Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Bengals

October 28th, 2018


Forget the late comeback effort and look at the standings.

Welcome back, Mr. Koetter, to the basement of the NFC South. Yes, even after a 2-0 start, Tampa Bay is looking up at the Saints, Panthers and Falcons.

Just when you think it can’t get any worse, the Bucs have a quarterback quandary on their hands. Dirk Koetter didn’t want to make a decision after Sunday’s setback, so I’ll make it for him.

You will have a heck of a time convincing your players that Jameis Winston gives you a better chance to win at Carolina than Ryan Fitzpatrick. Stick with Winston as the starter and you have a very good chance of losing your football team at the midpoint of the season.

Winston might be the future — might — but Fitzpatrick gives the Bucs the best chance to salvage a 4-4 record. Buc fans know it, and so does Koetter.

Now, he needs the go-ahead from the Glazers.

Without Fitzpatrick’s stellar performance off the bench, the Bucs would have lost this game 41-23. Instead, the bearded wonder solved a bad Bengals defense like it was a Rubik’s Cube for toddlers.

Does anyone doubt the Bucs would have won this game in overtime if they had won the coin toss?

Koetter’s post-game news conference lasted less than five minutes and left the key questions unresolved. He didn’t name a starting quarterback going forward and he didn’t refute a report that DeSean Jackson wants to be traded.
He could have said that he talked to Jason Licht, who assured him the report was fake news. Instead, he claimed ignorance.

All I know is the Bucs have a hellacious offense — yet are now below the .500 mark heading into a tough matchup.

Here’s the rap sheet on Sunday’s crime scene:

* In the past three weeks since the bye, the Bucs have rolled up 30 first downs and 510 yards in Atlanta, 34 first downs and 456 yards vs. Cleveland and 29 first downs and a franchise-record 576 yards at Cincinnati. Just as shocking, they managed to lose two of those games and needed OT to win the third. That’s just wrong.

* Mike Evans played his rear end off, gutting out the final Buc drive despite a leg injury. Among his six receptions were catches of 72 yards, 29 yards, 27 yards, 20 yards and 19 yards. That’s big-time, folks.

* Yes, he did it again. Chandler Catanzaro managed to miss an extra point try for the fourth time this season. Looks like Tampa Bay’s long-running kicking search is still very much alive.

* The Bucs have finished half their road schedule and opponents have scored 40 points, 48 points, 34 points and 37 points. That comes out to a nifty 40-point average. Are we supposed to forget about Sunday’s atrocious first half, when Joe Mixon looked like Barry Sanders?

* Let’s not think about the Buc pass rush without Jason-Pierre Paul. What a steal for a third-round draft pick. JPP registered both of Tampa Bay’s sacks against Andy Dalton and both of Tampa Bay’s QB hits. By the way, Vita Vea was credited with one tackle Sunday. Not good enough, big man.

* Peyton Barber was off to a terrific start with 40 yards in the opening quarter, but the Bucs fell far behind. Still, he finished with 85 yards in 19 rushing attempts and his physicality is apparent on every carry.

* The Bucs haven’t looked ready to play in the opening halves of their last three road games. They trailed 38-3 at Chicago, 24-13 in Atlanta and 27-9 at Cincinnati. Add it all up and it’s an 89-25 deficit. That stirring triumph in the Superdome looks like a fading memory.

* Koetter has stated repeatedly that winning the turnover battle is the key to victory in the NFL. Throw away the key, coach, because your football team is now minus-13 and we haven’t even reached the halfway point. Giveaways are a huge problem, but the Bucs have only one takeaway since the bye and only one interception all season.

* “I just can’t play like that,” Winston said. “I’ve got to fix it.” Winston doesn’t deserve to start in Charlotte, not after he was a one-man wrecking crew against a lousy defense. About his benching, Winston said, “It was very humbling, but it’s not about me.” Sorry, JW. You couldn’t be more wrong.

* With four losses in the past five games, a promising Buc season threatens to spiral into disaster. Tampa Bay is sloppy, not particularly physical and in danger of splintering apart. This team has heart, but leaders are in short supply. So, alas, are wins.

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 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. “The Sage” 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.

49 Responses to “Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Bengals”

  1. Ben the GA Buc Says:

    Ira, I love ya, but come on … there’s no “might” anymore. Jameis is NOT the future of the Bucs.

  2. Season Is Over Says:

    No one saw this coming.

  3. unbelievable Says:

    Is that really what Winston said? He said the benching wasn’t about him???

