Inside The Winner’s Locker Room

September 10th, 2019

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

BY IRA KAUFMAN columnist

Presented By

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After listening to Bruce Arians woefully detail Tampa Bay’s self-destructive tendencies Sunday, I hustled over to the 49ers locker room to see John Lynch.

I waited as dozens of players walked toward the team bus while equipment bags were lugged out.

Still, no Lynch.

He was out of view in the back room, celebrating with San Francisco’s coaching staff. There were only a few 49ers remaining when Lynch emerged with a huge grin.

“Ira, what are you still doing here?” Lynch asked. “Waiting for you,” I replied. “Where the heck were ya?”

“Just talking things over with Kyle,” he said, referring to third-year head coach Kyle Shanahan, who needed this win in the worst way.

And that’s the way he got it. Make no mistake — the Bucs just lost a home game to a mediocre football team that didn’t play particularly well.

For frustrated Buc fans, that’s the gridiron definition of agita.

“It was just perseverance,” Lynch said. “Our guys really fought, and that’s what I was really proud of. We were relentless in our effort, but we’ve got to clean a lot of things up … it was sloppy.”

Amen, brother.

Once Tim McGraw left the stage, neither team could find any rhythm.

A pair of tight ends, Cameron Brate and George Kittle, EACH had two apparent TD receptions overturned by penalties. You may not see that slop again for decades.

49ers DT DeForest Buckner

The heat index topped 100 degrees, yet it was the visitors from Northern California who kept their cool.

“We went 0-8 on the road last year and it was really big to win this one,” said 49ers defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, who said he was double-teamed all day. “Everybody stuck with each other. It was pretty hot, but in the fourth quarter it was a battle of wills. It was all about who wants it more. It was all about the mental part.”

How do you think those Buckner quotes will go over with Bruce Arians?

This was supposed to be a different Buc team — more physical, more aggressive and, most importantly, more intelligent. Instead, mental mistakes were abundant from the start.

Everywhere you looked on offense, a culprit emerged.

Demar Dotson was flagged for critical holds. O.J. Howard lost a fumble and had a pass deflect off his hands for an interception. Donovan Smith struggled to sustain blocks.

And Jameis Winston didn’t get the job done.

Blame it on San Francisco’s pass rush. Blame it on poor route running.

Blame it on opening-day jitters.

In the end, quarterbacks are held responsible when things go awry.

That’s just the way it is in professional football. Is it fair? Maybe.

But it’s the way it is.

Speaking of San Francisco’s pass rush, Buckner and company came at Winston hard throughout the game. He wasn’t running for his life, but Winston rarely looked comfortable.

“This organization invested a lot in the defensive line,” Buckner said, “and you saw it come to fruition today.”

Ouch. Another shot across the bow for Buc fans unhappy with Jason Licht’s resume.

I asked Buckner if the 49ers believed they could unnerve Winston with pressure.

“Most definitely,” he said. “You see it on film. Force him into making some bad throws, and we did that today.”

Before hopping on the plane for a jubilant ride back home, Lynch offered some encouraging words to Buc Nation.

“I know about Bruce and what he can do for a team,” Lynch said. “Last year, they struggled running the ball and they ended up running the ball well today. Ronald Jones looked good. Bruce does a really nice job, lots of respect for him and his staff. They’ll get this thing turned around in Tampa.”

Watch every road game at Buffalo Wild Wings with Ira Kaufman and readers. Great giveaways, too. The preseason opener was a blast.


Kickoff at 8:20. The fun kicks off at 7:30 p.m.

25 Responses to “Inside The Winner’s Locker Room”

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

    “I asked Buckner if the 49ers believed they could unnerve Winston with pressure.

    “Most definitely,” he said. “You see it on film. Force (INVITED ) him into making some bad throws, and we did that today.”

  2. D-Rome Says:

    I was stunned to hear Ira on the podcast state that one of the 49er players (DeForest Buckner?) said that they wanted the game more than the Bucs.

  3. Lamarcus Says:

    One of the sloppiest games I’ve ever seen. The Bucs seems to never disappoint. Always a new low with them. I couldn’t enjoy the Flagfest and both teams couldn’t gain any momentum because of penalty stoppage

  4. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    @ D-Rome

    You shouldn’t be stunned….opposing teams will always pump themselves up more than they need to be.

    The bottomline is that:

    * we lost to a very bad football team
    * Jameis could’ve ended up with six INTs
    * Where is the pass rush?

  5. stpetebucsfan Says:

    It’s hard to criticize JW at this point because it’s now just piling on.

    But JW did more than just fail to execute…he seemed scared and it’s as if he was choking out there…LOTS of guys choke at one time or another and heaven knows JW has ENORMOUS pressure to perform this year.

    But JW’s lack of confidence seemed to infect the entire team. Notice I typed SEEMED…you may have a different view of JW’s horrid performance.

    So JW’s history has been that he frequently “tried to hard”. How hard to we think he’ll be trying Thursday night to stop this bash JW movement that is not just Buc fans…but former players…”expert” commentators. JW is now on an island. It’s totally up to him to find his way back…IF he can.

  6. SteelStudBuc Says:

    You know it’s getting bad when they start interviewing the other teams players…
    “Hey how’d it feel to beat the Bucs?”, mind you it is John Lynch.

  7. TheBucsAnthem Says:


  8. Jean Lafitte Says:

    Lynch just being nice

  9. Hodad Says:

    It’s hard to win the mental part of the game when your QB is a mental midget! Very telling what Buck said about Winston knowing he’d crack under pressure. No doubt he cracked. Arain, and all of Humpty Dumpty’s men won’t be able to put Humpty back together again.

