Five Things

September 13th, 2019

(Photo courtesy of Buccaneers.com.)

Joe’s regular postgame ramblings after he has had a few hours to think about the game, and perhaps enjoy a cold beverage.

Run defense

This has to be the first thing discussed after the Bucs’ thrilling 20-14 win at Carolina last night.

Now we all knew Ndamukong Suh is a monster against the run. Gerald McCoy he is not. And when healthy, second-year defensive tackle Vita Vea has shown all the signs of being a true beast in the middle that clogs up lanes.

And of course, Lavonte David is Lavonte David. His first two games in the Bucco Bruce Arians era, David has been on fire. There’s no way you can tell he missed virtually all of training camp and preseason with a sore knee. That time off may actually have been what the doctor ordered.

But Joe is going to startby giving props to a guy Joe wanted to run out of town due to salary cap concerns. Will Gholston has found his mojo back after winning a starting job largely to due to Jason Pierre-Paul’s neck injury. Sure, the two technically play different positions, in theory, but JPP is stout against the run as well and with his pass-rushing skills, if he was 100 percent, he’d be getting the snaps Gholston is getting.

Now under former Bucs commander Greg Schiano and then inept Lovie Smith and initially with Dirk Koetter, Gholston was a force against the run. When he was injured at New Orleans on Christmas Eve in a pivotal game in 2016, the Saints exposed the Bucs with Gholston off the field and Mark Ingram had a field day in the second half in a loss that essentially knocked the Bucs out of the wild card race.

Since, Gholston has been a total non-factor. Joe doesn’t know if he was injured or if he mentally checked out because of the disgrace that was Mike Smith, or if Smith put him in bad positions (entirely possible), it doesn’t matter. Gholston was a JAG (just a guy).

Joe wanted him and his $3,750,000 salary off the books.

Well, playing for defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers — Joe told you this Bill Parcells disciple knows his s(p)it — Gholston has been reborn. He is absolutely crushing it against the run and is surprisingly making an impact on a pass rush, though that is not normally his cup of tea.

The Bucs run defense through two games has been strong, and last night was elite. It held dangerous Stinking Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey to a Doug Martin-like 37 yards. Repeat: 37 yards! McCaffrey averaged 2.3 yards per carry and the guy is one of the biggest and best home run hitters in the game.

That’s insane!

For the Bucs to do this on just basically two days of preparation — Wednesday is a travel day for the team on Thursday night games — makes this feat even more impressive.

If the Bucs can keep up this run defense (shoot we really haven’t seen the Devin White that was promised) the Bucs are going to be in a lot of games.

There is an old football axiom that games are won in the trenches. Well, the way the Bucs defensive line is playing against the run, highlighted by Gholston’s play, this team and this defense is no longer a pushover.

Earning his salary

Joe doesn’t think anyone would say Bucs center Ryan Jensen has played to the level of his contract. Per Spotrac.com, Jensen has the highest base salary of any center in the NFL at $10,000,000. Jensen hasn’t been bad, but the best? That’s a stretch.

But last night Jensen showed why the Bucs brought him to Tampa Bay. Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht loves the word “nasty.” It’s why he drafted Alex Cappa from an unknown school tucked away in the woods of the west coast that no longer has a football program.

And the word “nasty” is also why he signed Jensen. Licht wants an ornery offensive line. Licht’s a big-personality-type of football suit. He believes guys with big personalities are more likely to max out their talents.

That’s been his vision for some time. And Licht was/is hoping that mean streak Jensen and Cappa have rubs off on the rest of the offensive line (Ali Marpet is not shy about slapping people around either).

Last night we saw evidence of that when Jensen did something to Stinking Panthers stud defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to get under his skin and draw a personal foul. That was a critical penalty that led to the game-winning touchdown.

Joe has never seen GMC react like that. Jensen must have told GMC that Batman is Wonder Woman without the breasts and lasso.

That is what Licht has envisioned for his offensive line. Dudes playing to the whistle; dudes being nasty; dudes getting under defenders’ skin.

If that attitude can somehow be picked up by the tackles, that would be a wonderful thing.

Defense = good offense

See how a defense can set up an offense to make a difference?

