The Morning After

October 24th, 2016
Bucs WR Mike Evans and QB Jameis Winston celebrate a touchdown yesterday. (Photo courtesy of

Mike Evans and Jameis Winston celebrate a touchdown yesterday. (Photo courtesy of Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Well, hello Victory Monday! It’s been damned near two months since Joe has last seen you.

How rotten have the Bucs been? Well, 3-3 seems like a playoff win. So let’s get rolling.

Best of Jameis?

Joe hasn’t dug through stats of the past 22 games, but it sure seemed like America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, had his best game yesterday.

Why was that? Accuracy. When is the last time you saw Jameis so accurate? Sure, he had a pick, which bounced off Mike Evans’ hands. Jameis likely forced that throw.

But how about the two-minute drive for a touchdown late in the first half? Jameis was slinging that thing. Threading needles. Even on the incompletion in the end zone for Russell Shepard, Jameis threw that ball damn near perfectly, where only Shepard had a prayer of catching it. It was beyond the reach of the 49ers defender and Shepard did get his hand on the ball, which was catchable, albeit a bit difficult.

The eyeball test says the way Jameis was hitting receivers, it was Jameis’ best game in the NFL.

Koetter’s loyalty kept door open.

With the score 27-14 early in the fourth quarter and the ball at the San Francisco-32 on 4th-and-3, Dirk Koetter decided to attempt a 50-yard field goal.

At the time, Joe thought it was a mistake. The way the Bucs were moving the ball, getting three yards was better odds than embattled rookie kicker Roberto Aguayo booting a 50-yarder.

Besides, if the Bucs kept moving the ball and scored a touchdown, game over. Of course, Aguayo missed badly and the 49ers got the ball back needing just two scores to take the lead with a whole bunch of clock left.

No, there was little evidence the 49ers would rally. Still, by trying a high-risk field goal, it let San Francisco wiggle off the hook when it could have been buried for good.

Joe sort of gets why Koetter let Aguayo kick it: trying to build confidence in his rookie kicker. Still, trying to boost the morale of one kicker opened the door to blow up the season for the team (if the Bucs lost yesterday, well, Joe doesn’t even want to think).

Perhaps Koetter was too confident with Aguayo? Koetter raved on SiriusXM NFL Radio last week how Aguayo had his best week of practice. This just in: practice is not a game.

From now on, Koetter must do what’s in the best interest of the team, to hell with a kicker’s confidence. Let him make some field goals to build his own confidence.

Joe has many favorite Bobby Knight quotes and this comes to mind thinking of Aguayo’s fragile psyche: When Knight was asked while coaching Indiana about the confidence of a guard he kept pulling from the starting lineup and yanking off the court after a few minutes of subpar play, Knight shot back at the reporter, “What about my confidence?”

Is Jacquizz Rodgers a keeper?

Who knows when Doug Martin will return, if ever? This is easily shaping up to be Martin’s third lost season in five years.

No, the Bucs are not going to release him. But is there any doubt this Jacquizz Rodgers is a better running back than Charles Sims? Shoot, in some ways, Rodgers seems to have more quicks than Martin.

On the street in September, Rodgers only signed through this season. If he maintains this running style, Rodgers is going to have a bunch of suitors lined up to sign him and not as a backup.

Rodgers’ agent knows this so Joe would be shocked if Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht could coerce Rodgers to sign an extension before he becomes a free agent.

Rodgers, 26, is younger than Martin, 27, and he doesn’t have near the wear-and-tear on his tire treads. Martin has one more season guaranteed on his contract.

Just something to think about if Rodgers continues to ball out.

Lucky with offensive line.

Just the thought of those stat nerds freaking out about left tackle Donovan Smith makes Joe chortle out loud on this very early Monday morning as Joe is typing this here piece.

Did anyone watch the Sunday Night Football game where the front lines of Arizona and Seattle pretended to block? Then think back at how the Bucs’ offensive line manhandled San Francisco’s defensive front.

The offensive line is so deep. Evan Smith might start for other teams. Joe has heard good things about rookie Caleb Benenoch, and at one point this summer heard that fellow rookie Leonard Wester was good enough to be the No. 2 left tackle. And Gosder Cherilus sees a lot of playing time, as well.

