The Business Of Winning Football Games

May 13th, 2019


It’s time to move on.

There’s a chance that Jason Pierre-Paul’s latest health calamity won’t derail an accomplished the age of 30. There’s a chance JPP rebounds from a fractured neck and reinforces his reputation as an impact pass rusher.

I’m not taking that chance.

This is a serious neck injury, not the loss of fingers during a 2015 fireworks mishap. Give JPP all the credit in the world for overcoming that trauma. He could have called it a day and retired with a bulging bank account and his senses still intact.

Happier days for Jason Pierre-Paul and Gerald McCoy

No one questions this man’s toughness and passion for the game, but a neck fracture is different … a lot different.

And although the Bucs watched the March 17 deadline pass that guaranteed JPP $7.5 million, they need to do do the smart business decision and release him.

Yes, they will miss his 12.5 sacks and his versatility, but the Bucs cannot count on Pierre-Paul’s availability this fall. His career could very well be over, and that’s a shame. Another shame would be for this organization to hope against hope that No. 90 will contribute significantly to the 2019 Bucs.

“It’s one of those 5 or 6-month things and go from there,” Bruce Arians says. In other words, Pierre-Paul could be back in November, best-case scenario. Doctors won’t even check his progress until September, when the games count.

For a team with less than $2 million in cap space, the Bucs can’t afford to bank on a miracle.

Cut your losses and move on.

Pierre-Paul wasn’t going to be a Buc for much longer, anyway. He is slated to become a free agent in 2021. Nobody is suggesting this guy will be easy to replace in the fall. He was going to be a versatile piece in the toolbox Todd Bowles will unveil, but now it’s time to find another defensive weapon.

He’s probably not on the current roster.

Street Help Suits Arians

On Saturday, I asked Arians about his frustration regarding the uncertainty surrounding Pierre-Paul and Gerald McCoy. One was damaged in a car wreck, the other by the lack of conviction shown to him by his organization.

“It’s easy,” Arians said. “When we get to training camp, we will have the guys that we want in there. When I was in Arizona, every year that last week we would always add the missing piece. We’re looking for the missing piece right now. There is somebody out there.

“John Abraham came in, Dwight Freeney came in, guys that really impacted our defense and Todd did a great job of matching them up. We’re nowhere near where we are going to be in September, so we will
just wait and see.”

When those final cuts come down in early September, some prominent veterans will be shown the door. Some of them will be edge rushers viewed as too pricey.

Arians will be looking to pounce. He’ll need the skinny provided by his pro scouts and a fat bankroll to add proven talent. There’s no getting around it — this injury is a significant blow. Pierre-Paul’s production in 2018 made Jason Licht look like a smart GM, well worth the third-round pick sent to the Giants.

But things have changed.

Even without undergoing surgery, Pierre-Paul now faces a very uncertain future. He’s used to playing 60-plus snaps per game, swapping blows with burly offensive linemen who have no inclination to go easy on an impaired opponent.

Move on, Bucs, and open up new opportunities. Wish Pierre-Paul the best of luck and go about your business.

The business of winning football games.

Derrick Brooks Talks About The Bucs’ “Gang Of 5;” It’s A New TAMPA TWO! Count on the Bucs rookies this year? Turn the focus to the non-rookies. That’s the meat of today’s episode with Derrick Brooks and Sage columnist Ira Kaufman. It’s all presented by Caldeco Air Conditioning and Heating. Great stuff from The Identity Tampa Bay and JoeBucsFan. Enjoy!!

38 Responses to “The Business Of Winning Football Games”

  1. D-Rome Says:


  2. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Agree. Terrible situation but it is what it is.

  3. catcard202 Says:

    Passing in a Edge @ #5 looks worse by the day…No matter how well White plays @ ILB.

  4. AlteredEgo Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. Says:

    Yep…this is why Jason gets paid the big bucks !…I stayed at a Holiday Inn last night and let JPP and McCoy go….then bought everyone in the bar free drinks….the future is with other names…Licht has been trying to patch a contender together with pretenders……Eyes forward !