In the last couple of years, America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, had to be freaking Peyton Manning because this defense was so rotten you just wanted to punch someone walking down the sidewalk. (Joe’s just going to lay this down right here and right now and let is simmer: the fact disgraced former Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith did not have his access card to One Buc Palace deactivated after the 2017 season, the entire Bucs organization from Dirk Koetter all the way to the very top offices at One Buc Palace were negligent to the team, to their employees and to Bucs fans who spend their hard-earned dollars going to games and buying gear. There’s no passing the buck for blame there. Don’t even try.)

When a quarterback doesn’t feel the weight of the world on his shoulders, that he has to put up 30-some points every game on the road (or more), what a difference that makes. (Yes, Joe is including vagabond quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in this situation.)

With a competent defense, a quarterback doesn’t have to make a play every snap. Doesn’t have to force a pass. A quarterback can be picky about the passes he chooses, about the audibles he calls.

Now that the Bucs have a respectable defense, the play from Jameis ought to be cleaner, as it was last night. No, Jameis wasn’t perfect. He had some bad throws, had some excellent throws (c’mon, Breshad Perriman!). More importantly, Jameis gave his team a chance to win by not making major mistakes.

And the defense went out and won it.

Good Jameis!

Play of the night

Probably the most impressive thing about last night maybe came from the guy you least likely would think of to make a key defensive stop — the play of the game. And that was cornerback Vernon Hargreaves.

Not known for being physical much less for being a superb tackler, Hargreaves got McCaffrey out of bounds on a game-winning tackle with just inches to spare. We’re not talking someone like Charles Sims, this was one of the best backs in the NFL, McCaffrey.

Running out of a Wildcat and taking a direct snap, Hargreaves later on the Buccaneers Radio Network said he thought it was a Philly Special the Stinking Panthers were going to run. But he expected McCaffrey to come his way, only as a receiver, not a runner.

There was a camera angle the FOX-produced NFL Network telecast used on a replay that was ground-level from the Bucs’ sideline on that play. There you could see in the background how Hargreaves positioned himself perfectly as the Stinking Panthers broke the huddle. You could just tell by how Hargreaves set his feet and his body, and how he was looking into the backfield, he expected the play his way.

Later, as Joe documented, Hargreaves admitted he did just that.

And why did Hargreaves read the play just right? Joe will argue coaching. If you are that prepared that in the play of the game in the final two minutes of the game you read that the play is coming your way — and it did — that is preparation.

And Joe will add, that is coaching.

Just how many games were lost and just how many folks lost their jobs, careers, had their families’ livelihoods uprooted as a result of Mike Smith being employed as a defensive coordinator? It was just sinful and irresponsible and, yes, negligent.

And we are now seeing what decent coaching can do. So many Bucs fans wanted to run Hargreaves out of town. Look what happens when the man is used correctly, set up to succeed, and prepared to make a play and win a game.

Crops are growing

The Bucs made a lot of changes in the offseason, and last night we saw some of the fruits from these seeds begin to sprout.

The Bucs hired a new, competent, experienced coaching staff. The defense is so much better; defenders are better prepared, players previously believed to be busts are starting to show up and make plays. The team as a whole is so much more sound.

The Bucs went out and got a kicker. No, Matt Gay was not perfect. He missed one field goal. But if this were years past, the Bucs’ kicker would have missed two or more and the Bucs would have lost.

The Bucs also brought in a guy who they thought could rush the passer but was buried on a loaded depth chart. Shaq Barrett goes out last night and gets three sacks in one quarter. This hasn’t been accomplished by the Bucs in 28 years.

This team is not hitting on all cylinders. Not yet. But they are doing little things that speak to the fact hiring a new coaching staff, this coaching staff, was a damn smart move. Competence and confidence and discipline is now being injected into the locker room.

If the offense can smooth itself out (the physical running style is impressing Joe) and the Bucs can find someone other than Barrett to get to the quarterback, this Bucs team could be a real struggle for opponents.

92 Responses to “Five Things”

  1. Buddy Says:

    Did Suh play last night? 0 Tackles???? lololol

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

    Buddy Says:
    September 13th, 2019 at 12:31 pm
    Did Suh play last night? 0 Tackles???? lololol
    .
    .
    Suh did his job very well last night…hence the outside pass rush pressure…Panther OL focused blocking the interior pressure

  3. casual observer Says:

    Good summary comments, Joe. But wasn’t that scamper and dive into the end zone by Barber a thing of beauty?

