Physicality Lacking

November 1st, 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.


The best way to view the 2017 NFL season is through the prism of a funhouse mirror, heavy on the distortion.

Who could have expected the Rams to showcase a dynamic attack? Who knew the Jaguars would lead the league in sacks, on pace to set an NFL single-season record? Who predicted the Bills would have two more wins than the Giants and Bucs combined heading into November?

Nothing illustrates this wacky season with more clarity than Sunday’s matchup at the Superdome.

The Saints have risen like a soufflé in a Bourbon Street restaurant, ripping off a five-game winning streak after an 0-2 start. The Bucs have dropped four in a row after a 2-1 getaway and Jameis Winston’s sore right shoulder requires rest.

The dilemma is Tampa Bay requires a win. Sunday’s game marks the last stand for a group tabbed by many as an emerging NFC power.

So why do the Saints and Bucs sport reverse records as we approach the midseason? You can point to a lot of different factors — but that’s the coward’s way out.

The difference, my friends, is physicality. The Saints have it, the Bucs don’t.

Pro Football Hall Of Fame voter Ira Kaufman questions the Bucs’ offensive line, and more.

After three consecutive 7-9 seasons, Drew Brees and Sean Payton knew something had to give. New Orleans still boasts a potent offense, averaging 27 points per game, but the Saints now compete more aggressively at the line of scrimmage.

The run game ranks 14th, averaging 119 yards, and Mark Ingram has taken his game up a notch since the departure of Adrian Peterson. The biggest change is on defense, where the Saints have allowed fewer points than the Denver Broncos.

Turning our attention 657 miles to the south and east, the Bucs don’t run the ball effectively and they don’t apply enough heat on opposing passers.

Let’s say it again … physicality.

We all got caught up in the glitz, the fancy array of weapons for Winston to exploit and Dirk Koetter to command. We forgot that football at its most basic is trench warfare, and the 2017 Bucs are giving ground on both sides of the ball.

An offensive line that has featured the same core players all season fails to impose its will. Holding calls and false starts have been drive killers.

Sackless Swaggy is not alone.

Speaking of drive killers, Tampa Bay ranks last in the league with seven sacks. There are eight players who top that total by themselves.

By the end of the season, the Bucs may have more losses than sacks.

Let that one sink in for awhile.

The Bucs are getting pushed around. This isn’t an issue of miscommunication or key injury, this is an issue of talent and coaching.

The Saints will bring the funk and the noise at their home along Sugar Bowl Drive. The visitors need to bring the nasty.

25 Responses to “Physicality Lacking”

  1. darin Says:

    I think this all goes back to the lack of a training camp. But theyre healthy, like dirk wanted. Should have played more tackle football.

  2. Destinjohnny Says:

    All true but it’s lack of talent.
    I think there are some pride issue <lack of pride that is)
    Bear Bryant wouldn't win with this team.
    I take that back. Bear counldnt not win

  3. GhostofSchiano Says:

    Amen Ira, it’s won or loss in the trenches.

  4. Greg Says:

    This team lacks everything

  5. Mike Johnson Says:

    Well Ira, you’ve been around for a while like me. You remember when teams were actually afraid to play our Defense because we hit so hard. Now everybody’s chompin at the bit to pad their stats against us! people forget our calling card stated with Defense. its what we should have stuck with. Jameis is at least 3 yrs off from being a very good QB..If then. He needs to be exposed to better and different coaching to grow. He’s already Sucked up what Dirk had to offer. What good is scoring 30 a game when your opponent scores 31..consistently? We gave Sciano and Lovie Dovie 2 yrs. I see no reason not to do the same with Koetter. His fishing space is reserved right besides Schiano and Lovie. NEXT!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Need to blow up and re-create the D-line basically. I would have shop’d McCoy before the trade deadline and basically anything else to get as much draft stock as possible. If we have a high pick and there isn’t an obvious elite DE then move back and get more picks. Add 3-4 bodies minimum to this D-line and begin the youth movement. Sign a young elite pass rusher if available. We shouldn’t expect ANY player on this line to improve; but rather anticipate regression between McDonald/Ayers/McCoy/Baker – all past their prime. I say let them all go.

    What we may have seen last year was those old dudes bringing the last of the physicality left in them out for that stretch run. They all have been worse this year – especially AYers who has been invisible after being a huge catalyst to things improving last year.

    I don’t even care about our CBs and what we do there. If we can’t pressure QBs then having great CBs won’t matter much. I think VHIII / Ryan Smith would actually look pretty serviceable if the QBs we played were getting hit / pressured / and not able to just sit there and disect a defense like we’ve seen over the years.

    Our LBs are fine. Most our O-line is actually fine / young other than RT. We have weapons now that are young and should last even if Djax goes next year. Sure we could use a RB but not nearly as much as a pass rush or a stud O-lineman.

    I don’t think we need every position possible like some lol.

