Check Mark Game

September 15th, 2016
There will be a lot of smiles at One Buc Palace if the Bucs can pull off a win Sunday.

Lots of smiles at One Buc Palace if the Bucs can pull off a win Sunday.

So what a nasty crossroads Sunday will be in the desert. The Bucs, who want to be a contender, and the Cardinals who want to remain a contender.

Teams starting 0-2 see their playoff chances nosedive. The Cardinals lost their first home game last week — to a guy making his first NFL start.

The loss was such a gut-punch, Arizona general manager Steve Keim lashed out at his squad calling the performance “unacceptable.”

Nerves are frayed in the valley of the sun for a team thought by some to be a Super Bowl favorite.

The Bucs won their first game. A division road win. Against a team that has won a grand total of three games since starting the 2015 season 5-0. Goody! Sunday, they play the big boys on the road, a team Bucs coach Dirk Koetter believes has its back against the wall.

“They’re definitely going to give us everything they have, there’s no doubt in my mind about that,” Koetter said.

Yet Koetter and his staff, if not the Bucs themselves, are well aware this is a barometer game. Some believe the Bucs could be a sleeper playoff contender. They were a playoff contender last year until they collapsed to garbage teams down the stretch.

How close are the Bucs? Time will tell. Bucs offensive coordinator Todd Monken understands the obstacle before them Sunday. He’s not about to let a Week 2 game define the season, however.

“You’ve got to avoid the noise, that’s what our job is, to avoid the noise,” Monken said. “You’re really, really good or you’re really, really not very good. And that’s the noise that comes from outside of the building. We know we’re pretty good, now it’s on to Week 2 and what the Arizona Cardinals present to us defensively.”

Pretty good? Maybe. But is that good enough to beat the Cardinals in their own birdcage? We shall see.

Until or unless the Bucs knock off an NFL powers, no one will consider the Bucs for anything but a decent draft pick next spring.

“No teams [are] going to walk out there and they’re going to be shaking in their boots because the Bucs are coming to town,” Koetter said. “That’s not going to happen.”

31 Responses to “Check Mark Game”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    If we can put together a win against the Steelers and an almost win at Seattle with bad teams…..we can win at Arizona.

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    Another dogfight coming up and the Bucs obviously need to bring their A-game. Playing on the road is never easy, but I’m convinced that Koetter will have the Bucs up for the game big time. Still seeing a 31-21 Bucs victory.

  3. Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    It can happen. I do believe. Like TBBF said, it is not like we have not won on the road against very good teams recently.

  4. Patrick in VA Says:

    I’m used to going in to winable games against bad teams wondering how we’re going to manage to screw it up. This game is one that most people have circled ahead of time as a loss for Tampa and I find myself feeling like there’s a good chance we could find a way to win. We have one of the best young QBs in the league paired with one of the best play callers in the league. We have a great linebacker duo coupled with a front line that is letting them get in to the backfield and disrupt plays. I’m feeling good about it.

  5. Tampa Tony Says:

    Those were different teams that beat the Steelers and “almost” beat Seattle. Sorry I’m not grasping for straws proud of an almost win. Bucs defense will be tested facing a balanced offense. I’d just like to see this game be close as I can’t see this d holding the Cards to under 28 at home. Bucs offense will have to play error free to win this game

  6. D-Rome Says:

    I’m very optimistic about this game. The are a lot of play makers on the Bucs that I would rather have right now than guys on NE from Sunday night’s game. I think our RB group is better. I think our 1 & 2 wide receivers are better. Our QB is definitely better. Our CBs are better. Our D-Line is better. our LBs are better.

    I like the Bucs chances. In my opinion this game is ultimately going to come down to coaching and not just head coaching.

  7. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Anything is possible.

    This game will be a good measuring stick as to the progress of the Bucs. We already know they are improved, but we don’t really know to what degree.

    If we lose this game, which most fans at least suspect, it doesn’t hurt us. It’s a tough team and the Bucs haven’t had time to gel in certain areas yet. It won’t mean the end of our playoff hopes, or the hopes of a winning season. A lose means we have a bit more worth to do.

    BUT…if we win this game? Wow. That will mean we’ve taken a huge leap forward in development. It would mean that if we stay healthy, we are a surefire contender.

    So while I expect a loss this week, I am hoping for that win…because a victory this week will convince me to believe in the here and now.

  8. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    We need to get Dougie going early. If we can’t successfully run the ball this secondary will be tough to throw on. Like I said before, hopefully the Pats have given us some insight as to how to attack these guys. That NE win was pure coaching.

  9. stpetebucsfan Says:

    “No teams [are] going to walk out there and they’re going to be shaking in their boots because the Bucs are coming to town,” Koetter said. “That’s not going to happen.”

    I LOVE this coach!!! He just tells it like it is…most time doesn’t even bother to put any gloss or lubricant to smooth it out. Here it is…BOOM.

    Of course that’s true and his team knows it. I think this is a small edge that we better enjoy this year because it will be gone by the time next year rolls around.

    This is the type of motivation that will send the Bucs out onto football fields with a chip on their shoulder. I like teams that play with a chip on their shoulder.

    Having watched the Lightning’s run to Stanley Cup competitor I see all the same elements now in the Bucs. We’re only a year or two behind the Bolts.

    Can you imagine a day when both teams win championships!!!

  10. Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    “…Sorry I’m not grasping for straws proud of an almost win…”

    It is not grasping for straws. Granted, the Pats are a very good team. BUT, they were missing their starting QB, TE and T and beat the Cards on the road. So why would believing the Bucs can win if they play well be so hard to believe?

