Five Things

September 28th, 2020

(Photo courtesy of

Welcome fans of your first-place Bucs, baby. And good morning on this wonderful Victory Monday! Let’s get rolling.

Sack Barrett

Pretty cool stuff from Bucs coach Bucco Bruce Arians yesterday and a tip o’ the hat to defensive coordinator Todd Bowles.

Prior to the Broncos game, NFL sack king Shaq Barrett, who had 19.5 last year, had no sacks in the first two games. That streak continued through the first quarter of yesterday’s win before Shaq blew up.

Apparently, Arians, Bowles and the Bucs were determined to get Shaq on track. So when pass rushing and blitzing yesterday, the Bucs made a concerted effort to put pressure up the middle.

This, Arians said, forced the Broncos to commit personnel between the tackles in order to stop the massive pass rush and blitzes. By doing this, the Broncos left single coverage on Shaq and that released the dog to hunt.

As a result, Shaq was his normal self and he easily had his best game of the season.

Hello “Puh-pee”

Ah, the life of Bucs foot-rubbing tight end Rob Gronkowski. His SI swimsuit covergirl model girlfriend yesterday posted an Instagram Stories item where she was watching the Bucs at home. On a pass Gronk caught from Brady near the left sideline, where he was stopped just short of the sticks, you could hear her refer to Gronk as “Puh-pee!”

(When Gronk caught a pass from Brady and was downed at the two-yard line, she referred to Gronk as “Sexy @ss.”)

Just a few days ago it was spreading across the nation like a California wildfire that Gronk was done, too slow, toast, history. Arians said the reason the future Hall of Fame tight end wasn’t getting targeted was a combination of Gronk wasn’t open and Arians doesn’t believe in throwing to tight ends. Gronk also said he came to town to be a blocker, “baby.”

Well, that may have all been a well-played smokescreen. Arians admitted the way Broncos coach and defensive guru Vic Fangio plays defense, the Bucs expected Gronk to get open looks yesterday and, thus, some targets.

The Broncos are “one of those teams that’s going to double team Mike [Evans] the entire game and it just opens up for the guys inside,” Arians said.

So there you have it. Why was Gronk targeted? Because the Bucs expected him to be open and he was. Didn’t have a thing to do with Arians offense or Gronk appearing washed up.

Gronk looked like Gronk yesterday.

And no, Joe’s not going to start to refer to Gronk as “Puh-pee.”

But damn, the guy sure is living the life.

Studs at safety?

The Bucs all of a sudden seem to be loaded at safety, and that is a good thing.

Right now, there is no doubt in Joe’s mind that safety Antoine Winfield is in the conversation for Defensive Rookie of the Year. Jordan Whitehead is a hitting fool. And it seems second-year safety Mike Edwards is improving. He had a helluva interception yesterday.

Arians after the game raved about Edwards and Winfield.

“[Antoine] has played the nickel since he’s gotten here, so it was no big deal for him,” Arians said. “Mike’s been ready for his shot. Great to see him come up with that big interception because he is a guy that is a ballhawk and should come up with plays like that.”

Joe had noticed in training camp that Edwards played a whole lot with the first-team defense. He may have had more snaps with the first team at safety than Winfield. It was close. That’s why Joe wasn’t ready to declare Winfield a starter until the Bucs announced it.

Winfield really, really looks like the second-coming of Rondé Barber and you could argue, maybe better. Barber struggled early in his career. Winfield has been a baller from his first game.

“The first week he got here you saw it,” Arians said. “And he’s just going to continue to make plays wherever we put him. He’s a five-year vet mentally just because of where he came from. His maturity level is off the charts. [He’s] very, very similar to [Chiefs S] Tyrann Mathieu and [Cardinals S] Budda Baker.”

Man, comparing Winfield to Honey Badger, that gets Joe so fired up; Joe wants to start doing shots already this morning.

