A Midterm Vote For Toughness

November 5th, 2018


At times, their finesse is astounding. At times, all those weapons coalesce into an offense that takes your breath away. At times, they look downright dangerous.

But most of the time, they’re not nearly good enough, not nearly tough enough.

The Bucs have never had an offense this prolific. They throw the ball all over the field, no matter who lines up under center, and most defenses can’t keep up.

That’s the good news. Ready for the bad news? That’s the only thing the 2018 Bucs do well — they spread you out and capitalize on mismatches.

That’s it, that’s the extent of the positives. Think about it. Does Tampa Bay get a passing grade anywhere else besides the passing game?

Absolutely not.


The Bucs don’t run the ball well, mostly because they don’t block very well. The pass rush is a little better than last season, but that’s mostly because it couldn’t be any worse. Tackling, for the most part, stinks.

Pass coverage has been a joke. Kicking game? Not acceptable.

Coaching? Hey, Dirk Koetter says it all starts and ends with him.

Personnel? Once again, injuries have exposed a lack of depth.

So here the Bucs stand at the midpoint, dangling just above the abyss at 3-5 despite a sensational start that featured the biggest upset of the year, a shootout win in New Orleans.

The Saints haven’t lost since. The Bucs haven’t done much since.

Tampa Bay is somehow favored Sunday against Washington, but if the Bucs lose, I’d be in favor of bringing Jameis Winston back as the starter. I wouldn’t be shocked if he replaces Ryan Fitzpatrick against the Redskins if Tampa Bay is struggling.

At 3-6, this Buc season would effectively be over. It would be time to play the kids and see what you have. It would be Alex Cappa time. It should also be Winston time because big decisions need to be made through the darkness on the edge of town.

Sunday’s game is certainly winnable. These Redskins are a 5-3 mirage.

Ripe Pickin’s

They were just manhandled 38-14 by Atlanta at home, surrendering 491 yards while the Falcons converted 10-of-13 on third down.

Here’s the game plan: don’t fall behind.

Defensive linemen Beau Allen (left) and Will Gholston

The Redskins have never trailed at any point in their five wins. They have never led at any point in their three losses.

Washington’s offensive line is decimated by injuries, so there’s no excuse for the Buc defense to be overwhelmed. But let’s remember the Bucs are on pace to surrender the most points and touchdowns in NFL history.

So there’s that.

All that finesse, all those targets … that’s not enough. You’ve got to win the line of scrimmage and that’s where Tampa Bay falls short.

Bill Walsh’s 49ers featured a precise West Coast offense led by Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, but they also had Ronnie Lott and Charles Haley to knock you into Tuesday.

The Bucs didn’t match Carolina’s physicality Sunday, continuing a distressing pattern. The Panthers ran the ball well, the Bucs didn’t. Fitzpatrick was under pressure, Cam Newton was over the moon.

I’m not calling the Bucs soft, but they’re not a hard enough team to play against. In the long run, losing the trench battles will get you beat in this league. It’s been that way for nearly a century and it’s not going to change.

Tampa can be a tough town. It needs a tough football team.

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 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, 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.

30 Responses to “A Midterm Vote For Toughness”

  1. ChanEpic Says:

    “I’m not calling the Bucs soft…” well if you won’t, please allow me. THIS TEAM IS SOFT AF AAAANNNNDDDD terribly coached. Please refer to yesterday’s fake punt. Terrible decision, and badly executed = Bucs.

  2. Bucnjim Says:

    Yes well stated and true! JPP is the bright spot but he too can tend to be blocked out of running plays. His non stop effort though makes up for any short comings. McCoy on the other hand was getting blocked into the secondary. Reminded me of the movie Blind Side where he blocks his guy into the stands. There needs to be a complete culture change where toughness is the first priority when drafting or picking up free agents.

  3. Pete I Says:

    The team is soft. From the owners to the ball boy.

  4. Not there yet Says:

    Wow really IRA you call the redskins a 5-3 mirage with the way the bucs are playing? What a joke just like this franchise. Bucs shouldn’t be favored in another game this year.

