The Morning After

November 5th, 2018

(Photo courtesy of Carolina Panthers.)

Something tells Joe many a Bucs fan is numb this morning just like they were yesterday afternoon when the anger subsided. Time to get rolling anyway.

“I Deserve Better.”

As fans may have noticed yesterday, Joe mentioned he watched Sunday’s shat at Charlotte (“Shat at Charlotte?”) with a hardcore Bucs fan who is a prominent white collar worker in the sales industry. He bleeds pewter.

This guy cannot consume enough Bucs-related media. Podcasts, websites, videos, you name it. When there is no football he dives into the draft and studies it like he’s cramming for a final exam in college. Even goes to the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg to see if his notes on players match what he is sees in the stands.

He has four or five NFL draft gurus from whom he inhales every word. Some players he knows better than perhaps his children because he studies the draft so much.

Yet for all that Bucs passion, his dedication following the team, and countless hours spent following the Bucs from every angle, week after week, game after game, year after year he gets kicked in the nuts watching Bucs games.

Bad tackling that would get a high school kid benched. Non-development of players. A perpetual rotating door at quarterback. Nothing changes but the names of the players and the coaches and the suits. The only thing consistent is all the players and coaches eventually leave, dragging stacks of losses and Team Glazer loot with them.

This Bucs superfan looked at Joe yesterday after Stinking Panthers receiver Curtis Samuel played figure skater twirling through a 33-yard reverse for a touchdown, dodging arm tackle after arm tackle as if the Bucs defense was directing traffic or trying to grab the non-existent flag on his hip.

Or simply waving goodbye to another losing season.

With a long face, the Bucs superfan mumbled to Joe, “I don’t deserve this.”

He openly began to question his lifestyle, the countless hours through each painful season and disappointing offseason.

This Bucs superfan wondered if he should throw in the towel on the team, just like the Bucs seemingly have on America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston. This Bucs superfan is starting to believe the Bucs will do nothing more than cause this guy endless heartache and perpetual frustration.

He snapped out of his funk when his wife and son showed up. He then told Joe how his wife knows better than to bother him on Bucs Sundays because he literally turns into a different person — not so much because he’s hooked on the Bucs but because years or losing and additional broken dreams have changed his demeanor.

“I swear the Bucs have given me PTSD,” he said, half-jokingly.

The Bucs superfan wondered aloud if he should just give up like Tampa Bay has on Jameis, and start following another team.

He reasoned other teams, sometimes by accident, find a quarterback. Sometimes by accident, find a defensive line. Sometimes by accident, find a corner who can cover and not get flagged for “showing passion,” which to others means not having your head in the game. Sometimes by accident, teams get into the playoffs.

The Browns at least have a nice nucleus of young players at key positions like quarterback, running back, defensive end and cornerback, despite their toe-stubbing ways.

The Bucs? They don’t have a quarterback, they don’t have a running game, they don’t have a friggin’ defense even. In eight weeks Bucs may not even have a coach or general manager, either.

Can anyone blame the Bucs superfan (or any other Bucs fan) for wanting to shop around and divorce the Bucs?

The rotten defense.

Joe has seen this defense before. It was during the Raheem Morris era. In fact, his last season.

Morris’ defense would get lit up in the first half only to rally in the second half and play solid defense. At the time, Joe screamed it was bad game planning. Whatever the coaches were doing in the week leading up to the game, they either consistently had a bad gameplan or the opponent simply hoodwinked defensive coaches. Bucs coaches appeared to be surprised and embarrassed to the point it was too late for adjustments. The game was out of hand.

Joe credited Morris for adjusting on the fly but wagged a finger at him for bad preparation week in and week out.

That’s what it looks like is going on now. Nothing against defensive coordinator Mark Duffner. He is in a tough spot taking over a terrible defense midstream. There’s only so much he can do. But it sure smells like getting rolled in the first half and then playing a whole lot better in the second half means the defense was caught off guard or surprised.

