January 16th, 2020

Bucs GM Jason Licht.

Man, this is way different from years past.

The guys over at Football Outsiders have a category they call “Keep Chopping Wood.” Bucs fans believe that saying to be a knockoff of Chucky’s famous, “Pound that rock,” a rallying cry to lead the Bucs to the Super Bowl.

Not so much for the Football Outsiders crowd. They use the phrase to mock those who display no good reason to be on an NFL roster, much less log snaps on the field.

Throughout the Lost Decade, one could easily think of a Bucs player or two who would have qualified as the worst player at his position in the NFL. Joe would suggest in inept Lovie Smith’s first season in ruining the Bucs, he hand-picked several players who were the worst starters in the NFL.

(It still blows Joe’s mind how awful of a talent-evaluator Lovie was. This team is just now climbing out of the hole he dug.)

But in Football Outsiders‘ new All-Keep Chopping Wood team, you will not find one Bucs player. Yes, Mr. Entertainment, America’s Quarterback, Jameis Winston, was cited for his picks. The Football Outsiders crew, however, didn’t seriously consider him “Keep Chopping Wood” material, and rightly so.

In Joe’s eyes, the fact that the Bucs had no player on this list is progress. In other words, arrow pointing up.

34 Responses to “Progress”

  1. Mr. Reality Says:

    Winston is the main guy holding this team back at this point. Not a jab–the man has great talent. But his mistakes, his decision making faults will certainly not be fixed this offseason, and probably never will be. It is just reality. Think of a kicker who has the ability to break the NFL record for a long field goal–a guy who can make long kicks like no other. But the problem is his control close in is just not good enough and he costs his team more games than he saves (Hmmm, this could be our kicker). While we love the plays “Mr. Entertainment” (which is accurate if you don’t buy season ticket and prefer a dull win over exhilarating single plays in garbage time) makes, he comes up short way too often to move the Bucs along. For business and for the game, dumping Winston is addition by substraction, and would let the progress continue.

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    FINALLY an article about TEAM-BUILDING. Well mostly about TEAM-BUILDING, with a splash of America’s QB thrown in there. Yes the Bucs have stunk it up because we’ve had too many ‘Keep Chopping Wood’ players on our roster for the past decade at least. But that wasn’t JUST depth players IMO; it was some starters too.

    Interestingly the ONLY Buccaneers’ player mentioned in their All-Keep Chopping Wood list WAS Jameis Winston. Still it was just an Honorable Mention though, along with Haskins, Rosen, Flacco, Mayfield, Foles and even Rivers & Brady (who both had down years). The others were skewered, but Jameis only garnered a “Jameis Winston was the first player with 30 interceptions since the 1980s”.

    Instead, Football Outsiders chose Mitch Trubisky for his ‘regression’ in 2019. Accolades(?) included “the game hasn’t seemed to slow down for him yet” and “struggles to process coverages post-snap” and “his slow first-half starts were particularly painful, often putting the Bears out of contention early before padding his stats with second-half comebacks against softer defenses.” WOW, I had to re-read the QB’s name to be sure it was Trubisky they were talking about.

  3. BucEmUp Says:

    Mr.Reality, what was Jameis record to finish the second half of tge season wit h a better defense and still no running game? Team game…

  4. Defense Rules Says:

    BTW Joe, Chicago is a candidate for ‘winning’ Jameis IF he hits free agency from what I’ve read. Excellent defense (#4 scoring defense), several decent receivers (led by Allen Robinson), but a meh running game. Fix the running game & Jameis would (theoretically) be a perfect fit.

    Bears’ problem is MONEY. They’ve now come UP to #26 in the Available Salary Cap list, and have only $20.9 mil right now (according to Spotrac). Hmmm, not enough apparently to ‘buy Jameis’ but with some creative money management who knows.

    Oh wait, they ALREADY did their ‘creative money management’ when they sold the farm to ‘buy Khalil Mack’. For 2020 Mack’s making a mere $26.6 mil and sports a dead Cap value of $45.5 mil. But hey, he did give them 8.5 sacks, 14 QB Hits, 8 TFL, 1 FR and 47 tackles in 16 games last year. Hmmm, very similar to the numbers put up by own JPP … in HALF a season, for HALF the money. And NOW with Mack’s dead Cap, the Bears can’t release him or trade him. They’re screwed IOW. Gotta love creative financing.

