Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Bears

September 30th, 2018


Admit it.

If you would have known that the Bucs were going to split their first four games this season, you would have been thrilled.

Now, you’re pissed.

As they have too many times in recent memory, the Bucs failed to show up for a road game. They deserved every bit of that 48-10 drubbing at Soldier Field, where conditions were perfect and Tampa Bay’s execution was anything but.

The calls for Mike Smith’s scalp are everywhere about town and I’m not sure F. Lee Bailey in his prime could fashion much of a defense to keep him right now. Monday night’s comeback effort obviously had zero effect on the Bucs, who now get a chance to reboot after one of the most lopsided setbacks in franchise history.

And that’s saying something.

I picked the Bears to win a squeaker, but even the most ardent Chicago fan couldn’t have expected a blowout of these proportions. Perhaps the Bucs can duplicate 2016 and regroup after a bye week.


Players will scatter next weekend while Jason Licht works the phones, seeking upgrades. See any other Khalil Macks out there, people?

* First, a tip of the helmet to Ryan Fitzpatrick, who gave this organization far more than expected before yielding at halftime Sunday to Jameis Winston. His first two performances ensured that Tampa Bay would not be buried in September, fulfilling the prime function of a backup quarterback in splendid fashion.

* The first half was excruciating to watch for Buc fans as Chicago rolled up 400 yards, averaging an absurd 10.3 yards per snap en route to a 38-3 advantage. Yes, this travesty was worse than Arizona (24-0), Minnesota (21-3), Atlanta (20-6) and New Orleans (16-3) in terms of recent halftime deficits on the road.

* While Tampa Bay’s offense couldn’t get going, with five punts and two interceptions among its first eight possessions, Smith’s defense never gave these guys a chance. Another disaster on the road, where Tampa Bay has now allowed at least 30 points in 8 of the past 11 tests.

* Where oh where is Noah Spence? He didn’t play a snap against the Steelers and didn’t dress in Chicago. Let’s get this straight – the Bucs are down at least two defensive linemen and Spence still can’t get on the field? I don’t want to hear about who plays special teams, I want to hear about Spence creating some havoc up front.

* Winston tuned up for his start in Atlanta with some garbage-time action and offered a mixed bag. As usual, his energy was impressive and he made some nice throws, but he was also guilty of a few poor reads. The good news is there’s no need for any subterfuge from Koetter at the podium next week because this is Winston’s team once again.

* While Jason Pierre-Paul continues to show, Kwon Alexander and Gerald McCoy failed to make an impact. Alexander was credited with only two tackles and as a whole, the linebacker corps was exploited all afternoon.

* Giving up big numbers to the Saints and Steelers is one thing, but the plodding Bears suddenly looked like the 1999 Rams, with 10 snaps that gained 20 yards or more. Mitch Trubisky looked like Kurt Warner, Tarik Cohen turned into Marshall Faulk and Taylor Gabriel ran free like Isaac Bruce. Speaking of Cohen, every time I looked, the Bucs were trying to cover him with a linebacker.

* Those defenders would have had a far better chance if Trubisky had been pressured more. One sack and three QB hits isn’t going to get it done. On too many throws, Trubisky had enough time to order a deep-dish pizza from Geno’s East.

* Besides the physical mistakes, the Bucs weren’t up to the challenge from the neck up. They were flagged 11 times for 99 yards and the mis-communication on the back end of the defense was atrocious. I haven’t seen guys running this wide open since Showtime, when Magic Johnson was directing the Lakers fast break.

* Despite Sunday’s disaster, this season is still very much alive. It’s up to the coaching staff and the front office to find a defense and a ground game worthy of complementing all these weapons. The Glazers believe this is a talented roster, not a 7-9 football team. Something has to change in a hurry or there will be significant changes in January.

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 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. Also a TV star, Ira is part of the FOX-13 Tailgate Sunday NFL show at 10:30 a.m. He’s also on BayNews 9 Mondays & Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. He enjoys beet salads, Riesling, tennis, Bette Midler, Chiefs victories and needling Joe. …WATCH IRA AND DERRICK BROOKS on the new TAMPA TWO show from The Identity Tampa Bay and JoeBucsFan.

46 Responses to “Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Bears”

  1. Chris in WA Says:

    Time to set up a GoFundMe for billboards that say “Fire Mike Smith”

    Schiano was ran out for less.