  4. mark2001 Says:

    One of your best articles, Joe…right on the money, and lays the blame for the last decade of ineptitude where it should lay. Those past coaching staffs were amateurish, at best.

  5. DooshLaRue Says:

    I think Suh had a big fumble recovery before the missed field goal.

  6. Lamarcus Says:

    Yes let’s give it up to Jensen. He is one of the primary reason we won. He really got under their skin and wore them down

  7. Greg Says:

    Suh recovered a fumble and closed running lanes. I love how people sound like they did not watch the game and criticize over stats. It’s a victory buccaneer fansshould act like they actually won last night instead of using this blog to be jerks

  8. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!^^^^^^^^^^^^ (clapping)

  9. mark2001 Says:

    Buddy..Suh was part of that stanch D line. Every good line has unseen heroes..Culpepper, Greg Spires and such. A line tends to work together, and more difficult to separate performances than some other positions. D line…just keep doing it.

  10. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    Dude, Gholston doesn’t play JPP’s position, Shaq does. How can you watch the team everyday and not know that?

  11. 813bucboi Says:

    Joe

    Great article….

    Shame on money grab smitty….

    GO BUCS

  12. Ghost of Darrell Henderson Says:

    Gump needs to pull the trigger on the Minkah trade.

    Then this defense would be legendary!

  13. lambchop Says:

    The biggest thing this win does for this team is it gets full buy-in from all the players. There’s buy-in in TC and preseason, but nothing like what a grinder of a win will do.

    You can’t tell me that the OL didn’t want to shut GMC down (didn’t take much). The next Panther game will be electric.

  14. Buddy Says:

    mark2001 so the Bucs brought in Suh to be a unseen hero?? Ok got it.

    Ghost of Darrell Henderson- uh slow your roll on the ‘legendary” comments

  15. Buc4life Says:

    Suh played well without being on the stat sheet. Took double teams and clogged inside running lanes. There’s a big difference between Suh not making tackles, but clogging the middle and McCoy not making tackles and being pushed out of running lanes.

  16. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    Ok you addressed it right after ☺️, but still, 3 base linemen, which were always gonna be Gholston, Vea, and Suh.

  17. 813bucboi Says:

    Coaching makes all the difference in the world…..

    Did you see Vita lineup over the LT…just bull rush and collapse the pocket….moving players around is something that never happened under smitty….

    Let’s keep stacking the Ws!!!!!

    @realist….you have 9 more times to wash the golf cart!!!!!!!!!!

    GO BUCS

  18. 813bucboi Says:

    Ghost

    Where’s he going to play?…LOL…safety…

    GO BUCS

  19. Durango95 Says:

    Joe is damn near giddy today from last night’s game. I mean hey why not, right?

  20. Bradentonbuc Says:

    Thru 2 games Bowles is really exposing Mike Smith. Even Duffner taking over was an improvement over smith

  21. mark2001 Says:

    Buddy… They can scheme an O to compensate for one exceptional player. Didn’t have to do it with Gerald the last few years. But as long as he is an upgrade to G, and helps this D line become a wall, stifling RB’s, I’m all in with what we have.

  22. Buc_U Says:

    Hiring Todd “Super” Bowles might have been our best acquisition this off-season. This defense is only going to get better. They haven’t even reached their full potential yet.

  23. SOEbuc Says:

    One thing for me Joe I’ve been saying since TC. Perriman has Jello for hands. He definintly needs to be on the field less on throwing plays. He had a small streak at the end with the Ravens, yet they still cut him. Cleveland did it before PS.

  24. buc4life24 Says:

    The defense absolutely BALLED OUT! The play calling was very bad and vanilla in my opinion. We need more quick passes, slants, screens, etc…and where in heck is OJ?! Evans was someone quite but OJ has been non-existent as a pass catcher?

    All in all, I am happy about the win and the resolve our players had on a short week in a hostile division rival environment! On the Giants and I will be there live for the 1st time in 5 YEARS!!!

  25. '79 Defense Says:

    Definitely a game of inches– or a yard or two. If the Panthers had scored at the end and ended up winning, all this optimism would be on hold. It will be interesting to see how things progress from here.

