Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Vikings

September 24th, 2017

Sage wisdom flowing from Tampa Bay’s only Hall of Fame voter.


There’s no way to put a pretty bow around Sunday’s debacle, but it surely can’t be considered a death blow.

The Bucs are 1-1 with the next two games at Raymond James Stadium — where Tampa Bay has won five in a row. The Giants showed signs of life while remaining winless and the Patriots continue to be plagued by a leaky defense that is keeping Bill Belichick up at night.

Unlike last season, I don’t think this was a case of the Bucs coming in overconfident. They were short-handed and manhandled, and it’s difficult to gauge the connection between the two.

The Vikings kept the Buc defense off balance despite using a backup quarterback. Of course, Case Keenum always looks like Dan Marino against the Bucs, and there are no legitimate excuses in that regard.

Here are 10 observations regarding another Buc game that was effectively over at halftime. That’s the only similarity between Tampa Bay’s dynamic opener and Sunday’s snoozer:

* The Mike Evans-Xavier Rhodes matchup was fun to watch and I’d give a slight edge to Minnesota’s stud corner. Evans caught seven passes for 67 yards, but he was targeted 12 times and never burned the Vikings downfield. Rhodes talks a good game, but give him credit … he backs it up.

* Yes, the Bucs were missing key defensive starters, but they just lost to a backup QB. That’s not supposed to happen to a club with serious playoff aspirations. Keenum threw for 226 yards in the opening half and finished with a passer rating of 142.1. That’s a good number for frying an egg and an embarrassing number if you’re Mike Smith.

* Through two weeks, some Buc fans may be tempted to file a missing persons report on O.J. Howard. I know the plan is to break the rookie in slowly, but can we at least have a glimpse of the downfield speed that helped make him such an intriguing prospect?

* Sunday’s beating was thorough and exasperating. During their three-game road losing streak, the Bucs have yielded 91 points. That’s in sharp contrast to the 49 points allowed in the past five home games. With Odell Beckham Jr. awakened from a two-week slumber, a battered Buc defense will need enthusiastic crowd support against the Giants.

* You can give an opponent too much respect, and it showed in Minneapolis. The coverage was way too soft, reminiscent of the Lovie Smith days. Yikes. The Vikings have some decent weapons but the Bucs treated them like they were the 1999 Rams.

* Poor coverage was only half the story as Minnesota rolled up 494 yards. Where is this pass rush the Bucs crowed about? Keenum dropped back 33 times and was seldom under duress. Unlike the Chicago game, Smith and Koetter can’t point to QB hurries and feel good about the push up front.

* Falling way behind early made Koetter’s carefully crafted game plan obsolete. The Bucs gained only 26 yards on the ground, their lowest total in 35 games, dating back to a 16-yard effort against the Packers late in 2014 — when the Bucs were tanking for Winston. By the way, Tampa Bay is 1-14 in the past five years when the Bucs attempt 20 or fewer running plays.

* Monday’s film study won’t be kind to Winston, Ali Marpet, Vernon Hargreaves and Chris Conte. Who showed up? William Gholston, DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries were among the few effective Buccaneers.

* What’s up with the third-down defense? A year ago, the Bucs led the league by limiting opponents to a 34 percent success rate. With stalwarts like Mike Glennon and Keenum under center, Buc opponents are now 14-for-27 on the money down. That 52 percent conversion rate is downright deflating.

* Things may look bleak at the moment, but some of the injured Bucs have a decent chance to face the Giants, who are in an 0-3 hole after a galling setback. Would you trade places with supporters of Big Blue? Didn’t think so. Sunday’s game is already listed as a sellout. Let’s see if all 46 Buc players sell out to avoid a third consecutive 1-2 getaway.

35 Responses to “Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Vikings”

  1. NFLNut Says:

    How will the game film not be kind to Winston when only one of the picks was “on him” and he completed 70% of his passes despite having no running game to speak of? Come on man!

  2. darin Says:

    Is nuts alright. The film wont be kind to winston because be got his ass handed to him once again by case montana. He made some nice throws but alot of bad ones. On the other side good ole casie will have a hell of a film study. He played like we hope winston will soon, plain and simple. That vikes Oline looks good too Ira. Hell of a turnaround. The boys arent ready to go on the road and beat a good team yet. Get em next week bucs!!