Leave it to a former Nebraska offensive lineman like Licht to beef up the front line while building the team. The stat geeks might get their panties bunched up their cracks, but Joe really believes the offensive line of the Bucs is very underrated.


* Right now, Joe would pick two offensive players who playing at a Pro Bowl level: Ali Marpet and Evans. Marpet was just crushing people yesterday.

* Joe doesn’t think it is a stretch to suggest the Bucs have the best pair of starting cornerbacks in the division. Rookie Vernon Hargreaves just gets better and better each week, and Brent Grimes shows no signs of being an NFL senior citizen.

* Yeah, yeah, yeah… Joe understands this two-game winning streak came against two cellar dwellers. Well, what are the Bucs supposed to do, roll over and play dead? Decent teams are supposed to beat garbage teams.

* Apparently, Russell Shepard, who was previously cut by then-Eagles strongman Chip Kelly, had a rousing pregame speech to his teammates. It seems Shepard has a long memory.

* This morning on Bucs Bonus, seen on WFLA-TV Channel 8, Gerald McCoy didn’t credit the early success of the 49ers to Kelly’s fast-paced offense. McCoy initially thought it was the pace of play and his teammates were being caught out of position, but GMC said he asked Lavonte David if the 49ers offense was just too quick for the Bucs and David told him, nah, just guys out of position. That changed in a hurry. Joe even thought the pace of San Francisco was a non-issue prior to the game. Remember, the Bucs routed Kelly and the Eagles last year and most of that Bucs defense returned this season.

* The Bucs and 49ers nearly had identical third down-conversion percentages. The Bucs were 6 of 14, and San Francisco was 6 of 15.

* Anyone see Evans before his touchdown catch midway through the third quarter? Jameis was scrambling and Evans was pointing at the sky as if to tell Jameis, “Throw high, I can play Dwight Clark, too.” Jameis did, and the former Texas high school basketball star used his hops to grab the ball.


Russell Shepard: Caught five of six targets for 77 yards and a touchdown, his best game as a receiver.

Mike Evans: Dude is balling. Even with San Francisco knowing Evans would be the key target without Vincent Jackson, they still couldn’t stop him.

Will Gholston: The defensive tackle had seven tackles, including a tackle for loss, as well as a sack and a quarterback hit.

Lavonte David: After a slow start, David had eight tackles, a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and a pass defended.

Jacquizz Rodgers: Second straight 100-yard game (154 Sunday). In his last two games Rodgers is averaging 4.5 yards a carry.


“We had a lot of confidence in whoever is out there playing. We had a lot of confidence in our O-line, a lot of confidence in our tight ends, so the running game is not just the back. There are a lot of people involved and it was no secret. You guys all pointed out over the course of the week the [San Francisco] 49ers have been giving up a lot of yards rushing. We’d be foolish if we didn’t try to run the ball.” — Dirk Koetter on running the ball.

“Mike’s just getting open. We put in a lot of work. Hard work pays off, and you see it coming. There was one scramble, on the third down conversion that we worked at the end of practice one day. Even though we were working on it at a different part of the field, we worked it. He’s starting to see, and he’s been seeing, I just have to get him the ball, that when we work on something it’s going to show up in the game.” — Bucs QB Jameis Winston on Mike Evans.

“I don’t think it matters who’s back there. I think we have the best running back coach in the NFL. No matter who goes back there, we treat those guys the same. It doesn’t matter who is the player. What matters is the technique and who can get things done. Jacquizz and Barber and Smith, they did a good job, but the guys up front in the offensive line and the tight end did a good job blocking.” — Bucs RT Demar Dotson on the running game.

“I think so. He knows where I’m going to be and he did a great job of escaping the pocket on third down and finding me. He’s the ultimate warrior.” — Bucs WR Mike Evans on his chemistry with Jameis.

“That’s great. Especially just coming out here on the west coast and being on the road. We’re doing great on the road. We just have to be able to do the same thing next week at home against the Raiders.” — Bucs DT Akeem Spence on all wins thus far this season coming on the road.