Props to Duffner and his assistants for making the right changes to stop the bleeding. Problem is, there is way too much blood on the field at halftime to expect a corpse to come back to life and win.

Speaking of tackling…

That Samuels 33-yard touchdown run. Holy smoke that looked like a scared high school defense trying to tackle Earl Campbell. Joe cannot remember the last time he saw so many whiffs on arm tackles on one play. Even a great player like Lavonte David did an olé job.

And Joe is tired as hell of coaches using the excuse that the CBA prohibits teams from having physical practices so tackling suffers. How come other teams don’t yack on tackles like the Bucs? Are they cheating and having tougher practices?

You know how Joe learned how to tackle in high school (wrapping up)? Joe’s team practiced wrapping up on tackling dummies every GD day just like how in every practice you stretch. After enough reps with proper fundamentals, players don’t even think of how they are tackling, they naturally wrap up correctly.

But maybe Joe’s high school coach didn’t know what he was talking about. He only played for Tom Landry, John Madden, Gene Stallings and Lou Holtz. Bunch of clowns, right?

He’s right.

Joe is on record saying Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht pulled off the heist of the century when he got Jason Pierre-Paul for a third-round pick. JPP is absolutely balling out this year (though he went sackless for the first time this season and was shut down by a left tackle who was on the street in September) and Joe is frightened to think of just how awful the Bucs would be without him.

But yesterday after the game, JPP said Bucs fans should quit going after the coaches. He said the putrid performances are on the players.

“We have to play ball,” JPP said. “That’s on the players. It ain’t on the coaches.”

Joe won’t argue with him.


O.J. Howard had a helluva game yesterday and continues to be a monster. With Howard’s two touchdowns yesterday, he now has 11 in 21 games. That’s pretty sick.

Howard is one of the biggest mismatches in the NFL, especially when a linebacker tries to cover him. Joe wonders why Howard isn’t targeted more.

47 Responses to “The Morning After”

  1. Darin Says:

    The Glazers should have listened to Dirk after the Bears game and Fired dang near all of em. He has no klue how to get it fixed because they aren’t even a team after 2.5 seasons. Cmon we need a real coach for once. Or for once since a decade ago. They better be sniffing around already.

  2. passthebuc Says:

    .If the Glazers select a HC and GM it will be SOS different day.
    they need a President of Operations and buy a soccer team and leave this one alone.

  3. DBS Says:

    Somebody better figure the BLOUNT high jump is now a thing every RB does. Watching them do it all the time and it working is a joke.

  4. Joe Blahak Says:

    I’ve often thought of throwing in the towel on the Bucs too, but never do. I’m married to this sh*t show. After living through the Bennett-Perkins-Williamson-Wyche lost 11 years, I said that it would never get worse than that. Yet, here we are in another 10 year cycle of horrible football. What were they doing with 5 minutes left yesterday?…NO urgency or hurry up offense. Those continual coaching mistakes have me cooled off on Koetter, who I once considered a good coach to have. It feels like a whole, blow up the team episode coming. It’s a Bucs life, alright…

  5. ModHairKen Says:

    First, your friend needs to develop some other interests. Second, stop referring to any player on this team as “great.” I’ve heard this crap about Kwon and Lavonte and McCoy and Grimes. That’s 4 out of 11. And even when they all played at the same time, they sucked as a whole. Sapp, Brooks, Lynch and Barber made the shags around them better. Third, Jameis is a mediocre QB. He did not work out. Fourth, Ali and Donovan both are terrible. Jensen has made a difference, but he is 1 out of 5. The Glazers gave Koetter a year he did not earn. They got burned.

    But every bit of what I just said can be changed with 3 straight wins. (Except Jameis. He is a wreck and needs to go.) Can they do it? Washington is spent. The Giants are worse than Cleveland or FSU and SF’s lovefest with the new QB will not last. Now, will somebody in that locker room do something? Their jobs depend on it.

  6. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    “A perpetual rotating door at quarterback”

    This is simply not true…..Jameis was suspended due to his own behavior…..and was only benched once……in 4 years….

