All Out Of Excuses

November 14th, 2018


The red zone continues to be a black hole for these Bucs.

We all know how accommodating Tampa Bay’s defense has been when the field constricts, but the flip side is no bargain, either.

When you don’t run the ball effectively, defenses have the advantage in tight quarters. And make no mistake, the Bucs don’t run the ball effectively.

Sadly, this nonsense has been going on for the past three seasons.

Running backs come and go, sharing the same frustrations.

There’s no daylight.

Among all the crazy factoids of this 2018 season, here’s one that you may have overlooked: Tampa Bay’s offensive line hasn’t missed a start through nine games. Not one.

Donovan Smith, Ali Marpet, Ryan Jensen, Caleb Benenoch and Demar Dotson have each gone out there every week to protect their quarterback and open running lanes.

So the next time you lament all the injuries at linebacker and defensive back, remember this starting offensive front hasn’t missed a single game. Considering the lack of production, that should make you want to puke.

Nothing Easy

Where are the holes? If Peyton Barber wants to reach the second level, he has to take an elevator. Everything he gets, he gets on his own.

As a team, the Bucs average only 3.8 yards per carry, ahead of only Baltimore and Arizona. Explosive plays in the ground game have been rare, with only 3 runs for 20 yards or more.

One measure of toughness up front is rushing touchdowns. Tampa Bay has 5, tied for fewest in the NFC. Those scores are spread out evenly — one apiece for Barber, rookie Ronald Jones, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jameis Winston and DeSean Jackson.

That’s correct, only 2 rushing scores by the backs.

Is it too much of an ask to see Alex Cappa out there Sunday against the Giants? He’s supposed to be nasty … this group needs more nasty.

Watch the line play at the Meadowlands and groan at the lack of physicality. There’s minimal push and again, this eyesore dates back to 2016.

Efficiency First

Doug Martin is long gone, yet the running woes continue. There’s nowhere else to look. By the way, after averaging 2.9 yards per carry in each of his final two years in Tampa, Martin is averaging 4.3 for the Raiders.

Let’s talk about value.

When Jensen signed as a free agent, he became the league’s highest-paid center. Marpet got his big money last month. Smith is waiting for his payday.

Guess what? Dotson might be the best of the bunch.

There are no excuses left. From a health perspective, these linemen can’t be beat. From a performance perspective, they’re beat all the time.

One more thing. You would think a passing attack this dynamic would open things up for Tampa Bay’s run game.

Not happening.

I understand that some huge halftime deficits have wrecked any plans to remain balanced. This column is not about rushing attempts, it’s about rushing efficiency.

Since Dirk Koetter assumed head coaching duties, this team hasn’t been able to run. That’s an indictment on the coaching staff and the players Jason Licht brought in to get the dirty job done.


27 Responses to “All Out Of Excuses”

  1. Mike Johnson Says:

    As always..Ira on point. I’ll watch Sunday. As I always do. Really cannot make a prediction on this game. Both teams are bad. Just depends who wants it more I guess. Just hoping the Buc Ship is righted in the future. Maybe after this season, The Glazers will decide to move forward in a determined fashion and get some real football people in Tampa. I get the feeling they will. Fans are pretty down about the team for now. 2 straight victories against the struggling Giants and Niners might help. Our time to shine will come again. Just not this year.

  2. LakeLand Says:

    Let’s go back early in the season
    And take a look at the Bucs offense in the Red Zone

    Against New Orleans | 2-4

    1st & Goal at NO 3, Ryan Fitzpatrick 3 Yard Rush TD
    3rd & 6 at NO 9, Chris Godwin 9 Yd TD pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick

    Against Philadelphia |2-2

    2nd & 3 at PHI 8, Chris Godwin 8 Yd TD Pass From Ryan Fitzpatrick
    2nd & Goal at PHI 4, Mike Evans 4 Yd TD Pass From Ryan Fitzpatrick

    I’m not sure, what went wrong
    But they had success passing the ball for TD
    In games 1-2

  3. Season Is Over Says:

    What was the purpose of the running Martin out of town crusade this website tried to indoctrinate this city with?