    We just need beasts on that D-line and we have none really. McCoy is talented but at this point he really is the only consistent thing on this team throughout all the losing. It’s not his fault but we may need to get him out of that locker room just to remove the stench of losing. He has never made any other D_line man around him better; or elevated the overall play of the defense; yet he is looked to as the leader and is basically a voice for the team. I may sound Tmax at this point but f*ck we need to shake this sh1t up and we need a new attitude.

    I thought Hayes was supposed to be a great D-line coach so I duno wtf is happening.

    I posted this in September:

    “2018 draft = D-line youth injection.

    r1 – Best available pass rushing DE or DT
    r2 – same thing again (unless there is insane value at RB/CB/OT)
    r3 – RB or CB (or DT/DE depending on first 2 rounds)
    r4 – another DE
    R5-R7 – OT/CB/RB

    This may change after the season but it’s the only obvious hole in terms of youth.”

  7. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “Jameis is at least 3 yrs off from being a very good QB..If then”

    I’d love to see the calculation for the 3 year random mark of sh1t talking you decided to invoke. Why do you hate Winston?

    Jameis is already better than any QB we’ve ever had – statistically – by the eye test – etc. Everyone in the league considers him a better than average QB – which in this league is something you hold onto and don’t let go.

    So I guess you mean 3 years until he’s a top 3 or better QB? Wtf are your expectations? HOF record breaker? He technically has broken a few league records lol.

    He’s a winner. He has a very solid winning record whenever games are close. He has a bunch of game winning drives already.

    Not his fault that in like 1/3 of the games he’s played the defense spots the other team like 21 points before half… or that kickers miss kicks… or that the defense can’t protect leads he gives them.

    We have a sorry team right now. No QB would fix it.

  8. The Buc Realist Says:

    @Lord Cornelius

    They could easily trade GMC for a 1st and 3rd next year!!! He will be 30 for 2018 with a manageable contract that will have 4 years left and the only gaurenteed money is a $500,000 bonus for next year!!!! basically anyone could walk out of the deal if needed!!!!

    But the Bucs would have two 1st round picks and they can trade into the second round for two 2nd round picks to quickly rebuild the lines, throw in a free agent or two for the lines and off the Bucs go!!!!!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. John Ensch Says:

    It’s not going to happen because the Bucs have individual players not team players. How do you coach a player that is only worried about himself and not the team? I believe that is what the Bucs coaches are facing.

  10. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    I like GMC and hope he has another great five years in him but at this point if won’t hurt me if it’s with another team…as long as their not NFC South.

    If Realist is correct…and I have no reason to doubt him unless I feel perhaps he’s being a bit overoptimistic…and we could get a 1st and 3rd in next year’s draft?

    I gotta take that move and use it as an all out assault to load up on draft choices!

    But too late now right. I fear GMC’s value is more right now than it will be in the offseason. He could make an impact on a team in the playoffs with a bunch of good players around him. I don’t know about next year though.

  11. uckinator Says:

    Terry Bradshaw was on radio yesterday stating” With the salary cap, you can only focus on either offense or defense; Not both. He said championships are won with defense, so he would concentrate thru the draft and FA on defense. Have a good QB and you’re almost there. Sooo…Other than a RB, every asset we have should be used at lifting the D. Worked for the ’85 Bears. Average QB, aging Hall of Fame RB Payton and a monster defense.

  12. 813bucboi Says:

    The biggest change is on defense, where the Saints have allowed fewer points than the Denver Broncos.

    DAMN, I didn’t know that….their defense has come a long way….see what difference an offseason makes….

    and for all of those saying its talent need to wake up and hold the coaches accountable!!!….we have talent on both sides of the ball!!!!…stop the BS!!!!….no one was screaming “we lack talent” in the offseason…..joe, ira and others all admit this is the most talented team we’ve had since gruden….

    the problem aint talent!!!!…the problem is coaching!!!!

    this is the same reason why mr. blank canned dirk and smitty….their offense and defense lacked physicality….they are soft which makes this team soft….brees will put the nail in their coffin….GO BUCS!!!!

  13. 813bucboi Says:

    @uckinator….it aint that easy….the biggest thing that got them over the hump along with that defense was COACHING!!!!…..they had smart, creative, innovative, tough coaches…..none of that describes dirk and smitty…..GO BUCS!!!!

  14. C eh N eh D eh Says:

    A friend of mine and former coach sat in the stands on Sunday and his reply to me was ” Your team played soft” …enough said for me…

  15. Bucsfanman Says:

    “this is an issue of talent and coaching.”

    ….And we ran a coach out of here with less talent to work with no too long ago.
    I agree about the physicality. We don’t scare anybody.

  16. unbelievable Says:

    100% spot on – no physicality, no heart.

    Although I have to give the defense props for holding the Panthers in check most of the game outside that 1 drive in the 1st half. Defense can only be on the field for so long before they’re just done…

    Can we get a complete game on both sides of the ball this week? Maybe?

