Zero Tolerance For A Losing Season

October 3rd, 2018


One primary reason you select a quarterback first overall in the draft is your faith he can thrive under pressure.

We’re about to find out.

It’s Jameis Winston’s football now, but it remains to be seen if this is still Winston’s football team. He has three-quarters of a season to prove he belongs here well past 2018 … and everyone in Buc Nation will be watching.

The Bucs are fighting for relevance and Winston is fighting for a contract extension. Both pursuits are intertwined.

The $21 million potentially awaiting Winston next season is guaranteed only for injury. His starting job the rest of the year is guaranteed — except for injury.

After 45 pro starts, Winston remains an intriguing work in progress.

He has put up some big individual numbers, but the only number that counts, an 18-27 career record, generates serious doubts.

That’s because quarterbacks are judged on their records, whether or not that’s fair. That’s why they get the big bucks and the lucrative endorsements that come with success.

Let’s assume Winston starts all 12 remaining games. At 2-2, Tampa Bay has hardly dug an early hole against fierce competition. Credit Ryan Fitzpatrick for a spectacular performance in New Orleans and a very good outing against the Eagles. The stage now seems set for Winston to grab this season by the throat and prove he’s the man.

“Jameis is back,” says Fitzpatrick, “and Jameis is the guy. He’s the face of the franchise.”

At this point, Winston could use a facelift. He had all sorts of weapons last year, but you wouldn’t know it. He went 3-10 as a starter and while the Bucs played atrocious defense, Winston didn’t make enough winning plays.

If Winston goes 5-7 the rest of the way and the Bucs finish 7-9, I’m not giving him $21 million in 2019. I’m looking for a fresh new face. I’m not continuing to put my full support behind a quarterback who will have won only 23 of 57 starts.

Nobody wants to begin all over and admit you made a huge mistake at the top of the 2015 draft, but what would be even worse is sticking with the wrong guy at the game’s most critical position.

To be fair, Marcus Mariota hasn’t torn up this league, either. He’s 21-23 as a starter, but the Titans have followed up a playoff season with a good start in September.

Mariota’s defense and offensive line are better than Winston’s, but his targets pale in comparison.

This is Winston’s time, beginning with a matchup against the high-scoring Falcons. Atlanta’s injury-depleted defense is in shambles and the Bucs have extra time to exploit those weaknesses.

In my book, going 7-5 with this defense silences Winston’s skeptics and keeps the Glazers firmly on his side. If it’s another losing season, the Bucs should move on.

Either way, by the end of this 12-game job interview, a decision must be made. So here’s my advice for No. 3: Ditch the suit and tie. Bring the lunch pail.

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.

52 Responses to “Zero Tolerance For A Losing Season”

  1. Bucsfanman Says:

    Spot freakin’ on Ira! Great analogy, “12 game interview!”

  2. Mike Johnson Says:

    I’m not to concerned about Jameis. I’m concerned about this Junior HS DEFENSE we are Fielding. I’m concerned about..The Glazers not stepping in and taking action. I’m concerned about Mike Smith..after all his yrs of NFl experience, not being able to make simple in game adjustments. And I’m concerned the Glazers might not fire all of these incompetent staff even after us having yet another losing season. Its almost like they are sayin, shut up fans,,We’re gonna ram yet another losing season right down your throats..And make up for it later. Its always LATER for this franchise. Jameis will be OK. Hell, who else you got anyways? Maybe our 3rd stringer. GIVE US FANS SOME HOPE GLAZERS!!! Fire DC Smitty and put Licht and Koetter on notice..NOW!!!!!!!!!!

  3. theodore Says:

    Forget about Mariota. What about Wentz? Goff? Mahomes? What does Winston only have to be better than his draft class?

  4. DB55 Says:


    You’re late to the party we already discussed your article.

    Buccaneer Bonzai Says:
    October 3rd, 2018 at 10:27 am
    Let’s imagine Winston plays PERFECT football for the next 3 months. No interceptions, fumbles, turnovers and score TDs on every single drive. What will the hater say then when the defense still loses the games?

    Joe Says
    “Get rid of the overrated SOB. He can’t win!”

