The T.J. Ward Blast

October 16th, 2017

The Bucs’ new Pro Bowl safety speaks out.
(Photo courtesy of

The NFL isn’t like hockey or baseball, basketball, football players make just eight road trips per year during the regular season — business trips with limited time for distractions.

Typically, an NFL team flies to its road destination the day before a game. They check in their hotel, and often have a ballroom walk-through, followed by meetings and a relatively early curfew.

Then, on gameday, the team is up for breakfast and boards its stadium buses completely checked out of the team hotel. After the game, they bus directly to the airport and fly home.

But Dirk Koetter’s Bucs take a different approach for Sunday games on the west coast. They leave two days early, settle in to their fancy hotel, get a good chunk of free time on Saturday, in addition to walk-throughs and meetings, and follow the same gameday routine.

It’s definitely more of a vacation getaway feel.

Media has the option of staying at the team hotel, and Joe did that last year before the Bucs were creamed in Arizona.

Yes, Joe saw first-hand various Buccaneers enjoying themselves on the Saturday before the game and learned of players gorging on massive quantities of bar-type food while holed up watching college football on Saturday afternoon. Joe also saw a Bucs coach at a bar the night before the game.

All that stuff is just fine, certainly within the realm of normal and within the rules. Joe also will add that he was at the hotel gym the morning of the game and guess who was there working out? Vincent Jackson. Very cool.

That brings Joe to yesterday, three-time Pro Bowl safety T.J. Ward told the Tampa Bay Times after the game that young Buccaneers might have gotten a little too comfortable with the extra day in Phoenix.

“We’re on a West Coast trip, we came a day early. Sometimes, we’ve got a young team. Guys think they’re on vacation,” Ward said. “We have to get more of a business mind-set. We’re only here to do one thing and one thing only. We got a little ahead of ourselves coming out here and we didn’t do our jobs today.”

It’s especially valuable perspective from Ward because he’s new to the Bucs’ culture and comes from a Super Bowl organization in Denver.

For the record, the Bucs were 3-1 on west coast games last year, and Koetter’s travel plan certainly shouldn’t affect blocking and tackling and readiness. But clearly Ward saw something he didn’t like, something that he thought carried over to Sunday.

That’s not good. Hopefully, it was isolated to no more than a few players. The Bucs have no more west coach trips this regular season.

56 Responses to “The T.J. Ward Blast”

  1. Rads Says:

    Love it.

  2. dexterOHMAN Says:

    its saquan season

  3. dooshlarue Says:

    GMC needs to set T.J. straight……….
    It’s all about having fun my brother!

  4. mike10 Says:

    Interesting stuff.

    But as I mentioned elsewhere, Mr.Ward (aka, ‘here for one thing, and one thing only”) had himself a pretty crappy game. Bit that play-action hard on the goal line, and was often out of position.

    Appreciate the feedback from a newcomer, but I worry there’s a larger issue at play as we have been ‘blown out’ twice in 5 games.

  5. mike10 Says:

    dooshlarue Says:
    October 16th, 2017 at 4:29 pm
    GMC needs to set T.J. straight……….
    It’s all about having fun my brother!


    ehh, have fun… but do your job. I saw the Pats as they landed in Tampa and they were all business.

  6. Lamarcus Says:

    That’s not good. Hopefully, it was isolated to no more than a few players. The Bucs have no more west coach trips this regular season.

    Hopefully it’s the last west coast game for some players in a Buccaneer uniform. I’m beat down and tired of these types of losses. These bucs ain’t serious yet

  7. BucfaninMi Says:

    Ward is absolutely right! There for one reason, to win! They have enough fun in the off season. And plenty of $ to do so.

  8. Bucsfan951 Says:

    2-1 on the west coast last year?

  9. Gobucs Says:

    I’m so glad hockey season is here. At least the lightning are a respectable team are actually really really good.

    I watch the Bucs saying “well let’s see how they find a way to lose this week”

    Been that way for a decade and not changing anytime soon from the looks of it.

    The wheels are coming off quick.

  10. Destinjohnny Says:

    Hey if u win you can wear a chicks dress and high heels
    But when u don’t show the f up??…..

  11. Lamarcus Says:

    All in all. This is a playoff roster at best and we are looking bad out there. Koetter might have to get a play caller

  12. JonBuc Says:

    Dotson said the same thing last year regarding Arizona road trip. Thankfully Mike Smith smiles a lot and DK carries a big, laminated mf’n play sheet. Or else…

  13. firethecannons Says:

    defensive end in draft only
    that is how bad we need help in that position
    get cornerbacks in free agency–obviously we cannot coach em up–they have to have all the skills/talent to start with–VH3 is an example–he has regressed instead of next step

  14. Dewey Selmon Says:

    A win and TJ would of said “it’s best when we get here a day early and hole up and watch college football’. Maybe TJ should pay closer attention to play action and not let Fitzgerald run by him for a easy TD catch. Like Cam newton said ‘hindsight is 50/50’

  15. Oxycondoms Says:

    When do the chucky rumors start?