  26. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    But yeah, damn good article. I bag on Licht as much as the next guy, but the fact remains is Lovie wasn’t his coach, and he felt he HAD to hire Dirk because of Jameis. Bruce is not here unless Licht is, and Bruce brought in the D-Line coaches (finally seeing pass rush moves, what a concept), brought in Rock Ross to coach corners (VHIII can tackle now!), BROUGHT IN BOWLES, signed Shaq to make up for Spence, and traded out McCoy for Suh like he always wanted to. And my main critique always was Vea over Derwin, but the best ability is availability, and Vea’s beginning to pull ahead on that while rounding into something almost as special.

  27. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    Sorry, LICHT signed Shaq and Suh

  28. stpetebucsfan Says:

    It all starts with Suh and Vea. These guys are exceptionally strong…as in stronger than most NFL DL. The two of them together right in the center of the line prevents running between tackles…stats are not what count here…sacks or QB rushes…what counts is that nobody can run through them and they are so strong they can push the OL into the offensive backfield.

    In short they gum up the works. Add a talented set of LB’s…CB’s and some safeties that will be getting league wide attention before the end of the season and this defense should only get better unless the dreaded injury bug bites. Imagine JPP in this defense!

  29. Pops Malone Says:

    Nice article. And just what the hell was the whole organization doing by letting the incompetent Smith coach the defense that long? Great question Joe. It was obvious he was an idiot and that is confirmed even further by the fact nobody offered him a job and he is now out of football. What is it that Jason Licht and the owners were looking at that made them think keeping Smith that long was a good idea? Maybe they are idiots themselves. Pay attention! Do your job guys! I am in Chicago and was sitting with my season ticket holding Bear fan brother watching the immortal Mitch Trubisky throw 6 td passes against us!! 6! And Smith kept his job another week after that. Wake up and watch the games Jason and the Glazer boys. The rest of us have to pay to watch. Great article Joe. —k you Mike Smith. Idiot.

  30. Loyaltotheend Section 312 Says:

    If you criticize Suh, you didn’t watch the game

    Dude was a HUGE reason the run game was shut down

  31. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    @ Pops Malone

    LOL^^^^^^^^

    …….dayummmmmm! Sounds like you’ve been pissed off since 2018!!!!!!

  32. bucsfaninchina Says:

    Suh was just fine buddy.

    You hit the nail on the head Joes. A starting rotation of Suh, Vea, Gholston, Allen to clog up the middle opens up a lot of opportunities to force the opposing QB to beat you; in this case, a now washed up noodle armed prima donna who had his way with the Bucs for the past decade.

    Defense feels deep with the rookie and vet contributions; really enjoyed seeing Mike Edwards out there despite not splashing much; Anthony Nelson forced a fumble and knocked down a pass I believe; despite White leaving he game early Minter came in and opened my eyes to quality play; the secondary in general (specifically Carlton freaking Davis) looks completely reborn.

    Very very promising game though I can’t help but still feeling incredibly nervous that the game is about to fall apart when Winston is on the field.

  33. tnew Says:

    Christopher +1 with you on the whole JPP thing, but Nassib is the one who is playing the JPP OLB role. Will Gholston has been and will always be a base end in a 3-4 alignment. NOW you are seeing that. JPP can play base end, but he would rather be an OLB. Barrett is safe for reps.

  34. Son of Kobe Faker Says:

    “Leftfoot is holding this offense down

    not JW like what all the sheep think

    Leftfoot and BA dont know how to use TEs nor we see any RB screens

    no quick high completion percentage throws

    2-12 on 3rd downs

    for 4 years, JW has been among the top QBs on 3rd down with pressure

    the defense is for real, however my Dad and I think we wont reach our potential or playoff contention because of the ineptness of our overgrown Gary Coleman OC”

    Son of Kobe Faker

  35. SOEbuc Says:

    One thing for me Joe I’ve been saying since TC. Perriman has Jello for hands. He definintly needs to be on the field less on throwing plays. He had a small streak at the end with the Ravens, yet they still cut him. Cleveland did it before PS.

    Lavonte has been my favorite player on this defense for a long time. Ppl wanted to drop him this year for cash and say next year but this is a guy that has always come back from injury to play lights out will be a worthy LB into this beyond 30 BS.