  4. LakeLand Says:

    Let’s go to the Falcons game with Jameis Winston at QB

    Tampa Bay | 4-6 Red Zone

    3rd & 8 at ATL, Cam Brate 15 Yd TD pass from Jameis Winston
    2nd & 5 at ATL 10, O.J. Howard 10 Yd TD Pass From Jameis Winston
    3rd & 1 at ATL 9, Chris Godwin 9 Yd TD pass from Jameis Winston
    1st & Goal at ATL 5, Peyton Barber 5 Yd TD Pass From Jameis Winston

  5. LakeLand Says:

    They were 8-12 in the Red Zone in those 3 games

  6. Kobe Faker Says:

    ” klueless has a terrible short passing scheme/playcalls while monken was brilliant getting the ball out quickly to Godwin and OJ

    75% of the pass routes used in the redzone by the top offensive coords are legal pick/rub routes. Slants and running thru traffic to create separation

    Klueless doesnt run pick plays whatsoever

    Everyone that watched the Wadh game seen Fitz having to hold on to the ball while he was leading the NFL in getting the ball out in 2 seconds under Monks playcalling


    Kobe Faker

  7. LakeLand Says:

    All of Chris Godwin 4 touchdowns came in the Red Zone
    Maybe they should use him more in the Red Zone
    Instead of forcing the ball to ME and DJAX

  8. A’train4047 Says:

    Obviously the issue wasn’t Martin running the ball, instead it was the softest o-line ever when it comes to running the ball.

  9. Fire Light Says:

    In other words, Jason Licht has brought in bad players and paid them for doing nothing. Bring out the bottles of champagne when his tail is fired! FIRE LICHT!

  10. Kobe Faker Says:

    “Not 1 competant playcaller should have any problems whatsoever in the redzone with…

    OJ Howard

    He is a human mismatch. 6 6″ 250 lbs of muscle with 4.5 speed and great route running

    What is a 200 lb shutdown corner going to out physical OJ? What slow linebacker going to handle OJ speed and quicknesd?

    A competant OC would dream to have a player like OJ.

    Its a absolute travesty to have problems in the redzone with OJ and Godwin”

    Kobe Faker

  11. Ed Says:

    OJ is the best athlete in the receiver group. He’s bigger, stronger and faster than Evans. Stop wasting his talents. He needs more targets.

  12. Fire Light Says:

    OJ and Jameis are a red zone match made in heaven and Koetter is blowing it. Koetter is the absolute worst football coach I’ve seen period. He suck more than a $3 thousand dollar vacuum. Can Koetter and Fireeeee Licht!!

  13. DB55 Says:

    Just as a reminder in week 1 Justin Evans scores off a forced fumble. We missed 1 fg and made 2 fg from the redzone so I wouldn’t say it way perfect redzone offense furthermore we probably lose if not for Evans scoring.

  14. Fire Light Says:

    According to Jason Licht, “Our philosophy is going to be to build through the draft. That’s where we find our stars. That’s where we find the next generation. But also in the short term and long term we’re going to supplement our roster through free agency” “But we’re going to look for value. —- his drafts suck. His free agency signings have been brutal. But it looks good on paper…. A for acing the interview, F- for execution.

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    @Ira … “So the next time you lament all the injuries at linebacker and defensive back, remember this starting offensive front hasn’t missed a single game. Considering the lack of production, that should make you want to puke.”

    Oh Ira, that’s a spear to the heart of this OLine … and Jason Licht. Loved it! But it’s NOT just technical competence that seems to be missing at times (too many penalties, some crummy footwork, etc) … it’s HEART and WANT-TO. There’s no NASTINESS in that whole bunch (Jensen included). Ever since Logan Mankins retired, the OLine has lacked LEADERSHIP also … no one has stepped up to the plate to assume the mantle of leadership & to hold others accountable. Couple that with an OLine coach (George Warhop) who doesn’t seem to be able to energize the group and you end up with THIS (whatever it is we’ve got).