  16. JonBuc Says:

    They’ve already started, Oxy…

  17. Keir Says:

    Seems to be a culture problem with the team. I would expect Jameis and his leadership to get involved if there are guys not toeing the line professionally.

    Very hard to watch these games. I agree with others that they are beginning to alienate some of the fans with this years long mediocrity and losses. The first half yesterday was the worst I have ever seen by any team and of course it was my team.


  18. BucTrooper Says:

    There are so many excuses for Sunday’s loss on this page (tackling, playing flat, west coast trip, injuries) we need to change the name of the blog to “HillaryBucFan.”

  19. Tampabaybucfan Says:



  20. Rojas Says:

    The Chucky rumors already started. From what I was reading his preferred team is Tampa, but I don’t know might be false.

  21. DBS Says:

    It’s a real shame we can’t get Mr Vinik to buy this team. He would put a stop to this horsesh1t fast. He is an owner that knows how to run a professional winning organization.

  22. 813bucboi Says:

    Seems to be a culture problem with the team.


    we still have a losing culture….players don’t care about winning….sad!!!..GO BUCS!!!

  23. sorryitriggeredyou Says:

    TJ should coach then, cause the “coaches” aren’t doing it. Take the USMNT for instance, they hated their coach that put pressure on them so they tanked… they got the coach that was “easy going” and look what happened? Koetter has lost this team. It’s about to go downhill quickly once the infighting starts and oh… it will…

  24. Jimmy T Says:

    Bucs were 3-1 on West Coast but they again started slow, fell way behind against 49ers & Chargers and were lucky to win. Both those teams were horrible last year. Well run organization with respected coaches like Bruce Arians always outplay & outcoach this sad sack of players & coaches .Also I woukd like TJ Ward to tell me why Mike Smiths defense takes an MIR degree & forever to learn

  25. Jimmy T Says:

    MIT degree I mean.

  26. tmaxcon Says:

    when your defensive captain is more concerned with ice cream and action figures it’s pretty hard not to act like your on vacation all the time. until the leader of the losing culture and the face of the basement years is off the rosters the bucs will continue to embarrass themselves more than they don’t. when your team leaders are soft and not driven to win at all costs you come out flat… gmc has led far more blowouts than victories and the results prove that.

  27. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Ward had 3 tackles…..Conte 4 and Evans 7….

    Justin Evans is starting to look like a player….I think given more experience, he may be a winner. He certainly has displayed some speed and seems to find the ball.

  28. Roy T. Buford Says:

    Ex Bucs LB Scot Brantley probably summed it up when I heard him on 620 about a year ago. He said many NFL players today don’t care about winning. It’s a job for them, and losing is just another day at work. If they are making money, life is good.

    To that, I say to be elite in the NFL, you can’t just be good at playing football. You have to hate to lose. You have to really really hate to lose. I think few on the Bucs feel that way. Some of them that do, may not know enough yet how to win, so they follow the lead of the others in playing not to lose.

  29. Roy T. Buford Says:

    ^^ But to be clear, yesterday they didn’t play “not to lose.” They tried their best to lose, and didn’t quite until it was hopeless.

  30. GhostofSchiano Says:

    Cards creamed us, Bills telling Cards “Hold my beer”.

    The Bills “D” is NO JOKE.

    A lot of work to do

  31. Reach87 Says:

    Tmax the garbage you crawl out your sewer to spew is cancerous. Same line of non-factual, agenda driven poison regardless of the subject. You are captain of the morons. Take a bow.

  32. Buc1987 Says:

    sorryitriggeredyou Says:
    October 16th, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    “Koetter has lost this team.”

    Yeah ya know. I could really tell by the way they all gave up in the 4th quarter like that…

  33. go for the face30 Says:

    Tampabaybucfan Says:
    October 16th, 2017 at 5:46 pm
    Ward had 3 tackles…..Conte 4 and Evans 7….


    All due respect guy – but that’s a profoundly dumb and shortsighted way to analyze effectiveness. TJ Ward is what..a 3 time pro bowler coming from a culture – an organization that has been to SEVEN Superbowls. Conte and Evans doesn’t belong in the same damn sentence. I’m listening to the guy with the ring thank you very much.

  34. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    go for the face30 Says:
    October 16th, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    Tampabaybucfan Says:
    October 16th, 2017 at 5:46 pm
    Ward had 3 tackles…..Conte 4 and Evans 7….


    All due respect guy – but that’s a profoundly dumb and shortsighted way to analyze effectiveness. TJ Ward is what..a 3 time pro bowler coming from a culture – an organization that has been to SEVEN Superbowls. Conte and Evans doesn’t belong in the same damn sentence. I’m listening to the guy with the ring thank you very much.

    Wasn’t disparaging Ward…I don’t even know how many snaps he took…..I was simply laying out the stats….mostly to show how active Evans was because he has been taking a beating for being a “bust” 2nd rounder.

  35. unbelievable Says:

    Lol 87 I was thinking the same thing reading that comment…

    The team actually did decide to show up in the 2nd half. But that seems to be the consistent problem with this team… they only play one half of a game competitively.