  5. firethecannons Says:

    So Ira–how do you know this is a serious neck injury? I haven’t read any of that. Do you really think JPP would of been discharged from the trauma center hospital within a few hours with a “serous neck injury”? LOL! it is probably a nondisplaced transverse fracture that easily heals on its own. Perhaps you all should spend more time trying to find out the details of his injury and less time overreacting.

  6. The Buc Realist Says:

    So the big hope is to garbage pick around final cut down???????? And to see licht weight trade a 3rd and over 20 million for 12.5 sacks!!!!!! He should not be allowed to trade any draft picks from next year!!!!!! We want the ledger to be clean for the next GM next year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2019 will reveal answers to the sheep, that the “real” fans already know!!!!!!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I get a kick out of poster who think we should have drafted a DE because JPP ended up in an accident with a broken neck……blaming Licht…..
    Licht is to blame for many things but not JPP’s accident.

    You hate to cut a productive player because of an injury….in this case…it’s the uncertainty….you absolutely have to move on.

  8. BigMacAttack Says:

    With all due respect Dr Kaufman, I strongly disagree with your position. I’d take a wait and see approach. We already made your same mistake with John Lynch. Don’t make stupid rash decisions. When a better option presents itself, revisit the situation.

  9. Bird Says:

    Fractured neck and you play one of the most violent professional sports against the biggest /strongest /fastest dudes in the world.

    And he plays in the trenches.
    All it takes it was good hit in the chest and his head snaps back. And his neck problems get reaggravated

    He will have problems with neck ; above and below level he injured.

    If he were a tennis player , no big deal
    They should move on . Sucks but that’s the right move.

  10. JP_09 Says:

    Ndamukong Suh, Eric Berry, Jamie Collins, Jay Ajayi. These are all vets that could help the Bucs, they know how to win and have experience. It’s time to cut GMC, JPP (develop a injury settlement that states, if JPP can return to football activities the Bucs would have first priority to bring him back),VHGIII and trade Brate. Do something Licht do something

  11. 813bucboi Says:

    The Buc Realist Says:
    June 21st, 2018 at 6:48 pm
    Huge pass to the coaching staff issued by the “real” Buc fans!!!!!!!!!

    GO Bucs!!!!!!!!!

  12. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Tough loss but the right decision

  13. Lord Cornelius Says:

    lmao 813 that is the best post bump going on in JBF land.

    Realist 2014-2015 – Lovie Smith sux and is the reason we fail in all things. No mention of the GM at this time.

    Realist 2016-2018 – Mike Smith is awesome but is being held back by a secret Tampa 2 Mafia club that wants to build the defense around Gerald McCoy. This excuse did not apply to Lovie Smith though for god knows what reasons, and the theme of 2018 was “Huge pass to the coaching staff”

    Realist 2019 – The GM is the reason for all failures BUT the coaching staff should not get a pass basically. Goes on to insult Bruce Arians as a stale biscuit washed up coach. Best defensive player getting hurt and making a huge scheme change = coaching staff gets no excuses.

    If the Bucs are good this year I’m super curious to see where this weird world view keeps spinning towards.

  14. Tom S. Says:

    If the Bucs end up cutting JPP and absorbing his 7.5 million, that means 20 million dollars in cap room went for one good season on a 5-11 team, then you really REALLY have to question how keeping the 69th overall pick in the 2018 draft wasn’t the better call.

    Sure, say the car accident was a fluke event. But professional sports is about wins and losses. It’s a zero sum game. You can be the worst super bowl winner of the 21st century but don’t tell Giants fans they can’t celebrate their two SB’s under Eli Manning. A win is a win. And this team has done almost none of that since the Glazers Babies took the reins from Malcolm and started making awful choices for people to run their front office in the mid 2000’s. It’s been a literal downward slope of one GM who is worse than the next. It’s like a a limbo dance where each GM is trying to see if they can go lower than the last one (and succeeding at it). Say what you want about him but Jason Licht is definitely the Limbo champion of the Bucs GM’s.