  5. Mike Johnson Says:

    When the score turned 35-7, my wife looked at me and said, Lets go. Off to the movies to see, First Men we went. Excellent movie by the way. You see Ira, many of us want to end our weekends on pleasant notes. Not cursing the Bucs on TV! How about a midterm Vote for Firing. FIRE every GD last one of them!!!!!!
    Ball and water boys included! Buc fan base is passed..PISSED!
    I’m one of’em.

  6. GhostofSchiano Says:

    Schiano’s fake punt versus Arizona worked. Hhhhmmmmmmmmm

    Schiano > Koetter

  7. AlteredEgo Says:

    Can we forfeit the rest of the season…..or just turn the game over to the players to call themselves….then they will not be able to blame anyone but themselves…the team has quit on themselves and dragging everyone at OBP and all the fans with them….shameful

  8. GhostofSchiano Says:

    Mike Johnson Says: many of us want to end our weekends on pleasant notes. Not cursing the Bucs on TV!

    Same here, I walked to the nearby hardware store to price some toy…I mean tools and equipment for around the house. Very relaxing walk 2.5 miles one way. Put on some tunes and enjoyed the weather.

  9. Rod Munch Says:

    I’m really disappointed that there’s been no firing of Dirk today. I know the Glazers never fire guys during the season, but when you have a coach throwing his 24-year old franchise QB under the bus to save himself, then his team has that effort we saw on Sunday, you fire that guy on the spot.

    I guess perhaps the Glazers will just stick it out and see what happens, I mean while realistically the season is over, it’s not at all out of the question that the Bucs win the next two games and they’re back at 5-5, but even if that is the case it won’t matter since they can’t beat good teams (and no, the Redskins aren’t any good, just look at what the Falcons did to them and Matt Ryan is awful outside of domed stadiums).

    But if the Bucs get blown out yet again at home, to the Redskins, then how do you not fire Dirk? Then again I said the same thing last week, if you throw your 24-year franchise QB under the bus after one bad road game and then get blown out yet again, how do you not fire Dirk, and yet he’s still there.


    Well I guess it’s mock draft time.

  10. Rod Munch Says:

    GhostofSchiano – While Schiano was, and still is, complete and total garbage, I’m with you on the fake punt, but not so much in that Schiano would do anything well, I just can’t image a less effective fake punt than we saw – well short of Tom Tupa throwing an INT in the endzone for a TD in OT to lose the game, that was worse.

  11. AlteredEgo Says:

    Once they get an indoor practice facility ….oh wait….bunch of “not my job ” primadonna’s ….they care..but not that much….they get their asses kicked and don’t respond…well I saw OJ Howard yucking it up with a Panther between plays…

  12. BucfanBF Says:

    It is fair to say that we are all disgusted by the Bucs. I too watched the game until it was 35-7. At that point I went and washed and detailed my ride with a few cold beers.

  13. 813bucboi Says:


    same here…..

    im so tired of my wife telling me the game is over in the first half only to find out in the 4th quarter she was right…..

    then, as im moping around the house she yells out, “you should watch this game….its exciting, clean and full of action…..only to find out she’s referring to the rams vs saints game…..and again, she was right….lol…..that was a great game…..


  14. Pete I Says:

    One bad road game? Rod Muncher you’re too much. and the Tupa play wasn’t a fake punt just an aborted one.

  15. Lord Cornelius Says:

    IMO best long term possibility = lose in Washington and insert Winston back.

    Winston balls out while we continue to lose because of the defense. Now the next regime at least has something to look forward to (winston + the young offensive nucleus of weapons).

    Complete house cleaning. Especially GM. Get rid of ice cream man. Keep JPP and that’s basically it. Make VEa and anyone else earn a spot and completely rebuild the front 7. Get rid of Kwon/Lavonte/all that sh1t. new names everywhere.