    No Jameis, it’s all about you. Those were unforced errors. YOU are the reason you were benched and we lost today. This is completely different from the Atlanta game.

    Damn, he still doesn’t get it, does he? Unbelievable.

  4. Pete I Says:

    “Now, he needs the go-ahead from the Glazers.” Lets hope that at least one of Malcom’s kids is an adult in the room and smart enough to end this farce. The evidence does not suggest they will do the right thing.

  5. Loyaltotheend Says:

    Just no defending Jameis anymore. Just not working here. No excuses for the poor play and turnovers

  6. johnnybuc Says:

    he’s a joke. same exact player as he’s been in college. and whoever that qb trainer he is working with is just straight stealing cash from him. dude has no clue what he’s doing

  7. The Real Malloy Says:

    Thanks for making the call for coach Sage. I’m going to defend Koetter here. It’s pretty obvious he wanted to roll with Fitz early on in the season but Licht/The Glazers over ruled him. They wanted to see what they have in jameis which is very understandable. That being said, it’s obvious Jameis is not the future. Save your jobs and roll with Fitz. The team will rally around him. With a little luck, we sneak in with a wild card. Jobs saved, Winston out the door, and everyone wins.

  8. KnoxvilleBuc Says:

    Ira great article as always. My family and I came to the game today. Cant say enough on how bad Jameis looked in warm ups to the actual game. Looked lazy and inaccurate. Mental mistakes after mistakes. I’m on the fence. Barber looked solid with decent run blocking. If Jackson wants to be traded. So be it. Get what we can from a contender. Defensively JPP is the man. Lavonte David played well against the run and decent against the pass. Secondary was fair. Can’t put too much blame on Davis covering Green. Evans has all the gifts. Grimes is showing age. Stewert is a corner with safety skills. Vita Vea is a man. But does stick to blockers like Velcro. Incredible push and strength but showed no signs of disengagement with o lineman. Time will tell. Cincy was great! Can’t say enough for the fans we’ve met

  9. Since76 Says:

    In fairness to 3, I don’t think he was referring to the benching when he said “it” was not about him. I think he was referring to the team being bigger than any player. The video is available at the team web site, so one can view it for oneself. Less than 5 minutes.

  10. Alvin Scissors Harper Says:

    Ira, you’re a bright man, at least about football. However, stop defending Jay Miss. He’s not accurate, and hasn’t been since the National Championship year. He does not have the intelligence, the poise, the mental make up or the accuracy to be even a top 12 quarterback.

  11. KnoxvilleBuc Says:

    Seriously the turnout by all the Bucs fans in Cincy should be applauded. Our hotel is packed and met so many more the last two days!

  12. IsrBuc Says:

    You, ira, can’t blame koetter for anything. You are of the ones who supported the benching of the 2 times nfc player of the week. For no football reason. A guy who came in and played like an mvp with no defense or running game for help. I heard your poadcasts and was appalled each time you and mr. Decamper told us how much jw is better and more talented. The players knew this was an unprofessional decision to bench fitz. Tou didn’t care. You kept talking about jamies team and all that PR based nonsense. These guys wanted to win and knew exactly who gives them the best chance. To the mics they said what you and PR wanted to hear except djax who’s a straightshooter. You were ok with turning a season from a playoff hunt to a one man audition. You and the joes lost all credibility with me.

  13. LakeLand Says:

    The Bucs couldn’t pick a worst time to play Carolina
    They are the healthiest they have been in years

  14. Greg Says:

    Ira and Justin Palowski now work for Joe and sound like it. Might? Hes terrible! What the hell does Jameis have to do before you (Joe) guys will stop your excuses and say it. He sucks! If you read any draft magazine it was all there. If you watched the coverage on the draft by the NFL network or espn, it was there, if you watched him play it was there. Now in his 4th year in the same system hes still the same sex offender, same turnover machine idiot he has always been. STOP CODDELING HIM!!!

  15. NPRSageBoy Says:

    If Jay Miss starts another game this season after his post game comments, he should be committed for observation via the Baker Act.
    Like many coddled athletes, he takes no responsibility for his acts both on and off the field. How immature for a soon to 25 year old millionaire.
    Either release this Trainwreck and move on or demote him to inactive third string and see what Ryan Griffin has to offer.
    Fitz is 35 and no long term solution, but ride his arm to 3-4 more victories this year and clean house.