  17. BoJim Says:

    Hey. I thought we all liked the roster. 😉

  18. Not there yet Says:

    If they were going to rotate a pure center at guard with a guy in a contact year who by the way has no incentive to sign another contract, they should have kept marpet and sweezy at guard and let Evans start at center since he’s done it. Personally the bust in the o line is Smith who’s big and slow and we could have kept Penn if that was who were wanted to replace him with. I also think pamphile would be a better left tackle

  19. Lord Cornelius Says:

    813bucboi Says:
    November 1st, 2017 at 12:49 pm
    The biggest change is on defense, where the Saints have allowed fewer points than the Denver Broncos.

    DAMN, I didn’t know that….their defense has come a long way….see what difference an offseason makes….”

    one offseason my 4ss. This has taken them like 4 years.

    Since 2013 they have spent 9 of their 12 top 2 round picks on defense. In that same time frame we have spent only 4 total top 2 round picks on defense.

  20. ben Says:

    Winston has the weapons but is the worst qb in bucs own division. Mr. Light has not done a good job of picking up talent for this team and does not seem like much hope until their are big changes made. r

  21. 813bucboi Says:

    Lord Cornelius Says:
    November 1st, 2017 at 2:40 pm
    813bucboi Says:
    November 1st, 2017 at 12:49 pm
    one offseason my 4ss. This has taken them like 4 years

    that’s a lie!!!!….they had rob ryan for how many years and he couldn’t fix their defense… DC in the house and the difference is night and day….ALL IN 1 OFFSEASON!!!!!

    GO BUCS!!!!

  22. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “that’s a lie!!!!….they had rob ryan for how many years and he couldn’t fix their defense… DC in the house and the difference is night and day….ALL IN 1 OFFSEASON!!!!!”

    Sure man. They literally have like an entire new defense of starters built from 4 drafts; but that doesn’t mean anything to you lol? I’m not saying coaching doesn’t matter but it’s been obvious that they’ve been trying to build a better defense for years in terms of talent acquisitions.

    They are 12th in PPG allowed at 20.1 – a great improvement from last year; but they also aren’t some elite unit this year either.

    We saw that exact same type of improvement between 2015 and 2016 for the Bucs; going from one of – if not The worst D’s in the league to top 5 in PPG allowed over the last 8 weeks; and overall 15th in PPG allowed on the entire year; even if you include the blowouts early.

    So according to your line of thinking – coaching was the reason we improved so much in 2016.

    So weird that you NEVER made this point about the Bucs; but are ready to sh1t praise all over a rival’s coaching staff. It surely can’t be due to you having an agenda against the staff from day 1. Surely that isn’t extremely obvious in ALL of the posts you’ve made over the last 2 years. lol.

    Just admit it man – you hate this staff and have wanted them gone since day 1; and rejoice in their failures. It’s just super obvious lol.

    When you try to make football arguments it just makes it more obvious how biased you are.

  23. 813bucboi Says:


    we improved in 2016 because we added more talent…..grimes..ayers…Rodgers…not coaching….

    I’ve admitted that I thought dirk was not the man for the job….but I have given him credit when he’s done well….unlike you and others I also hold him accountable….

    im a bucs fan….you and others for “dirk” fans….

    im not worried about it tho….he’ll be gone at the end of the year if we don’t make the playoffs….hope you and @realist ready to help him load his moving truck…LOL…GO BUCS!!!!

  24. Lord Cornelius Says:

    813 you’re making my points for me…

    LOL so a 33 year old CB / 30+ year old DE who missed like 1/2 the season were the sole reasons the team went from worst in the league to one of the more solid defenses in the league?

    Did you say Rodgers? As in Jaquis Rodgers? He doesn’t play defense. We’re talking about defensive improvement as it relates to coaching and talent.

    2016-2017 Saints – add a few players on defense; after having added 9 premium pick’d players in total over 4 prior drafts going into the season. Improve from borderline worst in the league to solid and it’s all COACHING according to 813.

    2015-2016 Bucs – add a few players on defense; but only have added 4 in total premium picks over last 4 drafts. Improve from borderline worst in the league to solid and it’s all TALENT according to 813.

    Seriously just re-read the above to yourself a few times… and break down how the f*ck that makes any sense using real logic and facts.

    I’m not even a Dirk fan at this point. I’m a Bucs fan that doesn’t choose to have a random agenda against or for anyone (i.e. you and this staff; or tmax and gerald mccoy; or others and Vernon Hargreaves). If Dirk can’t turn this locker room around and get the team to actually compete and give a sh1t then i’m fine with moving on. So there you go 🙂

  25. Greg Says:

    Lord Cornelius Says:
    “If Dirk can’t turn this locker room around and get the team to actually compete and give a sh1t then i’m fine with moving on.”
    Agree, and I also think it’s time for Bucs to move GMC, get more picks to use to re-build the DLine.