  15. The Buc Realist Says:

    @lord of corn

    Its pretty simple, but read this slowly so maybe then you will understand!!!!!!!!!!! I told the sheep how bad dominik was and how terrible the roster was going into 2014, But the sheep thought that finally a coaching staff was here to “turn them loose”!!!!!!!!!! loser incompetent Lovie was the hnic the “head nimcompoop in charge” of the roster and failed miserable!!!!!!!!! gave then coaches and gm of 2016 time to build the roster, or did you forget all the ” fix the REAL problem, the roster” campaign!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We saw owners throw up distractions to their own team in 2017 with hard knocks!!!!!! Then to see the supposive franchise get suspended for exactly what experts were saying not to draft him for!!!!!!!!!!!!! The season was over and coaches were fired when they handed out that 3 game suspension plea deal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    So now the coaches were fired because they “held them accountable” But guess what?????? The problem is still here!!!!!!!!!!!! If they are going to be held accountable!!!! don’t stop half way!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In fact this season is a big waste of time until they “realize” that the rebuild needs to take place!!!!! and you may not like that, but you will see it by next year too!!!!!!!!

    Some just have to see and smell garbage to know its garbage!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2019 will reveal answers to the sheep, that the “real” fans already know!!!!!!!!!!!!

    GO Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. TexBuc Says:

    A 4-3 zone based defense relies on the 3-tech and two DE’s to beat their assignment on the offensive line for QB pressures while allowing quick short passes. Bowles 3-4 press man defense does not rely on the same 3 DL to get QB pressure, but will rely on the illusion of blitzer’s coming from different positions while limiting short quick passing.
    If we were still a 4-3 zone defense JPP’s loss would have a huge impact. With Vita’s ability to play all 3 positions in a 3-4 allows the Bucs to shift Vita over to DE and have Allen play NT.

  17. gotbbucs Says:

    Unfortunately, this is probably what will need to be done. JPP, who was kind of damaged goods before, is even more so now. It’s going to be hard for a cash strapped team to keep him around on hope’s and prayers that this womt be a chronic injury. Necks and heads are nothing to mess with.

    GMC just needs to go. Can he still play, possibly even at a somewhat high level? Sure, but he’s just outworn his welcome with the fan base. Ownership surely knows this. Blaming him for the losing isnt fair, but he has literally been the poster child of the franchise through all of it. There’s a new coaching staff here now, it’s time to turn the page.

  18. Race to 10 Says:

    5-11 with JPP and Geraldine so RIP off the bandaid and don’t waste another year having the old dudes as the identity of the defense, let white set the tone for the new era of winning.

    But fans are scared to move on and think it can be worse than it has been on defense the last decade plus Licht has a history of paying big money to guys who are injured, old or simply don’t want to play for him

  19. Bucnjim Says:

    This D without McCoy will move up from 27 to top 15! Get your excuses ready as to why but right now I’m going to say coaching, matching skill sets, mental toughness and speed.

  20. pok Says:

    2 things- 1) firethecannon is onto something here. I am sure the posters are the same quality armchair neurosurgeons as they are armchair quarterbacks, but just in case they aren’t- a non-displaced fracture to a transverse process will heal up just fine. I haven’t seen the CT scan, and Im sure JPP isn’t sharing, but it will be ok. He should be able to play again, the real question is how our cap management will allow us to have a DE with fresh legs late in the season when we spent all our money on players that didn’t get double digit sacks. That brings us to #2) GMC is a good player. He isn’t trash, he doesn’t get trashed, he doesn’t trash his car. He shows up, he puts pressure on the QB, 6 sacks on 14 games is just fine, his 6 pro bowls are for a reason. Without him, one more calf strain during preseason to VitaV and we are crying into our cereal. If we can afford him, keep him. Would you rather have some other team’s declining 6x pro bowler, but with skrip clubs and arrests on the docket? No thanks.

  21. BrianBucs Says:

    As much as I hate to admitit, I agree with Ira.
    Been a JPP fan since his Bulls days. With Licht having the Bucs in such poor cap space hell they really can’t take that gamble. I wish him well and the best

  22. JimmyJack Says:

    Do the Bucs have any options here? What if we decide to shut him down for the season and save CAP dollars that way? Is this a option? This is the part that confuses me………Haven’t heard anybody lay out what options the Bucs may have here. Seems like that’s a big part into deciding to cutting or keep JPP.

