Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Panthers

September 13th, 2019

“The Sage” delivers in his thrice-weekly column.

BY IRA KAUFMAN columnist

Presented By

Click through and shop now online at

The joint was jumping.

Surrounded by passionate Buc fans at Buffalo Wild Wings in Riverview,

I could sense their concern late in Thursday night’s game. Tampa Bay isn’t known for making key plays in crunch time, so Buc supporters feared the worst.

Fear struck out.

Jameis Winston directed a long drive that padded the lead to six points and a born-again defense stopped the Panthers in the shadow of the end zone for a stirring road victory against an NFC South rival.

Jubilant Buc fans scarfed up the final few chicken wings and hit the parking lot with a good feeling about their football team. Operating on a short week, the Bucs went a long way in re-connecting with their fan base. And if they beat the Giants at home — which they should — Tampa Bay will head into a challenging two-month gauntlet with confidence.

Gerald McCoy, who wasn’t much of a factor against his former teammates, finds himself 0-2 with only six home games remaining. He was shaken, stirred and beaten down by the interior of an offensive line that is suddenly playing physical football.

Here’s how the Bucs skipped out of Charlotte with a bounce in their step: And yes, there were plenty of worthy candidates for game balls:

*While the Bucs were boarding their charter flight home, Carolina RT Daryl Williams was still looking for Shaq Barrett. He couldn’t handle the former Broncos backup, who is flourishing in an enhanced role.

Barrett made himself small around the edge and came up big with 3 sacks, 3 tackles for loss and 4 QB hits. Huge offseason addition for Tampa Bay.

*Vernon Hargreaves, who had a pick-6 in the opener, turned in his best game as a pro with 12 stops, including the game-saving tackle against Christian McCaffrey. Hargreaves looks like a different player after three years of injuries and ineffectiveness. Pardon my French, but Vive La Difference.

+ A healthy Vita Vea is proving to be a major problem for opposing offenses. He’s a slab of a man, but this slab can move. His athleticism is now on full display and Vea is emerging as a disruptive force, collapsing the pocket from the inside and helping edge rushers like Barrett hone in on their target.

*Todd Bowles is widely recognized as one of the NFL’s brightest defensive minds and now we see why. Returning to his coordinator roots with Bruce Arians, Bowles is dealing out the full monty and the chips are falling Tampa Bay’s way. Through two weeks, opponents are converting only 30 percent on third down. And the Bucs just turned in a blanket job on McCaffrey, limiting him to a long gain of only 10 yards on his 18 touches.

*Winston was far more efficient than in the opener, ending a personal 12-game road losing streak. Carolina didn’t register a takeaway and Winston finished with a 103.4 passer rating. Most importantly, he helped the Bucs maintain possession for 10:25 in the final quarter. After two weeks, Winston is realizing this defense will keep the Bucs competitive.

“The first game they played well and they practically won the game for us this game,” he said. “We just have to do our part to protect the football and give us a chance to win.”

*There’s a problem with Cam Newton, and it’s not going away anytime soon. He doesn’t run anymore, even on 4th-and-1, and his passes lack zip. And yes, his body language stinks.

*Luke Kuechly, you are freaking amazing.

*Quite a night for Jason Licht. Hargreaves is single-handedly salvaging the 2016 draft class, Vea is a big-time force and Barrett looks like one of the steals of the NFL offseason.

Mauling center

*Harold Goodwin is earning his pay. Tampa Bay’s run-game coordinator/assistant head coach has instilled a toughness Buc fans haven’t seen since 2015. Ryan Jensen is mauling people, Ali Marpet has played two strong games and even Alex Cappa looks like he belongs. From under the pile, Peyton Barber says thank you.

*Bruce Arians admittedly didn’t have a stellar night on the sidelines, but his biggest contribution came well before kickoff. For three days, he told his players he believed in them.

“He told us to be fearless and let it fly,” Winston said when asked about the Arians message.

For one glorious night in Charlotte, Tampa Bay played fast and loose.

These Panthers are now endangered. These Bucs are now emboldened.

44 Responses to “Ira Kaufman’s 10 Takeaways From Bucs-Panthers”

  1. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    Always great reads from EYE-RAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Rod Munch Says:

    All is great, but I still don’t understand why David is playing inside instead of outside where he’d be the guy on those blitzes. Barrett did a great job, but man, David as a rusher who can drop back into coverage – he’d be basically a larger version of Ronde Barber. Not complaining, just saying.

