You Can Drop A Pass And Still Get An “A”

October 7th, 2014

VJaxYes, Joe’s been calling Vincent Jackson “V-Drops” because he drops a pass or two every week.

There is nothing more frustrating and demoralizing for a quarterback, an offense, an offensive coordinator, and fans, than a dropped ball.

Jackson’s problems started last year.

Against New Orleans, Jackson’s drop came on an easy 2nd-and-5 throw close to the Bucs’ 40 yard line in the first quarter. Sadly, on the next play, a 36-yard catch-and-run by Doug Martin was wiped out by Anthony Collins’ illegal formation flag. And the next play, a 27-yard strike to Louis Murphy, was negated by an illegal shift.

Welcome to Bucs football.

What most intrigued Joe is Lovie Smith raving high and low about Jackson yesterday and stating Jackson got the rare “A” grade from the coaching staff.

Jackson was very strong with eight catches for 144 yards. (Here’s a great highlight video of his day.) No question he had a quality afternoon. But Joe’s surprised any receiver would get an “A” with a drop.

Yes, Joe knows there’s much more to playing receiver than squeezing a football every time. Bucs fans learned this lesson well when Tampa Bay gave Michael Clayton $10 million guaranteed in 2009.

58 Responses to “You Can Drop A Pass And Still Get An “A””

  1. Brandon Says:

    Hey, VJax drops a ton of balls but to put him in the same sentence with “50/50” Clayton is ridiculous. Nobody could drop a ball like Michael Clayton, NOBODY!

  2. gatrbuc17 Says:

    I told you yesterday Joe that it is now totally ok to call him VDrops

  3. andres Says:

    You go for 144 yards and your wrist is fractured, you’re ok in my book.

  4. gatrbuc17 Says:

    By my count VJax had two drops, ASJ had three, Herron had one and Murphy had one. That is unacceptable

  5. Harry Says:

    You can’t believe everything that comes out of Lovie’s mouth. For example…

    Smith said Monday. “…You have to be a pretty good team to get an 11-point lead like that…’’

    Ok, can’t disagree with the idea behind that, BUT at one of the most critical points in the game, what kind of team do we have when, after a touch back, the team manages to lose 20 yards by executing the following sequence: holding, fumbled snap, delay of game, false start, run for no gain, sack for a safety?

    Talk about frustrating!

  6. DallasBuc Says:

    Starting to thing Lovie doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about. Early onset something….

  7. Hawk Says:

    Could it be that V-Drops has an easily bruised ego? He wouldn’t be the first athlete who pouts when he’s told he isn’t perfect. I’m not saying that’s the case here, but it would certainly make sense of the ‘A’ grade.

  8. Harry Says:

    Imagine the day The Cannon would have had with only half of the drops and only half of the STUPID offensive penalties calling plays back.

  9. Ike Turner Says:

    lovies just trying to make up for his slip of the tongue a week or so agoe when he threw vjay under the bus.

    no way he gets an A until he starts the game off properly. he always ruins the 1st few drives with drops and then makes a few money catches and people say he won the game.

    thats all we heard last week on netional media. vjay wins the game. BULLSPIT. had he not dropped 5 balls before that it would not have come down to the wire.

    same thing this last week.

  10. Diehard_Bob Says:

    And home run hitters strike out sometimes too. Even the best receivers are human and are going to drop some passes. Get over it.

  11. Buc1987 Says:

    If they cut down on the mistakes and penalties (not ALL Lovie’s fault)by these professional, full grown, adult, football playing millionaires, then they can win some games this season.

    Coaches have made mistakes too. They don’t a pass from me by no means.

  12. slowbucs813 Says:

    This man had 8 cathes for 144yds….with a fractured wrist. Vjax is known for having dropsies but c’mon man he deserves an A for guts

  13. Ken Clay Says:

    They are grading on a curve. Once you lower your expectations, everyone looks better!

  14. slowbucs813 Says:


  15. Buc1987 Says:

    Damn I need more coffee and a pair of reading glasses…

    “They don’t GET a pass”

  16. Ike Turner Says:

    you don’t get an A for killing drives CONSISTENTLY to start the games! period!

  17. Ray Rice Says:

    Hey JOE why don’t you mention anything about your MAN CRUSH Safari Stone Hands Jenkins? AKA Ricky Dudley. You always seem to let him slide and talk about him being a man beast etc… Open your eyes JOE. Stop thinking with the wrong head. Ricky Dudley isn’t ready but you never point that out right?

