One Reason To Be Sleepless

October 21st, 2016



As an organization, the Buccaneers couldn’t care less about Colin Kaepernick’s controversial protests.

But if Kaepernick is taking a knee when Sunday’s game ends, that’s a whole different story.

When Kaepernick was on a conference call with Tampa Bay media this week, the first seven questions concerned his decision to kneel down during the National Anthem.

Kaepernick used to generate headlines with his play, but San Francisco’s quarterback hasn’t done much on the field lately. That’s because he hasn’t been ON the field lately.

But heading into Sunday’s matchup, Kaepernick’s presence is keeping more than a few Buc fans up at night.

Let’s get this out of the way at the start — the 49ers are lousy. They are mired in a five-game losing streak, and the only categories they lead the league in are most punts (37) and most touchdowns allowed (22).

Yes, they are bad on both sides of the ball and the Bucs have had a week off to build momentum from that Monday night win in Charlotte.

The Bucs are favored on the road, and that happens about as often as a Harvest Moon. Tampa Bay should reach the .500 mark before beginning a three-game home stand that includes a rematch against first-place Atlanta.

But, but, but.

Kaepernick looms as a 6-foot-4 question mark, the main reason the 49ers have a chance to send Tampa Bay back on the team plane in a 2,360-mile funk.

Fear Factor

Who else scares you on the 49ers?

Their top running back, Carlos Hyde, is out with a shoulder injury. Hyde has accounted for six of San Francisco’s 15 touchdowns and the dropoff to Shaun Draughn is significant.

Top receiver Jerey Kerley would be a No. 3 on most teams and the 49ers have allowed an average of 37 points during this tailspin that has erased any memory of a 28-0 triumph against the Rams in the season opener.

What makes Kaepernick so dangerous in this matchup? The man can still run and he is the first mobile quarterback the Bucs have faced this season.

Matt Ryan, Carson Palmer, Case Keenum, Trevor Siemian and Derek Anderson all do their damage from the pocket.

Not this guy.

Kaepernick is at his best dancing away from the rush, sprinting toward the sideline and applying immense pressure on defensive backs who need to stay disciplined.

Kaepernick ran eight times for 66 yards last week in Buffalo, where 25-mph winds made each throw risky business. Kaepernick isn’t particularly accurate when playing in a dome, but that 13-for-29 performance didn’t help in Buffalo’s 45-16 victory.

“Using my feet was something I did well,” Kaepernick said. “There were a couple times I felt I hung in there a little bit more. But those are always split-second decisions, and it’s easy to look back and say, ‘I should have done this, should have done that.’”

Redemption Tour

Let’s cut Kaepernick some slack. The Bills are playing very well and Kaepernick was understandably rusty.

He hasn’t been a star since 2013 and Blaine Gabbert of all people beat him out as a starter this year.

Kaepernick doesn’t turn 29 until next month, but he has already experienced the full gamut of NFL emotions. In 2012 and 2013, he looked like an emerging stud.

During a 34-31 loss to Baltimore in the Super Bowl, Kaepernick almost overcame a 21-6 halftime deficit by himself with a dazzling performance. When the 49ers went 12-4 in 2013, then beat Green Bay and Carolina on the road in the playoffs, Kaepernick’s legend continued to grow.

But late in a 23-17 setback at Seattle in the NFC championship game, Kaepernick self-destructed, throwing two picks and losing a fumble in the fourth quarter.

He has never recovered.

His personal Redemption Tour continues Sunday against a Buc team eager to clog his escape lanes.

Sit tight, Buc faithful. It’s all about when Kaepernick takes a knee.

Ira Kaufman’s colums appear on on Mondays, Wedensdays and Fridays.. His podcasts pop Tuesdays and Thursdays.

17 Responses to “One Reason To Be Sleepless”

  1. Mike Johnson Says:

    Having served this great country, I’m not a big take a knee fan or turn your back guy when the anthem is being played. A lot of good men died over the years defending ole glory. I get the protest thing. But you’re being paid a kings ransom to play the game you love. Sorry Ira, I’ll cut Kap no slack. None whatsoever. May his body hit the ground often and hard.come Sunday. Amen. And for all baby!!

  2. tickrdr Says:

    @Mike Johnson:
    To you and ALL the great men and women who have served this country: I salute you and thank you for your service!


  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Let’s hope the only time Kaepernick takes a knee is during the anthem….not at the end of the game.

    Now…..knowing that he is likely their only viable weapon….we must put a player on him……LVD would be good for starters…..and a dose of Kwon would work also.
    Conte can’t cover but seems to be able to tackle….we could spare him for K.

