Bucs Trail By Two Touchdowns

November 7th, 2016



Half the season is in the books for your Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and these first few chapters aren’t exactly best sellers.

In fact, they are filled with errors.

Buc fans are enraged about a 3-5 record, and nobody in the organization should even try to justify what has transpired on the field.

Much has been made about a glut of injuries at running back and defensive end, but the last time I checked, Jameis Winston has taken every meaningful snap. Mike Evans has been healthy, along with the entire offensive line. The vast majority of Tampa Bay’s defensive starters haven’t missed much time due to injury.

So let’s dispense with any notion that this rotten start can be attributed primarily to a flurry of key injuries.

The absence of Doug Martin is a major blow, but name me an NFL team that isn’t dealing with key injuries.

The fault, my friends, rests with the men who are suiting up — and not playing up to their potential. And don’t forget about the general manager who assembled the talent and the coaches assigned to maximize that talent.

That means you, Jameis Winston. That means you, Lavonte David, and you, Bradley McDougald. That means you, Jason Licht, and you, Dirk Koetter.

And that means you, Joel and Bryan Glazer.

Team Effort

You’re all in this together, gentlemen. You are running out of time to turn this season around before the Bucs end up in the division basement for the sixth consecutive season.

Think about the sheer absurdity of that scenario.

In a league that prides itself on competitive balance, the Bucs are stuck on a dangerous treadmill. Dangerous because even loyal season-ticket holders are thinking seriously about abandoning the franchise.

John Lynch remembers a very different time. The newest member of the Ring of Honor watched Thursday night’s meltdown against Atlanta and thought about the glory days.

“There was a connection between this community and our team that was something unique,” Lynch said. “I travel all around the league these days as a broadcaster and you don’t see that connection very often. It was something special, something hard to capture, and we had it.”

Since 2003, all we’ve had is heartache.

Yes, there were NFC South titles in 2005 and 2007 under Jon Gruden, but Tampa Bay was eliminated in the opening playoff game each time.

And since Gruden was jettisoned after the 2008 season, the Bucs have posted only one winning record, that miraculous 10-6 mark in 2010 with Josh Freeman under center.

Licht warned Tampa Bay fans that you can’t turn around a moribund franchise overnight — and he has been good to his word.

Bear Facts

In Licht’s third year, only five teams are behind Tampa Bay in the standings. Only four teams are worse in terms of point differential.

The problems are widespread, but lousy defense is a good place to start. The Bucs allow an average of 29 points per game, which ranks 29th in a 32-team league. The Saints allow slightly more and the Falcons allow slightly less, but those clubs rank 1-2 in scoring offense.

The Bucs rank 18th offensively, making their defensive issues all the more glaring.

The 2-6 Bears are feeling good about themselves heading into Tampa this weekend. They are facing an embattled club that is 0-4 at home and on the precipice of yet another depressing season.

It’s halftime 2016 … and the Bucs are down by two touchdowns.

“I’ll always be a Buc, and that’s pretty special,” Lynch said.

We haven’t seen special around these parts in quite awhile. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Competitive would be just fine.

Iconic eye-RAH! Kaufman has spent 100 days working for JoeBucsFan.com. All his work can be found right here. Enjoy Kaufman’s columns Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his podcasts on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

18 Responses to “Bucs Trail By Two Touchdowns”

  1. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Every team deals with injuries, but it’s pretty hard to find a team on their 5th string RB. It’s pretty hard to find a team that can’t keep a WR healthy. Our top defensive ends are either out for the season or missed significant time. All of our weapons are gone (except for Evans obviously). This team wasn’t incredibly talented or deep to begin with, but the injuries to specific positions is something very few teams could withstand. I’m not giving a pass for it, but the results are what you would expect.

  2. lightningbuc Says:

    Licht ain’t very good at his job – simple as that!

  3. BucTrooper Says:

    When you laundry-listed the people responsible, why no mention of S Chris Conte? ((The S stands for “spectator.”))

