New Clarity; No Excuses

September 6th, 2017


No excuses.

Hurricane Irma is scary and dangerous, but this mega-storm isn’t going to hang a loss on the Buccaneers. The Bucs and Dolphins are being tested right now and their response will tell us a lot about both teams.

There’s a 185-mph monster churning out in the Atlantic, already causing havoc in the Caribbean and threatening eventual landfall on the Sunshine State. Irma is the mother of all football distractions and Dirk Koetter is wisely advising his players to do what they need to do for the safety of their families in response to a potential life-threatening event.

But when the Bucs open the 2017 season against Mike Glennon and the Bears, Irma can’t be part of the playbook. These are grown men paid very well to do a job — and that job is to avoid another early-season rut.

Enough with the 1-3 starts.

No Veering

Ali Marpet has enough to worry about heading into his first real football game as a starting center. Jameis Winston, with only five first-quarter touchdown passes in 32 games, needs to prove he can start fast and reach the end zone when he sees red.

When Irma passes, and it will, it shouldn’t leave an unfocused NFL team in its wake. Koetter and Jason Licht believe in the character of this 53-man group, and that character is about to be challenged.

In the aftermath of Irma, Buc fans will look forward to an exciting season, anticipating the first playoff berth in a decade. This team is healthy and driven to succeed, and even a historic hurricane shouldn’t cause this franchise to veer off course.

When the rain and wind passes, a new resolve needs to emerge. Stow any chatter about lost bye weeks and competitive disadvantages. The rest of the league doesn’t feel your pain.

Koetter has already had his world rocked by this storm.

The one thing we know about all NFL head coaches is that they are creatures of habit. Koetter had been thinking about Sept. 10 at Hard Rock Stadium since the schedule came out in April.

Guess what? That particular matchup is history, pushed back to Nov. 19.

Bright Clarity

There’s been some good news through the gloom and the hard knocks. The addition of T.J. Ward is a significant upgrade and Kendell Beckwith looks like another draft steal on Licht’s resumé.

Kwon Alexander, Mike Evans, Gerald McCoy and Demar Dotson now have additional time to heal up.

These Bucs have much to prove to a fan base which has been let down far too often. Yes, playing 16 consecutive weeks isn’t ideal, especially when 30 other teams will each receive a breather this fall.

But as Koetter says, control what you can control.

Think about the positives. That means extra prep work for a season opener against Chicago, with the Stick Carriers out in force. That means Marpet gets two months worth of experience before looking up and seeing Ndamukong Suh looming over him in Miami.

Most of all, it means the Bucs now have clarity. When the sun breaks through next week, Tampa Bay’s future will remain bright.

No excuses.

41 Responses to “New Clarity; No Excuses”

  1. gotbbucs Says:

    Agreed. They get another week to tweak things and a full week to get Ward up to speed.

  2. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Sorry,Ira but if this team needs extra prep work for the bears we are in serious
    trouble.Your point about extra recovery time for some of our injured is valid
    though,eventhough a bye may be needed in week 11 to recover from injuries also.

  3. Maze Says:

    The only bright spot is no Bucs get hurt this Sunday

  4. J mone sec 147 Says:

    We need to destroy opposing teams this season secure 1st round bye for the playoffs !!

  5. Cobraboy Says:

    I agree with every word Ira posted.

  6. USMC-BUC Says:

    response will not post.

    IRA is dead wrong.

  7. Tom Edrington Says:

    Ira is always the voice of reason, can’t believe all the pissy-whiny fans……NFL did the right thing…..evacuations all over the highways…..batten down the hatches. Get ready next week for Chicago……

  8. C eh N eh D eh Says:

    Worried about them being rusty…and Chicago will have a FULL game under it’s belt…

  9. SCBucsFan Says:

    Can you imagine asking people that have to prepare a stadium and work there to go to work instead of tending to their homes after a hurricane? Yeah honey don’t worry about the hole in the roof, I have to go and get ready to cook hot dogs…
    Bucs will survive. I promise you wouldn’t hear the Pats griping.

  10. USMC-BUC Says:

    This is bull Ira

    This is the 2nd biggest screw job in Tampa’s History behind Bert Em manuals no catch.

    Were a bubble team, this will cost us a W somewhere. No way around it. Your are saying our division foes all get bye weeks leading up to the last 3 weeks of the season where we have to fight for our division and it’s not going to cost us a game.