  23. Darin Says:

    I agree. Adios. And i wouldnt be surprised if they can recoup the 7.5 already paid. It was an off field mishap created by himself. Negligent. Dont know those rules but I’d be going for it if its possible. The missing pieces will be found. Already found a coordinator not afraid to bring em all. And thats the biggest find. This D is gona be fun to watch.

  24. Mike Johnson Says:

    Great article and up front rationalization here Ira. Trust me, Neck fractures are serious Biz. My nephew had one at the HS level in 95. Yes, he healed. But is still taking meds, never ending PT and having lifetime problems at the age of 40. And he doesn’t even play football. Those who think JPP will come back the same, must believe in miracles. He will come back..sure. And mark my words, go down again.
    The smart franchise would go ahead and thank him for his service and wish him well. But we,,Won’t Why? Because we as a franchise for some reason.. we luv holding on to damaged assets to D..long. Smart franchises would already have the Mayday call out and almost answered. My Poor Bucs Ira. And now you know many of us old timers have this love/hate relationship with our Bucs.

  25. Byrd Says:

    Have bucs posted when open practices to public will be??

  26. Joe Says:

    Have bucs posted when open practices to public will be??.

    No. Arians said he has training camp practices already scheduled but that schedule has yet to be released. Usually happens in June.

  27. Stanglassman Says:

    I’ll trust the Doctor advice and players decision.

    Released RB Kerwynn Williams.
    Waived/injured TE Isaiah Searight.
    Waived T Israel Helms.
    Waived WR Malik Taylor.
    Signed OLB David Kenney.
    Signed undrafted free agent WR D’Cota Dixon.
    Signed undrafted free agent T Riley Mayfield.
    Signed undrafted free agent WR Spencer Schnell.

  28. NOSBOS Says:

    TexBuc,you know your ish bro. Unfortunately these folks can’t visualize what you describe. Their minds are fixated on a defense that will be soon outdated in the NFL. In five years I believe most of the league will have switched to a 3/4 base(word is the panthers are switching also). Simply put the 3/4 is better suited for a passing offense in my opinion. They’re down about losing a player 30 years old,but are sleeping on the monster coming that is Vita “Darf” Vea. Vea is the most important piece to the overall puzzle. Not many centers in this league will be able match Vea’s strength one on one. Once double him you free up ultra talented football players behind him. Devin and LVD are about to run rampant.

  29. NOSBOS Says:

    Interestingly tho Tex,what you describe is what you see when you watch his highlights at Washington. All over that los. He’s a monster.. And image of Vea is my phones screen saver right now I’m so jacked about him.

  30. NOSBOS Says:

    If it’s true Licht had a sit down with him and told him to play angry I believe he needed that because he knows his own strength and what he’s capable of doing to a man had him initially holding back some. Samoans are on another level strength wise.

  31. Buc4evr Says:

    Ira, how do you know how severe JPP’s injury is? Until we know the full extent of his injury it’s premature to release him. Let’s see what the medical experts say first. If we do release him, he may end up on another NFC South team. Wouldn’t that be par for the course for the stupidest franchise in the NFL.

  32. Pickgrin Says:

    Cutting JPP now or any time soon would be an over reaction!

    Bucs are already on the hook for $7.5M whether he plays or not (I think).

    This needs to be a wait and see situation. Bucs have until final cuts in early Sept to decide whether $7.4M additional is a good bet on JPP being available at some point in late Oct or Nov.

    Frankly – a hairline cervical fracture is not that big a deal moving forward assuming it is given the proper time to heal and there are no complications.

    I fully expect JPP to play at some point in 2019…. Perhaps sooner than later

  33. Defense Rules Says:

    Pickgrin, Buc4ever & Stanglassman … After reading through over-reaction after over-reaction … inc luding Ira’s … it’s refreshing to read comments that essentially say ‘Let the experts do their jobs’. JPP’s injury is a bummer, but releasing him prematurely just compounds an already bad situation … for the Bucs. Yes we’d gain about $7.4 mil immediately, but there’s virtually nothing to spend it on. The FA list has been picked clean, and won’t be ‘restocked’ until late Aug/early Sep when some quality veterans inevitably get released. That’s still 3 1/2 months away.

