Burials, Byes & Buccaneers

October 5th, 2018


It’s the pause that refreshes. At least it should.

All things considered, this was the opportune time for a Buccaneer bye week. Most teams prefer that breather late in the season to heal up for a playoff push, but Tampa Bay desperately needed this break to regroup following the carnage at Soldier Field.

Franchise history suggests things can change markedly following a week off.

It was only two years ago that the Bucs entered the bye week at 3-5 with a two-game losing streak that threatened to wreck Dirk Koetter’s first season at the helm. The response was a five-game winning streak built on the back of fierce defense.

We’ve also seen evidence how a blowout loss on the road doesn’t have to linger.

In 1999, the 9-4 Bucs flew to Oakland and suffered a 45-0 drubbing by Jon Gruden’s Raiders, surrendering 262 yards on the ground to Napoleon Kaufman and Tyrone Wheatley, who split four TD runs.

The offense wasn’t much better, going 0-for-12 on third down and registering only nine first downs.

“We went out to Oakland and we were down as soon as we landed,” recalled Derrick Brooks this week on our “Tampa Two” show for The Identity Tampa Bay and JoeBucsFan.com. “We got back to Tampa and we had a ceremonial burial of that film. I did not even watch that game until the next offseason.

“As players, you have to move on. You can’t allow this performance to beat you again coming out of the bye week.”

Candid David

Players have scattered, but you can bet Tampa Bay coaches broke down Sunday’s Soldier Field debacle in excruciating detail.

“The bye week came at a good time,” Jameis Winston said after one of the most discouraging efforts in franchise history. “I just wish we could take this week back, but we can’t. We’ve just got to move forward and be better.”

Judgment days for Mike Smith

Mike Smith will still be calling the defensive shots as the Bucs prepare for the Falcons, who have averaged 29 points despite a 1-3 start. While teams focus on containing Julio Jones, rookie Calvin Ridley has reached the end zone on 6 of his 15 receptions.

“We were not as good as we thought we were and we’re not where we want to be right now as a defensive football team,” says Lavonte David. “You all saw it, we didn’t look good at all. From every aspect, from start to finish. it was just bad. Bad football all around.”

If nothing changes in Atlanta, more than a few Buc fans will write off this season as one big tease. At that point, who could blame them?

The Bounceback

After that humiliating loss at Oakland, the 1999 Bucs beat the Packers 29-10 the following week, forcing four turnovers and limiting Green Bay to 12 yards rushing.

You can bet that tape wasn’t buried at One Buc Place.

For the 2018 Bucs, the bye week is a time to heal — physically and emotionally. It’s a time to remember all the things you did well those first two weeks.

Most of all, it’s a time to realize this season is still very much alive if players and coaches do their jobs with more distinction.

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 JoeBucsFan.com 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.

11 Responses to “Burials, Byes & Buccaneers”

  1. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Problem is that was an NFL all-time great defense and this 2018 team is all-time NFL worst defense with several players who have been labeled “pro bowl” or other and they would not even have beaten out ryan nece for special teams on that squad, heck some of the players on this team wouldnt start in front of the sandman, batman woods or scot brantley, and Mark Cotney would be a pro bowler on this team, the bucs esp the defense is just putrid, Ira when you going to do an in-depth piece about how horrible jason licht is at personnel moves during his tenure and that the bucs are years away and a real GM from being playoff ready

  2. horse liver Says:

    Let’s not compare the 1999 defense, who had played consistently stellar football and already had wrapped up a playoff berth, to these frauds. What an insult to Derrick, Warren, Hardy, Shelton, John, Donnie, Ronde, and the rest of the defense that held The Greatest Show on Turf to 9 points in their own house (the safety obviously wasn’t on them). That Oakland game was an anomaly. The atrocity in Chicago happens every year.

  3. Evolvingbucsfan Says:

    The big difference with that loss at Oakland then and the Bears game last week was the defense the Bucs had back then, The best defensive group the Bucs ever had, we expected a bounce back, we knew they were better than that and they showed it. Heck even the best defense has a bad game but our defense now has had too many “what the $@#&? was that” type games, this defense has potential but not that kind of talent and system like back then and with Mike Smith at the Helm it looks bleak. No One expects them to be dominant, even they players them selves now it would seem, it seems like no one is buying into that scheme/system like they did with Dungy’s defense.

    I Sincerely hope they get better and figure it out, no more excuses.

  4. 813bucboi Says:

    I agree….

    cant compare that defense to what we have now….

    and I disagree that this should be a time to heal….this should be a time of preparation…..

    dirk should have them practicing like it was the middle of TC….maybe even turn it up a notch…have them practicing hard, fast and physical because what we saw vs the bears was soft, weak and finesse…..

    and not only the players but the coaches too…..player doesn’t line up in the right spot, chew the coaches a$$ out in front of everyone for not having his group prepared, focused and ready to go…..no more of this talking behind closed doors…..someone messes up, chew their a$$ out in front of everybody and I bet they’ll get it right the next go round…..


  5. Bucsfanman Says:

    Dusthty- Cotney? Brantley? Batman Woods? Man, you’re outing us “old timers” with those references!
    Fair point though. Those guys played hard.
    Bounce back? Shoot, this team better! If for nothing else, do it for the fans. Show some freakin’ pride!

  6. Darin Says:

    Lets see how many td passes smitty gives up to Muhammad Sanu this year. Cmon Glazers drop the hammer. You hoping 2 weeks is enough time for smitty to get it right? Dont have a bye every other week. Too late to hope this guy turns it around.

  7. DaPostman Says:

    Haha I remember that game because I was there. That game was sandwiched between two division games and the Bucs didn’t show up. Even the Raider fans felt sorry for me and if you’ve ever been to a Raider game you know that never happens. They will piss on you in the bathroom. Typical emotionless game after a few emotional ones and another up next week. Sometimes they are called trap games. I expect the Bucs to bring the emotion against Atlanta since it will be a month since their last victory in week 2.

    #Get After It!

  8. gotbbucs Says:

    Difference is that 1999 team had HOF players on the field that had one bad game. This 2018 team has been pulling this crap going on 10 years now, consistently.

  9. ATLBuc Says:

    I can’t explain it but I have a feeling that the defense is going to play pretty good next week.

  10. JJV Says:

    There is always a chance for a miraculous change….. Like Lloyd had in Dumb and Dumber!

  11. Mike Johnson Says:

    Sorry Ira, Bucs Defense are gonna have to prove themselves every week. And personally, I think this group..along with its DC is a..Hit and Miss Defense.Back then we knew Derrick/Sapp/Lynch and Co were gonna bounce back. Because we knew..they were just that good. This Defense? I’ve seen no evidence of greatness. Not even form our so called average hitters like Kwon and the other kid at linebacker. They are and have been..unimpressive. Sure I have us flashing here and there. But this Defense WILL NOT..take us to the promise land anytime soon. Sorry, I calls’em likes I see’s’em!!!! Its probably just as well..Koetter goes down with the ship after this season.