Show Up And Drown The Skeptics

September 3rd, 2018


Listen to what the man said.

Todd Monken calls plays and calls it like it is with equal distinction. Tampa Bay’s refreshingly candid offensive coordinator recently acknowledged what Buc fans have suspected all along — this team was mentally weak in 2017.

This franchise couldn’t handle even a modicum of success, so Jason Licht went out and purchased more than 1,000 pounds of character in the offseason. The Bucs are hoping veterans like Jason Pierre-Paul, Vinny Curry, Beau Allen and Mitch Unrein will help keep this franchise’s cleats on the ground when adversity strikes.

Offensive coordinator Todd Monken

“I just know that we had a nice year two years ago and all of a sudden it’s human nature: ‘You know, hey, here we go Bucs.’ You know, here it is,” Monken said.

“We’ve arrived and we drink the Kool-Aid. Hard Knocks comes rolling in and we add some pieces and all of a sudden we think you’re just going to take the field against grown men, the best in the world and just think it’s going to happen. We all saw. That’s not how it works. It works by the work you put in and the attention to detail that you do every single day. And you don’t accept laziness, mediocrity, balls on the ground, turnovers, false starts, bad football.”

Reality slapped the Bucs across the facemask last fall. Now, let’s see how they deal with low expectations.

Underdog Vs. Slow Starters

The Saints will be favored by 9 or 10 points heading into Sunday’s season opener as Jameis Winston plays the waiting game. New Orleans running back Mark Ingram is also serving an NFL suspension, and his departure looms large.

Very beatable

Ingram scored 22 touchdowns in the past two seasons and his absence should help Tampa Bay’s defense focus on Alvin Kamara, the league’s Offensive Rookie of the Year.

The Saints also have a habit of starting slowly. Since 2014, they have twice opened 0-2. In the other two seasons, they opened 0-3. None of that will matter if the Bucs don’t board their team charter with confidence Saturday.

“If we’re explosive and we don’t turn it over, we can score points,” Monken said. “The same people that a year ago thought we’d win the Super Bowl are the same people this year who think we’ll stink. We’re the ones who will decide that and it won’t be about talent.”

He’s right. There’s enough talent on this roster to keep the Bucs relevant deep into the season.

Dirk Koetter may not want to elaborate about how this training camp was more rigorous — so I will. It was more demanding because this coaching staff was less tolerant.

Don’t just take my word for it.

“I think we’re doing so much better this year,” Monken said. “Maybe I’ve lost my mind, but what we’re doing out here is so much better than that garbage we did last year. We earned that by the way we approached things. We haven’t been doing that this year.”

What we know for certain in the NFL is that hard times are around the corner. Deal with it. If you think these players are banged up at the moment, wait until the Bucs have to rebound off a short week after dealing with the physicality of the Steelers.

Show Up

Deal with it. Win some close games for a change. Earn some respect from your peers.

This franchise has done very little right during its lost decade.

Upsetting the Saints would drown out the skeptics while providing the ticket office with a nice bounce heading into the home opener.

“I don’t know if everyone else is brutally honest about it, but I am and coach is,” Monken said. “As a collective organization, the players taking ownership of this thing, I’ve seen more of that. They have to decide how important the winning is. That’s got to be important because otherwise it becomes individualistic. I can still play well and I’m OK. Don’t you want to talk about where we’re headed, what we’ve done, what we’ve accomplished?”

Nobody outside of Tampa Bay is giving this club a rat’s chance. Evan Smith says those are the teams you never see coming.

What I know for sure is the Stick Carriers are showing up in force this weekend. It would be nice if the visiting football team did the same.

Now in his 40th year covering the NFL, Ira Kaufman is the most revered sports personality and writer in the Tampa Bay area. He scored a full-time seat at world headquarters in July of 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 hear Ira on SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio Wednesdays at 5 p.m. during football season. Also a TV star, see Ira now on Mondays at 10:30 p.m. on Spectrum Sports 360 (aka BayNews 9). Ira also is part of the FOX-13 Tailgate Sunday NFL show and enjoys beet salads, Riesling, tennis, Chiefs victories and needling Joe.

26 Responses to “Show Up And Drown The Skeptics”

  1. Jman Says:

    Tua 2020.

  2. Reality-is-a-Beotch Says:


  3. Pickgrin Says:

    Well said Ira – nice piece.

  4. MistaBuc Says:

    Let’s Go Bucs 1-0 Starts now!!

  5. Mike Johnson Says:

    In order for these Bucs to have a chance, they gotta go at least 2-2 the 1st 4 games. And thats gonna be hard. I’ll remain cautiously optimistic. Doesn’t look like we will be getting much for Vea and Jones. And Unrein’s just about done for the season. The key will be how much this Defense has improved. Other teams have gotten better also. Nobody stands still in this league. Bucs had better be ready. We shall see.

  6. BucNole Says:

    The more I hear from Monk the more I like the guy.
    He just seems like a no nonsense tell it like it is kinda coach.
    We need more of that

  7. Gambelero Says:

    Think about the poor guys who run fan sites. A week one win would quadruple or quintuple their traffic. At 9,5 or 10 we’re at a little less than 1 in 5 to win it. Nobody expects it, but it could happen.