  2. JimmyJack Says:

    Who would even want to dissect 10 takeaways from this game? I didn’t read the article. I don’t want to be reminded of embarrassment 10 times over

  3. Season Is Over Says:

    Why no mention of Barber? I figure having zero running game every game this year would qualify as one of the ten takeaways but we all know why it didn’t make it. Are we going to try Marpet on the DL next year?

  4. LakeLand Says:

    I have at least 25 takeaways from this game

    And they all are negative

  5. Jim Says:

    Thanks for acknowledging Fitz’s contribution. This team quit and I know where you come from, Ira, that counts for something. So 2 and 2 won’t hold up unless this team develops some character, and quickly. Will Jameis give you that?

  6. Kobe Faker Says:

    Fire Mike Smith?


    The local media propaganda!!

    Its going to be interesting to see how strong the friendship of Koetter and Jason Gump is compared to the TRUTH!

    The incompetent Dumb and Dumber, Klueless Koetter and Jason Gump MUST GO!

    You win thru the draft and amazingly this years draft is equally worse than then our 2016 worst draft in the history of the franchise


    When will the local media (JBF) speak the truth or is friendship more important than the truth

    MIKE SMITH WILL BE THE SCAPEGOAT that will be pushed my the little local highschool media puppet masters

  7. Anonymous Says:

    We looked ineptly prepared on both sides of the ball. The players failed to execute and the coaches failed to put them in a position to win. Is Smith seriously into this? There is no explanation for how he prepared the defense! Koetter can you allow this to continue? You cannot allow the defense to be lead by Smith.

  8. LakeLand Says:

    Kobe Faker

    I approve your comment

    This roster is garbage

  9. FreeTheSecretWeapon Says:

    Should of started Winston, that was the first COACHING mistake of the game!!!

    Seriously doubt they recover MENTALLY… LD56 is soft and deserves credit for not being a factor as well as they other two “big names”

  10. Bucsfan951 Says:

    No talent and salary cap hell…. bahahaha

  11. Kobe Faker Says:

    Hey Lake<

    "We should demand the Bus sheep here at JBF to lineup and on their knees to beg for our forgiveness"

    Kobe Faker

  12. Buc believer Says:

    I object to all of you who call this defense by my name….


  13. gotbbucs Says:

    How does a professional football team come out and play like that?

    This is the most weak minded outfit in all of the NFL.

    Something needs to give. This defensive coaching staff has zero imagination.

  14. Sweeptheleg Says:

    How can a team this bad be in salary cap hell?

    There is no one worth a lot of money other than jpp

  15. Joel Says:

    This is a 4-12 team. Get ready. It’s going to get worse.

  16. LakeLand Says:


    They can defend Jason Licht and Dirk Koetter all they want

    But at the end of the day, they will have to face reality

    That “Good Ole Boy” network don’t win games for you

  17. Architek Says:

    Yeah the roster isn’t the issue, hope Smith invested that huge salary he got!

  18. Kobe Faker Says:

    No other 31 teams GM would give Brent Grimes more than the vet minimum or even a roster spot HOWEVER

    Our Forrest Gump thought to fix our last years 32nd ranked pass defense by giving a 35 year Brent and Miko 8 mill per year???

    We need Forrest Gump removed before he overpays the backup linebacker redheaded Kwonie


  19. JimmyJack Says:

    But we are still 2-2. But our defense has no idea what they are doing!!!! Can’t they fix this?

  20. JimmyJack Says:

    how do you have a defensive coordinator that’s been installing a system here for 3 years yet none of our players know what they’re doing? It just boggles my mind

  21. Not there yet Says:

    I don’t get the whole we’re still 2-2 talk. Losing close games is one thing it would be just like last hmm guess getting blown out is like last year too. Yes we split 4 games but after 4 games no one is making a case for this team being a playoff contender. National media never did and this is why, guess Fitz magic turning into fitztragic kicked off this entire meltdown

  22. Waterboy Says:

    It’s time for Mike Smith to go. At some point you have to see an improving defense for him to keep his job and its been 3 years now and I’m still not seeing a defense that I want on the field with the game on the line or to protect a lead. How many different combinations of players do they have to go thru before they finally realize it’s probably not all on the players.

  23. JimmyJack Says:

    Not there I’m sorry…….I’m just trying to cling to something. I don’t want the season to be over before Columbus Day again. I just want something to cheer for.