    Joe you are running a campaign to keep Jameis….I understand….and somewhat agree….but quit bending the truth.

  7. SteveK Says:

    Exactly TBBF!

    We all want Winston to fulfil the prophecy of being the #1 overall pick, but he has not and it is largely attributed to his on and off the field decisions.

    Fitz had a 2:1 touchdown to turnover ratio yesterday, and he has 17 TD:7INT this year. That’s a little better than 2:1. That is a winning formula.

  8. cw_buc_crazy Says:

    We need good knowledge decisions but luck is very important too. Glazers are good owners and they have done and spend a lot for this team, unfortunate without success and VERY bad luck so far.
    Stop that soccer stuff, like they understand and know soccer better than football. They don’t.
    Where were Patriots before BB and TB came in, they were trying and sucking for years.
    Winless teams on NFL are more than 20, over these last 20 years, so is not just us, and LUCK on picking HC and QB is a big part of this very important selection. Glazers had tried everything, white coaches, black coaches, college coaches, suggested coaches and so fare they have had no LUCK.
    Let hope next selection they will have more luck.
    Right now it is PAINFUL to watch this team, I walked out yesterday, trying to find excuses not to go in, because the chest was hurting. God!
    Go Bucs!

  9. Frank Pillow Says:

    You want to see a team with heart- check out the Bolts. No Hedman, no Palat, no problem. When their two stars slump, their young core rises up and plays with maximum effort. The organization has a vision, a system and a plan. The Rays too. What they accomplished this year was fantastic, mind blowing and fun.

    By comparison, there’s simply nothing to look forward to as a Bucs fan. Yes, OJ and Godwin and young studs, but who else would you pay to see? Evans? I guess you could get lucky and catch one of his games against lesser CBs. Look at this team- it’s devoid of everything that makes a winning organization. The player-personnel side is a disaster. Our coaching staffs have been subpar for over a decade. Our philosophy changes with the wind- remember Dunkaneers? This year we wanted to be the Eagles-lite.

    Put simply, the product on and off the field flat out stinks. It has for a long time. We piss away and/or don’t develop draft picks (looking at you Vea, Stewart, Jones, Aguayo, Spence, Benenoch and Hargreaves), then wonder why we don’t win. Heck, I going to fly down for the USF-UCF and Bucs-49ers weekend with my son, but after yesterday, we both agreed it would be a total waste of time and money. Instead, we’re picking a handful of Bolts road games to go to.

    It’s time for Dirk and Jason to go. It’s time for some major changes in how this team is run from the top down. A whole generation of fans have already tuned out- and you’re about to lose your older corps. It’s just too hard. Too much effort to love this team, when they don’t love you back.

  10. Evolvingbucsfan Says:

    The implosion of this team gives me some rest, I can now focus on other things and get on with my free time. This team has given up on itself and I don’t wanna watch anymore. I have watched every game I could given the circumstances I have been in over the last 20 some years, either at the game or at home or where ever and i can tell you truthfully i just don’t wanna see it any more.

    I understand this is a sport but it’s more torture being a fan of this team.

  11. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Jason and Licht and scouting staff are the one of the big reason our young players aren’t ready. IMO you need to draft from strong defensive schools that teach
    strong fundametals and teamwork. If we draft from a team that can’t stop anybody then we will probably get a developemental player. Licht has reacted
    too late and the team doesn’t have enough time to develope players on the fly.

  12. Fartman Says:

    yeah… we are headed for a house cleaning for sure

  13. SchwiftyBuc Says:

    Sign Jameis for 5 years 80 million guaranteed. Give him another chance in a legit modern NFL offense designed around his strengths. Instead of the scheme he’s currently in which is still stuck in the 70’s.

    Personally, I’d hire John DeFilippo as our new HC and try to use his Eagles connection to steal Jim Schwartz away from the Eagles to be our DC.

    As far as who replaces Licht, I have to do more research.