  5. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    (It still blows Joe’s mind how awful of a talent-evaluator Lovie was. This team is just now climbing out of the hole he dug.)

    Coach Lovie Smith didn’t have jack sh!t on GM Mark Dominik.
    This team is just now digging itself out hole – after years of piss poor judgement calls on notdrafting offensive lineman.

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

    49er’s are “Progressive”…

  7. Joe in Michigan Says:

    We did average 17 points in the 1st half of games in 2019 (275 points). I’d say that’s above average. We outscored opponents in 11 of 16 games in the 1st half.
    Our rookie kicker was better than any Buc kicker in recent memory. That’s not saying much, but I’d say he was not too shabby.

  8. Morgus the Magnificent Says:

    Envision this….the Bucs in a first round wild card game, two minutes left, Bucs down by 4, with the ball. First and 10 from their own 25. And you KNOW it’s coming….you KNOW it. INT, game over. It’s as inevitable as the sun rising in the east.

  9. Defense Rules Says:

    LUVMYBUCS … Wow, I thought you were out traveling the world; haven’t seen hardly any comments from you in awhile.

    Question for you. Lots of JBFers make the comment that the Bucs have ‘plenty of money’ for 2020, and that we can sign just about anyone we want to. I don’t buy it, because unless you know ‘what you’re paying for’ (more specifically WHO you’re paying for) there’s no way to COST IT OUT shall we say.

    I looked at the POTENTIAL 2020 Bucs’ roster … obviously with several assumptions … to create a playoff-caliber TEAM. I think we can JUST BARELY MAKE IT if we literally do everything right (history says THAT won’t happen BTW). That (in MY assumptions) includes bringing back JPP, Suh, Shaq, Nassib, Perriman AND Jameis (at $27 mil for a franchise tag). It also ASSUMES bringing back a number of our ‘depth FAs’ (like Minter) OR replacing them with comparable FAs (performance & price). And oh ya, drafting 2 OLinemen, 1 RB, 1 DLineman (or OLB) plus 2 ‘others’ (depth).

    So the question: What’s YOUR opinion on what the 2020 team will look like? (Not just positions, but name names. Well except for the draft picks I guess). It’d be fun to ‘cost it out’ and see where it stands in relation to our $210 mil Adjusted Salary Cap for 2020.

  10. FortMyersDave Says:

    I always thought “Keep Chopping Wood” might have referred to the Jack Del Rio ax incident up in Jacksonville when Del Rio put a stump and an ax in the locker room after his Jags got off to their typical zero for September start and a punter managed to somehow blast his left leg with said ax……

  11. Formerly Tampa 2 Says:

    Joe, Just want to say thanks for writing a piece without alluding to Winston as a Pro Bowl QB.

  12. D-Rome Says:

    Joe would suggest in inept Lovie Smith’s first season in ruining the Bucs,

    Unreasonable Joe,

    Without Lovie Smith, Jason Licht, and ownership orchestrating a tank job in 2014 the Bucs would not have been able to draft either Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota. The hole this team is in is because of none other than Backstabbin’ Jason Licht.

    The entire 2016 draft was a bust. The Backstabber drafted Roberto Aguayo over Yannick Ngakoue, he brought in free agents that were locker room cancers, he signed players that had known health issues (JR Sweezy anyone?), he resigned Drug Shamster, the list goes on and on.

    You need to let go of your hatred for Lovie Smith. It’s not healthy.

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Yes, we are certainly making progress……you would be hard put to name many starters that we are looking to replace……that is very rare.
    We have a slew of young, developing talent.
    We could add a RB…..RT……DE/DL early in the draft. Perhaps replace a player we are unable to resign.
    Yes….we have cap space also….and some of our players will be sought after.

    Progress, yes indeed….but progress mainly due to BA & Bowles’ draft & FA class.

  14. Hodad Says:

    Lovies gone, Koetter is gone, the losing continues. Common denominator, Licht, and Winston.

  15. sunshine Says:

    I hope the bucs move on from Joe’s man crush , get a running game with a new back and at least check out another kicker .. A great new year is coming !!

  16. D-Rome Says:

    Lovies gone, Koetter is gone, the losing continues. Common denominator, Licht, and Winston.