    Bruce Arians has already made it abundantly clear that there are lots of roster changes still to come this year. Neither JPP nor GMC are perfect fits for Bowles’ hybrid defense, BUT … until we find something better, let’s not make them walk the plank only to bring on some other old dudes who could very well view the Bucs as ‘The Villages’ retirement Mecca. The last thing our young team needs right now is another 1 or 2 Swaggy Baker’s to replace JPP and/or GMC. I’m confident that the solutions will be there … in time.

  34. Bob in Valrico Says:

    The Bucs have a history of making wrong decisions concerning injured or oft- injured players. The injury may be something JPP can come back from and anybody can do it it would be JPP. That said estimated timetables for return
    have been been pushed back so frequently with this team I am wary of taking a chance on JPP returning in time to help our team.
    At the end of the day ,the decision may rest on the Bucs plan for JPP in 2020,
    if he is not in their plans then JPP may be let go.

  35. whatever... Says:

    Will we never learn? High-priced veteran with multiple non-football serious injuries… We love handing out retirement checks to the leagues washed up actors.
    Yeah, maybe a transverse fracture isn’t the worst kind of neck fracture, but any whiplash fracture is serious.
    I’d bet my toe that he is done based on 30 yr physiology career.

    mrsa; turf toe; concussions; the loser Bucs are experts at paying washed up veterans to rehab weak-sauce “injuries”.
    They’re so desperate they will keep him and he will make a show of trying, if only because his pride at doing yet another stupid off-field incident that impacts his earning ability will push him. but he will have soreness for the next year and will be finished, never will impact a game again!

  36. TexBuc Says:

    Thanks NOSBOS!

    With JPP’s 12.5 sacks our pass defense ranked almost bottom of the league I just don’t think like you said people understand playing man press with our CB’s will have a bigger impact than JPP on the field.


  37. Lord Cornelius Says:


    If you read this I appreciate you trying to break this down more lol.

    I think we agree but just go about our rhetoric in very different ways.

    For example – I think it’s a GLAZER problem when you hire a HC then hire a GM to be a lapdog. That was the situation Licht was put in.

    It was never “Ok Licht build your team now”

    And 2016-2017 – if it was that time to build – I’ve read multiple stories that explained a disconnect and rift between the coaching staffs and the scout team and literally for the things that we criticized Mike Smith and Lovie Smith for:

    drafting players that excel at something and putting them in position to do the opposite of what they are good at (at least on defense).

    Our O-line coaching has sucked too and seemed to have that same disconnect on maximizing talent we had and developing young guys.

    Hell they even drafted the guy you wanted in Vita Vea. The only thing they really didn’t do that you’ve wanted is move on from Gerald McCoy.

    #1 to blame in all this is ownership though. You have to build an organizational structure that makes sense and they never did.

  38. Tom S. Says:

    It really takes some special mental gymnastics to think that the guy who was hired to be in charge of personnel and had a literal hand in firing Lovie Smith and hiring Dirk Koetter to be HC and Mike Smith was somehow neutered from building the roster.

    Want to talk about a rift Lord Cornelius? How about drafting press corners Vernon Hargreaves and Carlton Banks after you hire Mike Smith, who runs a heavier zone scheme to be your DC. Do you think Mike Smith was pounding the table for press man corners for his scheme in his first offseason? Did Mike Smith also bang the table for Licht to trade up to select Roberto Aguayo in that draft too? Ah but I’ve heard the BS reports about how the Glazers put a gun to Licht’s head and told him to do it. Because owners tell GM’s to trade up for kickers in the 2nd round. That totally happens every day.

    It’s sort of incredible to me how people try to twist things in a way so as not to blame the guy who is literally paid to build an NFL roster that meshes with his coaches and draft players for long term talent. Do you think the Glazers are paying Licht to not do those things? Is he purely paid to do their bidding? Would LOVE to hear the conspiracy theories from the Licht apologists on that one.