  18. Dean Says:

    My assessment of the heartbreaking losses suffered by our Bucs is quite clear. All teams make mistakes. That is penalties, dropped passes, poor coverage and missed tackles. The TALENTED teams overcome those mistakes and come out on top. Teams like the Bucs, just don’t have the talent or the ability to overcome 15 penalties, 15+ dropped passes the last 2 games and missed assignments and missed tackles galore. In order for the Bucs to win, they must play an almost mistake-free game and our team is nowhere near that point yet. It may start coming in the next few games or we may just see more of the same. All new schemes take time to gel, especially when you are hampered by injuries, new players and unproven rookies, as your future. Time will tell if this coaching staff can bring these forces together to start playing winning caliber football. Until then, it’s either growing pains or a bad roster that holds us back.

  19. HawaiianBuc Says:

    “you don’t get an A for killing drives CONSISTENTLY to start the games! period!”


    You do realize how contradictory that sentence is don’t you? Its a game grade, not a body of work grade. He didn’t kill any early drives against the Saints either, so not exactly sure what you are talking about. Everyone has to remember, Jackson is being used as a possession receiver, which is exactly the opposite of what he really is. He is a vertical receiver. How many drops does he have on those routes? It’s not his game. Like I said the other day, it’s like having Dwight Howard and making him play point guard, then getting upset when he has a couple turnovers. He’s not complaining, he’s playing with a broken wrist, and he had almost 150 yards receiving (more than half his QB’s yards!). He’s going to continue to drop balls running short possession type routes. If you think he’s not, you’re fooling yourself. He might get better, but he’s not going to all of a sudden never drop a ball. I just wish we would use him as he should be used – to take the top off the defense. We are not playing to his strengths, but that pretty much seems to be the pattern with Arroyo.

  20. Buccfan37 Says:

    If the ball hits you in the hands there is no excuse for dropping it at this level of football. Make the high salaries accountable by escalating deduction’s from pay for each dropped ball that hits you in the hands. Apply this formula to all positions for substandard play. Give them something to think about come payday. I bet it would tighten up all mistakes or shuck it, to err is human.

  21. Buc1987 Says:

    @Dean…I concur 100%.

  22. slowbucs813 Says:

    @ike turner what drive did he kill? I thought we made plays after his drop but were screwed over by penalties

  23. Another J Says:

    Jackson is playing with a fractured wrist! Cut the dude some slack…

  24. nate_tweetz Says:

    VJax played well Sunday. Not an ‘A’ grade well, but well. Right now our rookies (ASJ and Herron) need to get it together. I know they’re rookies but they need to start making plays. I think ASJ will be good. I’m still scratching my head on Herron. It seems like the coaching staff wants him to be good so bad, but he can’t catch a cold. Yes, he had a wide open TD catch in the endzone that my 5 year old daughter could have caught. However, when Herron tries to catch in traffic his a$$ puckers up so tight he could sh!t a diamond.

  25. flmike Says:

    Name the WR with more than 20 targets who’s catch rate is 100%

  26. Macabee Says:

    Congrats to V-Jax for getting his 10th 100 yard game as a Buc! That’s pretty good, but if the Bucs have a bad season which appears likely, I wonder how they will view his production. He will be 32 in January and has a 12.2mil cap number in 2015. Been a lot of drops lately for that kind of money. Will be interesting to see how Licht handles this one!

  27. buc4lyfe Says:

    Vdrops dropped 144 yards on the stat sheet last week and since he got here has been good for over 1000 yards. He’s one of the few true pros on our team so of course he wasn’t drafted by Tampa, we prefer projects and busts

  28. HawaiianBuc Says:

    “If the ball hits you in the hands there is no excuse for dropping it at this level of football. Make the high salaries accountable by escalating deduction’s from pay for each dropped ball that hits you in the hands. Apply this formula to all positions for substandard play. Give them something to think about come payday. I bet it would tighten up all mistakes or shuck it, to err is human.”


    You do realize that these people are human right? They aren’t necessarily dropping balls because they are sloppy. I am so sick and tired of jealous fans whose panties are in a wad because these guys make money. Take that man-envy somewhere else, or don’t watch the game! They get paid the way they do because the owners make 10x more, and people are interested. Get over it, and get over yourself. If you want to make a lot of money, become a professional athlete. Oh wait, you can’t. Too damn bad.

    And to fine them for dropping a ball? What a joke. Yeah, let’s put more pressure on them by taking away money for mistakes. That always works. SMH

  29. biff barker Says:

    VJax is very good… not perfect.

    Dean, quality post. It’s the penalties, blown assignments and missed tackles that send a team into a tailspin, not the occasional drop.