  14. Fartman Says:

    I’d hire Schwartz as the head coach and try to keep Monkin.

  15. Conte Piscatelli Says:

    The first issue is the assumption that other teams “luck” into quality players at premium positions. Yes the Bucs hope luck gets them there, but winning franchises understand the value of certain players and positions. Then they “scout” and finally they “acquire” to flight talent through the draft, free agency, or trades. I assure you, “luck” had nothing to do with the roster building of good teams.

  16. Troy Says:

    In his defense, JPP is hurt. This team needs to be evaluated by fresh eyes. Someone from the outside needs to look at that talent and cut the fat. Mercifully, I think that’s going to happen at the end of this year. Man, I wish I owned a moving company in Tampa. I have a feeling they’re going to be making some money in Jan/Feb.

  17. GhostofSchiano Says:

    Frank Pillow……. you said it all.

  18. SteveK Says:

    Jameis ain’t getting 5 years at $80 million.

    I am intrigued by cutting him, and potentially bringing him back for one year at a discount rate: $5 million w incentives?

    Paying Jameis for 5 years at $16 million is too rich for the lack of production, and too much for a poor TD:Turnover ratio.

  19. simeon 97 Says:

    The bucs dont rally in the 2nd half. Yes the score compresses, but its because The other team is asleep as they are up by 3-4 TDs. The bucs are clearly the far inferior team as is shown by their play when the other team is actually trying in the first half.

  20. cw_buc_crazy Says:

    Lighting is bringing us close to the finish line, and stop right there; never passing that line with Jeffrey Vinik. Vinik owns some Red Socks, some soccer Liverpool, some part of Tampa downtown… that is what business people do.
    It does not mean he don’t want to win Stanley cup. He fire GM too, well Steve Yzerman stepping down is said..
    You need some luck…. and Glazers are out of it as of now.
    Go Bucs!

  21. TBTemojin Says:

    lol the “Blount high jump” I can understand going low on a guy like Blount but diving for the legs of Christine McCaffery is a freaking joke!!!!! The dude is one of the smallest RBs in the game!!!! Stop being a Puss and punch that dude in the mouth.

  22. SchwiftyBuc Says:

    16 million a season is a bargain. The Bears paid Glennon 18 million for 1 season. Giving Jameis a long term contract does 2 things.

    1. It ends the long running curse this franchise has of never signing a QB to 2nd contract.

    2. It lifts a tremendous amount of pressure off Jameis’ shoulders and lets him just play football for the love of the game and stop forcing everything and stressing out so much. He is an exceptionally gifted athlete and is capable of being a top 10 QB consistently if he can get back to his natural self.

  23. cw_buc_crazy Says:

    @Conte Piscatelli
    Luck I refer on selecting of two top, and most important position in one football organization., GM and HC.
    Both these position suck really bad for us for a long time.

  24. JameisWin55 Says:

    Josh McDaniels, Jim or John Harbaugh, Lincoln from OU we need a top name I hear a lot about DeFilippo but at this point can’t take a chance on another coordinator name name an established coach or at least a young offensive mind to build around such as Lincoln Reilly fortunately as of now it doesn’t look to be much competition for head coaches other than Browns and maybe Ravens.

  25. NutterBuccer Says:

    Keep an eye on jon harbough. I know hes still employed but if the ravens make the mistake the bucs brass need to go all out to bring this guy in. Hes a constant winner who always has a top notch defense even with no name players. He doesnt put up with half ass effort on that side of the ball.

    Were at 3-5 and once again looking down at the midway point of the season. This team needs a complete retool. I have always advocated for Winston, McCoy, David, etc. But they all continue to make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes but if you win it clears them up. Since they have all been here this team hasnt one a damn thing. It pains me to say it but its time to get rid of everyone that doesnt have any money gauranteed to them and restart.

    JOE. You say the bucs dont have anything. They have Mike Evans, Oj Howard, and Chris Godwin for the next 2 seasons atleast. Thats a solid trio to build around.