    You will never in a million years convince me that there isn’t another safety on the roster or on another team’s practice squad that isn’t accidentally better than he is.

  4. Bucsfanman Says:

    Damn right Ira! This TEAM is not playing to it’s potential. ‘Average’ would be a huge upgrade to the mess we’re seeing on Sundays.
    Somebody, anybody had better put a foot in somebody’s behind this Sunday. Play for freaking pride! Play for the fans! Is it too much to ask for a victory at home?!
    Here are my requests for this game:
    1. Pass rush
    2. LVD gets it going
    3. Brent Grimes doesn’t slip in coverage
    4. Someone other than Evans with a huge game
    5. JW accurate on deep throws
    6. A solid, committed run-game
    7. No point/time giveaways
    8. No missed FGs/PATs
    9. I really just don’t like Jay Cutler so, can we please make him cry on the sidelines ala ‘Slash’?!!!
    AND finally, a freaking victory at home!
    Go Bucs!

  5. Hawaiian Buc Says:


    Here’s the thing:

    1. We don’t have the horses for a pass rush. Our best edge pass rusher is out for the season. Ayers isn’t a #1 pass rusher. Teams have one guy to worry about. Everyone else is garbage.
    2. LVD isn’t playing bad, but he’s not making plays. He’s not making plays because there is so many guys around him not good enough to do their job. No LB is covering a receiver for the 10 seconds QB’s have to throw the ball
    3. Grimes is actually playing pretty well. He’s got a ton of PBU’s. Again, no pass rush is going to make any CB look bad.
    4. There is no one other than Evans with the talent to have a big game
    5. There is no one for him to throw deep to. He has missed Evans a few times, but don’t expect that to get much better this season. He’s also getting hit hard on most deep throws.
    6. With our 5th string RB? Never gonna happen unless we can somehow play SF every game.
    7. Not sure what that even means
    8. Did we sign a new kicker? Awesome news!
    9. I’m with you! Nobody likes Cutler. Even his own momma don’t like him.

  6. NewTampaChris Says:

    Back in the days before social media and even the Internet, we’d watch the game with our own eyes, maybe read a couple of columnists in the newspapers on Monday morning and give our more simple, less detailed analysis:

    This team stinks.

  7. Bucsfanman Says:

    1. Use the blitz. Also, by accident we should be getting to a QB every now and then!
    2. True, like to see more plays
    3. He’s always slipping though! He needs longer cleats or something!
    4. Good point!
    5. He still needs more accuracy
    6. We did it with Quiz! Why not?!
    7. Clock management
    8. Nope! But I put a voodoo curse on a football tee this weekend!
    9. He’s too twitchy!
    You got a list?

  8. America's Commenter Says:

    It’s becoming more and more evident each day that Jason Licht is not a very good GM. The lack of quality depth on this team is astounding. Going in to the season, the Bucs were 1-player deep at 16 of the 22 starting positions. There’s nobody there to challenge the starters, much less fill in for them in case of injury.

    This is Tampa Bay, one of the most beautiful places in the country with a very favorable tax situation. Why isn’t this team loaded with veteran free agents trying to compete for positions? I get that many NFL players are all about the cash with a dash of opportunity to win, but this team should still be stacked with talent and turning away players who want to come here. There shouldn’t be a single Peyton Barber or Freddie Martino on the roster. That is an indictment of Jason Licht’s recruiting ability.

  9. Lord Cornelius Says:

    ” The vast majority of Tampa Bay’s defensive starters haven’t missed much time due to injury.”

    You’d think we’ve had had like 2 injuries or something with that statement

    I think it’s pretty safe to say we have missed 50% of our D-line rotation in the majority of games this year; and considering the D-line makes up 4 of the 11 starters; I’d say the term “vast majority” is pretty inaccurate.

    Jack Smith – gone all year
    Clinton McDonald – missing majority of games
    Gerald McCoy – missed multiple games and has had to play hurt
    Robert Ayers -missed 1/2 his games basically
    Noah Spence – been hurt most of the year

    Gholston & Spence are the only guys who’ve survived; or like 1/4 of the line rotation basically.

