Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow

December 29th, 2014

josh mccown 1229

A long look at the Bucs yesterday, today, and what to expect tomorrow and beyond.

And so it is. The Bucs won the Chase for Jameis. It is both depressing and thrilling. Joe has mixed emotions but at the end of the day, someone did the right thing. Joe honestly never imagined living to experience this.

Did Lovie tank the game? It’s a bit of a stretch. That may be the most damning comment one could ever lodge at a coach — throwing a game. That is the sports world’s version of the Scarlet Letter.

As Lovie suggested in his postgame comments, it came down to a few plays, including one should-have-been catch turned into a New Orleans interception. In that respect, it was no tank job.

And one could argue the fewer Josh McCown pass attempts the better. Case in point, the final drive. Still, how is it that whenever the subject of playing Mike Glennon came up, Lovie bellyached he was putting his best 11 on the field to win. Now all of a sudden he was in eval mode?

It sure smelled like someone picked up the Batphone upstairs and ordered Lovie to bench players. That may be inaccurate but the appearance was impossible to ignore.

Too often, appearance is what gets you in trouble, not necessarily the act. Not attempting a pass in the second half until less than eight minutes remaining in the game sure smelled like something was not on the up and up.

Joe can tell you if such an Al Davis-like order was issued, to bench key players like Lavonte David and Mike Evans, it did not come from Bucs general manager Jason Licht. Joe spoke with him, off the record, briefly after the game, mostly pleasantries, and he was one unhappy camper. He was borderline PO’ed about the loss. Looked like was doing his best to keep his emotions in check.

Licht’s body language suggested anything but wanting the Bucs to lose, no matter the prize at the end of the rainbow.

Watching that game, Joe had the same sinking feeling of watching the then-Lovie Smith-led Bears try to battle the Packers in 2010, when the Bucs needed the Bears to win in order to snap a tiebreaker with the Packers and gain a playoff berth. As history notes, the Packers won easily that day and went on to win the Super Bowl.

Lovie’s Mentality

The following quote should send a cold shiver up the spine of every Bucs fan and give Team Glazer pause. The words came straight from Lovie’s mouth last night after the game.

“We had a lot more success in the first half than I thought we would, especially being able to run the football,” Lovie said. “With the lead, if you play pretty good defense you should be able to hold on to that.”

No! Never, ever be content with a just a lead. The NFL is not the B1G of the 1970s. The objective is to score, outscore your opponent. You must continue to add points no matter what the opponent did or didn’t do in the first half.

Letting teams hang around will get you fired because letting teams hang around opens the door for a loss. What you do is,step on your opponents’ throat, kick him in the mouth with your other foot, and if need be knee the guy in the groin.

Joe remembers a story that old man Bobby Bowden told. He used to be of the same mentality. Guess what? While coaching West Virginia, Bowded once played turtle allowing Pitt to rally and beat the Mountaineers. As Bowden later wrote, “Never again,” would he allow that to happen. If folks thought he ran up the score, too damn bad.

Bowden won a few games in his time. One would hope Lovie can learn something from that story. If not, egads.

Never let your opponents off the mat willingly. Never!


Think about that folks. That is your Tampa Bay Buccaneers record for the past 100 games. How miserable is that? Worse than the Cleveland Browns, in fact. Worse than the Jags.

That spans four coaching staffs. As the “Custodian of Canton,” eye-RAH! Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune, once said, it’s an organizational problem when you lose that much that often, not necessarily a coaching problem.

And folks wonder why the Den of Depression was so empty near the end of yesterday’s game, despite beautiful weather. Even the drama of the Chase for Jameis couldn’t excite fans. This season was so miserable, so void of drama or intrigue, Bucs fans simply checked out. Joe is convinced many are gone for good.

That could change this spring with the right pick. And that right pick is not a left tackle.

Team Glazer Time To Throw Weight Around

While this may sound seditious, Team Glazer should freeze Lovie out of the draft room come the night of the first pick in April. The evidence is too glaring.

Once the first pick is made, Lovie can do whatever he wishes with the draft. Just not the No. 1 pick.

First is Lovie’s history with offenses and, more important, offensive coordinators. Second, as Joe stated yesterday, if one believes Jason Licht thought a never-been like Josh McCown was going to lead the Bucs to the playoffs, well, Joe has beachfront property in Temple Terrace for sale.

