Basements, Tremors & Stink Bombs

October 23rd, 2017

Ira Kaufman is the most beloved, revered and esteemed Buccaneers columnist in town. He has hung his hat at 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. You can also see Ira every football Sunday at 10:30 a.m. on FOX-13, Scott Smith’s Tailgate Sunday.


Buc fans went to bed Sunday night with an incomprehensible thought racing through their heads.

Are the Chicago Bears better than we are?

The NFL standings suggest as much, only five weeks after the Bears trudged out of Raymond James Stadium looking like a 3-13 team playing for a lame-duck coach.

Since that 29-7 victory in the season opener, the Bucs have won only once in five weeks. The Bears split their subsequent six games and are now playing well with a rookie quarterback, Mitch Trubisky.

Suddenly, John Fox no longer looks like dead coach walking. The contrasting fortunes of these two franchises since Sept. 17 is rather shocking.

Tampa Bay’s pass rush, effective against Mike Glennon in the opener, has gone on a five-week siesta. The run defense, stout against Jordan Howard, has gone soft.

As much as Dirk Koetter stresses this is a team game, you can’t fake steak and you can’t fake your biggest weakness.

This defense is unacceptable, and Mike Smith knows it.

Jameis Winston played his butt off on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough because a Buc defense that wasn’t missing a single starter couldn’t contain a popgun attack.

The tackling was lousy, and yes, that includes you, T.J. Ward, and you, Swaggy Baker. A Buffalo offense that was averaging 272 yards rolled up 434.

Through it all, Winston kept firing completions, sore shoulder and all.

“He’s a very tough guy, smart kid,” said Bills defensive end Jerry Hughes. “He understood that he had to get the ball out quick and he was doing that all day. He’s going to be great.”

Comforting Company & A Big Miss

The Bucs now trail the surging Saints by two games in the NFC South, with all six division games remaining in the final 10 weeks.

The only saving graces are the issues facing the Falcons and the Panthers. If the Bucs lose at home to Carolina Sunday, is it unreasonable to suggest they pack it in and Drew Brees hits them for 45 points the following week in the Superdome?

How bad is this defense? Glad you asked.

The Bucs are allowing an average of 25 points and 408.5 yards per game. Opposing quarterbacks are completing passes at a 69 percent clip and Tampa Bay is last in the league in sacks.

It gets worse.

The Bucs passed on veteran defensive lineman Calais Campbell as a free agent because he was deemed too expensive. Jacksonville said sign right here and Campbell now leads the league with 10 sacks, helped by a stellar secondary.

One guy can make a huge difference — if he is the right guy. With Campbell creating havoc off the right edge, and inside, the Jags top all teams with 33 sacks. They are on pace to drop quarterbacks 75 times, which would merely top the all-time record of 72 sacks by the 1984 Bears.

Rush and coverage are complementing each other beautifully in Jacksonville, where opponents average only 5.7 yards per pass attempt.

How about Tampa? Not so much.

Buc opponents are averaging 8.2 yards per throw.


That’s the difference between a share of first place in the AFC South and last place in the NFC South.

Even if Smith wanted to switch to a 3-4 alignment, the Bucs don’t appear to have enough time to implement a new scheme. Still, something has to give in a hurry.

Koetter has done his best to keep a lid on any discontent, stressing the Bucs are all in this together. Nice try, coach.

Ward and Baker just sent a tremor through Tranquility Base by going public with their frustrations over playing time. If winning is the best deodorant, losing is a stink bomb, and now Koetter and Jason Licht must deal with the fallout.

This is not a 2-4 football team, but the Bucs are what their record says they are. And right now, they are looking up at the Chicago Bears.

26 Responses to “Basements, Tremors & Stink Bombs”

  1. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    The Bucs are the worst team in Florida formerly held by the Jaguars

    man…….we must really, really, really suck right now 🙁

  2. Lamarcus Says:

    Yup. My buddy next happens to a Bears fan. Laughing all the back to the office.

    U build a defense around gmc soft and u get what u deserve. A soft defense.