  30. HawaiianBuc Says:

    Other teams have drops too. It’s part of the game. Do I need to remind everyone of the drop Antonio Brown had against us? That would have sealed the game for Pitt. Colston had a drop, as did Graham, as did a couple other receivers from N.O. Drops happen to every team, not just us. 15 penalties, not so much. We’re just not good enough to make up for that. We aren’t Seattle.

  31. Scott Says:

    Vjax also earned then highest rating of any receiver on PFF this week

  32. BlakeJohnson Says:

    To everyone that is doubting Lovie Smith, I’m telling you, this is because of the personality that he has with the media. Lovie is cunning as hell, and trust me, he notices the performances of every individual player on this roster. And those players who are repeatedly going out there and sucking at there job won’t be around for long. Like I would be willing to bet money that EDS, Jonathon Cassias, Dane Fletcher, Patrick Omameh etc… Won’t be here next season if their sub-par play continues. Lovie is a great football coach, I think he’ll go down as one of the best. And I have confidence that he will restore our franchise to greatness.

  33. bucco bruce Says:

    have to be positive…all is not lost yet, 3 of 4 games at home coming up and a trip to cleveland…just need to get a win streak going and get back into division race..

  34. Touch_Down_Tampa_Bay Says:

    @blakeJohnson – I’m with you. In Lovie I TRUST!

    Players need to earn their money. Glennon should have had at least a 300 yards game…

  35. Buccfan37 Says:

    HawaiianBucs… it sounds like you are the one with your panties in a bunch in your response. What part of to err is human did you miss? Blah Blah Blah you go.

  36. HawaiianBuc Says:


    I apologize if your post was sarcastic.

  37. Curse of Gruden Says:

    Lovie is grading on a curve.

  38. ItsDookie87 Says:

    People could let a couple drops go if it wasn’t at the start of every game. This is the second season that we have watched this and you know he’s good for a couple drops each week. Although he is not perfect because he is human, it’s not crazy to expect your #1 WR who makes 10+ million a year to catch balls that hit him in the bread basket. No one is asking him to do anything crazy, just catch the balls that hit you in the hands.

    We need to be able to extend drives and this is killing that early in games. I just get tired of seeing a drive stall because a WR/TE can’t hold on to a perfect pass that would have been a first down. Like VJax drop on Sunday, it wasn’t a 3rd down drive killer but it flips the down and distance. I want to say it was a 2nd down and medium where the catch would have given us a first down but with the drop it’s now 3rd and medium which puts the offense behind the down and distance. Then we get penalties on the next 2 plays and have to punt. Those play calls and penalties don’t happen if VJax catches that easy throw.

    Even if we go 6 and out instead of 3 and out, it flips the field position and keeps the defense on the sideline. Then they are more fresh at the end of the game. It’s really just a trickle down effect. VJax did make up for it on Sunday but that’s not always the case. If we want to win, especially on the road, we need to make the plays that are there to be made and we haven’t been doing that early in games. It’s time to change.

  39. HawaiianBuc Says:


    But that’s just it – it’s not at the beginning of every game. No matter how hard people want to recreate history and claim that it is, it just isn’t. The one drop he had in Atlanta (after a broken wrist), was in the second quarter. That’s not the beginning of the game. Besides, are you guys counting balls thrown behind him as drops? Yes, they may technically be drops, but those aren’t easy catches. I know of 2 off hand where he dropped slants that were thrown behind him. That’s the most dropped pass in the NFL. Happens every game, every week. Jimmy Graham dropped one just like it against us. Gronk dropped on against Cincy on Sunday. When you are going full speed in one direction and the QB throws behind you from a close distance (at a high velocity), it is incredibly difficult to adjust in time. Maybe that’s an excuse, but it’s a legitimate one. Now he has had some drops that are inexcusable, but so has every receiver in the NFL. Fact of the matter is, he’s our best offensive player, and it’s not even close. Take him away, I don’t know if we can score 7 points a game. There’s a lot of blame to go around with this team, but I don’t think blaming our biggest weapon (one who just caught a game winning catch, then followed it up with 150 yards) is the right way to go.

  40. ItsDookie87 Says:


    I’m sure Jimmy Graham has dropped balls before but I can’t think of one he did on Sunday. I may be wrong but the one that originally appeared as a drop you could see that as soon as he got his hands on it Barron slapped the ball and it came loose. It may not be the “beginning” of every game but it’s always the first few times that VJax is getting the ball and many times it’s not a difficult type catch. But it’s not just VJax, it’s ASJ this last game and Martin and the others collectively, the reason VJax gets pointed out more than everyone else is that he is being paid like a top 5 – 10 WR in the league. Please show me where Calvin Johnson/Brandon Marshall/Larry Fitzgerald/Dwayne Bowe/AJ Green/etc are good for a drop a week. Again, if it were from time to time we could all understand but Joe hasn’t been calling him VDrops for no reason. It’s because he has had a problem over the last 2 years of holding onto balls and it’s typically early (1st half) of games.