    Also what a huge indictment of Mike Smith. This was a defense that was on-pace to be historically bad last year – and with mostly the same players (actually worse considering JPP is out) they’ve had this turn around.

    I head/read there was always the idea that Licht wanted the defense to switch to that 3-4 Arizona style of defense and that’s what he was drafting for – but Mike Smith refused to switch. Remember even here on JoeBuc we heard each offseason about how they were going to use a lot more 3-4 only to have nothing change. Is there anything to that, that Licht was trying to force Smith to mix it up and Smith refused?

  3. ClodHopper Says:

    “Through two weeks, opponents are converting only 30 percent on third down.”

    2018: 40%
    2017: League worst 48%

    Bowles is the freaking MAN!!

  4. bucsfaninchina Says:

    Watch the game again, Rod. LVD is getting plenty of play blitzing.

    Excited to see how the run d does against Saquon. Bottle him up and we can start throwing around the label elite to describe the run d.

  5. DB55 Says:

    Don’t get it twisted if McCaffery crosses the end zone you clowns would be picketing for Griffin


  6. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    “DB55 Says:
    September 13th, 2019 at 3:25 pm
    Don’t get it twisted if McCaffery crosses the end zone you clowns would be picketing for Griffin



    You’re kidding right?????

  7. K2 Says:

    This team has a lot more talent than most people think. There is plenty of room for growth on both sides of the ball. The offense is playing well below their potential….they should be scoring 30-35 point per game. Hopefully, they will settle down and start executing next week.

  8. AMI_Chris Says:

    Good solid performance last night. When the Bucs were down 6-3, I turned to my son and noted that in previous years, it would be 28-3 by now. A little D goes a long way. Newton was terrible but you still have to win games like that. Zero turnovers goes a long way.

  9. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We can’t take NY for granted……we should win but we will need to bring the same intensity that we brought last night…..the extra days rest will help….I trust these coaches….GO BUCS!!!

  10. SCBucsFan Says:

    DB55 you’d hit the lottery and complain about the taxes. Give it a rest. Enjoy a divisional road win.

  11. JimmyJack Says:

    Gotta give credit where it’s due. Winston played a very poised game last night which was a far cry from his first showing. Even the one dropped pick I can live with because it was a result of a poor throw and not a poor decision.

    He restored a small amount of confidence. Winning a road game is a big deal. Now he needs a few more good weeks for me to completely buy in. Consistency is the key.

  12. TampaTown Says:

    Even Troy Aikman questioned how Vita Vea could be so big yet so fast. Of course we already knew that now the rest of the league is playing catch-up. My favorite was BA slapping Jamel Dean on the back of the head. I’m sure he’s probably taken some grief about that but the first thing that came to my mind is that’s the kind of thing your Dad does because he loves you.

  13. Bobby Says:

    I’m hoping Daniel Jones doesn’t play. That guy is scary accurate. An accurate Cam Newton would have torched our secondary last night. We played so much better than last year but big plays are still a problem.

  14. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    “Bobby Says:
    September 13th, 2019 at 3:44 pm
    I’m hoping Daniel Jones doesn’t play. That guy is scary accurate. An accurate Cam Newton would have torched our secondary last night. We played so much better than last year but big plays are still a problem.”


    You know,

    I said in an earlier thread that the Cam Newton we played last night was not the Cam the NFL normally see and that he’s not 100%.

    Cam missed so many open throws last night that would’ve completely changed the game.

    Once we do face a accurate QB……..and if we don’t clean up those areas and mistakes……fans then will be screaming about how bad the pass defense.

  15. D-Rome Says:

    I wish I could have made it to BWW as you were in my neck of the woods but I just couldn’t manage to.

  16. JimmyJack Says:

    Anthem……There is something to be said for our defense shutting down the run and forcing Carolina to be one dimensional.

    He played the Rams the week before and was much more efficient in term of completion %. This was likely due to the fact that McCaffery run all over LA.

    He threw 51 passes last night and I’m sure that was not what the Panthers wanted to do. A lot of them passes were a direct result of pressures that Todd was able to dial up because they were predictable……an instering matchup just might be against New Orleans since Bress is one of the best QBs at beating the blitz. Let’s just see what type of adjustments Todd makes in a game like that.

  17. Gettinthebucs Says:

    Part of me still wants Derwin James but man o man VV is an absolute Monster! Olineman just can’t move the guy. I know Dirk is looking at the defense like dang man we actually could have been a great team of I didn’t let my feelings get in way. Oh well up next the Giants! Let’s Go Bucs!