  3. Oj "I Got The Juice" Howard Says:

    I am not a fan of Koetter or Mike Smith.

  4. Dreambig Says:

    In other news, Green Bay just punched Joe Mixon in the mouth like a defenseless girl in a cafe.

  5. Buc4lyfe79 Says:

    Last time i checked, underthrowing one of the fastest receivers in the nfl that results in a pick is on the QB, as is staring down and forcing a throw into not triple but quadruple coverage to #13 when #80 was wide open if u had just bothered to not lock onto #13 and actually go through your progressions like a successful QB’s in this league do. Time to remove ur blinders “Nut.”

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Jameis Winston didn’t lose this game…..but he didn’t win it either…..the way the game was going, it was apparent that Jameis would have to carry the Bucs on his back but that wasn’t to be.

    Grimes & Kwon are key absences and Swaggy just may be more important than we think.

    Mike Smith has got to figure out a way to get some pressure on the QB….might as well CB or Safety blitz…they aren’t covering anyway…..

    We had absolutely no pressure……NONE!!!

  7. tmaxcon Says:

    No Kwon no defensive heart. Simple as that… Vh3 was destroyed and neither of the two veteran hold overs stepped up to fill the passion that Kwon brings. It was a classic performance led by the leader of the losing culture – the undisputed captain of the injury report and softest player in team history cancer93…

  8. Lamarcus Says:

    This game had all the mistakes and loses of last year summed in one game.

  9. DB55 Says:

    Would you trade places with supporters of Big Blue?
    Yet the game is sold out and we all know why. See Rays baseball if needed.

    What’s up with the third-down defense
    That’s easy: Brent Grimes.

  10. Dreambig Says:

    Tmax, hard to argue the point that when Kwon is out, our defense is not near as good. Between him and grimes, the defense was not near enough to compete today.

  11. Brad Isherwood Says:

    How about Gorn vs Kirk and… admit it to yourself….stop running.

    Is it 2013,14,15 ?….opps my bad. ….

    The players have to own this loss and get nasty with coaching staff.
    If Coaches tell players….they failed. ..well…it’s 2018 honey.

    Coaching staff sucks. ..the Owner. ..Sucks!
    Buccaneer fans need to pull pistols out and order the gang plank
    The team was feeble in pre season, lucky vs..da Bears.
    And then got owned by a team using a back up QB.

    Both staff and players failed. …..
    It will require focus to turn this around.

    A Pirate ship. ….taken easily,….Edward Teach would never accept that.

  12. Mr. E Nigma Says:

    I am waiting for an article that investigates how this team is going to succeed with these cornerbacks. There is no magic fix. Licht needs to get on the horn for Revis right now. It can be no worse.

    You mentioned numerous Smiths in this article but forgot the most culpable player. The fans saw it in each preseason game as teams went all the way down the field and we cheered acrobatic goal line interceptions as winning football. This continued into the regular season as Glennon easily worked the pass defense. This defense relies on mistakes instead of creating them which is a losing strategy in real games. Winston can’t win them by himself.

  13. DBrooks55 Says:

    The most concerning player for me today was Vernon. He got burned on the first drive and it was over… They could have brown 10 yard hooks his way the entire game… A top 10 pick????? He is best served in the slot as a nickel corner where he can me more in the middle of the field and be more aggressive instead of being isolated on the outside.

  14. firethecannons Says:

    Yeah whatever Ira
    we sucked–how can we make VH3 a good player or Ryan Smith acceptable?
    Noah Spence our future pass rush popped his shoulder out again–how reliable is he going to be? We have NO pass rush and no cornerback talent–“things may look bleak at the moment”–no doubt–it is worse than that. Our cornerbacks were absolutely awful today. buc4lyfe is right–JW still sucks with a ton of weopons.

  15. Brad Isherwood Says:

    Mr E

    Played College as defensive back, …after 23. …played Hockey in Elite leagues with level NHL and Europe… as a goaltender.

    was Premier League goaltender in Soccer at age 17*

    You can indeed tell/know….your team is @….or can’t achieve vs an opponent.
    You can also know…from said experience….you have No concern,….your team will roll over the opponent.
    The Bucs are not showing anything which marks consistency.
    Do the players just make up excuses. ..Or realize they are inferior?