  41. HawaiianBuc Says:

    Again, a ball thrown behind him up close is the most difficult catch of all. Any WR will tell you that. He had a very bad drop against Atlanta. Perfectly thrown ball right through his (broken) hand. He’s also had a couple other “drops” where guys are draped all over him, and they knock the ball out of his hands (exactly how you described the Jimmy Graham drop). He’s not having too many “Sefarian-Jenkins or Herron” drops is my point. He hasn’t been great by any stretch, but I really believe that a lot of that is due to the fact that he’s being asked to do something he’s quite frankly not very good at (be a possession receiver). How would Desean Jackson do if all he ran were short, intermediate routes? How would Anquan Boldin do running only vertical routes? How would Wes Welker do running deep outs? Jackson is a vertical receiver, no matter how bad Lovie & crew want him to be otherwise. He should look no further than last year under Schiano to learn that. He never drops passes on his natural routes. In fact, he’s made several ridiculous one-hand type catches. Do you think that’s a coincidence? So yes, while he’s judged more harshly because of the money he’s making, don’t you think it makes more sense to use him in a way that got him that contract in the first place? Do you really think he’s going to bust a slant for a big gain? Is he going to catch a screen pass and run 80 yards for a TD? Or is he more likely to catch a 40 yard bomb, break a tackle, and score?

  42. ItsDookie87 Says:


    Just for some stats, this is PFF so take it for what it’s worth, VJax was rated 70th in drop rate per catchable balls. The worst WR in the league that was eligible for this list (must have at least 40 catchable balls) was ranked 78th. This is a guy getting top 5 – 10 WR money. No one is saying he’s a bad player, just that he has struggled holding onto the ball.

  43. ItsDookie87 Says:

    Now this season just for perspective, according to PFF just to keep things the same, he dropped 5 catchable balls in the first 4 games but didn’t have one drop in the Saints game. So according to this, you’re right that the ball we all see as a drop in the Saints game PFF does not probably because it was a little behind him. They are hard catches but this is the NFL. He is our best offensive weapon and he only gets singled out because of his money and because it’s a trend, not an exception. But it’s really the WRs as a whole, we have had a hard time extending drives in the first half because a WR (pick your poison) isn’t catching catchable balls.

  44. HawaiianBuc Says:

    That’s fine. I acknowledge he’s having issues dropping balls, and I’m not jumping on you personally. There have been others saying he’s terrible, trade him, or he’s washed up. The fact is, he’s having to do something he’s not really good at, thus the drops. He’s still a great player, and by far our best offensive player. I am just frustrated watching him run these short routes that don’t take advantage of his skill set. The drops will continue if that continues. So while I guess ultimately that does fall on him, to me it falls on the coaching staff for putting him in those positions. Perhaps some of the blame goes to Licht and Lovie for not bringing in better receivers to allow Jackson to do what he does best. Regardless, he’s catching slack for it, and there’s a very good chance he’ll be gone next year as a result. That seems to always be our problem – can’t find ways to best use our guy’s talent. I’m getting rather sick of it to be honest, because I really don’t want to see him go to New England and light it up next year. But apparently that’s just me. (Don’t for a second think he wouldn’t be an all-pro in that system).

  45. jay Says:

    vjack, drops more passes than hallways

  46. ItsDookie87 Says:

    I don’t take it personally lol, I’ve been where you are with other players. It’s the nature of the beast, if we were winning it wouldn’t even be an article. I agree, it is on the coaching staff to use players to their strength.

  47. Joseph Mamma Says:

    If we cut him he would almost certainly clear waivers because no other team in the league would pay him what we are. I’m not saying we should, I just don’t think we’re getting our money’s worth with Jackson.

  48. Hawk Says:

    OK, according to Sporting Charts, a ‘drop’ is when the ball hits the receiver’s hands and is incomplete. Their stats show that, so far, 134 receivers have a drop(s). out of the 134, only six have more drops than VJax. But he is not the sole problem. Out of the 32 teams, only 6 teams have more total drops than the Bucs(10). As a whole, the Bucs are not doing well in the receiving department. This did not help McCown, and it isn’t helping Glennon.
    I’m disappointed EVERY time a receiver (a Buc receiver) drops a pass. In most cases, they’ve been catching passes since Pop Warner, so they don’t need coaching on ‘how’ to catch. It is something that can be worked on, but the receiver needs to be the one doing the work (mentally and physically).