  18. BridleOaksBuc Says:

    Arians, “be fearless and let it fly.”
    Koettter, “Jameis, you’re the one guy who can lose football games for us.”
    There’s your difference….

  19. unbelievable Says:

    Let’s not forget that Carson Palmer wasn’t very good the first 7 – 8 weeks his 1st year under Arians. Then everything started clicking, and the turnovers decreased.

    Jameis definitely looked far more poised last night vs. week 1. That’s more like where he left off at the end of last season. His receivers didn’t do him any favors last night- he could have easily had another TD or 2.

    The run defense does appear stout. Great to see! And I’m loving Shaq off the edge. Whitehead also looks like a beast in this defense, but the secondary overall still has a lot of work to do. There were a lot of open receivers last night that Cam just couldn’t hit. The Giants should be a winnable game that help us grow before this brutal road stretch (where the opponents will get tougher).

  20. Anonymous Says:

    Franchise QBs win road games with plays and aren’t mere game managers. Winston was Shaun King 2. Okay as long as the D shows. Would the Bucs have won that game with Mike Glennon? Probably. So Winston doesn’t blow the game and some are ready to say he’s okay now? Not so much. Winston in the NFL since 2015 wins his first TNF and now he’s on the right track? For what? Yes, career backup. Not franchise material. Look at it all so far: Meets minimal expectations one game and falls far below. Grade: D- this year, maybe C+. Inconsistent. Not reliable. Can’t put the ball in his hands and be confident. What will be it be next week?

  21. Alanbucsfan Says:

    . “We just have to do our part to protect the football and give us a chance to win.” –
    Jameis should meditate over his own quote and chant it daily to his favorite music

  22. Mike Johnson Says:

    Bucs should go after another DE if one is out there. The more pressure, hurries and sacks this Defense brings, The better our odds are of winning. We’ve known this since our Super bowl ring yet got far away from it thinking beautiful spirals thrown in the air were the answer. Play great Defense at the line of scrimmage. We need even more pressure to bear on the oppositions Offense. We won’t have this success every week with the D line we have now. The football GODS were on our side last night. That last Carolina Drive drove me to drink..even more! Just WIN BUCS!

  23. Tmaxcon Says:

    Feels good to be a Buc today fellas.

  24. Clw JB Says:

    Not that we are a SB team, but even in Gruden’s run the O took several weeks to come around – we looked better on O, sans the penalties

    The D is so feast or famine with all the blitzing, a better QB makes us pay, Cam was horrible, worse than JW in game 1 horrible

    Barrett owned them, love Vea, Minter very much surprised me – they picked on VHIII and he responded pretty well

    The sky isnt falling this week thank goodness!!

    We might even get to 2-1!!!!

  25. Nole4JabooANDdBucs Says:

    Uh I believe he came in as a rookie…under Dirk’s tutelege just like Vernon, RoJo and more…so yes 5 years…how well was he coached?🤔So if the coaching was jacked, he is being retaught…duh

  26. Alvin Scissors Harper Says:

    I’ll take a 200 yard, no interception, no fumble game from Jay Miss anytime. However, I’m not entirely confident we’ll see a lot of those.
    I’m really proud of the Bucs defensive effort last night, but let’s not go overboard people. Cam Newton is a shell of himself. He’s got a bum ankle and he has a really bad throwing shoulder.
    I certainly don’t think the Giants game is a slam dunk, by any means. Offense not so good yet. Defense decent against a poor passing offense. However, they shut down CM and that was a shock to me.

  27. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Jameis played a good game..not great, but he did what was needed. I have to say when he starts that happy feet-rock the baby thing, it is nerve wracking.

    What has happened to OJ?

    Love the defensive intensity, great to see, Carlton Davis is trying to beat out Dotson as a penalty machine though.

    VHIII is the hero, even with getting beat for 44 yds, a mystery wrapped up in an enigma..

    What would have happened if Cammy hadn’t crapped the bed?

    I don’t know what is more shocking…no TO’s from Winston or an Unnecessary Roughness call on Gmac..has he ever had a slap fight with an OL before, I was literally LMAO….

    Great Win, Go Bucs!

  28. SenileSenior Says:

    To your third point, Rod Munch, let me say this.

    BA came in the door saying that “the stars had aligned” to bring him and virtually all of the staff he wanted  (or his kind of people) into the  situation here. 