  16. Jeagan1999 Says:

    Jameis has been a distraction off the field, and a turnover machine on it. A change of scenery would be good for him, and a new young signal caller with discipline….both on and off the field….would be good for this team!

    Promote Fitz to starter for the remainder of the season, demote Jameis to 3rd string…or see if you can trade him for a box of granola bars…and get ready to grab a new QB in the draft. The Jameis experiment is over.

  17. Ndog Says:

    Folks what don’t you get? If they start Fitz, which they almost half to, then they are saying the Winston era is over and they are starting over which is HUGE. This is not an easy decision but that’s what happens when things go south. I just hope all the Jameis haters are happy cause you got what you want and now we have to start all over again. And don’t be surprised when he is tearing up the league for someone in 2-3 years. This is a very bad day for Bucs fans and yet many folks on here are happy. SMH at you people.

  18. Season Is Over Says:

    Anyone attacking fans after the “Lost Decade” is just ludicrous. Fans have every right to complain about the absolute dross shown on that field. Winston has had four solid years to cement himself the starter. What is the next excuse?

  19. dmatt Says:

    I wouldn’t say Cindy was great, what I will say is that Jameis played like garbage. This is my take on the Bucs:Fitzpatrick gives us the best chance of winning. Had Fitz started the Falcons game n the game today,we win. Think about the overthrown n erratic would be touchdown passes that Jameis threw against Falcons n Bengals. Had Fitz thrown those passes, TD it is. Another thing, we r very successful when running the no huddle offense other than when we r behind with a few minutes left inthe game. Y not some creativity. Y not go for TDs vs FG when inside the 10 yd line. Koetter is passive n dumbfounded. N yes, had we been done with MSmith three games ago, things may be different, it’s showing now. Other than JPPs sacks, our defense gets no pressure on the QB. Grimes is in over his head,he’s a terrible tackler. We had 4 or five false starts n 4 or 5 off sides, that is elementary. RoJo is soft as tissue, we r bad at drafting rbs from weak conferences i.e.,DMartin,JMcNicholson, n yours truly RoJo. We had an opportunity to get a beast from the SEC in Guice. Koetter n Litch’s time in the Bay Area is up.

  20. FortMyersDave Says:

    Jameis earned the clipboard for next week but starting Fitz only gives the Bucs a chance at trying to keep up with Carolina who are going to maul this horrible D. Jameis starts and its another 48-10 Chicago beatdown. Start Fitz and we could have a 42-41 shoot out with the Bucs likely losing on a missed kick or another last minute drive like today (and Green Bay Buffalo last year)…..

    This franchise is bad from the owners down. The Glazer lads need to hire a Coughlin like guy to oversee football ops and direct the new GM and coaching searches.

  21. GhostofSchiano Says:

    If Fitz starts I watch the game, if not I will make other plans. Tired of wasting a Sunday afternoon just to watch the turnover machine.

  22. uckinator Says:

    You know, Fitzmagic isn’t all that bad at age 35. He could be a starter for the next 3 years. I would suggest to bolster both lines and secondary before grabbing a QB.

  23. gotbbucs Says:

    There is no possible way they put Winston out there again. They lucked out and got out of this disaster without him getting injured.
    Make him inactive from here on out and save yourself $20 million guaranteed next year. It is insanely obvious that he isn’t a franchise QB. He’s another in a long list of Heisman winning QB’s that falls flat on their face in the NFL.

  24. firethecannons Says:

    on board with everything you said
    completely agree, get ready for a new QB, stockpile some draft piks as we will not be picking first, perhaps selling gmc or cameron brate–just ideas

  25. PSLBob Says:

    Ndog – I’ve been a Jameis supporter, but no franchise QB can throw 4 picks in a game. That just don’t cut it. However, if they cut Jameis, we don’t have to start over. We have a 3rd string QB who may be great, but has never had a chance. He’s played in the system and just needs the in-game experience. Fitz can finish out the season and then Griffin can start in 2019. (No way this D will allow the Bucs to make, much less compete in, the playoffs.) The Bucs can draft a QB in the 2nd or 3rd round of the 2019 draft and work him into the mix.

    And you’re right, if Winston is not resigned, he’ll probably go on to win a Superbowl. For some reason, that’s the way it always works out for Bucs rejects.

  26. LakeLand Says:

    Jameis threw 4 INT against Carolina as a rookie
    Including a pick 6 to Josh Norman
    Carolina beat the Bucs 37-23

    The next day every sportswriter in the Bay Are was talking about, how bad Lovie defense were

  27. LakeLand Says:


    That hasn’t worked out for Bucs ex QB in 20 years.