    Still got 11 games left. Plenty of time to turn things around and rip off some wins. But I’ll be honest, we haven’t seen much so far to give us hope that that will happen. We’re not doing any thing good consistently. Pats game seemed like a positive for the defense, but that went right out with window yesterday in Arizona.

  36. dooshlarue Says:

    That was sarcasm Mike10.

  37. Wewantgruden Says:

    Terrible leadership. DK is way over his head. He got lucky to get the job, only because Lovey was so bad and he had a relationship with J Winston. They will both go down in flames.

  38. Mike Johnson Says:

    Great info there Joe. But Its more..Jinx type stuff. I mean the way AZ jumped on us was outright disgraceful. Initially I checked my libation o see if maybe a pill or somethin had slipped into it. Those 1st 2 AZ drives, we just like did a suspended animation pose. Mccoy said it best, we knew what they were gonna do. And they did it. Ok..enough. On to the Bills. Start Fitzgerald. Let Jameis shoulder heal. You never know about Fitz. He’s smart and savvy. If we win we will be shocked. If not? Then its the SOB’S (same ole bucs)

  39. EA Says:

    That explains Hargreaves and others performance , they went to the desert to PARTY.
    Some reports that surfaced before the game were right, a lot of young bucs had circled this game in red on their schedule, not to go out there and get revenge for what happened last year but treat it as a bye week.
    Take that Roger, you don’t wanna give us a bye week, we’ll take it.
    Send a message to the rest of league.

  40. LakeLand Says:

    The reason why they lose is because they are not a good football team.

  41. Bucamania Says:

    Again, the Bucs got what they deserved. Totally embarrassed. Exposed as soft. They looked like they thought it was a vacation. Drinking at bars the day before the game is BS, Dirk. Seems like the fans care more than the players about winning.

  42. LocalJoker Says:

    Some fool in Koetter’s presser asked if it might be rap music and ping pong? Media shouldn’t be allowed to bring alcohol to pressers! SMDH.

  43. MIKE Says:


  44. passthebuc Says:

    A pragmatist would break down the plight of the Bucs as follows.
    If they do not have the talent then the problem lies with Drafting.
    If they do have the talent the problem is coaching.
    If coaching is the problem, the blame lies with ownership.

  45. SB Says:

    Does Anyone want to talk about how Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 290 yards, 3 Tds and 70% completion IN ONE HALF?

  46. LakeLand Says:

    passthebuc………No talent, Bad coaching, Bad drafting

  47. LakeLand Says:

    SB, All I know is the Bucs got toasted in Arizona. I’m not a stat guy, I’m a win guy, and it’s 7-9 at best for the Bucs.

  48. Marc Says:

    How in god’s name does this happen two years in a row? I want answers Joe!!

  49. Richard egan Says:

    Based on wards coverage on Fitzgerald it looked like he thought he was on vacation Sunday at 4 pm.

  50. ATrain Says:

    There is a Cancer in the BUCS lockerroom that has been addressed by Jamies, other veterans in the Bucs lockerroom And other players outside of the Bucs.
    Until the Leader with the “win or lose is ok “attitude is changed or gone this team will continue its lackadaisical ways

  51. Tampabaybucfan Says:


    Fitz did a great job….much of it discounted because of the ultimate loss…..the one thing I think we learned is that he is certainly a capable backup. i doubt Ryan Griffin could have achieved that.

    Most will discount the stats calling it garbage time…..but to be truthful (and it hurts) much of Jameis’ stats are the same.

    Let’s hope we don’t need Fitz anymore….but if we do….let’s hope he plays like he did Sunday…..I don’t fault the ints because he was desperately trying to come from behind and AZ knew he had to pass.

  52. I'm a Tandyman Bucs Fan Says:

    I keep telling you guys Ward is not the answer. Tandy is the glue that makes that Secondary sound!! He has been out 3 games…all loses. Started 2 games all wins!!!! Played lights out last 5 games last season. Choose one player from Ward, Evans or Conte to start with Tandy and see what happens again. It’s on film, it’s already been proven. What else does the Coaching staff need to wake the hell up before the season is to far gone to recover. DAMN CMON MAN!!!The defense has looked weak the last 3 games especially Sunday.

  53. BucEmUp Says:

    SB yeah in garbage play.

  54. BDOGG72 Says:

    I’ll give them credit for not quitting, but that 1st half may have been the worse half in Bucs history. The worst 2nd half was against Peyton on that Monday night. I will say Fitz did do a good job. He had some nice touch on that onr TD to Evans in the endzone. I don’t think Jameis could make that throw to be honest with you. Well, we’re on to Buffalo…

  55. Wewantgruden Says:

    I just watched the DJ press conference and you can tell that he has no control of the team and most certainly no confidence in himself as a coach. He is at best, a solid QB coach. It is Chucky Time.

  56. Bucamania Says:

    There is plenty of talent on this team outside of DE. The coaches are not even close to getting the best out of these guys. Not even close.