    All it will take is only key player to have a sore hammy around week 10 to do is in. What if that player is Evans, Winston, Kwon, McCoy, and all he needs is 5 days to rest and instead he misses the game and we lose by 3 points, end with 9 wins, and miss wildcard spot.

    We need to play under contested terms and we need a Draft pick out of this. The could have easily played in Atlanta, or Pittsburgh, but Greedy owners screw two fan bases.

  11. USMC-BUC Says:


    Report was we could have played in Pittsburgh, completely out of hurricane, and completely neutral, argument is invalid.

  12. SCBucsFan Says:

    USMC and ask Buc and Fin players to leave their families during a hurricane. Can you invalidate that?

  13. USMC-BUC Says:

    all of the players are screaming they are pissed, again invalid.

  14. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Gonna stay positive because I am one of the more positive people here typically but this is a net loss for our team still imo. I thought playing Miami early gave us a good shot at 3-0 before we faced the Giants & Pats. The week 11 bye is perfect for a team with an aging D-line that wants to push for the playoffs.

    Oh well. Maybe we get the entire roster healthy. When guys get hurt they take weeks off to heal regardless of the bye.

    Let’s get a playoff bye please now lol

  15. CalBucsFan Says:

    There’s pro and cons to playing 16 straight. Not going to list them all here, but I personally believe the pros out way the cons. Fearful of injuries is irrelevant since they can and will happen, regardless. Thats why the roster is 53 and not 22, and there’s also practice squads and lounge singer free agents available 24/7.

    Rhythm and momentum in all 3 phases of the games is reason enough for me to be fine with 16 straight. Besides, if it only benefits the Bucs for the first game against the Bears because they will have tape on the Bears that the Bears won’t on the Bucs, that might mean one more win this year than last which should put them in the playoffs.

    Besides, can’t do anything about it, so go Bucs, may the momentum be with you!

  16. SCBucsFan Says:

    No, the players are saying they don’t get a week off. Watch them scream if they are stuck in Pittsburg when a hurricane hits their house with their family in it.

  17. USMC-BUC Says:

    Another problem, Union has contract about X amount of days off during seaons.

    Because of that, were losing practices during the week between other games, huge problem.

  18. ndog Says:

    First off this was the correct move BUT the fact that we now not only have 16 straight games, we now have 3 road games in a row (11/16 @ Mia, 11/26 @ Atl, 12/3 @ GB) is a brutal schedule for late in the season when we are sure to be beat up. Again it is correct move but man this is not going to help our chances at all.

  19. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Again…sorry USMC Buc but I’m with #3 on this one…but I was Army so ya gotta give me a little slack. LOL

    #3 nails it when he says…F your circumstances! We line up and play!

    First you are certainly entitled to your OPINION…but they are not facts. Many here simply do not believe we are a “bubble team”. And there is no way to proclaim that the loss of a bye will absolutely cost as a win. I’ve conceded that I thought the bye gave us a better chance to ambush the Dixie Chicks in Atlanta after that week off but NOTHING is ever certain. EG Matty Ice or #3 could miss that game which would effect it FAR more than the loss of a bye.

    Perhaps some FACTS are in order…not only are we not certain to lose a game but the odds against us are simply not that long. Let’s check the record.

    Since the N.F.L. introduced bye weeks in 1990, the overall record of teams playing after them (309-276-1, 52.7 winning percentage) suggests the advantage is modest at best.

    That was the record as of 2009…perhaps things have changed dramatically in the past five years?

    Here is another way to look at it from Walter Football’s analysis.

    NFL Betting Trends: Coming off a Bye

    People love to play teams coming off byes. That may seem to make sense in theory, but doing so generally produces a 50-percent result.

    When dealing with a situation like this, it’s important to take a look at how every coach fares off a bye. Some, like Mike Shanahan, have their team focused after a week off. Others, like Mike Holmgren, tend to fail after the bye.

    Listed below are all the post-bye ATS records of every NFL coach with his current team. Playoffs are not included.

    This is really a lot of wimpy reaction from JBF posters. What about injuries?
    That’s a roll of the dice. We wish to “assume” players will need healing time in week 11…we KNOW we have a half dozen critical players who will benefit from this extra week.

    Bottom line…no losing the bye is not a good thing…but it’s getting waaaay overblown here. The teams coming off a bye were 203-177 in the Walter Football study…an advantage of slightly more than 3%…pretty much in line with the NY Times story. Let’s take a deep breath and stop wetting ourselves.