Lovie wanted McCown because he trusted him. Simple as that. Problem was, McCown can’t be trusted with a football in his hands. This draft pick, with the Bucs desperate for a quarterback, is too important to be left alone with Lovie. For if the pick is any good, the player will last longer than Lovie will.

That is just the way things shake out in the NFL, rarely do coaches last 10 years at one spot, or even seven years. If they do, that often means multiple Super Bowls (Tom Coughlin and Bill Belicheat, for example) or many conference title games (Andy Reid). A guy drafted first overall, if he has a good career, is around for at least a dozen years. This is a pick that can change the fortunes for the Bucs for decades. That’s how rare this opportunity is.

It cannot be left to someone who either doesn’t care about offense, or has demonstrated an inability to evaluate offense.

Offense is simply not in Lovie’s wheelhouse in any way.

This pick must be left to Team Glazer and Licht. If that bothers Lovie, he can remember the Bucs were here before he arrived and will be here after he leaves. Joe doesn’t recall Lovie on the sidelines when Chucky hoisted the Vince Lombardi Trophy aloft in victory.

Simple as that.

NFL Thoughts

Crows: Joe Flacco throws for over 300 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Most underrated quarterback in the NFL.

Texans: Bill O’Brien for coach of the year? Dude takes over a garbage team that was right where the Bucs are now. His first overall pick is already a wash and he still guides the team in his first year to a 9-7 record (which Bucs fans would cream their pants over). The way Mike Pettine turned around the Browns, Jim Caldwell the Lions and O’Brien the Texans – all first-year coaches — the excuse that Lovie was in his first year with the Bucs gets lamer by the day.

Chiefs: They punked the Chargers, ending their season led by four sacks from Justin Houston. Wow, did the Chiefs’ loss to the Raiders kill their season but it made the Bucs’ season.

Jets: Smelled like someone trying to save a coach’s job. Geno Smith goes all Andrew Luck on the Dolphins with 358 yards and three touchdowns.

Vikings: Teddy Bridgewater’s 44-yard touchdown pass doomed the Bears. Bridgewater completed 17 of 25 passes. Bucs could have had him.

Bills: With nothing to play for, Bill Belicheat loses to Kyle Orton, who completed 16 of 23 passes. Bucs could have had him, too.

Eagles: Mark Sanchez (cleared of sexual assault charges in college just like some guy named “Jameis”) threw two touchdown passes despite Eli Manning going Dan Fouts on the Eagles. So Bucs fans, you going to wail and cry about Sanchez’s non-felony, like you will about Winston’s if the Bucs sign him in the offseason? No? Double-standard? Hhhmmm?

Colts: How rotten are the Titans? Well, how bad is Ken Whisenhunt? Consider, the Titans attempted 31 passes yesterday playing for noted quarterback guru Whisenhunt. They totaled 84 passing yards. You have to try to be that inept. Also, since Kurt Warner retired, Whisenhunt is 20-43, never finishing above .500 and is on an 11-game losing streak. Can you say “Hot Seat?”

Cowboys: The way Dallas is playing, they just may give Seattle a run for its money. Tony Romo racked up 300 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Stinking Panthers: Cam Newton has been beat to hell this year and Joe’s not even talking about him getting in a car wreck. Yet he has played his best football in December, when it counts. Joe’s not much of a Newton fan, but damn, have to give him props for sucking it up and producing when his team needed him the most.

Broncos: Peyton Manning … blah… blah… blah…

Packers: Aaron Rodgers comes off the mat and pulls a Willis Reed. After dirty Ndamukong Suh tried to take Rodgers out by stomping on his foot twice, Rodgers came back to lead the Packers to a playoff bye with the win.

Seattle: The Seahawks just slapped around a nasty defense. No one is playing better than Seattle.

49ers: Colin Kaepernick actually had a decent day throwing the ball, completing 15 of 26 for two touchdowns. Jim Harbaugh must be some piece of work if a team, after three straight trips to the NFC Championship game, lets him walk.

Steelers: If Le’Veon Bell is healthy, the Steelers are scary. Defense is stout and they have firepower on offense. Pittsburgh is peaking at the right time.