    Ryan Jensen and Ali Marpet….two good interior lineman to build around…(D Smith is average but saw him get beat several times this year. Let someone else pay him 15 million a year)

    Def you got JPP, Nassib and Vita Vea. I like what im seeing out of NASSIB, may not be the best de but he has a high motor and got his 3rd sack of the season yesterday.

    At linebacker you bring back kwon and hope beckwith can get on the field and regain his rookie form.

    Dbs you go with justin Evans, Carlton Davis, and VH3, yea not studs but it looks like if healthy VH3 can be a premiere nickle back in this league.

    It happens every year where a new team comes in and gets gutted and then incresez wins dramattically. I think a guy like Harbaugh, a no nonsense head coach could come in and turn this team around with a core like that.

  26. Not there yet Says:

    Players will go right along with the coaches. Beckwith will be the middle linebacker from here on out, kwon won’t get that back but get rid of one tackle lvd at 30 yrs old and put kwon back at his natural position. Bye Geraldine your time is done plus don’t we still have that Mitch unrein dude waiting to be activated? Not surprised because even the glazers should have known it was going to be a wasted year.

    Everyone is mad at the quarterback for not making strides in year 4. Still want to blame said quarterback for the head coach not progressing after 4 years running this offense? Laughing right now thinking about that article calling monken the next hot coaching name in the mix. He’s calling plays it ain’t dirk he actually does nothing on game day

  27. DBS Says:

    Do you really think adjustments are made? No the other team lays back. Plays enough with each unit then Bingo. Just like yesterday when it looks like a comeback Riverboat threw the switch and his team went right down the field to score. They could have put up 60 points if they wanted to.

  28. Resurrection of Duff Says:

    Joe tell “Your Friend”, he doesn’t have to spend money to be a Bucs fan.

    Wait until they prove worthyness of you hard earn money.

    Remember there are no refunds.

    Go Bucs!!!

  29. Resurrection of Duff Says:

    We need Conte, Lovie and Freeman back.

  30. Srqbucfan Says:

    After 21 seasons I won’t be renewing my tickets.

  31. Joe Says:

    Joe you are running a campaign to keep Jameis….I understand….and somewhat agree….but quit bending the truth

    Here are your Bucs starting quarterbacks since Joe launched this site 10 years ago.

    Jeff Garcia.
    Byron Leftwich.
    Josh Freeman.
    Mike Glennon.
    Josh McClown.
    Jameis Winston.
    Ryan Fitzpatrick.

    Seven quarterbacks in 10 years. That’s not exactly stability. And it is far from “bending the truth.”

  32. Remo Says:

    Frank pillow, you are so right. I was just talking about the Lightning. At least TB fans can watch a winning organization! I love and hate the Bucs. Why not watch a team that actually wins. Bucs defense all year doesn’t make the stop that counts. We score, we come back scratching and clawing, it’s only a 1 possession game and our D let’s up. To make matters worse and gut wrentching, likely it’s a 3rd down conversion against our D. The humanity!!

  33. 813bucboi Says:

    clean house….simple as that…..


  34. DBS Says:

    Would love to see another Bolts Podcast Tuesday or Wednesday. All the other stuff is just depressing or laughable about the Bucs.

  35. isrBuc Says:

    The only thing consistent are the glaizers themselves

  36. Defense Rules Says:

    @JPP … ““We have to play ball. That’s on the players. It ain’t on the coaches.” I know you seconded that Joe, but JPP’s statement is a stinging rebuke to how these defensive players are playing. What totally amazes me is that our DLine & LBs are playing so incredibly bad. I expected that from the Secondary … they’re all green as can be, with the exception of Grimes (who’s not providing a lick of leadership back there). But with guys like McCoy, Allen, Vea at DT and Curry, Gholston & JPP at DE, plus Nassib (who seems to be holding his own), there’s NO EXCUSE for this DLine to look THIS BAD.