  20. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Ok guys this isn’t so bad. I’ve got my glass half full homer glasses on again and there are lots of reason for optimism:

    -We get an early Thursday game vs the Pats; which gives us like a mini-bye after week 5 which is pretty perfect now given the stretch run afterwards.

    -TJ Ward now has more time to get up to speed / prepared.

    -Kwon Alexander / Demar Dotson / Jack Smith all get more time to heal.

    -None of our division opponents are facing us coming off their bye.

    -The only team that plays us after their bye is the Bills.

    -We play the Jets week 10 which could also be like a mini bye lol

    -If this has an negative effect on Miami it may increase our odds against them. They will be coming off a Monday game and on a slightly shorter week

    -We now get to see what the Bears’ game plan is week 1 before we play them and they won’t know ours. Week 1 is typically the most unpredictable week because no team has tape on the others… although you usually need 4 weeks to get a feel of a team.

  21. NOSBOS Says:

    “F your circumstances,we line up and play”. How prophetic were those words.

  22. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Amen Lord C!

  23. NOSBOS Says:

    Ion care about none of this coochie@$$ pity party s@#!. If it were something never done before I might feel diffrently but 16 str8 use to the norm man. That’s the problem wit this counrty now everything becoming so sissified.

  24. Defense Rules Says:

    Reality is that the NFL had no good options (and no, playing in ‘neutral’ Pittsburgh was not a good option). Yes we lose a Bye week to heal up, but so does the team that we play. On the good news side, we will have Doug Martin available for the Nov 19th Dolphins game now, and that could be a good thing (they weren’t all that great stopping the run last year). As SCBucsFan said ‘Bucs will survive’.

  25. bucster Says:

    Everybody keeps talking about “fair” in regards to the Bucs. How is having a Miami home game in Pittsburth “fair” to the Dolphins?

  26. DOCBUCS Says:

    Bye weeks are hit or miss. If Evans (pick your player) gets hurt in week 4, a bye in week 11 does no good. The odds of said player directly being helped by a bye week is 1/16 or 6%. I’ll take our chances and have everyone rested and ready to go next weekend. No excuses is right.

  27. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    Anyone of you trying to diminish the importance of the Bye week, Just think back to last season. I know its hard on your little noodles, but was it not the Bye week that our huge winning streak came after?

    Was it not before the bye week that we were 3-5 with a crap defense and a general consensus that the season was done for? Oh yeah that’s right, the Bye week is a crucial TWO week’s of film review, as well as a chance to give your players a second wind and a chance to recover.

    Kiss that ish goodbye. And It matters even more that every other team in our division/ conference has one. We are at a major disadvantage. Sure, we can overcome it. But that doesn’t change the fact that losing a bye when their were many other solutions, is total BS!

  28. Ndog Says:

    We also can’t forget we now have Martin for a AFC game BUT we lose him for a much more important NFC game. Not complaining at all just pointing out some relevant facts. As many are saying we have to move on but not having a better player at a position of weakness in a key conference game does in fact hurt us.

  29. Casey Morgan Says:

    IRA– You are wrong. The hurricane may not even touch Florida given its new eastern projected path. The game could have easily been played somewhere up north. The Bucs should appeal/sue the NFL. We will lose a game because of no bye week…

  30. Tony from Los Angeles Says:

    This article is dumb. What happened to the Bucs is bad. just because Ira tells them to throw some dirt on it while sitting in his air conditioned room chowing down on yummy, saturated fat filled food does not just mean it is that simple. that’s just dumb.

    1. The Bucs have to play 16 straight games when other teams, except the Dolphins, do not. That’s freakin’ tough. That’s the equivalent of us commoners working a full year without a vacation week. It’s not impossible, but it sucks.

    2. This shifts the Doug Martin games back… which sucks.

    3. more importantly… and this cannot be denied… the Bucs are at a disadvantage in week 2 – now having to play a team that had a full week of gameplay to hit their groove while the Bucs will now have gone 3 weeks between preseason week 3 and their first game. And remember… Evans and Djax haven’t played since preseason week 2. The other team will have their timing down, the rust off, and a week’s worth of film to learn and make corrections from.

    Thanks, Ira. But just because you say things from the comfy confines of your couch doesn’t make them so.

  31. Rod Munch Says:

    Good article Ira.

    This early bye gives the Bucs extra time to prepare for the Bears and to make sure we have a strong opener. Enough with the excuses, what is done is done, assuming we don’t all die I’m looking forward to NFL week 2.