“It was a very difficult, we had some match up problems I think with [Tampa Bay Buccaneers DT Gerald] McCoy when he was isolated and was in one-on-one. So we had to make sure that we had some help to his side in terms of [who it would be], whether it was the back on his way out. We have to get our back there to make sure that we have protection with that three-technique in terms of where he is.” — 49ers coach Chip Kelly.


Random quick thoughts not necessarily NFL-related.

So the Bucs are a half-game out of first place, eh? And the Bucs host the Dixie Chicks a week from Thursday. This seems difficult to believe but it is true: If the Bucs win their next two games, they will be in first place in 11 days. … Last night on the Buccaneers Radio Network following the game, Koetter said the next goal for the team is to start winning home games. Since Chucky was fired following the 2008 season, the Bucs have won a grand total of 17 home games, by far the worst in the NFL. Koetter pleaded with Bucs fans to fill up the lower bowl of the Den of Depression and keep Raiders fans in the upper deck. “Let’s kick some @ss,” Koetter said, begging for a raucous home crowd next Sunday. … The Bucs are 2-1 since cutting tweety tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. … So Chris Collinsworth last night during Sunday Night Football talked about how former Bucs safety D.J. Swearinger had a nasty habit of putting his head down and getting penalties until he came to Arizona and the coaching staff worked with him to develop better fundamentals. And he has blown up since. So the coaching staff of the Bucs last year couldn’t do that? Unreal. … The Bucs sacked Sideshow Bob four times yesterday. Given the scarcity of sacks, it almost seems like a superhuman effort. … Guess it looks like over-his-head James Franklin saved his job with Penn State Saturday night, which means the upset over Ohio State proved costly. … Joe watched that arena league game between Oklahoma and Texas Tech Saturday night and thought that game would last six hours. Red Raiders quarterback Pat Mahomes threw for 734 yards. That is not a misprint. … Personal gripe: It annoys Joe when dudes whine about the “No Fun League” because the NFL cracks down on celebrations. Yeah, it can be a little suffocating, but do you know anyone who quit watching football because a guy can’t act like a clown in the end zone? Really? Seriously? Now if the NFL made cheerleaders cover up in burkas, then Joe would have an issue. … Joe is just about tapped out on election chatter. Can’t even watch network news any longer.

28 Responses to “The Morning After”

  1. Danthebucfan Says:

    JW deserves a pro bowl nod as well.

  2. SanFrancisco Joe Says:

    Definitely happy for Rodgers but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Martin would have had another epic homecoming if he’d played. Good decision to rest him because that 49er team is historically bad. Hope they can keep it up next week! The Raiders are an interesting team. Their defense looked much improved from weeks prior but they still have tackling issues and Carr will turn the ball over. This is a winnable game despite their 5-2 record.

  3. Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    Jameis was excellent – that jump ball to Evans in the end zone could not have been more perfect; also the scramble on 3rd down to Evans.

    Not to take anything away from Rogers, but the Oline deserves a LOT of credit for our run game. First, lets not forget Rodgers was on the street until we found him and he has never had games like that before. Also, Barber ran for 84 yards at 7 per pop. Seems the only one who cant run behind our Oline is Sims. hmmmmm

  4. Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    DeForest Buckner is a stud. I so wanted Buckner to fall to the Bucs in the draft – we missed him by 2 spots! That kid is going to be one of the best DE in the league.

  5. GhostofSchiano Says:

    The Raiders make thier second consecutive east coast road trip Sunday. Should be a factor, go Bucs.

  6. Ken Says:

    How do you not mention Luke Stocker? For some reason, the offense and the running game seem to click much better when he’s not hurt and plays “fullback”.

  7. mike n Says:

    Mike Evans is the best player we have had in 10 years.

  8. BucTrooper Says:

    “Anyone see Evans before his touchdown catch midway through the third quarter? Jameis was scrambling and Evans was pointing at the sky…”

    I played that back like 4 times. I thought that was a real sign of the chemistry developing between JW and Evans. To be able to communicate like that in high-pressure situations was impressive.

  9. Warren Says:

    Great great all around team effort. Actually looked like we were having fun…imagine that! Keep it going boys!