    If I could actually see how it could be so,  I would think that Licht and Arians had been conspiring together behind the scenes for at minimum the previous two or three years. Shoot, even the Glazers could have been involved. 😉

    It is hard to  actually believe this, though.  There would have to  have been sheer genius in the planning or the football gods really do exist after all.  🙂

    I remember the hints and talk about us going to  a 3-4 based off and on for more than two years.  It sure looks like LIcht was preparing the way with drafts, trades and free agent moves for two years or more.
    Go Bucs!!!

  29. JimmyJack Says:

    Anonymous….I am with you in that Winston needs to show us more then just one game to proove his worth. Without consistent efforts all year this game does little to proove he is ready to be a franchise QB.

    But I do have to disagree that he just played to role of a get manager yesterday. I saw quite a few throws that he made that were elite.

    -The 40 yarder down the sideline to Evans was perfectly placed and in a tight window.

    -The endone throw to Evans was put into a great spot where only the receiver could get it.

    -The endzone throw to Perriman was an absolute laser placed directly on his hands. That one in particular is one that only a few QBs can make.

    -The throw out of the enzone before the safety was another elite throw that Godwin missed by just a few inches.

    -I also remember a few tight throws for short gains over the middle that are a bit less memorable since it was just a few yards.

    Winston had a good game and if his receivers make more plays were are probably calling it great.

    It’s hard to argue he cannot play great. Consistency has always been his issue. If he can consistently play as well as he did last night we will have no problems at QB. But that a big IF.

  30. JimmyJack Says:

    Haha Senile…..I have wondered about the same conspiracy theory myself. Would not doubt that their is some truth to it.

    But I think your taking it to a new level saying it was two years in the making. Two seasons ago Bruce was in Arizona. Little too much foul play and elaborate planning in that scenario for me.

  31. Coconut Water Says:

    “Fans” just don’t know how to enjoy a victory. They want Jamies to fail at all times to push their agenda that he can’t play quarterback. Even when he plays well it’s not enough. You guys want him to see him sling it across the field for 4 touchdowns, in order to get your approval. Truth is most of you “fans” have plumbers crack and don’t have a competitive bone in your body. Just a bunch of hotdog hogs sitting on your mediocre a$$es drinking Pepsi and passing gas!

  32. LJS4th Says:

    Still pissed that the Yucs picked Mark Barron a slow safety and passed on ALL World Luke Kuechly!!! Nice that the Yucs won with Shameis but we have Murphy – Bunting another great pick who does not play!!!

  33. Coconut Water Says:

    Jamies Winston is damned if don’t and damned if he does. You “fans” are probably just of butt crack showing, balding in the middle, man breast having, two hamburger eating, doo doo stain having, never played a sport, I’m on disability, voted for Trump, Obama sucked, I love my truck, 30 to 50 years in age, won’t do shi+ but love to complain. Who think because you have season tickets you’re somehow more important and intelligent. You “fans” are the most fickle. You don’t have to like Jamies Winston, he’s still your quarterback.

  34. Ya Mama’s Brother Says:

    Go Bucs!

  35. SenileSenior Says:

    Yeah, JimmyJack, even for me. It’s fun to play with crazy ideas.

    I do feel like somebody up there finally has smiled upon the Bucs and Tampa Bay again. My gut tells me good things are just around the corner for us. I hope it is telling me something real. We Buc fans deserve a break if anybody does.
    Go Bucs!!!

  36. Dubcity6 Says:

    OL played terrible. Panthers defense was tired at the end of the game after all the 3 and outs by Cam whose honestly terrible right now. Only reason Bucs run game had success. The touchdown came after a flag by Gerald McCoy. People are giving the terrible OL a pass

  37. Crockett69 Says:

    Very well written Ira.

  38. Nole4JabooANDdBucs Says:

    What Coconut Water said👍🏼

  39. TampaTown Says:

    What does voting for Trump have to do with being a Bucs fan? Smh

  40. Buc1987 Says:

    Thanks Ira…that was a nice read as usual.

  41. nick Says:

    hey DB55, and if Perriman catches the damn ball (get it? #19? ) then Jameis numbers are even better. IF IF IF

    No one was allowed to use IF when Bucs lose, so don’t use the IF when they win.If my grandmother had wheels shed be a go cart.

  42. Chip Chipperson Says:

    coocoonut….you had me until the political stuff.
    PS the democratic party has hated QBs like Jaboo and Doug Williams since Andrew Jackson founded it. Do your own research young man. Also, Obama was a below average Pres IMO.

  43. Go Bucs 72 Says:

    I’m not a doctor but it appears to me that Cam has a strained labia.

  44. passthebuc Says:

    I’m not a doctor but it appears to me that Cam has a strained labia.

    “Strained Lips”?