  3. Broy34 Says:

    And within four minute Anthem posts a negative comment. Good god dude you need something else to take up some of your time. I pity you and tmax and db55 and lamarcus. Truly I do. Sorry

  4. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    The Bears got new life, when their new QB started playing.
    I saw Chris Johnson (remember him ? ) wreaking havoc on Pittsburgh, and we had him.
    Losses to both the Panthers here in Tampa next week, and the Saints, and we will be in total and complete implosion, in a race for a top draft pick again.

  5. MtBucsFan Says:

    Thank god the Bucs arent playing Montana Tech. Their last game they scored 93 points. Imagine against the Bucs D! Hopefully they figure out a way to douse this fire quick. good points. I really wish we had ol Monte’s D with this offense!

  6. 813bucboi Says:

    Tough lost….time to focus on CAM and the band!!!!…GO BUCS!!!

  7. Guzzie Says:

    Maybe Licht will draft a couple of DEs next, crap it’s week 8 and I’m already thinking of next year, thanks Jason

  8. IndyBucsFan Says:

    Enough about Campbell. We ALL wished we signed him, but we didn’t. Bringing it up in every article just makes Bucs fan dwell on the past even more- which we’re already pros at.

  9. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    WTF…….93 points????? You sure that wasn’t a basketball team???…..good lord almighty!!!!!…….how in da hell do you amass 932 yards?????

  10. DENNYbucsfan Says:

    The Bucs may make the SB this year (as spectators & by personal invite of the Commissioner) for solving the NFL’s national anthem problem. Standing for the anthem and taking a knee during the game is brilliant. Wish I would’ve thought of it.

  11. Kevo Says:

    Trade McCoy hire gruden

  12. Rod Munch Says:

    On a side note the Bills just cut Kaelin Clay, who was drafted by the Bucs, then cut, then turned out to be an excellent return man for the Panthers who flipped him for a draft pick to the Bills.

    Anywho Reedy isn’t doing anything so far in the return game – sign Clay and cut Reedy to the practice squad.

  13. Joeypoppems Says:

    Something tells me we will be getting to know a whole new staff next offseason. Lets face it, Licht is most likely out unless this team turns it around and does it soon.

    He has multiple years of bad FA signings, the entire 2016 draft class seems to be a failure, the most recent FA signings from this past offseason are now speaking out publicly about their frustrations, and most importantly the team has regressed after flirting with playoffs last season.

    Not a great resume if you want a new contract from the Glazers. And if a new GM is brought in he might want to bring in his own HC. That HC might want to bring in his own Coordinaters.

    I understand and completely agree that continuity is super important, but this could easily happen.

  14. Lamarcus Says:

    You want positive?

    This team has no business 2 and 4. Too much talent. The talent alone should get us to 4 and 2. I think we go 8 and 2. Mark it. As long as a winner like jw is on our squad turnovers and all. We have a chance.

  15. Bobby M. Says:

    Just want to point out….Koetter and Smith have very accomplished resumes. People say they got “ran out of Atlanta”…well we ran off Dungy who later won a Super Bowl…and Gruden..who left after a winning season. Philly ran off Reid who is doing a solid job in KC.

    So who doesn’t have an accomplished resume….Licht. And it’s starting to show. We have an avg o-line and garbage d-line….That’s on Licht. The dude wasted too many picks being cute….Why draft players that aren’t going to be ready and won’t see the field when you have glaring holes at DEs. He banked on not one but TWO undersized DEs COMING OFF SURGERIES! Let’s be honest, neither has shown 10 sack ability so keep drafting. Nope we got a WR sitting the bench, a TE that’s with the Jets, a safety that is part time and lost, a kicker that is out of the league. That’s not Koetter/Smith….that’s Licht. You can only season hamburger meat so much but it’ll never be the filet.

  16. Rod Munch Says:

    You can’t change coaching staffs every 2 years and think you’re going to win – but it’s also obvious Dirk is not head coaching material and is in over his head. I said it before but I really mean it – move Dirk from HC back to OC and make Mike Smith HC and get him away from being HC and I think you fix most of the issues with the team without having to do yet another reboot. I like Dirk… as an OC, but as a HC he’s not any good. His temperament as HC is terrible – for example last year in the game against the Broncos when he quit on the team. He literally quit on the team. Late in the game, the Bucs were down by what, 10 points, Winston makes a great 3rd and long play to get it to like 4th and 8 from the Broncos side of the field, and what does Dirk do? He punts the ball. Asked post game why he punted there he throws a hissy fit and says the Bucs wouldn’t have gotten the first down anyways so it wouldn’t have mattered. Mind you Winston just made a great 3rd play to make it a manageable down and the coach quits on him and quits on the team because Winston threw an INT earlier in the game against the best pass defense in the NFL.