    Simple as that.

  17. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Clearly we are making progress.

    A poster yesterday(wish I could remember and give him credit) made a terrific point that illustrates the improvement.

    We have reached a point where we are trying figure out how to re-sign OUR FA’s instead of our historic past where we had to buy a pig in a poke FA from another team.

    I view this metric as just more proof that we’re on the right track.

  18. stpetebucsfan Says:

    BTW…as far as improving…seems like deja vu all over again as Yogi used to say.

    It seems this time last year a focus on “blameless” was that we’re getting BA who immediately eliminated any competition for “blameless” to give him an unfettered shot at the season that would determine his fate.

    And yet here we are again in year six saying…’blameless” should be brought back for what…another “trial” year. How many auditions does a QB receive?

  19. 813bucboi Says:

    just now digging out of a hole?….lol….

    lovie was fired after 2015…..he was only here 2years…lol…

    he landed us ME13, marpet, d.smith, brate, hump, kwon, JW….sure looks like a talented foundation….

    we went 9-7 in 2016 followed by back to back 5win seasons with dirk leading the charge…….

    dirks first draft landed us:

    Vernon Hargreaves III. CB,
    Noah Spence. DE
    Roberto Aguayo. K
    Ryan Smith
    Caleb Benenoch
    Devante Bond
    Danny Vitale.

    only ryan smith is still on the roster……

    the lack of development threw this franchise into the grave forget a hole….

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  20. Pryda...Sec147 Says:

    Any one who says Bucs are moving on from Winston probably voted for you know who.

  21. El Buco Realisto Says:

    Loser lovie was the biggest buffoon in Tampa History!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The best contribution that incompetent imbicile provided was when he fell asleep during the combine workouts!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It is a fact that loser set back the franchise for a decade, I just don’t see why team Glazer keeps renewing it year after year!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And there is a reason that joe and the last few sheep, won’t say a word about the GM and gives him a pass year after year!!!!!!!!!!!! Because the first thing a New GM will do is replace “blameless” and his years of turnovers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So said that joe and the local media are so gutless, and then have the gall to say that it is an improvement not to have a player on the horrible list!!!!!!!!!!!

    The GM is in his 7th offseason joe!!!!!!!!!!! Were are the expectations????????? Were is the accountability that you cry only at certain people joe?????????? No wonder they are such huge “blameless” fans , because they are obviously fans of no CONSISTENCY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

  22. Joe Says:

    The GM is in his 7th offseason joe!!!!!!!!!!! Were are the expectations?????????

    Jason Licht is safe as long as Bruce Arians is here. We’ve been over this dozens of times. You know why. Not sure why this is even a question.

  23. Craig Says:

    The biggest reason NFL players, usually, do bad is their coach versus GM.

    Mike Smith tried to turn man to man coverage DBs into zone players. That is how Hargreaves got ruined. That happens in a lot of other places too.

    Stopping that futility is how the 49ers look so good this year. They have tailored there team to how they coach their team.

    The Bucs moved closer because Bowles started with man coverage. Next season he needs to add in some coverage changes. Now that the DBs have some confidence it should be easy.

    The usually part pertains to Winston. So far none of the coaches he has come across has been able to get to the root of his problem and turn him around. Maybe the problem is Tampa itself. Let him go and get some sanity into the QB position. Draft someone that fits the Arians mold.

  24. Mr. Reality Says:

    BucEmUp…in the second half of the season when Winston racked up his meaningless majority proportion yards to get to 5,100, his team’s W-L record improved because of the defense. HIS own record was even MORE turnovers than he’d had the first half of the season. They didn’t win in the second half of the season because of Winston….they won despite him.

  25. Mr. Reality Says:

    Winston directly lost SF, CAR2, TEN, NO2, HOU, ATL due to multiple TOs (Am I missing one). Were it not for the D pulling his fat out of the fire, he’d have lost ARI and IND. Yes, “team game.” Winston bailed out the horrible D for the LAR game. Back to my point, the amazing plays he can make are quickly overcome by mistake that happen much more often, and this won’t change. Progress: Addition by subtraction at QB.