    A team which plays as one can overcome weakness…and defeat a superior team.
    Yet…if you go 20 different cabs home like old Boston Red Sox, ….Your team will never shine.

    Why can’t the Buccaneers pull it together? ?…After years and years…it’s pure frustration.

  16. firethecannons Says:

    Tampabaybucfan–right on, use Hargreaves to blitz with–he aint doing any good in “coverage” man that dude was bad today–this team is stuck with him now–honestly–he was worse than ryan smith–they picked on Hargreaves more LOL!

  17. Brad Isherwood Says:

    @ fire

    Maybe Bucs need to create surge action with blitz an trickery at coverage which creates* blitz option.

    Teams doing video on Bucs will have to game the line and blitz rush.

    The short game inside 15 and few Seconds throw…..move there ..where NFL video has no history on you.

    Even if your down to back up players….You can rush the offence and force mistakes.

    With all the injuries now,…It’s not the regular Bucs team that will find it,
    The back up team will….or can.

    Yes They Can!

  18. Jynnnxx Says:

    Godwin crapped his drawers.

  19. tmaxcon Says:

    What we learned today is Jameis can’t overcome the leader of the losing culture cancer93 and his desire to lose without Kwon. No Kwon no defensive heart. Simple as that

  20. firethecannons Says:

    fok off tmax you are so weird it is laughable–is that your intention? not funny.
    Jameis is in need of a new play caller and time for him to dink n dunk till he can be trusted with the rock.

    vh3 n ryan smith need to learn to blitz considering staying in the backfield is complete waste of time–they were AWFUL

    anyway tampax you are one fokked up dude/or girl–what did gmc93 ever do to you besides take over your every waking thought?

  21. tmaxcon Says:


    Don’t worry you well get to cheer on your soft fragile hero for years to come word on the street he will be the captain of the yellow team for the new mangina choirboy league with trophytrophies hugs for all.

    Bucs won’t contend until cancer93 is gone simple as that.

    Gmc is the face of the basement years and undisputed captain of the injury report nothing more.

  22. pabucsfan Says:

    can we start being concerned about hargraves? he looks terrible

  23. Pa Privateer Says:

    Let’s change the subject a little and try to figure this CHIT out.

    Would the 3-4 front help us with the injuries we have right now?

    Kwon, David, GMC etc are a little questionable about timing of their return. SO do we go with a slightly different alignment to help our hurting defense?

    I am a marine. We overcome and adapt. we have some Big ole DL on the team. Could Jac Smith, Bond, Glanton, Beckwith, and Bullough combine to give us the coverage and blitzing pass rush we are in looking for?

    We got some big bodies on the DL. maybe move them around to make a solid rush defense and blitz our LBs?

  24. Thespiritof1976 Says:

    Here’s another takeaway: The Bucs played like a team that stayed out all night at the bar.

  25. Defense Rules Says:

    Love how folks get all gaga after a big win in Chicago but all Chicken Little after a loss in Minnesota. No the sky isn’t falling … the Bucs were missing several key players yesterday & Vikes took great advantage of that. Grimes being out was disastrous … we have no backup CBs. Swaggy being out was also disastrous … our run defense was porous & our interior pass rush non-existent. Kwon being out also hurt big time … we need his speed. Spawn got hurt early & probably impacted Smitty’s capability to create pressure from the edge.

    Vikes had the ball for almost 38 mins TOP & put up very close to 500 net yds against what had been a good Bucs defense the week before. They protected Keenum very well (no sacks & no INTs) & allowed him time to pass (his deep passes were MUCH better than the week prior). But they were against our porous CBs) … VHIII got exposed (I think a lot of that had to do with Grimes being out) and Ryan Smith might be fast but his coverage skills are sorely lacking. Great game plan by Zimmer BTW.

    Bucs had the ball for barely 22 mins TOP but still put up almost 350 yds. Unfortunately 328 yds of that was passing … Jameis hit on 70% (28-of-40) but he was once again ineffective deep (credit the Vikes’ defense because they didn’t allow ME13 & DJax to get any separation; they stuck like glue). So with no running game & no deep game Bucs were quite predictable, and the 3 INTs showed that. There’s no magic here: Bucs lost to a better team yesterday. But that was yesterday … and yesterday’s gone (always loved that song). Buc-up Bucs fans … when healthy, we’ve got a good team. We just need to get guys healthy now.