    C’mon. This is as predictable as saying the sun will set in the west today.


    It’s funny because it is true!

    And 1 major flaw is that you’re assuming Winston wants to stay in Tampa. Why would he, serious question?

  5. zzbucs Says:

    Let´s relax!!! Come on guys, remeber what was written here as soon as Jameis suspension emerged??? at least 90% of the people that reads JOE was higly pesimist!!!!0-4……….. 1-3 and so on……….. The news is we are 2/2……most of you guys did not expect it…..Lets try to chill and show some optimism!!!! decitions will be taken at the end of the season not now……Let´s go BUCS!!!!!!

  6. DB55 Says:


    All those QBs have great defenses. Geoff and Wentz probably have the best defenses in the league and Geoff has the best RB in the league.

    Hey how’s Andrew Luck doing now a days? Wasn’t Winston compared to him early on? So tell me, who does a number 1 overall pick perform when he has no run game, no defense and a bum shoulder?

  7. RawDog Says:

    It won’t be up to Winston to decide his future with this organization. The defense will ultimately decide the team’s fate this year, & that will determine whether or not they clean house.

  8. spicoli Says:

    Seems like a 2 week job interview for the coaching staff… 2 weeks to prepare for ATL, if they fall flat Koetter and Co fates should be sealed.

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    @Ira … “At this point, Winston could use a facelift. He had all sorts of weapons last year, but you wouldn’t know it. He went 3-10 as a starter and while the Bucs played atrocious defense, Winston didn’t make enough winning plays.”

    Wow Ira, how to call it like it is. (However, in the background I can now hear the music from ‘Deliverance’ playing, with Joe shouting “You’re fired, you’re fired” using his best Donald Trump impersonation).

    The irony is that, for the rest of this season, there will be LOTS of interviews going on. A bunch of players are up for new contracts for starters, and a this whole coaching staff (and GM) are fighting for their careers right now. After what we’ve seen in these last 2 games, I seriously doubt this team will end up 7-9 at the end of this season (I don’t see them beating anyone in the division the rest of this season), plus we’ve still got the Ravens & several other decent teams to contend with. Can see a near-total house-cleaning coming.

  10. ArmyBucsFanatc Says:

    I have faith in jameis and this passing game to keep us in games…my problem is with the defense allowing so many points to the opposing team that we are playing catch-up for most of the remaining games which means only running the ball to say we did and the opposing defense sitting on our pass scheme and pinning their ears back like Chicago n Pittsburgh did…@theodore the difference with all those qb’s n Winston is their coaching has been better & except for KC, their defenses are better, including Tennessee, and they can run the ball…also all but prob KC have had better o-line play…Jamies had more passing yds last year than all of them (obviously not including Mahomes) in 13 games.

  11. Buc1987 Says:

    Hey idiots…..repeat after me….er Fitz.

    “Jameis is back,” says Fitzpatrick, “and Jameis is the guy. He’s the face of the franchise.”

    Jameis is the guy. He’s the face of the franchise.

    Jameis is the guy. He’s the face of the franchise.

    Jameis is the guy. He’s the face of the franchise.

    Can he thrive under pressure? He’s been doing it his whole life.

  12. pete Says:

    What if Winston and the offense average 28 points per game and the Bucs have a losing record?

  13. Buc1987 Says:

    “What does Winston only have to be better than his draft class?”

    No theodore….to fans like you he has to be better than Brady. Montana, and Warren Moon all rolled into one.

    He has to win SIX Super Bowls!

  14. ben Says:

    yep Ira… spot on !!

  15. T in Orlando Says:


    If that’s the case, Hopefully the Glazers retain Licht and Licht fires entire coaching staff, do a fresh coaching search with no concerns about maintaining schemes for Winston, and get the best coach available, defensive or offensive guy. As long as that coach feels he can work with Winston and has a sound plan to improve the defense (be it work with existing talent and improve scheme or entire overhaul of that side of the ball).

  16. Blind Melon Says:

    Great Article.

  17. Jim Says:

    The primary reason you select a quarterback first overall in the draft is your faith that he can lead the team to victory.