  32. NOSBOS Says:

    The reality is player don’t really heal up during bye weeks. If your aching before the bye you’ll be aching after the bye. What I wanna know is why is it players 20 years ago seem to make it thru a 16 game season without a bye with less injury than players do now with a bye. I use to be able to name all 22 starters of multiples teams years ago.

  33. Buc fan since 76 Says:

    They could have played tomorrow

  34. Jared Depiro Says:

    Just bench the starters or play half starters against the jets, they will be playing for the first pick anyways.

  35. Pickgrin Says:

    Lipstick on a pig – eh Ira?

    Should have played the game Thursday Night in Miami. Storm not a threat until Sunday and now its looking more and more like a glancing blow to Miami instead of a devastating direct hit that was projected just 12- 24 hours ago. 2 full days would have been plenty of time for players, coaches, team employees to secure their families and homes.

    Call that an “insensitive” viewpoint if you want – but its the truth. If the Bucs and Fins hadn’t just happened to (unluckily) share the same bye week this year – then the NFL would have been forced to come up with a creative solution to make the game happen – which is what they should have done in this case even with the Nov reschedule date available.

    The real question to ask here is this.

    If the Patriots or Cowboys were in this situation – would the NFL have taken the path of least resistance and put either of those teams at a competitive disadvantage with a decision like this?? The answer is NO!!

    And that’s why this decision is total BS!

  36. unbelievable Says:

    Here’s the 2 big problems:

    1. No bye week for rest / healing up. (of course no one knows when or to who injuries will happen, but they WILL happen. It’s needed every year, and definitely a disadvantage when 30 other teams get a week off during the regular season).

    But fine, we don’t get the week off, so be it. But….

    2. Doug Martin now won’t play against the the Giants. 1st start will be back against the Pats. This is a bigger problem than the rest issue to me.

    Also, since there is no game this week, can Doug return to the facilities until the start of next week, and then resume his suspension?

  37. Mike Johnson Says:

    Would ne nice if the commish would let week one count as a game suspension for Martin. But we know he won’t! But our new safety gets an extra week of prep and thats great. And it should be a huge bonus for us to prepare for Bears watching them in week one. I fugure Glennon won’t lose his starting QB job until about game 5 or 6. Bucs should be well prepared come week 2.

  38. Pickgrin Says:

    Any given Sunday of course – but the Bucs are much more talented than the Bears. Having extra time to prepare for the Bears is not some great brightside to all this. Now if game 2 was against the Pats – that would have been a good thing – but the so called brightside of extra prep time is wasted on one of the worst teams in the league and on a game that damn near every one of us had circled as a W when the schedule came out.

  39. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    You clearly do not understand statistics. Or the fact that coincidence is not necessarily causation.

    ONE season is irrelevant. I just gave you the FACTS. Some here wish to cling to their preconceived notions. AGAIN…Since the NFL introduced the bye…that’s over 25 years not ONE…teams after a bye have won about 53% of the time.
    That Walter Football piece was written from the perspective of NFL gamblers…you know the folks who put their money on the line.

    So if bye teams LOST 47% of the time…that’s roughly half the time when teams did not go off an a big playoff run or push. The reality is that the bye only effects teams at the very margin and good teams tend to win after their bye and bad teams tend to lose after their bye.

    Now I feel certain buried in those stats are individual examples where a bye allowed a critical player…as in QB or a superstar the time to come back and make a difference….but it clearly hasn’t happened enough to make more than a 3% difference.

    Before I looked it up I too believed that the bye was a much larger advantage than it is. Sometimes misconceptions just occur…sometimes they are deliberate lies.

    Here is an example of a deliberate lie that gets told over and over again!!!
    Regardless of your political persuasion please do not fall for this lie.

    Americans and our Corps are the highest taxed folks in the world. According to Politifact and every other credible organization that’s simply UNTRUE.

    If you take nominal or posted “rates” yes…if you look at taxes actually paid it’s totally wrong.

    In terms of total tax actually paid we are 31st highest in the world!
    In terms of corporate taxes actually paid….17th in the world!
    In terms of individuals 19th in the world…FAR from the highest.

    Sometimes things just feel right and we wish to believe it. That doesn’t make it true. This is what is happening with the supposed bye “advantage”. It’s a 3% advantage. Occasionally a bye CAN be a stroke of luck…but that’s just it…LUCK.

  40. Dreambig Says:

    Nice response St Pete, once again, proving your little noodle aint so little.

  41. Rod Munch Says:

    For all those whining about the bye week still – here’s a fun fact, the Bucs get a bye week, it’s this weekend.

    Glad I could help.