    Devin White should sit (if he’s not on IR. That looked serious) the rest of the season. Minter looked sick in PS and was all over last night.

    Troy giving Bowles new defense in TB mad props makes SOEbuc a happy boy.

  36. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    “Son of Kobe Faker Says:
    September 13th, 2019 at 1:20 pm
    “Leftfoot is holding this offense down

    not JW like what all the sheep think

    Leftfoot and BA dont know how to use TEs nor we see any RB screens

    no quick high completion percentage throws

    2-12 on 3rd downs

    for 4 years, JW has been among the top QBs on 3rd down with pressure

    the defense is for real, however my Dad and I think we wont reach our potential or playoff contention because of the ineptness of our overgrown Gary Coleman OC”

    Son of Kobe Faker”
    —————————————————————————————

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

    HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!!!!

    Byron Leftwich does look like a “overgrown Gary Coleman”

  37. Cobraboy Says:

    Who’da thunk it?

    “Coaching Matters.”

    I expect the offense to continue to improve.

    The biggest difference last night besides the D, was ZERO turnovers on O. That makes a world of difference.

  38. Buc4evr Says:

    BA needs to get the TEs involved more in the passing game. Perriman less.

  39. unbelievable Says:

    Did Doug Martin bang J0es wife or something? My god how sharp is that axe you have to grind?

    He had some crappy seasons but also set several Bucs records and is our 4th all time leading rusher. Haven’t had a 1000 yard running back since he left either… hopefully that changes soon.

  40. Grt1 Says:

    Son of Kobe faker….. Carolina D is legit man. We missed a 40yard FG, dropped a TD ( possibly 2 with Evans) O did its job

  41. alaskabuc Says:

    Joe- rumor on the street is all Jensen did was point out to GMC how good the defense is with him finally off it.

  42. Dirks Great Granpappy Says:

    I saw vea peel off to cover mccaffrey on one play last night in the second half. We weren’t set on defense but it was definitely odd to see.

    Barber had one of the worst attempts in pass pro I have ever seen last night that led to a sack. It really was a pathetic effort lol

    Jameis needs to move the chains in third down. 3rd and 2 early in the fane and jameis throws it 20 yards to Evans in the end zone. Happened again later on 3 and 5. Overall pleased with jameis last night

  43. unbelievable Says:

    ^ Yeah Barber whiffed so bad on that sack. Literally just fell down and let the guy get to Jameis.

  44. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Christopher Schiefen Says: “Dude, Gholston doesn’t play JPP’s position, Shaq does. How can you watch the team everyday and not know that?”

    In a 3-4 defense and if JPP was playing, the lineup would be Suh-Vita-JPP. Shaq barrett is listed as an Outside linebacker not a DE, while Gholston is listed as a DE. So Joe is correct, JPP would replace Gholston.

  45. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Agree that Vea & Suh made a huge difference…..

    As for Perriman’s non-catch….really wasn’t a drop because it never was in his hands…..
    Everyone has dropped passes…

    Remember Evans……Godwin had a horrible game or two….OJ…..
    Everyone has also had a stupid penalty & everyone has fumbled…

    How about lets get a look at a few more games before we alter the lineup…..

  46. Dirks Great Granpappy Says:

    Oof. Sorry for the typos. On* game*

  47. K2 Says:

    On JPP…BA said the he would play both inside and out. JPP would normally play outside but could play with a hand in the dirt on obvious passing plays.

  48. TampaTown Says:

    Great article Joe. Very thoughtful. It’s hard to believe just how many good defensive performances there were last night. Vita Vea, Jordan Whitehead, Kevin Minter, Anthony Nelson. Anthony Nelson! I think we almost take LVD for granted. As for Jameis feeling like it was up to him to win the game in years past, that was one of the first things BA said when he got here. And you can’t blame him. He’s never had a suffocating defense. Devin White said in a pregame interview that Todd Bowles hasn’t even put everything in yet. In these parts, we know good defense when we see it. There’s something happening here and I’m very excited.

  49. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    K2 “On JPP…BA said the he would play both inside and out. JPP would normally play outside but could play with a hand in the dirt on obvious passing plays.”