  18. Jmarkbuc Says:


    Can Jameis just go anywhere?

    Forgive my ignorance, but don’t the Bucs hold the fifth year option?

    I don’t think he can just walk away at the end of the season. Seems to me the Bucs Re-sign him, tag him or trade him. Surely they wouldn’t be so stupid as to outright release him, barring some major new incident.

    What am I missing?

  19. Jmarkbuc Says:


    Well, yeah

  20. DBS Says:

    There are to many If’s in play right now. Yes he had the players. Not the same line and what we watched in the Bears game was crap. He did not have Monk calling the plays last year. He could get them up and down the field so that 4000 yardsis great but if you don’t score it is useless. And the defense and kicking puked games away. Will they do it again? Right now you can just about count on the defense doing it. So he can be the face. But until the games are played? You can call people names and say what you want. You can’t place blame anywhere.

  21. Buc1987 Says:

    Jmark…oh I wasn’t being sarcastic.

  22. ChipBuc Says:

    Ira i see your point about won loss record being a gauge. But under these circumstances in Tampa it’s totally unfair. I don’t care who you have at QB it’s almost impossible to have a winning record with this pitiful Defense and non existent running game. The pressure of realizing you pretty much have to score every time you have the ball with no help from your running game leads to taking chances that you normally wouldn’t. Thus turnovers are going to happen, no question about it. Even by some good fortune the QB leads the team to a 4th quarter lead, it’s inevitable this defense will give it up. Success is almost impossible to sustain with the make up of this team.

  23. Kobe Faker Says:

    “First of all the decision of Jameis Future is entirely up to the new regime that will come in if the Glazers clean house…usually the new GM/HC likes to start fresh with their own chosen QB ”

    “Jameis recently fired his agent who specifically dealt with baseball to a powerhouse football Agent in Joe Segal. Segal knows every GM/FO in the NFL.”

    “This team aint goin nowhere but possibly 5 win total. With Monken as playcaller, JW will look great however if Klueless restarts as the playcaller like last game, JW will suck and look bad”


  24. Trench War Says:


    Yes, Jameis is the guy. He’s the face of the franchise.

    Yes, even at 18/27 he’s still our guy

    and yes, even with more career turnovers to TD’s 77/70 he’s still our guy.

    Yes, we can’t definitively say that will be the case next year, but this year he’s our guy.

  25. ndog Says:

    Not disagreeing with this article, but I do have one question if we do move on what QB are you going to bring in here and win with the worst defense in the league and no running game?

    Ill wait….

  26. Eric Says:

    If Andy Reed had been JW’s coach for the last three years, he would be just fine.

    And if JW had Gurley and a tremendous defense behind him he would be fine.

    Instead, he has had to try and win with the worst defense in the league and no running game. As well as piss poor protection.

    Not to mention the questionable at best play calling.

    Against all that, the man played excellent football after his shoulder injury last year. He should continue that these last 12 games. However, with the historically inept defense I don’t see many victories coming.

  27. jjbucfan Says:

    Sorry Ira, one of the the more ridiculous articles you have written, IMO. This is totally pandering to the JW3 haters. Jameis has not only been dealing with one of the worst 3 year stretches of kicking, offensive line play, no running game and the one of the worst 3 year defensive stretches in NFL history, but honestly one of the worst coaching jobs in history as well. don’t forget on a couple of occasions just last year< Jameis all but told Dirk to go F himself and ignored his play call and called a play that he believed would be more successful (and was). This is one of hires in NFL history. Unfortunately the Bucs have probably 5 of the top 10 worst hires, Leeman Bennett, Ray Perkins, Sam Wyche, Richard Williamson, Greg Schiano, Rah Morris, and Love Smith who I thought was the worst until these jokers. If Koetter fires Smith, the book is still out on him but just by keeping him, he becomes the worst IMO. We have had the worst defense in the league for almost 3 straight years. The fact he didn't get fired after Sunday tells me everything I need to know and should tell the Glazers the same thing. This season is not lost and Koetter just said everyone should be fired and the next day blames the players- that ain't gonna sit well in that locker room. Everyone wants to talk about the 5 game stretch 2 years ago. We were smack dab in the middle of the playoff race before Smith resorted back to his scaredy cat defense against the Cowboys, Saints and Panthers (we won this game because everything was already set and the Panthers didn't need to win). A tiger never changes his stripes- since that time, he has never been aggressive again and has blamed the players the whole way. You want put this on Jameis? It is your prerogative to do so but you need to tell the entire story!! No number 1 pick has had less overall to work with than Jameis. Yes he certainly can play better but this is just plain stupid.