  26. Guzzie Says:

    Bucs are gonna lose to a lot of better teams!!!! And we get to rely on an injury prone RB to save the running game, we fall apart when our 34 year old corner can’t play, he’s 34?!? Got luck boys, this defense and lack of running game, both of which everyone saw as weaknesses, except Licht, is going to ruin this weak family

  27. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Agree with defense,we played without four key starters.Along with Hargraves
    and Smith, Conte was also beaten and seemed to be out of position at times.
    No question the ankle had to slow McCoy down and To his credit he toughed it
    out the whole game despite what trollmax says.But there were too many missing links
    for our defense to have much of a chance.
    Gotta say that Case Keenum is a much better quarterback than we thought he was.He will probably get the next glennon like contract.
    Now on offense Jameis has to play pretty much mistake free, and he did not.
    Two INT’s were entirely on him,and he nearly threw another one on an ill advised throw trying to avoid a sack. He also threw some very good passes
    at times but at critical times execution has to be better.We are gonna need
    Jameis’s arm to get us in the endzone at least twice a game or the weaknesses
    on defense will be exposed with key starters missing.
    In this game,my take is that the running game also has to produce more
    so that play action will be more effective.

  28. Defense Rules Says:

    @Bob in Valrico … Right on in terms of weaknesses. Bucs looked like they used very little play-action yesterday (not sure why). If Jameis has to throw 40 times a game or more, at least 2 will be INTs (1 on him & 1 on his receivers). 2 INTs yesterday resulted in 10 pts for the Vikes, and his 2 fumbles killed 2 drives (we punted next play each time). One of those ‘Good Jameis – Bad Jameis’ days I guess.

  29. JayBucBoi Says:

    The sky is not falling.
    Defense Rules is right.
    Our offense is going to have to carry the team while our defense gets healthy. They are the healthier side of the ball right now.
    Mayne 3-4 defense is the answer until Kwon, Gerald & ‘Vonte can get healthy.

    Ira is right too tho. We can’t start this season 1-2. With our health right now, and the Patriots coming, we’ve got to take this week’s game against Big Blue.

  30. Mike Johnson Says:

    The Giants are already..Chompin at the get their 1st win of the season. They got a hella pass rush and have probably figured out..ours is as weak as unsweetened kool-aid! Give Manning time and he will recoup 3 weeks worth of stats to put him at the top again. Sorry Ira, Luv you man. But I’ve been around about as long as you. I’ve seen these Bucs at the their worst ..and best. And we straight up stunk yesterday. I don’t think we are ready for that next all important step. I had us 8-8 this year. But after yesterday’s performance? That..might be a stretch.

  31. Nujerzbuc Says:

    Think the attack on Swaggy Baker should come to an end. He was missed big time today on the Dline. 1-1 no overreaction but we need to get healthy.

  32. JayBucBoi Says:

    So Ira, would you say this weekend’s antics by all of the NFL was a distraction for the Bucs? As in, their meeting and the energy put towards how to deal with the politics of that situation caused them to come out flat .. and with our injuries, just turned out to be too much for yesterday’s Bucs?

    I get it was a distraction for all teams, but we’re talking ’bout the Bucs so…

  33. Mike Johnson Says:

    Hey..lets just name this website..Tampa Bay Bucs..EXCUSES.

  34. Big daddy 58 Says:

    I dont think the defensive backs are all that bad .Its the amount of time Keenum had to throw thats killed them. Pressure up front is everything defensively.
    Likewise ,as far as the interceptions go.The lack of a running game enabled the vikings defensive backs to play tight coverage because there was absolutely no fear someone was going to explode out of that backfield.Thank you Doug Martin!

  35. Keir Says:

    I thank my lucky stars that NONE of you run this franchise or website. Your over the top comments are nothing more than conjecture. Your idiots looking for attention, like babies who need to be changed from a dirty diaper. Grow up and be fans, not infants without a clue! BTW Brad Peckerwood…what does you playing sports before the internet was even invented makes you some sort of expert on Football…Jackwagon! Go and ice your head moron!