  4. ThunderSack Says:

    With half of our starting DL out he shouldn’t have to run and will be able to use his arm. Which was what Buffalo did to beat them. Except in reverse…

  5. MadMax Says:

    I just keep getting this feeling we’ll win nicely, by 14 or more. And I hate that pos kap!…hope he gets hurt bad enough to be forced into retirement!

  6. MadMax Says:

    Btw, thank you for your service MJ and everyone else who posts here 🙂

  7. I know why Says:

    Kap stinks, Hyde out, seriously there defense is terrible allowing almost 180 yards rushing per week, this is as good of a layup as the Bucs will have this season. We will be 3-3 no way we lose, if we do then we seriously have regressed WAY WAY to much, like top 5 pick and certainly top 10 pick again for Licht. Must be nice to be a GM who picks in the top ten four straight years and had the #1 overall. Anyway, that won’t be the issue, Bucs 3-3 in 48 hours

  8. Buccfan37 Says:

    It’s not like he burned a US flag which is also a legal form of protest. Why he did it is the important message. It’s a legit right but keep it out of public view. Upsetting the applecart is sometimes good.

  9. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    I hope I don’t hack guys off but when I went to Vietnam I did not go to fight for a piece of cloth or a song. I went to defend what they REPRESENTED..including the First Amendment.

    But tradition is important to many and if songs and cloth are important to you I respect your upset.

    As for football…I still remember Kaepernik destroyinga good Green Bay team with his legs. His legs are rested and that’s what scares me.

    What excites me is that #3 continues to grow and our OL should blow away their DL. That and the return of Stocker lead me to believe Quizz is going to have a big day!

  10. Pit Says:

    If that’s only a song and just a piece of cloth why is he protesting again them then?

    They shouldn’t have any value right? So it means his protest is useless anyway?

    Where the hell do you guys come from? Is because there is idiots like you out there in the streets that Trump is a candidate for president.

  11. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    I couldn’t care less about any of your political opinions. Why? Because a football fan trying to talk politics is like a toddler trying to give a doctoral dissertation. It just comes out all babbly and incoherent. So stop trying, please. Better to just stick with your legos and leave well-enough alone. Leave it to the adults.

    Now back to football. This game is another status-check type of game just like the one against the Rams was. The loss to the Rams proved just how bad the Bucs really were at that point. This game will reveal more. Is this a team on the upswing with hope for increased improvement the rest of the season? Or is this a team that’s as bad as most football fans say it is? Stay tuned…this game will definitively answer those questions.

  12. Buc1987 Says:

    Break his knee.

  13. Dark Wing Buc Says:

    Is all you see disrespect to you and your country when Kap takes a knee? Yes you served for us to have continued freedom and liberties; what you fail to realize or want to accept is that some of us don’t get to enjoy the fruits of your labor in the same way. That’s what this is about. By making him a Vilain you are dismissing the VERY REAL fact that not all American lives are valued the same way. It’s less of a disrespect to country and more wanting to be accepted and acknowledged.

    Go Bucs!!!

  14. Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    @87, LMAO and I second that motion!

    Ira, what you failed to mention is how the Bucs love to provide the cure-all tonic for backup QBs, making them look like stars, such as the Rams Keenan. THAT is what scares the hell out of me

  15. orlbucfan Says:

    Man, I don’t follow the NFC West, but the 49ers have really toppled over the barrel. I recall that game when CK and krewe killed us. If CK wants to protest, that’s his right. It’s also a right for others to disagree with him. I hope the Bucs win. They’re the better team in spite of Buc Luck and still being the Walking Wounded. Enuff said. Go Tampa Bay in the Other Bay!!

  16. BucinJAX Says:

    What tickdr said.

    Mike Johnson, I usually disagree or just don’t like your posts. This one was beautiful. Thank’s for those great words.

    It’s not about a song or a piece of cloth. He is disrespecting the country that has led more people to freedom throughout this world than any other country. He is also disrespecting all those who have given so much to protect his arse and give freedom to so many. Nothing is perfect. And, yes not all get to share equally. That is for sure, but his disrespect and choice of protest is out-of-line.

    FLBoy, if this is “babbly and incoherent”, I’m sorry. I guess I just don’t know words so swell. None of us are perfect, not me, not you, and certainly not
    everything about our wonderful country.

    And Dark wing, I totally acknowledge and accept Colon Krappernick for who he really is, a previleged crybaby with somewhere between $61 million and $114 million on this contract alone.

    “Eric Hipple his ass!” May he be a bug on the winidshield of life.

  17. BucinJAX Says:

    * privileged and windshield