  28. Bucsfanman Says:

    ndog- IF he goes, that means we’ve had a losing season…AGAIN! Dare I say there’d be a bunch of people headed out the door, even defensive “stars”!

  29. __TGH__ Says:

    Do not agree Ira. No defense. No running game. The Bucs have been in numerous positions to win thanks to Jameis’ play. When you can’t stop the other team and you can’t run the ball to finish the game, that puts a tremendous amount of pressure on any QB to complete passes.

    Jameis has done a fine job on the field. The only question should be if you believe Jameis will torpedo his own career off the field.

    I sure hope he doesn’t, but every indication to this point says that he will.

  30. D-Rome Says:

    He has put up some big individual numbers, but the only number that counts, an 18-27 career record, generates serious doubts.

    That’s because quarterbacks are judged on their records, whether or not that’s fair.

    It’s not fair. QB is the most dependent position on the football field. I’m not suggesting the Buccaneers should stick with Winston if the team ends up going 5-7. However, Winston may get a mulligan from ownership because the coaching staff failed him.

  31. DB55 Says:


    Here is what Karma is going to do for you and the legions of concerned fans. You’re gonna want to screenshot this.

    Jameis will lead the Bucs to a 12-4 record possible playoff berth. Then as everyone is on cloud nine he’ll cash in his success and head to NEW YORK CITY!!!!

    Leaving you and the legions with Fitzmagic and all will be right in the world.

  32. Jean Lafitte Says:

    If Andy Reid had been JW’s coach for the last three years, he would have been benched just like Donovan McNabb was for poor play. Why do you think he sent Alex Smith packing? When you have an offense that’s built to score 30 points a game why stick with a QB that can only generate 20 points per game? Tampa has the weapons but our “franchise” has failed to score points. Look at Reid’s rookie putting up more than 30 PPG. That wouldn’t be happening if Reid hadn’t had moved on from A. Smith.

  33. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Why in the world would we be working out Paxton Lynch?

    First of all he ain’t good and second,

    What’s wrong with the other two?

    Somethings up here…..

  34. Resurrection of Fitz Says:

    There is one thing to love and that is we are at a point where the excuses are out the door. Time to put up or pack your bags. That goes for the whole team. This drama should end in December one way or another.

    Thank GOD!!!!!

  35. Trench War Says:


    trade maybe? Fitz to the 9ers

  36. Couch Fan Says:

    Come on man. Getting rid of Winston before getting him competent coaching, which might be impossible for these owners, would be another Buc’n mistake. Yes he has made some bone headed plays, hes also lit up the leagues record books. When judging Winston you have to look at the bigger picture overall. WHO would win anything with the defense we’ve had the last 3 years? The honest answer is NOBODY. NOBODY. NOBODY! Not Brady, Not Rodgers, Not Montana, Not Marino, (insert any other name here). To win with this team you’d have to score TDs on every single possession. Impossible! You just cant throw away someone you’ve invested so much in without giving him the proper help first. Use common sense please Glazers. Mariota is trash compared to Winston. 13 TDs and 15 Ints with a 58.8 QBR last year. Yea thats a franchise guy though SMH. Look at the big picture!!

  37. Jmarkbuc Says:


    Maybe. Maybe Fitz is tired of this clown show and is retiring. Or his injury is bad enough to land him on IR..

  38. Trench War Says:

    Couch Fan

    Fitz 4 wins out of 7

  39. Couch Fan Says:

    And how did Fitz look Sunday? Exactly. Just stop. No QB can win consistently when their D is giving up TDs every possession to garbage QBs with no name receivers.

  40. Eric Says:

    Andy Reed, unlike the morons on here, would see the talent Winston possesses.