  10. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    @Lord Cornelius,

    GMC has only missed one game. He’s played way too many snaps, as have most of our D-Line, but of course that’s a result of losing the other guys. I’m not disagreeing with you, just pointing things out before someone else does;)

  11. Hawaiian Buc Says:


    I think your list is fine, but just probably unrealistic. Reality is we are going to continue to look bad, but hopefully we can look good enough to beat some bad teams (like Chicago). I don’t see a game where we just put it all together, simply because we don’t have the players right now to do so.

    I don’t know the percentage, but I’ve seen us blitz quite a bit. Problem is, it’s been very ineffective. We still can’t get to the QB. It’s a serious problem without a solution in site. I know a lot of teams are going max protect.

    I obviously don’t know in Grimes case, but players typically like to wear the size cleats they are used to. Too long of a cleat can cause your cleats to get stuck in the ground, in which case can lead to a bad injury.

    As for Jaquizz, we got lucky with him. He was an outstanding pickup (even though everyone now hates our GM), but there aren’t many like him on the streets.

    I haven’t really felt like we have mismanaged the clock. At least not compared to last year (which I know is a terrible comparison, kind of like comparing this year’s defense compared to a Schiano or Lovie defense). I think Koetter is in a bad position in the fact that our offense has no weapons, our defense is awful, and we can’t make a FG. There’s been a few times I would have liked to have seen us do something different (I never understand why teams don’t call timeout late in the half on fourth down, and just send 11 guys to block the punt, but no team does it so there must be a reason), but nothing I can remember that was completely shameful.

  12. Brent bull/buc Says:

    Good article Ira thanks. I tend to disagree on a disappointing season. At least at this point? I had an eye on other teams rosters vs others during preseason. I didn’t see many rosters we had a clear edge on. I took 2 very losing teams from the year before like Seattle and Tennessee. The problem as I see it is that we have an unreasonable expectations from our fans and very average talent. If licht could assemble 2 really good drafts and dirk could develop jw I think we’ll be where folks want us to be. But that’s 2 years.. I think the fans need to toughen up. Enjoy the fact you have a pro team. Also, remember to keep a team you have support a team. I know it’s not your responsibility but I think you guys Joe, Ira should encourage support by fans, go to games.

  13. Brent bull/buc Says:

    Sorry San Diego not Seattle.

  14. Bucsfanman Says:

    Actually in retrospect, blitzing puts pressure on the safeties to cover. That in itself may be a reason why we don’t blitz as often.
    @Lord- To add to it, it almost seemed as though it happened simultaneously. The “majority” statement was probably pointed towards the other groups. We’ve been “lucky” on the back end. I use “lucky” very loosely!

  15. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “@Lord Cornelius,

    GMC has only missed one game.”

    True my bad. Seemed like more for some reason.

    Jack Smith is a guy who probably could have played himself into a huge contract either of the last 2 years if he could just stay healthy.

  16. d-roca Says:

    The falcons didnt punt the other night. That pretty much sums it up right now. Too bad lynch didnt suit up. Mr smith please send 6 guys every snap!

  17. North Korea's Quarterback Says:

    Jason Licht needs to GO! The guy is an idiot and his blunders far outweigh the few nice draft picks he made.

  18. Ndog Says:

    Can we just keep the same gm and coaching staff for 4-5 years and see what happens? We already know starting over will not work. Plus Licht has brough in Jameis, Evans, Marpet, Kwon, Anger, Pamphile, Smith, Hawley, Ayers, Smith, Brate, Grimes, Hargraves and McDonald. That is 14 starters in 3 years and there is no way a team replaces that many starters in 3 years along with a new coaching staff and is successful, we need to stick with the plan. LICHT biggest mistake is resigning McCoy and David as neither one is playing like a difference maker but both are hotting the salary cap like one.