  10. NPRSageBoy Says:

    The two MOST prolific INT throwers in Thursday Night Football history meet in Charlotte this week…. Who wants it more?

    The INT title or the win?

  11. Sport Says:

    That’s the remnants of a losing culture. Yes Joe, culture. (Which you only seem to.have studied one definition. as you stated in a previous post regarding artwork and things. Its about people and how they interact with each other.)

    It was evident we made a huge change on defense in that department. They have speed, aggressiveness and a wreck every play mentality. (fyi, for all you negative namcies, Sacks are not the only measure of.wrecking a play)

    Offense had a nice edge in the running game ( Buckner and run it right past that small fast defensive line). Guess what, it was working. We didn’t need JW heroics, the run game was there. The penalties and JW decisions lost this game. JW makes his Oline look bad, can you say the same for Brees, Brady, Rogers. Nope. They get the damn ball out fast. Which is what this offense requires. It just so happens JW is one of the worst in the league at this. Qback can make the Oline look good with a quick release, I have never seen evidence of JW doing that consistently. Maybe Griff can?

    In BA I Trust!

  12. ClodHopper Says:

    “You see it on film.”

    You got that right!! The longer he is uncomfortable the dumber this supposedly highly intelligent qb gets. He takes high risk high reward shots knowing he cant hit anything past 20 yards making them all high risk low reward shots. He throws into a pack of opposing team players while hes off balance. His feet looks like he’s trying to break a record on Dance Dance Revolution.

    The whole league knows it!

  13. LargoBuc Says:

    This isn’t a case of “turning thngs around”. This is Arians stopping by for a year or two to wave his magic wand and unlock the potential of this super talented team that Licht assembled(sarcasm guys) and allow either Byron or Bowles to take over as captain.
    Well after that spit fest we saw Sunday, i’m not sure this plan is going to work.

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

    ClodHopper…BINGO !….pressuring Jameis is better than a sack

  15. LordCornelius Says:

    @ST Pete

    Agree. Jameis didn’t look the same confidence wise at all. Body language in the pocket wasn’t good. No rythym or consistency. Not used to seeing that for an entire game, which is why it might as well have been another Cincy type game where he just looked way off the whole night.

    He needs to get it together or he’s done. You can see by the overwhelming fan reaction that he won’t get another year if we have a losing record / he doesn’t play very well.

  16. Senor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    StPete you nailed it. I will never believe JW was the wrong draft pick years ago. He had all the tools. The Bucs screwed him with poor run game, no D, bad coaches (Lovie!), etc. Now I am afraid he may be a head case

  17. 813bucboi Says:

    winston didnt show up…simple as that…

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  18. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    @ Senor Harry in Costa Rica

    I think all of you are completely missing the point here.

    The point is now in the present and:

    Presently – we have a QB in his 5th that looks terrible
    Presently – we have a QB that still throws high to receivers
    Presently – we have a QB that overthrows receivers consistently
    Presently – we have a QB that cannot throw accurate deep balls
    Presently – we have a QB that keeps on making boneheaded mistakes
    Presently – we have a QB that keeps on fumbling the football
    Presently – we have a QB that holds on to the ball too long

    THIS IS YEAR 5 PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  19. TampaTown Says:

    John Lynch always a class act.

  20. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Sport- good post

  21. unbelievable Says:

    That quote from Buckner should be plastered on every single locker in the Bucs room for the next week, next to a picture of him smiling and celebrating the win.

    Maybe, just maybe that will piss our guys off enough toactually light a fire under their lazy a$$es (*cough* Donovan Smith *cough* Demar Dotson *cough* Jameis Winston)

  22. Defense Rules Says:

    @Ira … “I asked Buckner if the 49ers believed they could unnerve Winston with pressure. “Most definitely,” he said. “You see it on film. Force him into making some bad throws, and we did that today.”

    Oh Ira, that’s such a damning quote. Surely other DLines think exactly the same thing about Jameis … rattle him & he’ll fold like a cheap suit. THAT’S the reputation Jameis has built among NFL players over a 4-year period. And that’s precisely what we saw on Sunday. Deer-in-the-headlights.

    Carolina’s got a pretty stout DLine also. I was in favor of letting this season play out with Jameis under center, but if Jameis’ play looks on Thursday like it looked on Sunday, I’d now say that it’s time to move on right now and give Ryan Griffin a shot. He may not be any better, but when a team loses confidence in their QB, bad things happen and it impacts the TEAM’S confidence. BA can’t let that happen. Too many good things are in the making.

  23. Mike Johnson Says:

    Again..When a team comes all the way from Cali to FL and Whips your A** in your house? Big props to them. SF pass rush was much better than ours. And their Qb oftentimes did not look pressured. Where is our Pass rush people? Do we have one? We lost against an average team. And we do have some really good team to play. There shall be no mercy for these Bucs. We fixed the Defensive back end and did nothing for the defensive upfront motor. Can’t and Won’t win like that sonny!

  24. BigMacAttack Says:

    Our defense rocked. I don’t care what anyone says. How can you not be stoked about our defense? They’ll get better too.

  25. Mike Johnson Says:

    Sat BigMacAttack..May I have the name of your supplier. Cause you smokin some Mahavishnu dude! maybe I watched a different game. I did not see a pass rush against the 9ers. You did. I’ll take 5 fingers of what you smokin!