. buc4lyfe Says:

    That was definitely an obviously glaring Greg schiano moment that lovie had last Sunday but it’s only a problem or mistake to those coaches looking to better themselves like chip Kelly losing his first game due to click management last year. This guy is stoned faced and thickheaded still trying to employ strategy from a decade ago. It’s not the players lovie it’s you

  9. Wesley Says:

    i really don’t think offense is the problem when compared to our defense

  10. Jeagan1999 Says:

    I was all (and still am) for Glennon being our starter this year, but I wish Josh Mccown well tonight and hope he plays well and the Bucs win! If he doesn’t …if he throws pics, and makes the same kind of boneheaded plays he did the first two games, then at 0-3 it’s time to demote him to backup and let MG8 get the reps for the rest of the year. That being said, I hope Lovie opens up the play calling tonight and they take some shots down the field. At some point you have to show some confidence in the team and play to win …not just play it safe or play not to lose! I can’t shake the feeling, however, that this game will not go our way…Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White, etc.. are just too formidable and our defense is missing its best player. My prediction…. Rainey has another monster day running, but McCown throws 2 ints and we lose….Bucs 20 Falcons 27.

  11. Patrick Says:

    “Rex is our quarterback”

  12. flmike Says:

    But hey a good defense and special teams can win you 8 games, offense, who needs offense when you can win 8 whole games with just defense….

    Lovie’s a moron, if you did know it before, you should have known it when he made that statement about defenses winning games…

  13. Buccfan37 Says:

    Some people here were not happy about naming Lovie as head coach. “Mad Dog” was’nt alone.

  14. DB55 Says:

    Billy buc

    Again, 7 new coaches in the league w “new everything” as you say but only the bucs are winless. And this includes Cleveland. Yes we are worse than the browns. FML

  15. Louis Friend Says:

    So here tonight is the question: Can our boy Lovie prove he’s not just an old dog who can’t learn new tricks? because right now looking at it, I think he’s looking like a dried up old man with a flawed defense – and an offensive mentality that is less sexy than kissing your grandmother.

    The other day when he said “When didn’t want to score” – well I think he meant to say “I didn’t think we could score before we screwed something up even worse”.

    Not the words you want to hear from a man missing 5 defensive starters with an offense averaging less than 17 per game.

    What does Lovie have to lose by encouraging the offense to open up? Nothing at all. Because from here on in we now know the season doesn’t rest of the defense. Hell no. They aren’t good enough to win a game. The fate of the 2014 Buccaneers now rests in the hands of McCown, Jackson, Rainey, Evans, Lankins and Tedford/Arroyo (the two headed coordinator).

    Them being in a position to win a game depends on whether Lovie is going to learn the new trick of letting his offensive players loose. RIght now, I think it’s going to take some more bloody noses (and losses) to make that happen. IMO, the season is lost until that happens.

  16. Architek Says:

    Well he’s here now – you all might as well support because he’s not going anywhere.

    Plus Tampa has always had problems attracting substantial head coaching talent.

  17. DB55 Says:

    I think Jim leavitt is available. Oh wait he’s coaching those beastly linebackers in San Fran. Gosh darn it.

  18. Bucamania Says:

    In today’s NFL, field goal is a consolation prize NOT something you strive for.

    If you’re playing for lousy FGs then you better have a great defense (the Bucs don’t) and stellar special teams (even worse than the D). He’s right, bad teams are just playing not to lose. And lose they usually do.

  19. 77 bassguitarist Says:

    Check that joe i wasn’t to pleased with the hire
    As well. So make that 2 guys

  20. Bear the Bucs Says:

    The very same issues concerning Lovie were the same ones that were dogging him in Chicago. My football fan buddy up there couldn’t wait to get him out of there. Boring! Shouldn’t be a surprise. I’d say next years draft should concentrate on the DL, but haven’t we spent enough on high draft picks there recently. We are doomed !

  21. Louis Friend Says:

    @Bear the Bucs

    At least in Chicago he had a defense he could be reasonably sure would give them quite a few wins. We’re nowhere near that level of mediocre here. I’m up near Chicago myself. The Bears had some fearsome defenses during Lovie’s time. Here, they’re not good enough to be mediocre right now.

  22. OB Says:


    There are a number of parts to play calling. Tedford, unless he is/was overruled, could simple say open it up and Arroyo would have, you don’t have to be out of bed to do this. Another part is the QB has to execute the command, if he is shakey and dumps it off continually, it isn’t going to happen. Of course the QB has to look at each receiver in the time he has to find the open one unless he can’t look or he does and can’t throw it.

    It is like when you start in judo, you are afraid to do anything because you may lose because you tried something, but one day you wake up and say I am losing every time any way so I might as well try something and lo and behold you start winning because you are trying to.

    On defense, if your line is not creating pressure, blitz someone who might, because, again, you are losing any way.

    This is called Leadership 101 and it starts with the Head Coach.

  23. ddneast Says:

    Who, or what, is a Chris Russo. Oh and I have to admire his nickname, “Mad Dog.”
    Wow, how original. Wish I could have thought that up. Talk about being blinded by the light.

  24. Buccfan37 Says:

    Russo is just angry because he bet a bundle the Bucs would win at least seven games. Well, they still could, but losing tonight the Bucs would have to finish 7-6 or better down the stretch. That’s looking like a stretch, Russo.

  25. "that guy" Says:

    offense is not the problem. lovie put the game on his defense, counting on them to make a stop and they could not. i will say, when you lose by 2, and you have a blocked feild goal, an interception in the red zone, and a blocked punt that leaves your opponents in feildgoal range, ball security becomes the issue. the game was played to win, if you cut out the mistakes, the offense did there job well enough to win. they even sustained drives that ate up good portions of clock, wich is the strategy we new was coming the second lovie smith was hired. with that type of gameplay youll see the coaches put the game on there defense to win, wich he did, and they couldnt stop a 3rd string QB. defense is the biggest problem i see with this team.

  26. 1bucfan88 Says:

    I’m glad the media isn’t pulling punches anymore

  27. V.RattleHed13 Says:

    Pretty sure any FOOTBALL team thinks about field goals, otherwise i be the field goal kicker for any team over .500. Every team could have a better coach. Respect what you have and hope for the best! Everybody needs to just calm down…remember anything above 4-12 is improvement. GO BUCS!!!!!! Bucs 27 falcons 17