    Come to think of it, I think you are right. JPP would play both DE and OLB.

  50. bucnole Says:

    Easy folks. . . it was a good win for this team. But Im ready to see us hit on all cylinders for a stretch of 5-6 games to finally think we are over the hump. I don’t want to over hype this after one game that literally came down to the las few seconds. js

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

    Any word on RoJo and Whites injuries ?

  52. Jaykpatel Says:

    Joe,
    Simply put, it’s the story of two stiff arms:

    2019W2- Hargreaves gets armed by McCaffery at the goalie but makes the play, a third example that night of stout play at the line.
    2018W3- Conte gets armed Vance McDonald and doesn’t make the play and exposed a soft D.

    Let’s hope that last night was a trend setter kind of night!

  53. GMC Says:

    Big win. Winston is back! They are probably the best team in NFC.

  54. WestChap Says:

    Wow! JW had a solid game. Thank goodness Keuchly dropped that pick… I can’t help thinking that would have started a downward spiral. But, instead a solid game and a needed boost to JW confidence.

    Great game for defense, especially VH3 and Sack Barrett. I’m trying not to over react (as I clearly did with JW from week 1) but given how well Panthers played against Rams defense in week 1… how good is this Bucs defense?

  55. SOEbuc Says:

    1. I was looking forward to see what the run defense could do against an elite RB and they totally shut him down.
    2. Shaq Barrett was an All-Pro LB last night with three sacks and had a sack in game one and I don’t expect his play to stop. He showed everything.
    3. Feel this very young secondary is going to grow from Bowles every week that passes.
    4.This Oline is far from how bad fans expected them to be. They’re holding their own while Jameis is holding the ball for 10 seconds in the pocket. But there’s always the $40 million man jumping and getting run around.
    5. Even if the running game can be a bit above average that would take so much pressure off Winston mentally and physically.

  56. Tampatom Says:

    DO THE RIGHT THING AND TRADE FOR MIKAH FITZPATRICK

  57. Cobraboy Says:

    @bucnole: gotta start somewhere.

    The D showed up vs. SF, too, but 2 pic-sixes doomed the win.

    That is two solid outings in a row, with progress from week 1 to 2.

    I will take it.

    That win should give this team more confidence. Not cockiness, but real confidence.

  58. Tampatom Says:

    Do the right thing and trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick

  59. Blogtalkfootball.com Says:

    Doesn’t Shaq have 4 sacks for the season? I could have sworn he got one on Jimmy G.

  60. Hodad Says:

    Someone wasn’t watching I guess when Suh recovered a fumble. The same person must not have seen that stud RB McCaffery had 39 yards rushing. The middle of our D line was McSoft for the last nine years. No one is running up the gut now, that’s because Suh, and Vea won’t let them. Don’t count how many tackles, or sacks a D linemen get, watch the game, inside the game. Suh, and Vea are keeping everyone else clean to do the tackling. No O linemen can get to the second level. Some of you just don’t know what you’re talking about.

  61. Blogtalkfootball.com Says:

    Without Suh or Vea, Shaq doesn’t get 3 sacks.

  62. firethecannons Says:

    Joe says:
    Jenson must have told GMC that Batman is Wonder Woman without the breasts and lasso.
    Comments like that make me come back to JBF! Love it! Lol!

  63. mark2001 Says:

    Hodag…exactly…the D stoned CMc and company. This isn’t a 4-3, so you expect the LB’s to be more engaged in the tackling stats over the course of the game. Great explanation for those new to the game that only look at stats.

  64. JimmyJack Says:

    Great day to be a Bucs fan!!

    One of the most inspiring defensive performances I can recall in close to 20 years. The stops we are getting on 3rd/4th & 1 might be the most exciting thing this team has shown us in close to 20 years!!
    Every gap and every lane seems to be covered in this defense. Such a far cry from prior years when guys were out of position, over pursuing, and blowing assignments. Great call Joe about how prepared this team is. This is exactly why good coaching makes a difference. They are getting more out of so many players it’s not even funny. This Whitehead dude, my God………he was good last year but this dude plays as if he is possessed. I make a motion to strike the savior moniker from Devin Whites name and stamp it on Todd Bowles

    Agreed with Jensen. This offense is elevating his game and quietly Cappa is starting to grow into his position too. But Dotson might need to get replaced soon. He does more harm then good with negative plays.