  28. Nate738 Says:

    Trade Winston to the Jaguars for ANYHING

  29. Resurrection of Duff Says:

    Like the Titanic we are going down.

  30. Destinjohnny Says:

    We have 6-10 talent
    Why is this shocking to a anyone?

  31. Firrrreee Licht Says:

    Ira understands how good Jameis can be and is a reasonable man. I personally don’t know if the locker room is fractured, but I would guess it already is. Trade Fitz and DJax and start Ryan Griffen in carolina.

  32. Firrrreee Licht Says:

    Tampa has a history of not getting the best out of quarter backs. Even Trent Dilfer went on from the Bucs and won a super bowl,,, in Tampa of all places.

  33. Jimmym Says:

    Bucs should change their name to the heartbreaks

  34. LakeLand Says:

    Trent Dilfer didn’t win a Super Bowl

    The Baltimore Ravens defense and RB, Jamal Lewis won a Super Bowl

  35. LakeLand Says:

    90% of the QB the Bucs got rid of were garbage with the Bucs
    And they were garbage after the Bucs

  36. Jameis Almighty! Says:

    Are u serious LakeLand? Trent Dilfer has a ring and was under center taking snaps for the Ravens at Ray Jay. He’s a Super Bowl Champion.

  37. LakeLand Says:

    Jameis Almighty!

    I didn’t say he wasn’t a champ
    I said he didn’t WIN a Super Bowl

    He started 8 games for the Ravens after they benched Tony Banks
    The Super Bowl was his LAST game with the Ravens

    They knew what they had

  38. LakeLand Says:

    People be going on like the Bucs got rid of a lot of GREAT QB
    That’s not the case
    They got rid of a lot of BUMS

  39. Buccfan37 Says:

    The team reflects weak ineffective management like a losing gambler.

  40. LakeLand Says:

    Anyone want to see EVERY QB that has started a game for the Bucs?
    I’m tired of hearing about all of the ” Great ” QB, the Bucs has let go

  41. stpetebucsfan Says:

    BTW could we stop with the Brett Favre comparisions?

    Yeah they’re both aggressive gambling types and forcing some passes that get intercepted. THAT’S IT!!!!

    Favre is an HOF, SB winner…yes he gambled and sometimes it cost him when he tried to forced it between defenders but he DID
    see the field and understand defenses and he would not have thrown those four (shoulda been six) ints JW unloaded today.

    Maybe Madden should invent a new game called starting Jameis as your QB. As soon as you put in #3 all the defenders become invisible and you simply have to guess where to throw it because you can’t see the defense.

  42. westernbuc Says:

    This loss is on Jameis. Fact is he doesn’t deserve an extension. After his suspension, he had so much at stake, and he’s played like crap. He has so much potential, but a massive contract isn’t the best way to cultivate that talent. Time to move on.

  43. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Watching the Saints whip Minnesota in the Viking’s crib and two things stick out for me.

    First…how the hell did we beat N.O.? Then I remembered how Fitz looked in the 4th quarter today and that NO game and the answer came to me.

    Second…for those bemoaning the Saints getting Apple from the Giants…already two interference calls and this last one is embarrassing…he got so turned around and bumfuzzled that he had to simply tackle the WR and take the interference instead of giving up the TD.

    Yeah Apple would have fit right into our current defensive backfield perfectly. Lost in space…two interference penalties…he’d be right at home as a Buc.

  44. Jerry Jones Says:

    Dirk, your approach to the HC position in the NFL is becoming a template of failure, thanks buddy.

  45. SteelStudBuc Says:

    If Jameis Winston is the starting QB next week I will not be watching the game.

  46. SteelStudBuc Says:


    Fitz gives the Bucs the best chance to win. Plain as day… please don’t call Jameis “America’s Quarterback” anymore. It’s like spitting in our faces.

    If #3 is starting QB… they will lose FOR SURE

  47. Mike Says:

    I can’t wait to see Cam Newton shred our defense to pieces

  48. IsrBuc Says:

    Can anyone argue this is a 5-2 team had they didn’t make the non professional decision to bench their best qb?
    There’s a question for you ira.

  49. charles Stevens Says:

    Its not just that jameis is turning it over ,its where hes turning it over.So many points lost in or near the red zone ! its sickening to watch .