    A. Smith isn’t comparable.

  41. "No more beards" Says:



  42. rob Says:

    Winston’s main problem is bad decisions leading to 2 ints and 1 fumble per game. That is losing recipe in the NFL.

  43. Pete Says:

    Jameis’ record is a TEAM record, not an individual one. How many times has he given the defense the lead with less than 5 mins left only to have them blow it?

    Jameis isn’t going anywhere, nor should he. I think he’ll QB in 2 Super Bowls and I want them to be with the Bucs.

    The question you should be posing is which DC will the Bucs hire as their next HC?

  44. PSLBob Says:

    If Jameis were to go somewhere else, he’d become an All-Star. That’s the way it is with discarded players in this organization. How many games with other teams have you watched and seen ex-Bucs in the starting lineup? The inability to evaluate and/or utilize talent seems like a curse on this organization.

  45. GhostofSchiano Says:

    At this point, Winston could use a facelift.

    He could also use an improved defense, more aggressive play calling, a lock down corner, do I need to go further?

  46. Jean Lafitte Says:


    How many times did Jameis single handedly keep opposing teams in the game till the end and expect our exhausted defense to close the game? JW’s turnover to TD ratio is 77/70. The ideal of a good QB is to minimize the amount of time you keep your own defense on the field. When the other teams t.o.p. (time of possession) is overwhelming compared to your own, you’re gonna lose a lot of games.

  47. Defense Rules Says:

    @Couch Fan … “And how did Fitz look Sunday? Exactly. Just stop. No QB can win consistently when their D is giving up TDs every possession to garbage QBs with no name receivers.” Couch, the Bucs’ defense was atrocious Sunday BUT … that had ZERO to do with Fitz getting beatdown because his OLine totally sucked. And no, we won’t talk about the non-running game. And we won’t mention that whoever was calling that game was way too conservative right from the start.

    Nah, it’s the defense’s fault that our offense ONLY scored 10 points in 32 minutes of possession. Damned defense. This offense last year, primarily under Jameis, scored a tad over 18 PPG average IF you subtract the TDs that the defense contributed. Even if we had a decent defense, that’d still be lousy production from an offense with the weapons that we have. BTW, I’d personally trade some of those ‘weapons’ for some real beef in the trenches, and maybe a stud RB. Seems I remember us winning a Super Bowl behind some QB named Brad Johnson or something like that. That was a fairly balanced offense actually … no real superstars, but they got the job done.

  48. BucNAE Says:

    If only he played defense. Winston played will enough in numerous games that were lost in defense and without a running game. It’s simply asinine to to say he has to win by himself to a winning record. He has had a defense for five games in his career. Even Fitz had to put up video game points to get the two wins we got. Winston had had to compensate more than he should have. Even in Chicago they knew he was gonna throw mid to long range at some point. That is all the bucs offense is and it’s easy to defend work no run game or serious attempt at one. Most are just biased against this man for one reason or another because it’s trendy or he is their anti whatever. Judge not lest you be judged.

  49. jjbucfan Says:

    What you saw in the first half of this weeks game was Fitz throwing everything off his back foot just like Jameis has done for 2 years with this crappy offensive line. He played like garbage. QB has to be confident he isn’t gonna get killed and step into his throws. The first 2 weeks they gave Fitz all the time in the world. The defense sucks so bad, QBs try to do too much.

  50. Bobby M. Says:

    It’s more profitable for the Glazers to rebuild….which is what they rank as the top priority. Folks plugged into One Buc Place know they are more focused on wealth then winning.

  51. Matts17 Says:

    Said it then and I’ll say it now, neither of those guys warranted their high draft selection. Way too many holes in their game in college for that. Bucs got suckered and wasted the first pick in the draft. Where have we heard that before?

  52. horse liver Says:

    Ira, this is the first time I would confuse you with Tom Jones of FishwrapTBT.

    If Jameis puts up 34 points a game in a season where the defense gives up an AVERAGE of 45 points a game and 450+ yards, you’re sayingthe Bucs should automatically look for a new quarterback?


    Tom Jones has invaded you’re inner Martin Fennelly.