    GOOO BUCS!!!

  65. JimmyJack Says:

    Gotta mention Anthony Nelson too. That kid came up with some big plays. Now I gotta think Nassib did some things to help hold McCaffery to 37 yards but I haven’t seen him do much of anything in passrush(maybe I just missed it).

    Wouldn’t surprise me to see Nelson start eating into more and more of his snaps. Honestly I noticed Bond more then Nassib last night and I don’t think Bond got more then a few snaps.

  66. Tony LA Says:

    Hey “buddy”.

    It’s always someone named “buddy” who completely misses on his hot takes and spews utter nonsense. We finally get a positive take article after a good game and the first comment has to be your incorrect BS.

    Suh ate up blockers last night and opened rushing lanes for Barret. He had several pressures and a fumble recovery. He along with Vea forced the Panthers to bounce their running plays outside the tackles, and look how that tuned out for the Panthers.

    I applaud the defense and the great new coordinator Todd “Super” Bowles.

  67. Old School Athlete Says:

    Thanks, Joe. Great article! I agree with everything you said from top to bottom. If you had told me before the game that we would limit McCaffery to 37 yards, I would have said no way.
    I’m encouraged. I’ve always had reasonable expectations for this season. Never said Super Bowl or even playoffs. What I really wanted to see was a change in attitude and mentality. I wanted an way of thinking that said just showing up and making a couple of plays for the highlight reel isn’t good enough. It looks like BA was the man to make that happen, at least he was last night. Hoping it continues!

  68. ancientasbuc Says:

    Interestingly, Kirwan and Miller can’t stop saying how bad the Panthers were with very little credit to the Bucs. Kirwan seems to have an ax to grind since Jameis was drafted and Lovie was punted. He said he played ok and both said that he had a lot of errors. Two mediocre QBs is how they described the game. Panthers and McCaffery were too tired.

  69. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Kirwan just mad because he said Shaq Barrett was hot garbage lol

  70. JimmyJack Says:

    It is funny how y’all keep complain about the coverage being more that the Panthers lost instead of a big Bucs win.

    I think it’s safe to say that Cam Newton is a big reason why. If ya ask my Cam moves the national needle much more then Winston does. Seems clear that he is closer to “America’s QB” then Winston is. And it’s not really even that close.

  71. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Eye Openers

    Panthers Held our offense to:
    -2 of 12 of 3rd Down

    We Held the Panthers offense to:
    -3 of 14 of 3rd Down

    Our Defense limited their offense to
    – 4 Field Goals

    Damn

    When was last time we held a team to 4 field goals and a goal line stop for the win.

    Sh!t we might have go all the way back to the Shaun King lead Bucs for that one.

  72. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    Panthers Held our offense to:
    -2 of 12 on 3rd Down

    We Held the Panthers offense to:
    -3 of 14 on 3rd Down

  73. JimmyJack Says:

    Awesome stat Luv……and it gets better for our defense cause you can also tack on 2 4th down stops to that total. Or was it 3?

  74. mark2001 Says:

    What is funny is that our O has so much more. Jameis played a smart game…still missed some open guys, but that will come as he stays in the pocket and reads more, and gets more familiar with the O. OJ, Perriman, and Mike can certainly play better games. The O line is getting some good coaching and kicks in the rear end and should get batter. I’m encouraged. Did you see Triner #97 make that special teams tackle from behind on that punt return in the first half that the carolina return man found a lane? Everybody is getting into the spirit of things….100% effort.

  75. passthebuc Says:

    Let’s forget Smith and Kotter, least the team remembers. We need to expunge the memory and talking about it constantly is not good.

  76. mark2001 Says:

    pass…fine with forgetting them…as long as we remember how important good coaching is…and that it does make a huge difference. People forget that culture, attitude, effort, teaching and developing skills, sacrifice, game planning and bench coaching, goes a long way in a league where a salary cap exists and talent is spread around the league with a draft.

  77. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    JJ

    True

  78. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    JJ

    Don’t get me wrong there’s still a lot to clean up.
    But hell, Jalen Hurts could’ve won behind center; the way the defense showed-up & showed-out in this one.