  24. Ndog Says:

    Where is Realist tonight?

  25. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    When are the joes & ira going to stop supporting their boy licht, this guy is absolute worst GM and needs to go, the 2016 draft class is a bust, jason gump passes on the nfl def rookie of the year in james for a guy u can get in any draft, and ira and the joes were blowing lichts smoke about barber for 2 years now, he is a backup RB at best behind a crappy OL

  26. Gofortheface30 Says:

    Question – are we sure Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander are good football players? Kendall Beckwith was their best linebacker (by far) last year. What’s bizarre is that you would think a zone, Tampa 2 type scheme would be perfect for these small linebackers. But then again maybe it’s just the scheme – this zone, quarters coverage type d is outdate and gets shredded in today’s NFL. Oh and M.J. Stewart? I get he’s a rookie, but his lack of quickness and speed is alarming. And if he can’t olay nickel, the what good is he? Because he sure as hell isnt an outside corner. The defensive line is still bad, McCoy has NOT been effective at all, Brent Grimes is so bad now that he was benched for Ryan Smith. This thing is going to get blown the F up at the end of the year and the only people with real futures on defense moving forward is Justin Evans, Davis, Whitehead, Beckwith, Vea. Everyone else can get the f outta here. We have a Mike Smith problem sure, but we also have a talent/production problem

  27. Alanbucsfan Says:

    They didn’t look physically ready- Monday night’s loss was a tough one-
    When your linebackers and O-line stink , along with injuries to DLine and Secondary- you have no chance.

  28. Phred Says:

    Realism? The Bucs win 6 games. Everybody from Licht to the quality control coach gets fired. We start the cycle again next year.

    Cons: too little game-day talent for too much money, ineffective leadership from the head coach, players lack confidence in their ability to win, poor draft picks, competent play-calling (especially on defense), effective game plans (especially on defense), the ability to make effective in-game adjustments (on both sides of the ball) and too many players who loaf (McCoy) and quit on a game (the majority).

    Pros: we have a pirate ship

    Bucs need a coach who can do what Dungy did – instill a winning culture and develop effective on-field leaders.

    By the way, did Monken call the plays today?

  29. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    gofortheface im w you beckwith is a legit MLB, kwon is ok, not worth a big contract, 5-6 guys worth keeping on team the rest can kick rocks

  30. Tbbucs3 Says:

    Even with all this Bucs dumpster fire chatter going on guess who’s still 1st place in the NFC south?

    Not the Bucs


    At least the Falcons lost

  31. LakeLand Says:

    This defense is a carbon-copy of Lovie defense

  32. Tbbucs3 Says:

    We need to hire a good college defensive coordinator

    I hear they have a pretty good one up at Ohio State……

    Greg Shiannos Bucs defense was the best we’ve had in Tampa in 5 years.

    By far. And it’s not because we had better players, in fact we might of had worse players.

  33. Trotter Says:

    You’ve said it all. We’ve been sold a bill of goods. Seeing what I’ve seen today and last week, our talent on the line(both sides), and the entire defense looks overrated. You’re also right about KA and LD… they make one good play, then disappear.

  34. DBS Says:

    At least onder Greg LVD looked like the clone of D Brooks. Now it’s LVD WHO?

  35. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    The defense just isn’t aggressive at all. We’ve seen what LVD is capable of. We’ve seen great plays and lots of heart from Kwon. There’s IS talent on the roster. Mike Smith needs to go but who do we turn to?

  36. Phred Says:

    Build from the lines out. Until your defensive front four consistently pressures the opposing QB, you lose in the NFL. If your O-line cannot consistently maintain a clean pocket and open running lanes, your skill position players do not matter.

    The O-line and D-line are fundamental problems. Until those units are playing at a high level, any other change is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

    Yes, Mike Smith deserves to be fired. But that’s not going to help this season. Fitz v. Winston? Does not matter for this season.

    Let’s face it: James has all the physical skills, but after three years of bad decision-making and an inability to hit the deep ball — he will never be an elite QB. He is not getting better. Seems the game has still not “slowed down” for him.

    Give Winston last 12 starts so we can move on from him with the knowledge that he had four years as a starter and never reached his potential.

    Occasional flashes of brilliance do not make a HOF career. They just keep a mediocre QB around long enough to get a coach fired.