  49. Jim Walker Says:

    I am not sold on Herron.

  50. ddneast Says:

    Vjack hates running slants inside. The large majority of his drops come on slants. I don’t know why because DBs can’t unload on your now like they used to so the old fear of getting clobbered should hardly be a fear anymore.

  51. Macabee Says:

    Joseph Mamma,

    Players with 4+ seasons of service time are “released.” These players, like Vincent Jackson known as “vested veterans,” do not pass through waivers and are free agents immediately, free to sign with any other team upon their release.

    These rules apply until the trade deadline (presently the Tuesday after Week 8 of the NFL season). After the trade deadline (until the start of the next league year in March), all players – whether a vested veteran or a non-vested veteran – are subject to the waiver process.

    So you’re right if you’re referring to that period of time between the trade deadline and he start of the new league in 2015, otherwise Jackson is a free agent.

  52. pick6 Says:

    we can only speculate how much that injury impacts his ability to hold onto throws. granted it was a problem for him last year as well, but let’s be real, when you’re targeted 15+ times a game and the defense knows you are the only real outside threat (as was the case last year), you’re going to drop a couple more balls than the average WR. antonio brown, on track to be the best WR in football this year, is dropping his share of balls too.

  53. Hawk Says:

    @ ddneast
    It could be that he is seeing players make the hit and take the penalty/fine and he’s still not interested in the odds. Add to that, old habits die hard/can’t teach a dog new tricks/etc.

  54. Chef Paul Says:

    I would give him an A too. Sure he had a drop or two, but other than those couple plays he balled the rest of the game. It’s the games that he has a drop or two, then doesn’t do anything the rest of the game that gets to me. Luckily, we have the Cannon throwing now, so he shouldn’t disappear the rest of the game after a drop.

    And these drops have been going on since the beginning of last season. It didn’t just start two weeks ago. The whole “broken wrist” is an irrelevant argument.

  55. Hawk Says:

    Last year was a little weird. Jackson was a lot closer to the top in drops (third highest #), but Doug Martin caught 12 passes and ‘dropped’ FIVE. Stranger yet, Owusu caught 13 and dropped ZERO. Not so surprisingly, Tim Wright caught 54 and dropped just one.

  56. Tom Says:

    Dude’s wrist is broken. without V jax we wouldn’t cheer for MG8.

  57. BucIt941 Says:

    To be fair though Cannon, I mean Glennon does throw with a lot more velocity than McCown does. So if they are used to those soft throws they’re going to have to adjust to the bullet’s i’ve seen flying over the field when Glennon fires.

  58. Delson Says:

    I’m on lovies side of the argument here. The what ifs n the would’ves doesn’t hold any water. Vjax played better than our rbs played, better than our o line n opened up the passing game for glennon as well as our other receivers. Dropped passes happen to everyone. Penalties too but penalties are the easiest to avoid. As professional players lovie shouldn’t have to waste a practice discussing penalties. If u are out of position or moving when ur not supposed to then obviously u aren’t focused. Dropped passes will lose u a down but never cost u yards. Penalties can wipe out ur big play push u back demoralize ur unit’s confidence n change ur entire game plan for that first down. Penalties have long been the achilles heel for tampa n THAT is sickening. Some of u say we don’t have the talent to be a great team but that is a lie! This team easily loses confidence in themselves when they’re in the dirt. Fighters like glennon collins dotson vjax david mccoy n I’ll also add verner have to jumpstart this team. I’m sure there are maybe a handful of others but most noticeably its those guys. Theres gotta be communication in that huddle like hey I’m burning this dude in my route or I can handle this dlman run it on my side. The coaches can only observe what is going on. Maybe that’s why drew brees offense is so fluent. No lie at all I feel more comfortable with glennon at qb than any qb that’s played for tampa since brad johnson or jeff garcia. Mccown can’t play but he sure can coach like a mf lovie will keep glennon at qb for the season bet that. To everyone saying glennon is or was stiff in the pocket watch the seahawks game of last year then watch the super bowl. Schianos stunts didn’t always get sacks but they got pressure. Maybe a stunt on Michael johnson n mcdonalds side would cause some sacks. Anyways sorry fr the rant/vent but its been built up. Also when charles sims comes back I hope lovie doesn’t try to get more conservative trying to have confidence in him running the ball. Add him to our passing game we’re getting established n ease his carries in there. Gotta spread that defense out to be successful in the run game. Last one, I get the feeling I was wrong about mike Evans predraft we might have the next megatron!!!