  26. Mr. Reality Says:

    “Jason Licht is safe as long as Bruce Arians is here. We’ve been over this dozens of times. You know why. Not sure why this is even a question.” That is an amusing assumption in some media circles. That is not the truth by any stretch. The closest to “reality” is that JL is still here because BA came in. That’s good for one year.

  27. Stevebobucsfan Says:

    What I want to know is how in the hell Jameis is the one holding this team back

  28. Man of Constant Sorrow Says:

    It’s been FIVE seasons and Winston has lead the NFL every season in turnovers. This year, in a contract year no-less, he really crapped the bed with 35

    But hey, at least the arrows pointing up! ..smh

  29. Stevebobucsfan Says:

    That’s my point man of constant sorrows. As bad as Winston has been, the Bucs have won more games than they have in 5 years and the offense is in the top 5 in the NFL and as you said the arrow is pointing up this was easily a 9 & 7 team if not for a couple of field goals. I just don’t understand why Winston is the single one holding this team back

  30. rrsrq Says:

    @ Mr. Realty

    Bucs only lost to the Panthers 1x and I am pretty sure that lost to ATL was primarily on the foot of Gay, the TEN loss likely would not have happened had the refs not blown a fumble dead when Devin White punished the punter.

  31. Jonny Says:

    @,Mr Reality, Your first post is very logical take of Jameis situation. Of all the positions, QB is the last one I would want an athlete to play with reckless abandon. I respect Jameis’ intentions in wanting to win us games, but he didn’t change his playstyle despite the defense stepping up at the end of the year. I have never seen him play smart and still be productive. The only way Jameis knows how to play safe is by playing too conservative to where he has no rhythm with his receivers.

  32. scot pederson Says:

    Ok so perhaps Winston is not the sole reason for holding this team back. Some of you may be familiar with the Pareto Principle which is used a lot in Sales to describe 20% of the Reps produce 80% of the Sales on the Team.

    This study has been done with sports teams as well. For many years it was the Yankees & Dodgers that won 80% of the Baseball W.Series, the Celtics & Lakers won 80% of the NBA Trophy, and years ago it was the Packers & Browns.

    With the changes in Free Agency this did disrupt the Principle to some degree but we still see some consistency in the NFL. Teams who consistently make the playoffs, Saints, Packers, Patriots, Steelers, Seahawks, Ravens, etc

    So with that said our Bucs team directions really starts at the Top, the owners & GM. Yes, we picked up a playoff Head Coach, loaded up the team at WR & TE and improved the defense. But lets be honest. Look at the QBs of all the Playoff teams. Not 1 of them had even close to 20 Picks and Jameis had 30. Its not the huge yards and high TDs that matter as much as the Turnovers which:
    A-Usually change the Momentum of the game and multiple TOs truly change it
    B-Sets up the opponent to score immediately or many times a short field
    C-Has a detrimental effect on the offense and the defense. Sure they can recover but it wears on you.

    So what would a Consistent Playoff team do if they had a QB leading the league in Turnovers the last 5 years. If you don’t want to admit what many of us know they would do, then you are wishing on a star.

    Other teams who have Mistake-riddle QBs year after year do not keep making excuses for him. They replace him.

  33. Mr. Reality Says:

    rrsrq–yes, I know the Bucs lost just once to CAR. That’s why I lay CAR2 on Winston. Also, NO1 was not on Winston, even though that was a loss. Only NO2 was on Winston. Yes, if Gay makes one kick, the Bucs can avoid overtime. Just like a gazillion games where if they make on tackle, one block etc. The bottom line dude is this wanna be franchise QB had the game in his hands and did what he usually does…threw the ball to the other team. Game over. Let’s not be silly about TEN. Every team deals with bad officiating…it’s a wash. There is no W-L column for references. Good teams don’t put themselves in positions to let one bad call blow it. That only applies to little Johnny crying after a pee wee game when Mommy trys to get him stop sobbing. This is the NFL. All teams deal with weather, officials, drops, wind, and jet lag. Don’t make excuses for the ineexcusable.

  34. Mr. Reality Says:

    Jonny…thanks…and good point. Remember CAR1? They happened to win that one because of all people VHIII stopped a run by CM22 at the end of the game. Winston didn’t make any mistakes, but they also made sure he didn’t have the opportunity to. That too is not what is a franchise QB…you have to trust him. And clearly they can’t.