Spraying the Field

1. Enjoyable Saturday night of college bowls. But Joe was appalled, yet again, with lame tail-between-your-legs football displayed by Boston College. The Eagles had 3rd-and-8 from deep inside their real estate in a one-score game in the fourth quarter. We’re not talking about 3rd-and-a-bus-ride. What does Boston College do? Run the ball up the middle against one of the better run defenses in the B1G. Naturally, it failed. You know, that is just gutless football. If you don’t trust your quarterback, he shouldn’t be on the field. Predictably, Boston College lost in overtime. You know, the objective of football is to outscore your opponent, not keep your opponent in the game giving them a shot of coming from behind, which is exactly what Penn State did.

2. Joe thinks it is wild and absurd how readers still attack him for wanting to draft Johnny Football. Still. The haters think — after, what, six quarters? — Johnny Football is a failure. My God! Not only does Joe wish Johnny Football was drafted by the Bucs, Joe’s damned sure the Bucs record would be better than 2-14. Also, Johnny Football is better than Josh McCown right now. It blows Joe away how many want to shovel dirt in Johnny Football’s face. By the same standard, Blake Bortles should be run out of the NFL. Damn, people have the patience of houseflies.

3. The Bucs don’t need a wide receiver but with Vincent Jackson entering his final year of his contract in 2015, he’s not exactly a spring chicken. So it wouldn’t shock Joe if the Bucs drafted a wide receiver on Day 2 of the draft. This Breshad Perriman of Central Florida is impressive, but doubt he lasts until the second round as we near 2015. Perhaps an all-purpose guy like Kenny Bell of Nebraska would be a nice second-day pick?

4. Robert Herron was inactive yesterday. Could have fooled Joe. He thought Herron was pretty much inactive all season.

5. Joe’s been asked a lot about the re-signing of Louis Murphy. Joe’s reaction? Meh. Remember, this is a guy the Bucs cut once. He made a nice play at Pittsburgh to set up an upset win. Other than that, Murphy seems to be Sammie Stroughter, revisited.

6. No one has told Joe this, but be pretty sure good guy and Ric Flair fan Mason Foster has played his final game for Tampa Bay. Joe knows the suits at One Buc Palace are disappointed in Foster’s pass coverage skills and he is a free agent. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier has already ruled out Foster playing outside linebacker in his defense. Foster struggled to stay healthy in the final half of the season. It all adds up to Foster playing elsewhere. That bums Joe out. Thought Foster had promise. Hell, Joe can’t blame Foster for leaving. He’s never been on a winning NFL team. Why not play for a team that has aspirations of January football?

7. Joe used to be firmly on the Christian Hackenberg bandwagon but thought James Franklin, not a pro offense kind of guy, ruined Hackenberg. Saturday in the come-from-behind win over Boston College, Hackenberg showed why he was the top quarterback in his recruiting class. Dude has skills but Franklin is costing this guy major cash. Joe can’t see Hackenberg being a first-round pick at this stage. Had Bill O’Brien stayed at Penn State, Hackenberg very likely would have been.

8. Joe knows a number of Bucs fans are hoping the Bucs draft Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory. But his constant injuries scare Joe. Now if he falls to the second round because of that, then Joe would take the gamble.

9. So Da’Quan Bowers claims he has nothing to prove to the Bucs. You may insert your own punch line, but Joe thought it telling two weeks ago when Frazier – once again – referenced Bowers’ conditioning. IN WEEK 16!

10. People who say there are too many bowls are a bunch of soccer-loving, NBA-watching, card-carrying commies trying to infiltrate and ruin the very fabric of America. These types should be quarantined and sent to re-education camps. There is no such thing as too much football. Go suck an egg!

11. Joe hopes all readers had a pleasant holiday season and truly hopes everyone has a profitable new year. Thanks, as always for reading Joe, and this weekly in-season column. Joe is often up at 3 a.m. on Monday mornings typing this out, as Sundays/Monday mornings are Joe’s busiest days by far during the season. Thanks a lot as this column signs off for an eight-month sabbatical. Should be a fun and exciting offseason. Again.

30 Responses to “Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow”

  1. MadMax Says:

    Im on board with Kenny Bell. He can play slot and outside, but at 6’1, Id use him in slot more. He made one heck of a catch though against USC, so he can go for the jump ball. He might fall to late 2nd early 3rd. If we go QB 1st, Id rather go O line 2nd.

  2. MadMax Says:

    Welp, its official, Idzik and Ryan are gone from the Jets.

