Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow

November 30th, 2015

colts beat bucs

So now the Bucs really have their backs to the wall. With five games left, the Bucs must win no less than three games to have a small chance at a Wild Card. It can still happen.

The next three games are very winnable: The Dixie Chicks, the Saints and the Rams are all circling the drain. But yesterday was a massive hit. The Bucs had a lead at halftime on a team with a 40-year-old backup at quarterback. But the Bucs didn’t do a damned thing in the second half.

Curious Case Of Doug Martin

As Joe wrote earlier, it sure smells. Doug Martin was having his typical Muscle Hamster day and was all but shelved in the second half. He had only three carries in the final 30 minutes in what was a one-score game until the Colts had a soul-crushing 7:30 scoring drive.

Lovie likes to run the ball. Bucs offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has reminded fans of this on several occasions. Yet for some reason, Martin was taken out of the game. Lovie tried to say after the game it was because the Bucs were looking for production, yet Martin averaged 6.9 yards a carry yesterday.

Was Martin hurt? Was Koetter following orders to bench Martin? Or worse, did Koetter bench Martin?

Yes, Joe knows Martin is in a rotation to keep him fresh and keep him healthy, but three carries in the second half is more than simply a rotation issue. Something isn’t right here.

Offensive Line At Fault

For the first time in a long time, the Bucs’ offensive line got manhandled yesterday. While the line did OK in the first half, the Colts brought the kitchen sink in the second half and the Bucs never had an answer.

Trent Cole worked over Donovan Smith and Evan Smith got exposed in the second half, as well. And the offense was shut down as a result, not even America’s Quarterback, Bucs signal-caller Jameis Winston had any sort of time to set up in the pocket.

Whatever the Colts exposed in the front line of the Bucs, you better believe the Bucs will see it again and again until they learn how to stop it. So this is worth monitoring next week. Without sufficient blocking, this team is toast.

Kwon Expected To Be Gone

Unless the NFL pulls a rare and unexpected move in lessening Kwon Alexander’s four-game suspension for using banned performance enhancing drugs, Alexander will not return until the final game at Carolina.

Will the Bucs still be battling for a wild card berth?

That is one reason Tampa Bay so needed a win over the Colts because the Bucs will be shorthanded one of their best players on defense for the next month.

Joe was told last week Alexander would certainly appeal the suspension, and he had a five-day window to exercise that option. That window shuts today. Joe asked Alexander yesterday if he did indeed appeal the suspension but Alexander refused to comment.

Penalties Killing Bucs

The Bucs, if they miss the playoffs, can look to a lot of reasons for the missed opportunity, but none will overtake how crippling penalties have hurt this team.

Yes, Joe noted yesterday how the Bucs are on pace to set an NFL record for penalties. At times, this team looks woefully undisciplined. Holding calls, dudes jumping off other teammates on place kicks (what is it about illegal jumps and the Colts?), and of course, not catching the friggin’ ball (another story for another day).

Two penalties cost the Bucs a total of eight points. That’s one touchdown. And maybe more. A penalty took away an interception deep in Colts territory.

Penalties are a bad reflection on the coaching staff. Why aren’t they learning? Joe heard Gerald McCoy a few weeks ago saying there is no excuse for him jumping offsides because he is quick enough he doesn’t need to cheat. Yet here it is after Thanksgiving and he did it again.

NFL Thoughts:

Lions: Ever since the Lions ran Vince Lombardi’s grandson and got a new offensive coordinator, Detroit has been on a tear. Oh, and see-ya, Chip.

Stinking Panthers: A magical season continues for Carolina. Imagine if they had Kelvin Benjamin?

Bears: John Fox really has the Bears defense coming around. And bratty Jay Cutler isn’t playing so bad. Starting to look dangerous.

Vikings: This is going to be fun watching the Vikings and the Packers battle for a division title.

Bengals: All Andy Dalton does is win and this win has Jeff Fisher cussing in public.

Texans: Uh, oh, but all of a sudden Romeo Crennel as the Texans’ defense playing good ball.

Chargers: Always dangerous with Philip Rivers and nice way to dodge a pesky Jags squad.

Chiefs: Since the bye, Andy Reid has the Chiefs on fire. Oh, and look! Alex Smith threw a touchdown pass!

Jets: The Jets keep their playoff hopes alive by smothering Ryan Tannehill, who is beginning to look like the Josh Freeman of Miami, only with a smoking hot wife to cry to.

Raiders: Escaped Nashville with a win. Like the Bucs, they are 5-6 and still sniffing a wild card berth.

Redskins: Kirk Cousins is magic and suddenly the Redskins are in first place in the NFC East. Threw for 302 yards.
Cardinals: Probably the best team in the NFC west of Charlotte. Almost has a disastrous loss to the 49ers, but prevailed.