    Our DLine is looking MUCH WORSE than it did last year, when we had a bunch of non-descripts who were dragged off their couches, plus McCoy, Baker & McDonald. Maybe Jay Hayes wasn’t that bad after all, nor Baker & Big Mac. And maybe there’s a reason why Allen & Curry were used as part-time rotational players in Philly. I really have a lot of trouble deciding if we should keep ANY of this DLine with the obvious exception of JPP. Same thing with our LBs unfortunately. Not that much to build around IMO.

  37. pelbuc Says:

    Bucs could literally hire a football operations guy right now mid season and get a head start for next year but I would hate the thought of GM Litch surviving a housecleaning. These owners are classic example of running Daddy’s business into the ground.

  38. Frank Pillow Says:

    My point about the Bolts and Rays is that they too have wallowed in the depths of putrid play and poor management…yet where they have both succeeded is setting an organizational template and systems for the kinds of kids they’re drafting and developing. I know the minor league systems issues makes this a little bit of an apples/oranges point, and sure, there’s luck involved, but my overall point is that it has been a long time since the Bucs have had an identity.
    Gruden (post SB) overcame that by being an Xs and Os guy with enough legacy defensive talent to mostly win. Raheem wanted Jadgoznski and Bates, until he didn’t. Schiano wanted toes on the line and Buccaneer-men. Lovie wanted scapegoats in the secondary. Dirk wants Dan Fouts.

    The teams that have success build and play within a system- whereas our Bucs try and play catch up with last year’s champ. It’s a terrible mindset. A terrible
    philosophy. It’s a big reason why we stink.

  39. LakeLand Says:


    You left out the great Josh Johnson

  40. Eric Says:

    The defense did not play a whole lot better in the second half. The Panthers sat on the lead.

  41. 911bucs Says:

    Hard to believe you get Vinny and GMC back and no sacks by JPP. This defense is downright bad.

  42. Jonathan Lipnicki Says:

    If anyone can figure out how to “quit” this team and follow another…please let me know. I feel much like I did in ‘91-92 attending USF ( an asbestos ridden Alpha Hall no less ) wondering if I could just like the 49ers who had just spanked the Bucs. Alas…my heart is with the Bucs…growing more black and blue every passing season.

  43. TOM Says:

    The only defensive pkayers that I would consider untouchables is JPP & Nassib. How Cleveland let him go is a real mystery. On offense I would keep Jensen Humphries, Evans, Godwin & Howard. Oh I forgot maybe J Evans on defense. The rest I would consider expendible. One other thing. I will say this about Carolina they do know how to draft. Licht should be gone before Koetter. Both of them should be gone tomorrow & make Monken interim HC

  44. Tony LA Says:


    Love the site. Seriously. But the hammer needs to come down on Licht. The #1 job of a GM is amassing talent that can play well together. Chemistry. Smart and physically gifted. He’s had two completely different defensive systems to stock up on and failed miserably with both.

    That’s on him. No excuses. It’s on him.

    The Bucs have failed across the board since Malcolm Glazer stopped being able to call the shots. If the Bucs change regimes then the #1 move that the Glazers must make is hiring a legend as the head of football operations and then letting that person hire the GM and head coach going forward.

    That’s the only hope.

  45. ChanEpic Says:

    Frank Pillow gets it. Totally.

  46. Hoops Says:

    Too bad the bucs can’t use two good tight ends like the Patriots did when they had Gronk and Hernandez.

  47. Bobbydean8584 Says:

    Thank you for this Steve, I swear you were talking about me with everything you said except going to the east west game (I live in SoCal). I saved up and went to the panthers game this last weekend with my brother in law(huge panthers fan and lives in Charlotte). I find myself thinking about looking for another team after being completely devoted through wins and losses spanning back to 1998 when I first became a Bucs fan. I absorb everything Bucs I can and on sundays I am let down way more times than not. I tell my wife (a Steelers fan) it’s easy to root for your team, takes devotion to root for mine. But I’m starting to think and have thought for the past 10 years that maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment. I love the Bucs and just want to at least see them at least still be in contention in December.