  79. JimmyJack Says:

    Mark2001 great point about Triner saving that TD. Love being reminded about overlooked plays like that.

    Good teams get contributions from all 53 guys so that’s a great sign indeed.

    Something I was glad to see was that our punter had good blocking upfront to do his job. Seemed to result in a few good punts too…….We saw poor blocking in preseason and it was upsetting to see it remain an issue and result in a block last week. It’s a great sign to see it get addressed quickly and not be a issue this week. Now it better stay that way.

    GOOO BUCS!!!

  80. Upthegut Says:

    Shaq Barrett is now SACK. BARRETT

  81. SenileSenior Says:

    Great article, Joe.

    No one can accuse you of excessive negativity or putting out click bait here. Just good reporting, analysis and informed opinion. A lot to chew on and discuss as fans.
    ______________
    Go Bucs!!!

  82. orlbucfan Says:

    Hey Joes: wasn’t it Jason Licht who brought the BA posse here? Bowles and Dungy need to get together and compare notes!! Defense and Matt Gay will only get better as the season progresses!!!!!! GO Tampa Bay!!

  83. SenileSenior Says:

    If Perriman starts catching those passes he is noted for dropping he will become yet another successful reclamation project.

    Bruce said that he was catching them all through the Spring. It was one of many brief answers he gave during his latest press conference. Obviously, he believes that his guys will coach up Perriman successfully.

    Let’s give Perriman a few more games. Otherwise, they will demote him and eventually ship him out.

    Look what happened to Spence and Benenoch. they were handled in two different ways with very much the same results. Nothing that done was indecisive.
    ______________
    Go Bucs!!!

  84. Clw JB Says:

    We are showing the classic NFL strength for winning teams, strength right up the gut on both sides

    we run up the middle the best without a doubt – Marpet/Jensen/Cappa are light years ahead of the sorry Tackles

    3 man DLine is dominating -Suh/Vea especially

    we invested #5 pick in MLB DWhite – LVD/Minter and we havent even seen Buchanon really to this point

    Whitehead looks like a star in the making at S if he can over peeking too long in the backfield and get to his deep drops in coverage

    Have to be solid up the middle and we appear to be getting there

  85. Alvin Scissors Harper Says:

    Let’s not forget that Newton can’t throw due to his shoulder or run due to his ankle, so that helped a hell of a lot.
    Shutting down McCaffrey was very impressive, but no way you could put Cam on a pedestal any longer. The guy is a shell of himself. We have a lot of good QBs coming up on the schedule. Cam is as weak as they get. I’m interested in how the D stacks up against a good offense.

  86. Billy_45 Says:

    Nice article to read Joe.
    Really enjoy you more when we win LOL.
    Joe enjoys Joe more when we win, too.–Joe

  87. Crockett69 Says:

    That was the first game in a long time that I can remember was actually thrilling to the end. I actually stayed up past midnight! Holy Cow that’s awesome for a work night. Great job Vernon, I knew you had it in ya! And btw, Suh did his job and then some. Sacks don’t mean diddly (except for the stat sheet junkies) when you have an intense interior pressure in the QB’s face all game long. I’m fixin’ to order me a Shaqaleeto Burrito next time I bounce up in Ybor City.

  88. Joe Says:

    Thanks for the compliments guys!

  89. teacherman777 Says:

    We have Jordan Whitehead.

    We dont need Minkah.

    I called Jordan Whitehead my favorite pick.

    I was right. Again.

    Check the archives.

  90. NO RISK IT NO BISCUIT Says:

    Excellent article Joe!

  91. nick Says:

    Christopher Schiefen in case no one else corrected you, Gholston IS playing JPPs position, Defensive End. Shaq is coming off the edge but his position is outside linebacker.

    Were so used to linebackers being back, but in this defense, its not a 3-4 really, its a 5-2, but the outside people, even though they MAY be ends normally, are linebackers.

    This is not uncommon. A great defensive end in college was once converted to linebacker on a 3-4 defense on the Bucs in the past, one Hugh Green.

    The Bucs ran 3-4 exclusively under John McKay from 76-84 in an era when the NFL ran the ball. too many guys on the line to run the ball against, especially if you run side to side.

  92. BucBlake Says:

    Really great work Joe!

 

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