Seahawks: Won a shootout with the Steelers and just when folks were ready to shovel dirt in the face of Russell Wilson, he goes out and flings five touchdown passes.

Broncos: Brock Osweiler beat the Belicheats. AH-hahahahahahahahaha!

Non-NFL Thoughts

* Yes, Clemson is the best team in the land per the polls, but they sure got a scare from South Carolina. Not sure that Clemson can get past North Carolina in the ACC title game. The Tar Heels sure play some defense.

* Joe can’t see Alabama doing anything but freight-training Florida, who has played some really lousy ball the past two or three weeks. Joe was shocked by how inept Florida was against Florida State, and that’s not even a good Florida State team. No wonder Jimbo Fisher was ecstatic after the game.

* For Joe’s money, no team is currently on a roll like Oklahoma. Ending the season with wins over (then) undefeated Baylor, one-loss TCU and undefeated Oklahoma State was unreal. ,they gagged against a garbage Texas team in October but name a school that went through a juggernaut schedule the past month like the Sooners did.

* Just going to guess that the fourth team in the playoff (barring Clemson losing to North Carolina) is the B1G winner between Iowa and Sparty. In a way, Joe would like to see Iowa in there to hear all the SEC types holler in a fit of rage.

* So Georgia fired Mark Richt. Joe isn’t very surprised. A good man who seemed to run a clean program who always seemed to have won nine games can only last so long in the SEC without winning a title. That is the fix Richt found himself in. Not sure Georgia will find a much better coach.

* If you were Miami, how quick should you be breathing down Richt’s neck? Imagine Richt, a solid recruiter, being dropped in the middle of South Florida? The Hurricanes couldn’t get a better candidate. Problem is, would Richt, a former Canes quarterback, at his age want to take on a rebuilding project?

* Speaking of coaches who don’t win SEC titles, how long before Kevin Sumlin is on the hot seat in College Station? The guy always has good recruiting classes and with Texas being down pretty much can control the rich, fertile recruiting grounds of the Lone Star State. Yet the Aggies under Sumlin haven’t done a damned thing without Johnny Football and Sumlin can’t seem to make up his mind who to start at quarterback and who to run off campus.

* The tricky thing is who gets the USC gig? Yeah, sure, there are rumors that Chip Kelly would be in line, but does he fit the culture there? USC has always been about dropback quarterbacks for decades, as long as Joe can remember, and not this gimmicky spread-option nonsense. That would be like Nebraska going pass happy. Oh, wait…

* Joe is happy to see the Cajuns sobered up and decided to keep Les Miles.

* If Kirby Smart doesn’t get a head coaching gig this offseason, either the guy just doesn’t want to be a head coach or he is a horrible interview.

22 Responses to “Yesterday, Today And Tomorrow”

  1. Patrick in VA Says:

    While it was hard to see us let a winnable game slip through our fingers like it did yesterday, it’s a much more comfortable feeling to see the team as a unit that is truly a few pieces away from being a solid unit as opposed to being the black hole of talent that we were with just a couple players that were shining despite the suck hole around them. We clearly need CB help. We clearly need to continue adding younger talent to our offensive line. We clearly need DE help. Outside of that, I don’t know that we the players we have aren’t pretty solid.

    Of course, they could do better. Evans could humor us and catch a ball that hits him in the hands from time to time. Jameis will learn from his mistakes this year and grow in the off season. I don’t doubt that he’ll live in the film room this off season trying to hone his craft. We’ll be fine. Jason Licht has earned my trust in terms of bringing quality talent to the roster. I don’t doubt that we’ll not only plug the holes but start to develop depth as well this off season.

    The playoffs would be fun, but I won’t let us not getting there, should that happen, get in the way of enjoying watching the team grow.

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We had a series of three events in a row that killed us…..A Mike Evans drop….a missed Barth field goal and then a 15 yard penalty on Mankins giving the Colts great field position….I think that turned the game.

    I know Evans dropped a couple of passes….but there were several Winston passes that were way off target….that hurts as well…

    And Hey Jude….well….

  3. Pawl Says:

    And Doug Martin TD became a FG because of penalty

  4. Tom Edrington Says:

    Stop being in denial…..the Bucs are in playoff contention but are not a playoff team YET……still missing pieces but not as many as it seemed after first four games…..the fact is they simply did not play well enough in the second half to win…..good first half.

    This team has made a lot of progress, but too many are expecting a miracle…..they have become relevant again…..and that’s a good thing.