    Yes, the Bucs D will be tested. But the Bucs O can definitely keep up with the Cards scoring ability. I too am just looking for the Bucs to continue to show improvement, but believing they can win this game is not far fetched at all IMO.

    Go Bucs!!!

  11. JAB83 Says:

    Keep it simple… Control the ball and pressure the QB…

    Score on your long drives and force them into quick score situation.

    Pick off a pass or two and turn it into points!!!

    Game Ste Match.

    38-17 Bucs

  12. stpetebucsfan Says:

    As far as this game….I do believe we can throw on these guys. Peterson and HoneyBadger are great…but we don’t need to attack them.

    Opposite Petersen is a young DB that converted to the position. Against the Pats he looked lost and confused…it was the chicken with his head cut off look.

    We have so many talented targets now…#3 will pick the one who has coverage from this guy.

  13. Etzel Says:

    I think the name of the game Sunday is TACKLE. If they don’t wrap up on DJ, we’re done.

  14. Pickgrin Says:

    Looking forward to seeing how the Bucs fare against a team like Arizona. They were considered among the NFL elite coming into the season – but looked like something a little less than that in their week 1 loss to the Pats.

    I think that even at this early point of this team’s “development” – if the Bucs are on their “A game” – we can compete with and beat any team in the league.

    We’ll have at least 5 chances to be “giant killers” this year including games against the Cardinals, Seahawks, and 3 games against last year’s Super Bowl teams. Winning 2 or 3 of those games would not only make a statement to everyone in the league that the Bucs are talented and for real – it would also likely put us into the 10+ WIN category.

  15. Compa Gera Says:

    Joe what are the chances that Aguayo will be the one to win this game for Tampa?

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

    What Pete just said. Coach K is reviewing the film as we speak. The same way Belicheat attacked that convert we will do the same. Sooner or later he will find himself across from ME. ME will grin☺ and at the snap of that play will be a touchdown. This doesn’t require over thinking, its actually quite simple Buccs win babi. “Us against the world” mentality this week.

  17. Tampa Tony Says:

    Ask yourself this-
    The Bucs defense could only hold Ryan and his one good WR to 24 points how are they gonna keep Palmer in check with 4 legit weapons?

  18. DislocatedBucsFan Says:

    @ Tony

    Pressure and make them chase us on the scoreboard.

  19. The Other Side of the Coin Says:

    Maybe the Cards believed their own media about being Super Bowl contenders and lost their edge. That may be why they are vulnerable. If the Bucs can get up 15 points the Birds could collapse.

  20. Cobraboy Says:

    Tampa Tony Says:

    Ask yourself this-
    The Bucs defense could only hold Ryan and his one good WR to 24 points how are they gonna keep Palmer in check with 4 legit weapons?

    Totally disagree.

    Atlanta has numerous top weapons on offense.

  21. Old school Buc Says:

    This is why everyone shouldn’t Panic about the schedule before the season starts. Let the Season play out a bit and then we can form an opinion of whether or not we have a chance to win

  22. Tampa Tony Says:

    Falcons have Julio, Sanu is a decent 2nd tier guy, their TE is Manning’s old backup TE. Freeman has tailed off quite a bit and may not hold off Coleman to be a starter.

    Bucs d still worries me. Will take take for them to gel so the offense needs to be in constant attack mode to keep this team in games

  23. Tampa Tony Says:

    Exactly Old School, schedule was never an issue for educated fans.

  24. pick6 Says:

    just peeked at the 2015 results. these guys won 9 in a row down the stretch in pretty dominant fashion. to underestimate them because they stuttered in the opener against bill belichick would be a huge mistake. they are one of the most talented teams in the league right now and they are ticked off

  25. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    Their knees don’t knock now but what if we’re 8-0 by mid season? That’s a really B I G I F!

  26. orlbucfan Says:

    What’s with the weak schedule nonsense?! Bucs never had a cupcake schedule even back in the ole NFC Central Division days. Sheesh! This ballgame will be a very good barometer in showing how far along in development our 48K offense under DK is. I’m already mentally warming up for Sunday, 4PM EDT. GO BUCS!!

  27. sb_demon Says:

    Bucs definitely have a chance. Really have avoid a start slow or committing turnovers or its over. At this stage I like the defense, but seems more like a bend and don’t break until everyone gets more comfortable in it. Pressuring Palmer and making tackles is huge. Getting plays from our offensive playmakers like last week and being able to keep it balanced between run-pass and control the clock and tempo would also be extremely helpful. I don’t think there’s a lot of margin for error in this game, but the talent is there to compete and win.

  28. Mike Johnson Says:

    This will be a low down dirty physical game in Arizona. They have said its a..must win for them. Our biggest key is going to be..can we get enough Defensive pressure consistently on Palmer? This Cardinal O line is stout and plays with a mean streak. Get a lot of pressure and we win. If not? Its gonna be a long day on the west coast.

  29. DanTheBucsFan(Atlanta) Says:

    I Believe!

  30. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Tampa Tony Says
    “Exactly Old School, schedule was never an issue for educated fans.”

    Not so.

    When a team is young and still building confidence, the schedule does matter. For example, what if our toughest games were the last 5 games of our schedule? Then the team would have time to gel and develop into a more cohesive unit.

    While I get that things can sometimes prove to be unpredictable (for example, a projected elite team can do poorly), most of the time the projections pan out.

    There is a balance in this, as with anything else.

    And let me add…insulting the “education” of fellow fans accomplishes nothing.

  31. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Why is every comment I make under moderation now?