Top 5?

May 22nd, 2015

LovieRefereeOptimism is cooking at One Buc Palace, and it has nothing to do with Jameis Winston.

Defensive numbers look good and coaches are talking, even if the last Buccaneers head coach with a winning record lectured, “Stats are for losers.”

When Leslie Frazier talked to Joe and other media types this week, he was pleased to say there is lots of hope attached to the Bucs’ defensive performance of last season.

“When you look at those last 10 games of the season and you see that we finished in the top five in almost every category group, including points, that’s what gets you excited,” Frazier said. There are some things we can build on. We are expecting the guys that are coming back to really improve.”

Ok, raise your hand if you think the Bucs looked like they had a top-5 defense through nine of the final 10 games last season. (No reason to count the Choke for Jameis finale.)

Joe’s hand is down. The eyeball test doesn’t put Tampa Bay in the top 5 through those 10 games. In fact, the eyeball test doesn’t put the Bucs in the top 10 or 15.

But the numbers, Joe? The data. Frazier mentioned the stats. What about the data?

With apologies to the stat lunatics, Joe recently re-watched the Bucs-Panthers game on Dec. 14. The Bucs only allowed 19 points in the loss. That’s great, but the reality is the Panthers and the immortal Derek Anderson marched the ball up and down the field repeatedly. There were no explosive plays by Carolina, just flat out winning on offense, balanced by 32 carries for 132 yards.

That performance came a week after the Bucs didn’t show up in Detroit, a 34-17 loss and one of the best days of Matthew Stafford’s career.

The week after Carolina? Aaron Rodgers on a bad calf was 31-of-40 for 318 yards against Tampa Bay, while Green Bay broke a long run and was 6-for-13 on third down.

Like Frazier, Joe is optimistic the Bucs defense will be better, even win a game or two for the men of pewter. But Joe’s not expecting anything miraculous. There’s no top-5 music dancing in Joe’s head. Joe would be very pleased if Tampa Bay’s defense was ranked in the top-half of the NFL — and actually looked like a top-15 defense — something it hasn’t done since 2008.

Lovie Smith and Frazier need to accomplish that this season. No excuses.

40 Responses to “Top 5?”

  1. Captain Doom Says:

    just more evidence of the delusion at OBP.

    frazier is an a$$ clown who only has a job as a scapegoat.

    the axe will fall on him and warhop next year. lovie had to keep a couple guys to blame.

  2. Tom Edrington Says:

    Sounds like if I look at my golf score card and see that I played 12 holes 2-under and six-holes 10-over……you shoot 80, I can’t go around telling anyone that I’m on the verge of shooting under par…….

  3. BucPuck Says:

    @ Captain Doom, thank you for the laugh. You said what I was feeling.

  4. Hawk Says:

    @ Captain Doom
    Does Lovie have another year of ‘blame’ left in his tank?
    IMO, if he doesn’t win (at least) six games (FOUR in the second half of the season), then he will be watching film in his basement while updating his resume’.

  5. Captain Doom Says:

    I think lovie has 2 more years. koetter will bail him out this year with a better record.

    from there lovie drafts big time D players next year, he gets players for his scheme which takes a few years. I think we might even be 1/2 way decent year 3 under him. enough so that they will realize it’s not the players, or the scheme anymore…but the incompetence/passiveness of the coach. see dungy.

    that wouldn’t be so bad. then gruden can come win us another SB. 🙂

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneer defense……”America’s Defense”

  7. BuckUp Says:

    @joe most people dont realize that as soon as we got rid of that bum safety (mark barron) that our defense looked like night and day. Now take away the other bum safety (Dashon Goldson) and the defense this year will automatically be improved

  8. Tampa Tony Says:

    Top 15 at best. Just cus the d didn’t play horrible the last 9 weeks doesn’t mean they were good.

  9. tmaxcon Says:

    it does not matter what the defense is ranked if Lovie shuts down and goes into prevent mode every time the team gets a lead. It also does not matter what rank you d is if you can’t finish games in the 4th qtr or have a game changer who shuts people down. McCoy is a great player but not a game changer. It was painfully obvious last year that Lovie does not know how to use LVD. Also playing the CB’s 8 years from line on 3 and 2 is absolutely insane yet we saw it time and time again Lovie needs to take to heart the nfl play 60… Way to passive. Instead of helping teams up and playing passive they need to start stepping on throats and playing offense like they are down 10 pts. Players win championships not outdated rigid systems that play not to lose.

  10. briandorry55 Says:

    How much non-Buccaneers football do you watch? Top 5 does not mean close to the same thing it meant 10 years ago. There are a handful of truly difference-making defenses left in this league.

  11. Rob Says:

    How many of those games did teams stop trying to score and settled to run out the clock because of the Bucs horrific offense? How many more points might we have surrendered ifthe offense was keeping us competitive.