  8. Bucsfanman Says:

    It’s not very comforting to hear how void of leadership we were. That’s what coaching is supposed to do.
    They are saying the right things. It’s the same staff. We’ll see. We will see!

  9. Bucamania Says:

    ‘…what we’re doing out here is so much better than that garbage we did last year.’

    It looks different this year, that’s for sure. I think the Bucs will surprise some people.

  10. Broy34 Says:

    Gotta love the first two posters. One thinks we need a QB the other says 4-12 yet here they are on Labor Day posting negativity. It’s truly laughable. Why the hell are you even here if you think that way? Honestly

  11. reality-is-a-beotch Says:


    so are you saying you are a better fan / person because you live in DENIAL about how bad this franchise is… Never realized living life with your head firmly planted in ones rear end makes one a better fan….. It’s not negativity if it’s accurate reality…. Come out of your safe space and live in the real world for a few minutes. accepting losing and justifying it does ot make you a better fan it proves you live in denial.

  12. Ndog Says:

    Thank you Broy34 but the answer is simple, it’s called weak mindedness and most of this sites posters are infected. It is truly disgusting.

  13. stpetebucsfan Says:

    So here is a question for next Sunday guys.

    We have had success at different times defending Brees.

    What I want to know is who is going to block Cameron Jordan a potential DPOY.
    Nobody else in the league has blocked him very well…how are we going to handle him…gameplan around him?

  14. Broy34 Says:

    I get the weak mindedness. What I do not understand and never will is if before a game is played you believe in 2020 we will have the first pick or that we are gonna go 4-12, why are you taking time out of life to go and say it over and over again on every damn article. It’s exhausting and it’s why I stayed off the site for months on end. Then when I finally go looking for comments I have to see maxi pad crying using a different name and a handful of other losers whining about every little aspect

  15. Reality-is-a-Beotch Says:


    What is truly disgusting is the on field product the glazers have fielded for 16 years. When they EARN respect on the field the negativity will cease until then a negative mindset is accurate and its 100% justified. Optimism is code for living in denial especially given the on field results for over a decade plus.

  16. Reality-is-a-Beotch Says:

    The only ones with a weak mindset around here are the career losing defensive captains who quit at the first sign of adversity. They even admit to it.

  17. Broy34 Says:

    Nope not saying I’m a better fan. I don’t live in denial either. I just am a grown ass man with a wife who’s 9 months pregnant that understands life is short and it’s hard to wrap my brain around constantly spewing negativity and wasting your life repeating the same crap with tiny variances over. And. Over. And. Over. I am fully capable of seeing the embarrassment that occurred last year. I understand that we have been a crap show for a decade. I also understand this team has more talent than they’ve had in a while. I would NEVER waste away my life crying and whining saying “4-12” or “Tua 2020” if I believed either of those to be true. Just move on and root for your team in a different sport

  18. Broy34 Says:

    And Max I am a Duke and Red Sox fan. Have been for decades. I know about winning and how frustrating is to watch ur team lose. Sadly.

  19. unbelievable Says:

    Amen Ira.

  20. reality-is-a-beotch Says:


    i don’t know this max you refer too but congratulations to you and your wife. may prosperity and good health be plenty. Hopefully, the little guy or gal is more tom brady than trent dilfer and not a bucs fan LOL…

    i understand your point of view and actually shared that point of view the first 13 years the Glazers were embarrassing the sport of football. After the last 4 years of BS and the failed attempt to live in a failed past with bad character lovie smith hire my attitude as changed 100%… I have been a fan since first couple of years. I am an old guy. I want a playoff win before I feed the worms. That is not too much to ask. Just one simple playoff win every 20 or so years…. the time for passive patiences has run out. these pansy arses needed to toughen up, stop with the excuses and win some damn football games.

  21. Eric Says:

    Great new attitude, replacing the lousy one last year.

    Where have I heard this before?

    One would think prideful pro athletes would do their best every year. Guess not. That 9-7 was just too sweet to rev up the engines the following year.

    Hope it works, but a bit skeptical.

  22. Joehelldeloxley Says:

    I don’t want the Bucs to upset the Saints.

    We did that in Atlanta and we all saw what happened then !

    I want them to upset all games, I want them to be the underdog, come on the field with the appetite of a pitbull, I want to play each game like it’s the last one !

    Actually, I don’t care about playoff, NFC final, SUperbowl, and so on, I just care about the season, at least until the bye week, I want to the Bucs to show, talent and fighting spirit !

  23. reality-is-a-beotch Says:

    wins are all that matter. the fighting spirit rah rah bs is for the hugs and trophy crowd. win or you suck!

  24. Ndog Says:

    Reality-is-a-Beotch Says:
    September 3rd, 2018 at 12:09 pm
    The only ones with a weak mindset around here are the career losing defensive captains who quit at the first sign of adversity. They even admit to it.

    What are you talking about you have already quit and we haven’t played a game yet!

  25. stpetebucsfan Says:


    “What are you talking about you have already quit and we haven’t played a game yet!”


  26. buc15 Says:

    Shhhh Reality…. grown folks are talking.