10 Takeaways From Buccaneers-Bears

September 17th, 2017

Ira’s also got some locker room nuggets mixed in to today’s takeaways. Nice!


Someone in the national media is sure to diminish Sunday’s dominant opener by reminding us that the woeful Bears were in town.

Yes, the Bears were awful, but there are no mitigating circumstances in the NFL. Chicago almost beat Atlanta last week and besides, the Bucs have lost a lot of games they should have won over the past decade.

A win’s a win, so here’s how this one breaks down:

* A week after averaging 6.6 yards per carry against the Falcons, the Bears went nowhere on the ground. Tampa Bay’s defense was too fast for wide runs and Gerald McCoy and company plugged the inside holes as Jordan Howard and rookie Tarik Cohen combined for only 20 yards on 16 carries.

* It was a good day for the new Bucs, especially on the defensive side. Rookie linebacker Kendell Beckwith chipped in five solo tackles, including two for loss, T.J. Ward knifed in to spill Cohen for a three-yard loss and Robert McClain returned Mike Glennon’s short-armed pass 47 yards for a touchdown. How about Swaggy Baker, you ask? Zero tackles.

* Tampa Bay’s re-jiggered offensive line played well, although Ali Marpet said he wasn’t satisfied with his performance in his first start at any level at center. J.R. Sweezy was all smiles after his back held up during his Buc debut. Jameis Winston was dropped twice but overall enjoyed solid protection.

* I’ll say it again — Mike Evans simply can’t be covered by one defender. And that smile on his face after the game told me that Evans was already feeling liberated by the presence of DeSean Jackson. He said he faced double coverage only a few times all day as he burned Chicago for seven catches, 93 yards and a touchdown.

* The Bucs remain uncommonly healthy heading into their first road test. Kwon Alexander assured me he will be ready to go in Minnesota, and that’s a big relief for Mike Smith’s staff. Kevin Pamphile was replaced at left guard by Evan Smith for a spell, but returned.

* As expected, Jacquizz Rodgers got the bulk of the rushing attempts (19) in the opener, but it was Peyton Barber who ran the most effectively, averaging 4.7 yards on his 10 carries. If you listen closely to Koetter, you realize Barber has the confidence of a key supporter.

* Here’s all you need to know about the expectations of this coaching staff. Koetter walked off the field with the look of a man who had just suffered a crushing defeat. Mike Smith was hacked off because Tampa Bay failed to register a shutout. Good stuff. In the NFL, love means always having to say you’re sorry.

* Let’s address the Bear in the room. John Fox’s club didn’t give itself much of a chance with four first-half turnovers, including a terrible decision by Cohen to pick up a late first-quarter punt. Still, the Bucs played well enough to beat a lot of teams on Sunday.

* When I asked Buc players about the possibility of rust showing up in the opener, Cameron Brate said “We left the rust behind in Wednesday’s practice.” Clinton McDonald explained that the brutal heat at One Buc Place when the team finally returned to the practice field snapped everyone back to attention after a long layoff.

* Original research from the stat room: The Bucs are 13-1 in the past three seasons when holding opponents to 20 points or less. In that same span, they are also 13-1 when winning the turnover battle. In other words, defense rules!

Ira Kaufman is the most beloved, revered and esteemed Buccaneers columnist in town. He has hung his hat at JoeBucsFan.com world headquarters since July 2016. Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira busts out columns here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays.

16 Responses to “10 Takeaways From Buccaneers-Bears”

  1. unbelievable Says:

    Great stuff Ira.

    I suspect their conditioning improves in time for Minnesota which will help tremendously in the 2nd half.

    The run game with Rodgers was effective to the outside much more than up the middle. I’d like to see Barber get some carries earlier on in the game and see how he does.

    I expect Marpet to make noticeable strides each week getting better at center.

  2. johnnybuc Says:

    good stuff ira! go bucs !!

  3. PistolPete Says:

    Attended the game watched corners closely….they really went after VH3 early and found success. He blew a pick in the end zone and missed batting the only TD away.
    Smith looked lost at times as well. Hoping Bradford sits next week, my concerns about the secondary remain, as it did for many in section 219.

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    @Ira … “The Bucs are 13-1 in the past three seasons when holding opponents to 20 points or less. In that same span, they are also 13-1 when winning the turnover battle. In other words, defense rules!”

    I’ll second that Ira. Bucs’ defense is playing fast & with confidence. I thought Smitty called a great game & put guys in a position to make some big plays multiple times. BTW, 3 guys who particularly impressed me today were Kendell Beckwith, Lavonte David & Will Gholston.

  5. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    That was a dominant win. I’m still on the fence when it comes to Swaggy, but even though he had no tackles, I thought he played well. He got good penetration. The guys in the middle aren’t always going to have a lot of tackles, but when the other team isn’t able to run the ball and the QB is hit a bunch, you know they did their job.

  6. PleadingBuc Says:

    Beckwith was very impressive today. Another LB stud!

  7. Wausa Says:

    I agree PleadingBuc

    Beckwith looks legit.

    Run defense looked fantastic!!!

  8. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Next week in Minnesota we’ll be playing in AC!!! Today’s Florida heat and humidity sapped both teams. Let’s face it…a day like today even saps the fans.
    It’s the heat AND the humidity. I was glad the Bears had to wear the dark jerseys.

  9. RossSizzle Says:

    The Bucs didn’t fire the cannons today.
    Anyone know if this is some new PC rule by the NFL?

  10. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    “The Bucs didn’t fire the cannons today.
    Anyone know if this is some new PC rule by the NFL?”


    Technical difficulties. They’ll be back

  11. Batman Wood Says:

    Noah is about to go off on the NFL Mark it down.

  12. Dave Says:

    Spence WILL have 10+ sacks this year.

    Run d is outstanding.

    LBs are an elite crew

    Secondary is good but not great

    Run blocking should improve.

    Pass blocking was great.

    WRs and TEs were good and will improve.

    RBs were average.

    Jameis was very good.

    They will improve

  13. IsrBuc Says:

    Was impressed by Beckwith and Sweezy. Think the joes need to re-evaluate their medical assessments on players.
    How many snaps did Baker play? I could only see Mcdonald out there.
    I think pass D was sub par. conrenrs played Lovie-style defense.

  14. Edgar Perez Says:

    How much credit should we give the “week 1 bye” and having film on that Bears running plan for being preparred?

  15. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Impressive win this week and great article however Donovan Smith was horrible and if he keeps that up he will get Jameis killed this week with the Minnesota DL

  16. NewTampaChris Says:

    Hey, there have been plenty of times when the Bucs have played a crappy team and either barely won or got beat. When a lousy team like the Bears comes to town, you have to beat them down. 26-0 at halftime is as bad as it gets in the NFL. The tepid second half will keep the team focused throughout the week.