  3. Patrick in VA Says:

    Robert Herron not being active on a day when so much player evaluation was going on is awfully telling….

  4. Terry4505 Says:

    I attack you for the Johnny Football crap because of the DAILY Jameis updates, which smack of the over-the-top JF crap last year.

    I don’t care if it is six quarters, there are things you can see in a player in a single game.

    Blake Bortles looks like an actual NFL football player. JF looks like a guy who won a contest and was allowed to play in an NFL game. Neither skills, nor personality translate to the NFL. I think the fact that you cannot see that makes anything you say about Jameis carry less weight.

    And on Hackenberg, I don’t know if it’s Frankin, the QB coach, or what, but watch Hack’s feet in the pocket, he stands like his feet are in concrete, leading to lots of off the mark passes. I hope Franklin and company can figure it out.

  5. meh Says:

    Is Arroyo still employed? If so, why?

  6. Skyline Crew for Mariota or Winston Says:

    “So Bucs fans, you going to wail and cry about Sanchez’s non-felony, like you will about Winston’s if the Bucs sign him in the offseason? No? Double-standard? Hhhmmm?”

    I don’t want Sanchez here. He sucks. He lost it for the Eagles. Foles had them setup perfectly and Sanchez took the team to the dump. I don’t want that POS. Also, Sanchez has kept his nose fairly clean since that incident. Winston has not as he has gotten in to trouble multiple times.

  7. Bannor Says:

    we’re never going to know if Johnny Football would have been any good because he went to Cleveland. Game over man, game over.

  8. Skyline Crew for Mariota or Winston Says:

    Also, Johnny Football your boyfriend Joe, we aren’t sure he would be playing on our team right now or if he would be suspended for partying to much. I bet Gordon is happy that he got suspended a game and Johnny only got a fine for being at the same party and missing the same practice. I’m sure Johnny is getting lots of respect. Especially, when the owner has to say some of the players on his team need to grow up. Yeah Joe, we should have definitely drafted that idiot. Just another reason why Winston shouldn’t be drafted either.

  9. Terry4505 Says:

    Everything Johnny Football has done has reaffirmed what many (myself included) thought he would be.

  10. biff barker Says:

    Joe, interesting that you have yet to call for Lovie’s ouster, instead relying on the Jameis rally cry as the cure for a 2-14 season.

    Sure the OC situation had an impact, no doubt! Hand picking McCown and not letting Glennon compete was all on Lovie. Ditto the OL debacle. He wouldn’t call for outside help either and was content to let Arroyo drown.

    To me, the personnel selection was both frightful and inexcusable. Gotta throw incompetent out there too!

    Either Mariotta, (my choice) or Winston are not going to keep the bus from launching off the cliff next year.

    Make the HC change now.

    Joe’s not calling for Lovie’s ouster, in part, because Joe has no idea whether there’s a better coach out there available. A good offensive coordinator will go a very long way to fixing this mess.–Joe

  11. Warthog Says:

    “So Bucs fans, you going to wail and cry about Sanchez’s non-felony, like you will about Winston’s if the Bucs sign him in the offseason? No? Double-standard? Hhhmmm?”

    I’ll whine, but not because Mark Sanchez had some allegations made against him in college.

    I’ll whine because we just #$*%ing signed Mark @%$#ing Sanchez.

  12. bucrightoff Says:

    Joe Flacco just had the single worst NFL QB game of the year 7 days ago. He’s rated exactly where he should be, middle of the road guy but not good enough to win anything without a great team around him.

    But hey as much as this season sucks, we could be the Browns, who could have had ODB and Bridgewater but ended up with two busts instead. Manziel is too emotionally immature and physically he just doesn’t belong. Future CFL MVP though.

  13. Skyline Crew for Mariota or Winston Says:

    There are too many bowl games. I don’t watch 75% of them because I could care less about BYU playing or Central Michigan playing. I want to see the big dogs fight. It’s nice that these small schools can get some money, but I don’t want to see it. The real games started on the 26th or 27th depending on how you want to look at it. The games before are just fluff.

  14. Skyline Crew for Mariota or Winston Says:

    Bring in Rex Ryan for DC. I’d love that.

  15. finishers Says:

    They had showed licht texting in the 3rd quarter Maybe it was him?