  5. JMN Says:

    The Doug Martin mystery is an easy one to solve. The team has no intention of re-signing him to a big contract next year. Sims is their guy who they drafted fairly high. Sims is being groomed to be the #1 starter for next year and part of that process involves benching Martin, even when he is doing well, so Sims can get more carries/experience.

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    One of the benefits to losing is it brings back the return of the Realist who will provide us with the much needed negative input….

  7. Joehelldeloxley Says:

    I agree with Tom Edrington. We are not a playoff team yet.

    Yesterday defeat is not a good thing, for sure, but not a critical thing also.

    At the beginning of the season, Joe asked us what we were expecting as results for this season, most of us answer betwenn 4-12 and 8-8 sor, we are in the window.

    Of course, for the team trust, for attracting better free agent, … it would be better to be 8-8 or even 9-7 than 6-10 but still we can see a HUGE improvment in this team.

    For me yesterday it was “shit happened”, a recover fumble cancelled by the referees, again, some usuals mistakes (Mike Evans, penalties, …).

    This team is for me at the expected level.

  8. 911bucs Says:

    So you don’t have Doug in the game to run the ball, no worries. How about putting him in mainly as a decoy or a quick block and peel off into the flat for a short pass. It’s Monday morning quarterbacking time.

  9. Tampa Tony Says:

    I always laugh when I read posters talk about “negativity” hard to be positive with all these penalties, only 2 wins and a 7-20 record thru 27 games and this defense getting carved up by a 40 year old QB.

    We hear coach speak that “we will get that cleaned up” but nothing ever changes

  10. Tampa Tony Says:

    Only 2 home wins is what I meant to type

  11. Buccfan37 Says:

    How is that winning the opening kickoff and acting like it’s a hot potato, so defer away working out for you?

  12. Mark Hicks Says:

    The only performance more offensive than the offensive line was that of the coaching staff. The cover-2 defense is so old the only person who has any experience against it just happened to be the 42 year old quarterback they were playing. So, he sat back and picked them apart.
    1. Did the Bucs try to blitz the immobile old man at QB
    2. Did they try a defensive formation that covers receivers who don’t run 20 yards down the field to where the safeties are?

    Answer: The Bucs took what wasn’t working and tenaciously stuck with it.

    It seems obvious this defense was named for the number of receivers it covers. If you hear someone at the next game yelling “Any more than 2, try something new,” that will be me trying to wake up the coaching staff.

  13. Mark Hicks Says:

    It seems obvious this defense was named for the number of receivers it covers. If you hear someone at the next game yelling “Any more than 2, try something new,” that will be me trying to wake up the coaching staff.

  14. Patrick in VA Says:

    @Buccfan37 – I can’t imagine a more irrelevant thing to reference as the reason we did poorly in that game.

  15. Espo Says:

    @ Patrick


  16. 813bucboi Says:

    this was the first game that we really missed marpet…the rt got beat a few times as well along with mankins…hopefully vs. atl marpet will get back in the mix and we start Dotson and pamphill at lg even though he cost us a too…im not overreacting but the oline got slapped around yesterday…they’ll tighten up…GO BUCS!!!

  17. Buccfan37 Says:

    When you get the ball in the 2nd half and go nowhere that’s relevant to me. That is part of the reason for the loss, add all the bungled plays up, the winner was never in doubt.

  18. Buccfan37 Says:

    Yeah, the Gators will get smashed by Alabama. The SEC East is fairly weak overall, my opinion is Tennessee was the best team from that side. The Gators should have lost to them. This SEC Title game is a gross mismatch.

  19. godzilla13 Says:

    Doug Martin actually had three carries, one pass completion and one pass incomplete in the final 30 minutes. Martin’s last run was with 00:26 left in the 3rd. By the time the Bucs got the ball back with 05:53 to go in the 4th and down 25 – 12, Koetter went to the air with Charles Sims in the backfield. Koetters game plan and play calling in the second half was atrocious. First series of the 3rd. Run, pass,pass. Run, pass,pass. Run, pass, run. Then 16 consecutive pass plays.

  20. buc89 Says:

    Tampa Tony,

    I find it easy to be positive about this team. We’re doing way better than last year(I mean did you really expect us to be in the playoff race this year?). We’re successfully building this team through the draft.

    It’s easy to see this team has turned a corner, the mistakes will be cleaned up when the players aren’t in their rookie/sophomore year.

    BTW, that 40 year old backup is no scrub. He’s 4-0 in his starts this year and is better than at least a third of the starting quarterbacks.

  21. BlogTalkFootball Says:

    Martin sat out because his stats were getting too high. Big stats means a bigger contract…

  22. Buccfan37 Says:

    On a lighter note, is ASJ ready to play… The Bucs being so outplayed in the second half is a major bummer. It developed like it was set in stone.