  16. DB55 Says:

    Ira says:

    Guess what? Dotson might be the best of the bunch.
    I understand that you’re a TB legend probably second only to Gene Deckerhoff but buddy when you say Demar Dotson is the best of the bunch I worry about early onset of dementia.

    Demar Dotson is awful ask Anthony beck or Sapp or anyone who actually watches film. I implore you to state one reason why/how Dotson is better than anyone on the right side of the line. Please stop with the favoritism there are silly fans out there that will not only believe you but parrot that nonsense. You say value, yet you ignore the fact that Ali and Smith are still in their rookie contracts. Come on brother what happened to journalistic integrity?

    And btw Joe wrote the same if not very similar article just a day or two ago so idk seems redundant but wtfdik

  17. Little Bo Peep ! Says:


  18. Coburn Says:

    What was frustrating was that barber was actually running extremely well against the skins.. they continued turning over in red zone and then eventually gave up on giving it to barber despite his success. Probably should have handed it off in red zone a couple times

  19. Rod Munch Says:

    Cappa looked terrible in the preseason, but since it’s Fitz out there and not our franchise QB Winston, then by all means, let’s see what Cappa can do.

  20. Rod Munch Says:

    DB55 – I very much listen to Sapp speak about players since over many years Sapp has proven to be right dramatically more often than not – like I’d say 85% of the time if I was to give it a number, where he’d say this guy will be a bust, this guy will be a star, etc. But anywho, not that I’ve paid a ton of a lot of attention lately, but when did Sapp speak about Dotson? I’ve never heard him talk about him. Not saying it didn’t happen, but I just didn’t missed it if he did and I’m interested in what he had to say exactly.

  21. DB55 Says:

    I can’t say he did. But I know Ira has the ability to ask both Beck and Sapp and I also know they have a clue so,,,, I didn’t mean to imply Sapp had spoken about Dotson but I know he watches film.

    I just don’t understand how that thought even crosses someone’s mind. Dotson is possibly the best oline man. COME ON MAN!! Its insulting.

    Tkras does the same thing. He tells people that fitz is a starter and Winston is not. And people actually believe it!! but “they” believe a lot of what they are “told”. Luckily, lions do not concern themselves with the opinions of sheep.


  22. Hawk Says:

    Is Marpet still in his rookie contract?

  23. DB55 Says:

  24. Rod Munch Says:

    DB55 – Ah, OK, that makes sense – perhaps I misunderstood what you were saying, but my impression has always been the vets have a pretty high opinion of Dotson. I’d love to know what Sapp thinks if he’s paid attention to him. In fact I’d love to have Sapp scout the entire team and all the coaches and management, and if I was the Glazers I’d hire him and give him the rest of the year to give me reports on everyone, from the GM to the ball boy.

  25. Bucsfanman Says:

    So….it’s not Doug Martin’s fault?!

  26. 813bucboi Says:

    Since Dirk Koetter assumed head coaching duties, this team hasn’t been able to run. That’s an indictment on the coaching staff


    this team lacks toughness and physicality….simple as that….


  27. C. Alaka Says:

    From Winston being benched (against my thoughts) & the losing continue to pile up, it’s been very hard to come to this page regularly like I do Joe…

    The issue w/ running the ball is it’s predictable. When I mean predictable is you know 9/10 times they’re checking to a run or they are coming out to huddle to run. I see it just watching. The QB comes out a certain way, they WRs come out a certain way like they are about to block. It’s very rare times that when I call out a run it isn’t a run.

    Our offensive line isn’t bad (beside the RG who’s name I refuse to say). So once again it’s on the coaches. No coincidence we can’t stop anybody in the redzone & can’t score consistently in the redzone (no matter the QB)