  12. drdneast Says:

    Apparently Joe,you have forgotten the whole premise of the Tampa Two is to bend, not break. To get the QB impatient and make a bad throw trying to force something to happen.
    Also, as far as I’m concerned, we faced the better Carolina QB.
    Newton finished 5-9 as a starter. Most QB’s would be worried about their job if they had that record. But because he is a media darling and a No. 1 pick he is getting cut a lot of slack.
    10 sacks by McCoy, 10 by Smith and a combination of 25 by the rest of the defense will force a lot of those bad throws and stop a lot of those third down conversion

  13. Hawk Says:

    I don’t know, tmaxcon. You and I have different defensive philosophies.
    With ZERO ‘effective’ pass-rush, you would put your defense into a ‘press’ and take the chance of giving up six points. I would rather give up the five/six yards and work on stopping them in another three downs. The longer it takes them to score, the higher the odds they make a mistake.
    I guess that is why there are all kinds of coaches out there.

  14. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Right on schedule cap doom you sound like an a$$ clown. Thanks for the reminder arse wipe.

  15. Strider #FamousJameis Says:

    I think we are really close just plug up that hole and we win

  16. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    You’re the only one to kick some real knowledge Drdneast. Thanks,it’s refreshing reading some here from time to time.

  17. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    Agree with Nole on Sat and drdneast. This is the NFL not the NCAA. The talent difference is not really THAT huge. I do agree with Joe however if that difference is dramatic at QB then a team is 2-14.

    Somebody has to “make a play” this year. In the NFL even the scrub teams generally have a chance to win but if they lack the playmakers then they don’t hold on to that game sealing int, they fumble the ball after converting a 1st down pass, they lose the ability to count.

    If I could have just 6-8 plays from last year and have our players make them instead of choking? them we would have easily been 8-8.

  18. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    “Stats are for losers.”

    Ironic we quote the words of one of our worst coaches.

  19. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I disagree that the talent level between college and pro is not huge. If it wasn’t, we would see a much higher percentage of college players make it in the pros.

  20. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    tmaxcon Says
    “it does not matter what the defense is ranked if Lovie shuts down and goes into prevent mode every time the team gets a lead.”

    How often has he had a lead here? So we really don’t know if he’ll do that…yet.

  21. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    BTW, JOE,

    Good to see the upgrades coming. I’m assuming the servers will be upgraded? It’s great news, because its been running very slow for me. Thanks!

  22. Hawk Says:

    Anyone who believes there is little difference between college and pro, has never been on the field during a game. There is a HUGE difference in size players(overall) and speed at which they play…HUGE.

  23. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    Yes @back up that makes perfect sense. Get rid of a former first rounder and a former pro bowler and replace them with practice squad guys and the team will improve. Just because they didn’t play well doesn’t mean replacing them with scrubs is a good alternative. SMH!

  24. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    Probably a poorly written post on my part since you misunderstood my point.

    The talent level between college and pro is Huge. My point was that the talent difference between NCAA teams is also significant…IE Florida playing Citadel is a freaking joke.

    The talent level between even the Browns and Seahawks is nowhere near the difference as the talent difference between FSU and the majority of their opponents…or Alabama or Ohio State. College teams have a few major games each year where the talent level is comparable. NFL teams have games like that every week,

  25. BigMacAttack Says:

    Joe, great job with the upgrades to site. Thx

  26. Senor Mofo Says:

    @BuccaneerBonzai said:

    How often has he had a lead here?


    Well, we went into the half with the lead six times last season, and lost five of those games. We went into the fourth quarter with the lead five times last season, and lost four of those games.

    So, we clearly couldn’t or wouldn’t finish games last year when we had the lead. How much of that is Lovie’s fault is open to speculation.

  27. BuccaneEric Says:

    Briandorry55, actually top 5 means what it’s always meant. If your top 5, tour top 5. A top 5 defense now may give up more yards or more points than a top 5 defense 15 years ago, but a top 5 defense now is still better than almost every other team now. It’s like Albert Einstein, all relative.

  28. Buc-A-New Says:

    @SPBF……I got exactly what you were saying the first time you said it. However the explanation was Spot On for those that were skimming through your post.

  29. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Senor mofo your argument makes me feel even stronger about the fact that I feel all last season was a tank job for Jamies. I may the only person on here that appreciates 2and14. My fingers were cross around mid season when it dawned on me what was going on. The plan worked to perfecto,Jamies now in the building thank the Gods. We talk noise about McCown,but in my opinion he was a team playing fall guy. I recall the game in Chicago we were up 10 nothing at half without the offence appearing to really even be trying. McCown came out the next half and threw his first few passes straight to bears defenders. I’m thinking to myself man he threw that ball intentionally to that bears defender. Mind you the bears locker room was split on whether or he or Cutler should start upon cutler getting healthy. McCown is no Brady,but basing what I saw him do in chi the year prior with two huge targets I wouldn’t call him god awful garbage either. He was being a team player people. Thank you so much Mr. McCown.