  10. Harlow Says:

    The boys showed some resiliency we’re not used to seeing by coming back from the early 14-0 deficit. Now they need to show some more resiliency and find a way to WIN IN THE DEN.

  11. R.O. Says:

    Do not agree that Tjis was JW3’s best game. The TD to Shepard was off target and thrown too far to the outside. RS89 had to reach back. It was a better catch then throw. Not sure what you were watching.

  12. Dave Says:

    You’re right on. Stocker doesn’t get enough credit. He is fantastic, he’s just not the athletic pass catching TE who can’t block, he’s a blocker and a damn good one. I always though he was decent at receiving but they just never give him much opportunity with it.

  13. Clodhopper Says:

    “Apparently, Russell Shepard, who was previously cut by then-Eagles strongman Chip Kelly, had a rousing pregame speech to his teammates.”

    Interesting… Wasn’t it Shepard who had a great pregame speech last year that was kiboshed by Lovie because he dropped an F bomb or two?

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I heard the Raiders are staying in Florida this week.

  15. Jbeachbuc Says:

    Del Rio had a major axe to grind yesterday… I’m sure he had his team amped up to the max. I’m looking for a not so pumped up Raider team coming to town..

  16. Pawel Says:

    Extra news, Raiders staying in FL and will practice at IGM, per ESPN.

  17. GhostofSchiano Says:

    I think the raiders staying in Florida will be harmful to thier game preparation. Should be an advantage for the Bucs.

  18. Defense Rules Says:

    Love the ‘Quotes’ section Joe, especially Dots’ quote about the OLine and TE opening holes for the RBs. Some of those holes they opened you could’ve driven a Mack truck through. By the way, besides Jacquizz, Peyton Barber really looked impressive yesterday, and I think Antone Smith will turn out to be an extremely valuable pickup.

  19. Kobe Faker Says:

    I think what oakland is doing is smart, but its still not the normal routine

    Maybe we should send our host, mr sapp to bring the entertainment or any vice they perfer

  20. Conte Piscateli Says:

    Watching the game it sure seemed like Shepherd was making his claim for the#2 WR position. He made a couple tough catches and it looked like he was earning Jameis trust. I hope he takes the opportunity and doesn’t look back.

  21. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    Can someone explain to me why Gerald McCoy gets a flag for a choreographed celebration in one of the last games when a teammate copied him, but Winston and Evans can do what they did in the above picture and that doesn’t get a flag?

  22. Bucsfanman Says:

    Has anybody been watching #68 Joe Hawley of late? Injuries aside, he was in the grille of almost every SF d-lineman mixing it up. That boy’s got some nasty to him!

  23. tmaxcon Says:


    your right sir. It seems like every time after the play or when Hawley was walking back to the huddle he had some Kind Words for the SF defenders.

    Now if they can only get Dotson to block someone even occasionally it would help.

  24. 813bucboi Says:

    dirk has found the formula….he must continue to pound the rock….raiders will be a big test….GO BUCS!!!

  25. LargoBuc Says:

    Coaches and players recognize the threat that McCoy poses from the three technique. We’re lucky to have guys like him and a couple others to build around.

  26. Mike Johnson Says:

    Well, at least I don’t have to endure the, How did your Bucs do on Sunday?,,,smirks by my office crowd today. its a great feeling on Monday mornings when your team won. 2 Wins in a row. Dare we push for 3?

  27. Pickgrin Says:

    I like the “quotes” section Joe – that should be a keeper for this weekly column.

    Gameball should go to the Oline. Marpet in particular was just blowing big guys off the line. Saw Stocker doing the same at the point of attack. These boys up front can run block and looked like all pros against competition as inferior as the San Fran defense. Marpet probably had flashbacks to his D2 days of blowing guys up on nearly every play – LOL

    Its kind of funny how we FINALLY get our franchise QB and then suddenly running becomes our major offensive strength. The MG8 mob is like – “but, but Mikey could have WON GAMES with that running attack and protection. Told ya we should have traded down and got extra picks….”

  28. Bucsfanman Says:

    @tmax- I’d take a line full of Joe Hawleys. And you’re right, I wish Dotson would get a little nasty to him and block consistently.