  37. Not there yet Says:

    Oh I get the excuse mike smith would love to use, he lost vh3 for the season😂😂😂 you know the guy who was on the verge of losing his job to the rookies playing like they are still in college. Our corners aren’t actually taught to do something a simple as turning to look for the ball because even in zone they are always chasing trying to catch up to a receiver. Why is that Smitty? How did the d line coach get the axe but the dB coach still have a job?

  38. JabooBuc Says:

    Forget all the “Fire Mike Smith” stuff for a moment. It’s not going to happen now and not sure it should at this point in the season. Due to the injuries in the secondary, it’s really hard to tell if this is not more of a personnel issue or scheme issue. Most likely, it’s a combination of the two.

    Regardless, they need to make some quick decisions regarding the talent in the defensive backfield. Granted, VH3, Grimes, Conte, Whitehead, Williams, Davis and Stewart have all missed time due to injuries making it very difficult to get any continuity out there. Hell, much of the time they are playing 3 rookies and one 2nd year Safety out there which is a lot to overcome.

    However, with Allen coming back hopefully after the bye and now Vea inserted into the lineup, we should be able to free up some roster space and one would hope Jason would be working the phones looking for some talent at CB. Grimes looks done to me and I believe keeping him on for another year was a big mistake (was never a big fan).

  39. Bucs4821 Says:

    Next week, between 1-4, we can bang our heads against a brick wall for three consecutive hours to simulate a Bucs’ Sunday!

  40. D-Rome Says:

    Can’t believe some people thought this is an 11-5 football team.

  41. THETRUTH Says:

    Ira :

    1. Can you ask MOnken if he is 100% calling all the plays for offense, DO NOT ASK KOTTER he will not give you answer.

    i would take Rex Ryan in here as DC , he will change attitude and scheme cant get any worse and at least there will be pressure from Rex style he knows how to blitz

  42. tnew Says:

    Was surprised more didn’t see this coming. Have been saying all week this was the worst matchup of the season for the Bucs and was soundly criticized. The wins the Bucs had this season were not as big as most made them out to be and neither was this loss. This is a match up league and this team, as constructed is not going to beat Chicago. Putting an edge guy like Mack on this team, vs the Bucs, just sealed the deal.

    The bye week comes at a good time. The Falcons are as banged up defensively as the Bucs are and a much better match up. Koetter needs to announce the starting QB, and go from there, give them all of the first team reps and go from there. Fitz or Winston. End the speculation. Then stick with the decision for the rest of the season…. until an injury changes the situation. Say who you think gives the team the best opportunity to win. IMO, the time to fire Smith was in the off season. At this point, ride with him or die with him. You either “communicate” with him regarding this or you go. The defense has played good enough for the Bucs to be 0-4 and Koetter as the Head Coach bears responsibility for both sides of the ball. He needs to roll up his sleeves and go help fix it. If he lacks that ability, the Bucs have the wrong head coach.

  43. Bucsfanman Says:

    I didn’t think it possible for the defense to get worse! What’s to say?!

  44. JayBucBoi Says:

    How in the flip can you idiots say that this Bucs roster is garbage?? Communication is huge! Look at the problems of our Super Bowl Bucs with Sapp, Brooks, Lynch and the boys before they put it all together. Sapp told us all it clicked after awhile that “they can win” after figuring out who has what responsibility in the scheme. I don’t know how the schemes are being taught, I’m a fan just like you Kate’s claim to be, but I do know this roster ain’t garbage.

    I hope our team doesn’t implode like this fan base does ALL THE TIME!! It’s frustrating, I agree, but don’t be idiotic. Hopefully we can get our D right, either by a change in the staff or in simplifying communication, and Jameis can be as accurate as Fitz was early on. Still a lot of football left!!

  45. JayBucBoi Says:

    Great post as always, Ira!!

  46. g720 Says:

    If Mike Smith makes it past halfway in the season, then I know Koetter and Licht both have to go at end of season. Smith is the worst d coach ever and the man doesn’t understand basic defensive strategy. You can’t stop anyone from completing passes and marching down the field with rushing 4 guys and continue to do it the whole game. How can your defense play any worse if you blitzed 2 more guys dumb ass. This team had a chance to pick up Eric Reid who is better than anyone we have in our defensive backfield. but we let him go to the Panthers for minimum salary. The insanity starts at the top and continues into the pathetic coaching staff.