    Licht needs to go just as much as any other change. He neve rhad a good vision for this team. I don’t give a f*ck about an offense putting up tons of yardage in blowout lossses. Woopady f*cking do. You aren’t hired as a GM to lose for 5 years and pout your chest on f*cking yardage stats. F8CK off with that

  16. AlteredEgo Says:

    I’ll drop this here…
    Stop drafting players and trying to make them something other than they are…

  17. Bucamania Says:

    ‘This team is SOFT from the owners to the ball boy.’ LOL. So true.

    Buncha check collectors just happy to be in the NFL.

  18. Mike Johnson Says:

    If we lose against the Skins at home this coming Sunday, The fans might staged Nat Turners rebellion..part 2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Dave Pear Says:

    Lord Cornelius,

    Wow! It appears that you have reached your boiling point in regards to this team. And I am in total agreement with what you said.
    Sundays game was the first time I EVER changed channels during the game and watched the Dolphins play the Jets.

  20. 813bucboi Says:

    this team is soft and it starts with the HC…..


  21. Charlie C Says:

    The 2018 Bucs are a lesson in extremes. The best offense Tampa has ever seen along with the worst defense Tampa has ever had. I will reserve judgement until the second half of the year is over and done with, but I’m leaning to keep Koetter, fire the entire defense side of coaches, hire a president of football operations, (mr. Derek Brooks) and give Licht one more year. Tired of the coaching carousel and lack of consistency

  22. Kalind Says:

    The place they need to start over (aside from the front office) is the old veterans “stars” I’ve cut McCoy Sooooooooo much slack over the years, but this guy is allergic to winning, Lavonte same thing. Ship them off for best offers. They’re simply not helping. The culture needs to change and sacrificing stars gets people’s attention. Get them out. Grimes and DJax too. If you’re over 30 you’re gone (unless your name is JPP). Bring in kids and a college culture of fun and winning

  23. Dooshlarue Says:

    Just wait until America’s QB, Pro Bowler and Heisman Award winning QB gets back from his 3 game “hassle” suspension.
    Then we’ll see some real football folks!!!!

  24. DB55 Says:

    Don’t look now but Adrian Clayborn….cough cough

  25. Not there yet Says:

    No new coach can come in here and right this ship while trying to keep mark Dominic picks and licht picks. Yea ok actually you can keep this years crop and the obvious guys who produce but sorry it’s time to move on from Donovan swinging door smith, Geraldine, Dotson, will Gholston and Lavonte. Everybody else has to earn the right to be here but unlike dirk a new coach won’t be giving away starting jobs

  26. Darin Says:

    The fake punt call wasnt actually a bad call. The play call was bad. And as far as Dirks bad coaching decisions he has at least 5 every week worse than that. He blows. Only took me one season to know it was adios time. He doesnt know how to manage a team, game, or clock. Now wtf is he the HC of the Bucs still? My goodness fire him already.

  27. cw_buc_crazy Says:

    Why he is there?! He was an other sacrifice Glazers did for JW; all were fooled, and/or hoped they got the “franchise QB “.T Dungy, D Brooks, all Radio Stations, News papers…were shouting ” Kotter is the Guy to develop JW, protect JW”, and the guy with zero skills as a HC got promoted….
    This is how came down….
    Now we know, none of them is worth… Sad!

  28. Johnny Says:

    Tony Dungy for team president. Not GM. Not Coach. Team president. Pay him real good, perhaps $1 more per year than Gruden makes. Re-emphasize the Bucs’ commitment to the community, generating newfound enthusiasm. Let him make our major decisions, help select our key players, and hire (or keep) our key personnel. Stabilize the franchise. Understand that it may take a while, but everything’s gonna be done the right way.

  29. unbelievable Says:

    You should go ahead and call them soft Ira, because 90% of the team most certainly is.

  30. gman Says:

    Even though I am not a fan of Jaboo…I agree that if we lose against Washington our season is officially done and Winston should be the QB the rest of the way. We need to see (for the 10th time) if he has finally learned anything and can be part of our future.