  30. Buc-A-New Says:

    Howdy Nole. How are you and yours bro? I can only agree with you on the tanking in maybe the last two to three games. Coaches don’t get permission to tank half a season for a player with numerous questions. I am super happy with JW if he grows up and leaves the tomfoolery back in his youth. I think that once he realizes that Every DB he throws at is probably better than Any DB he has ever thrown at then he will learn when to attempt those tight windows. I think if we get our OL straight and JW is done with youth then we Bucs’ fans are in store for the First Offensive Hopes in maybe Ever???

  31. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    What’s good Buc,I’m aight on my side man and wishing you and yours many blessings on your side bro. I don’t have much to add,just wanted to send my hello bro. “SkullGang,Red banner 1ball 2blades”…

  32. Buc-A-New Says:

    LOL man!!. I hope we are at .500 at week 9 man. That means that I am coming down there for a game in the second half of the yr. I have already made the commitment. That way we can have a brew of 6 together. GO BUCS!

  33. Buc-A-New Says:


  34. Buc-A-New Says:

    Jeesh!!!!!!!!!! I must be the only married with child man here or the only sad sac.

  35. White Tiger Says:

    Could it be Mrs Frazier is reaching for straws?

    We seem to be playing a 4-3 front as if it is a 3-4…a bend but don’t break defense that didn’t really add anything to change it…means we can expect more of the same. The defense doesn’t have the talent to play a 4-3 under/Tampa-2 alignment.

    On offense we’ve apparently upgraded at most of the skill positions, the top spots will have a slightly savvier-than-normal rookie QB who will no doubt astound everyone a few times a game, but will be held in check mostly by an offensive line that’s not quite ready for prime time.

    7 wins is an absolute swag – but we may have enough on both sides to bring it about…that’s as optimistic as I can get.

  36. White Tiger Says:

    …but, seriously; …”Top 5″?

    If we were truly THAT close on defense, they would have made a more concerted effort to land a legitimate RDE…10 sacks from that side would make this a different team. We didn’t, so we won’t be…

    …different, I mean.

  37. LargoBuc Says:

    Well consider how turnover prone Mccown was. The few times we had a lead, you can understand wanting to go conservative and not risk Mccown turning it over. It isnt ideal but its kind of neccesary last year.
    No the defense wasnt great but they got better as the season went on. However, almost any defense would wilt being left on the field as long as they were. Our quarterback play was so bad, a three and out was almost a best case scenario.
    And just because Lavonte David wasnt blitzing constantly dosent mean he wasnt used properly. He was being used pretty well when he laid out Jimmy Grahm. You can have David do almist anything you could ask a linebacker and he’ll do it well.
    Really, this defense looks to be a defensive end away from being among the leagues best. We have a good backfield. We have alot of speed at linebacker. And we have alot of depth at defensive tackle. And the player actually enjoy playing for Lovie and he has the locker room’s respect, as well as the leagues. Players despised Schiano and they walked all over Raheem. Lovie actually has credibility. If he was so “stubborn” then Mccown would still be our starting quarterback wouldn’t he. Now if we are again out of it before Halloween, then he should be fired right there, but I highly doubt that will happen.
    At the end of the day, we have a defense past most of the learning curve, a talented one at that. We have our quarterback of the future, as dangerous a receiving duo as there is in the NFC and, oh yeah, a real offensive coordinator with actual play calling experience in the league! I like our chances in a weak NFC South.

  38. The True Buc Fan Says:

    Nobody on here is a fan. NO ONE. Joe, ever heard of patience? All the joke of fans on here, the trolls, have you? Guess not. To even say fire Lovie, after this season, is pathetic. Frazier is a great coach, guy went to a NFC championship game as a hc. Tell me, when is the last time we where there? Oh crap, it’s been 12 years. SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP!

  39. LargoBuc Says:

    After the 09 season when the Vikings went to the nfc championship, Leslie Frazier was not the head coach. That was Brad Childress.

  40. bucs4lyfe Says:

    Damn Joe you flip flop your story for every article you write. Now they are stat lunatics lol. Damn eyeball test tells you more than the actual statistics lol no they didn’t look like top 5 but this offense probably led the league in 3 and outs. For as much as the defense was on the field is a miracle they didn’t allow 55 points every game. I’m gonna go out on a limb and side with statistical facts and coaches tape and review of their season than relying on your “eyeball test” what they did with the garbage they had on defense, the gems licht found during the season I’d say the needle is pointing up at the very least