  16. Patrick in VA Says:

    I think that seeing who our OC hire is will go a long way to tell us which way they’re leaning with the draft. I hope that if they’re planning on trading the pick that they do it early on so we don’t pick up an OC that is brought in specifically for a particular QB prospect and then the pick is gone. That’s a long way of saying that I hope these guys are playing chess here. I’ve been watching this organization play checkers for way too long and I’d like to see a team put together the right way

  17. Todd Says:

    Yup lovie tanked it but do you people think the colts did not tank it for Andrew luck of course they did.

  18. Skyline Crew for Mariota or Winston Says:

    Did you guys get a good look at Shaw? Are you guys done talking about him now? QBR of 14.8. Get out of here.

  19. biff barker Says:

    “And so it is. The Bucs won the Chase for Jameis. It is both depressing and thrilling.”

    Hopefully this franchise has learned it’s lesson and won’t draft another immature QB. The freeking scabs have barely set from the last QB we picked in the first round.

  20. The don Says:

    Good article joe. The Days of our Bucs go on and on . Where it stops nobody knows

  21. MadMax Says:

    Shaw was undrafted and this was his 1st game in a long time….was he playing with all of the starters? um, no.

  22. passthebuc Says:

    if the bucs cut all the players they should, they would be fielding a basketball team.
    The entire O line save for Jenkins.
    All the running backs save one.
    all the QB’s
    A linebacker all of the backup players.
    The punter.
    And most of all

  23. MadMax Says:

    Did anyone watch the post game with McCown? He just may have let it slip out what position L&L will go for first. While talking about wanting to help the new draft pick, he said “Regardless of what that is, I want to help that guy help our team win football games. If thats a D tackle then whatever I can do to help that guy I’ll help him. If its a D end, whatever I can do to help, if its a left tackle, whatever I can do to help him, if its a right guard, and if its a QB so be it, same thing.”

    Interesting he says D tackle first! Its very possible we’re going after Leonard Williams. Lovie did say the draft boards are set last week, even though a lot of guys havent declared yet, and may stay in school another year. I’d be happy with the pick. Its almost assured to work out. That guy is a beast!

  24. Patrick in VA Says:

    @MadMax – It would be pretty messed up if the team posted their draft board where the players could see it. That would be like your managers sitting in the lunch room at the office and reading and discussing resumes for people to fill your job. Pretty sure that players are in the dark about who the front office is after.

  25. MadMax Says:

    I didnt say the draft board….but just talking about that 1st pick, never know.

  26. Rutgers4Schiano Says:

    HEY JOE….I was at the game, sat right next to the Bucs tunnel. V-Jax had the guys in a huddle getting psyched for the game. If the players were faking that then they should quit the nfl and go to hollywood because it was a great act. The hitting on the field and some of the scuffles sure looked like someone wanted to win the game. Doug Martin had a few good runs, but as always MCclown held onto the ball too damn long. Just wondering why they had Glennon wrapped in bubble wrap, head to toe, on the sidelines?????

  27. Patrickbucs Says:

    Warthog Says:
    December 29th, 2014 at 9:43 am
    “So Bucs fans, you going to wail and cry about Sanchez’s non-felony, like you will about Winston’s if the Bucs sign him in the offseason? No? Double-standard? Hhhmmm?”

    I’ll whine, but not because Mark Sanchez had some allegations made against him in college.

    I’ll whine because we just #$*%ing signed Mark @%$#ing Sanchez.

    Yeah then right after that Mark stole crab legs, shot windows out and made a fool of himself that his own college classmates called him out. Think of how many things he didn’t get caught for? Mariota hasn’t had any charges or accusations, not 1. Good try though in the comparison.

  28. Skyline Crew for Mariota or Winston Says:

    Coaches and GMs are dropping today…will the Bucs get a surprise firing. Come on baby!!!!!

  29. Buccfan37 Says:

    The Bucs need that franchise QB. Like a Roethlisberger. The Steelers have kept a competitive team ongoing for years. How they come up with one after another of amazing receivers and running backs is unbelievable. That team knows how to build talent.

  30. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Hey Joe

    Have a great Holiday and enjoy your success this year. If you enjoyed this much success when the Bucs sucked imagine how great you guys are going to do once the Bucs are good again.

    8 Months? Surely you jest. I suspect lots of columns leading up to the draft, including the daily Jameis watch. Gotta give us our fix Joe.