    The next week against the Panthers, Dirk is still throwing a fit and spends almost the entire game just running Rodgers up the gut. With the game tied near the end of the game the Bucs get the ball and what does Dirk do? He runs it up the gut and is clearly playing for OT, not even making an effort to win, when Rodgers gets a 1st down and finally Dirk lets Winston play and he drives them right down the field to win the game.

    You can’t have a head coach that acts like a woman on her period. Dirk has always been a good offensive mind, but there’s a reason why he was almost 60 before he got a shot to be a HC in the NFL. Also in college he was, at best, a mediocre HC.

    So again, fix the problem. Make Mike Smith the HC and demote Dirk to the booth. Mike Smith is boring and bland and his teams aren’t “tough” – but he has a record of success and he doesn’t throw multi-week hissyfits. Also Smith is clearly outmatched as DC and getting him away from being the DC would help the team tremendously.

  17. tmaxcon Says:

    if ONE guy can make a difference has the greatest salesman in Tampa Bay History suggests than why can’t GMC make a difference if is so damn beastly. instead all we hear is excuses and he needs help…. lol Every coach or free agent that comes here automatically forgets how to play and coach. let’s run them all out of town and keep the paper pro bowler… At least 8 defensive pro bowlers have been brought in over her tenure of captain blowout and ALL of them forgot how to play and regressed…. coincidence I don’t think so the one consistent is the pathetic smiling clown gmc…. get rid of the cancer and watch this young kids flourish…

  18. LakeLand Says:

    Jason Licht shouldn’t be drafting anyone next season for the Bucs. He has a 5th year team option. I doubt that the Glazers are dumb enough to pick up his option. The Bucs 19-35 since Jason Licht has been the GM. Loads and loads of draft busts, trash free agency signings.

  19. tmaxcon Says:


    first two years can’t count against licht because he had the ignorant and incompetent bad character lovie smith as a boss and with final say… i am no longer a licht guy but you have to be fair man… the pathetic lovie smith friends and family pr stunt the glazer clowns tried to pull off was not on licht…those handpicked signature crap free agents are all on lovie dovie who is killing in in Illinois i hear

    again, I am done with licht he wasted both first and second round picks last year and did not address team needs this year so I am off the Licht bandwagon but fair is fair and being saddled with the ignorant pathetic lovie smith can not count against anyone.

  20. GhostofSchiano Says:

    This defense is unacceptable, and Mike Smith knows it.

    The tackling was lousy, and yes, that includes you, T.J. Ward, and you, Swaggy Baker. A Buffalo offense that was averaging 272 yards rolled up 434.


  21. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    This team has too much talent (on paper at least) to have the record we do.

  22. Not there yet Says:

    Anyone with an ego would feel like t j. Ward, ok so he got rubbed on that touchdown pass he gave up on me one talks about that but you’ve been a pro bowl player you’ve win a Superbowl but you are a cap casualty so you come to a team with a long history of losing and knowing the type of player you’ve been you have to split time with sorry safeties no name guys like Conte and Tandy playing 45% if the snaps ummmm who wouldn’t complain?

    If you wouldn’t complain about being a

  23. Not there yet Says:

    If you wouldn’t complain about being A part time player your a loser or you go by another name like Gerald McCoy lol. See if this guy has what it takes to be an impact player. there should be a starter and back up at every position, this is the only idiot coaching staff with more than one starter at a position

  24. westernbuc Says:

    I venture that Calais Campbell wouldn’t be close to ten sacks on this team. He has a great secondary. That defense is stacked, Bucs just aren’t.

  25. Jim Says:

    Wasn’t the #WEAPONS4WINSTON plan to have a dominant offense that would win games all by itself? No one was talking about building up a balanced team or shoring up the defense. Remember how excited everyone was about this “can’t lose” offense? Short memories…

  26. Buc'n A Says:

    Man alive, I can’t believe what I saw on Sunday.
    I don’t comment regularly but I regularly read and
    I am starting to agree with tmaxcon.