If Winfield doesn’t get hurt, this guy has all the looks of being a Bucs legend.


Yesterday, Joe was harsh on how the Bucs played such sloppy football in the second half on offense. There is no doubt they did. To suggest otherwise is a con job.

However, perhaps Joe should give more props to the Bucs?

Consider: In Week 1, the Broncos played a fine game against the Titans, a team that made the playoffs last year, and the Titans had to score late to take a lead.

In fact the Broncos seemed to be marching toward a game-winning scoring drive when the drive broke down, in part to questionable clock management.

Then last week, even though the Broncos were beat to hell and had to have their backup quarterback, Jeff Driskel, take over for the injured Drew Lock, held the Steelers to a one-score game. It’s not like the Steelers are a lousy team.

The Bucs, at one point yesterday, had a 20-point lead on the Broncos. On the road! Did sloppy play on offense kill drives and allow Denver to get back in the game? Yes.

Maybe Joe was too harsh yesterday? This was the biggest margin of victory any of the Broncos’ three opponents had this season.


Now Joe was getting twitters last night about how the Bucs need to fire their strength and conditioning coaches this morning after stud receiver Chris Godwin and corner Sean Murphy-Bunting suffered hamstring injuries yesterday in the win over Denver.

When Arians speaks later this afternoon at One Buc Palace, we should have more info on their status.

Yes, Joe understands this is frustrating. And no, Joe doesn’t think there is a simple answer. And no, Joe doesn’t believe the Bucs should run their strength and conditioning people.

Yes, Joe knows hydration is a key with hamstrings. But this assumes the Bucs are not making sure players are hydrated. Does anyone really believe the Bucs are pulling a Bear Bryant and forbidding players to drink water and/or Gatorade like football coaches did in the old days?

(Anyone remember those damn salt tablets coaches had players eat like M&Ms? Those things made Joe want to puke and coaches thought those things were magic beans when it came to hydration.)

Yeah, Joe knows Arians once coached for Bryant but Arians is rather enlightened when it comes to hydration.

Joe has heard Arians say that in an effort to decrease the hamstring issues from last year, the team has leaned heavily on sports science. So to blame the Bucs’ strength and conditioning coaches and staff would be to assume that data gathered from some of the top sports science leaders on the globe is nonsense. That might be a stretch.

Could this have something to do with a short training camp? Perhaps. But that’s just a stab in the dark.

Trying to predict if not prevent injuries, especially muscle pulls, is a fair bit of witchcraft. And no, Joe doesn’t believe the Bucs will hire some healer from Haiti or the Louisiana bayou to their strength and conditioning staff to perform voodoo dances on players.

31 Responses to “Five Things”

  1. Roy T. Buford Says:

    Too many dropped passes yesterday, although the offense continues to improve. Brady has gotten better every week, for sure. The run game still stinks. They should come out of the gate with Fournette, and if Godwin misses time, they are going to need to be better at mixing up the run/pass game. I know Evans caught two TDs yesterday, but 2 catches for 2 yards along with past weeks tells me he and Brady are not in synch.

  2. Alanbucsfan Says:

    3 OLine penalties in 2nd 1/2 killed drives, but the D was so outstanding that Fangio put in the backup with 10 minutes left in game and Broncos proceeded to run off 6 minutes of 4th quarter before Edwards’ interception. Then ROJO finished off running out the clock.
    All in all, a pretty dominating win.

  3. Pablo Says:

    Very good points Joe, and don’t forget Carlton Davis locking people down. Pablo loves it

  4. Goforthwface30 Says:

    Biomechanically speaking – basketball is much tougher on bodies CONDITIONING wise and has a higher load on CNS (nervous system.) More sudden movements, sprinting and jumping, on a hard surface. They NEVER get hammies. Ever. Whether you’re involved in strongman, bodybuilding, or “sports ball” knowing your body is a thing. Knowing how to train and active recovery is a thing. Frankly this is partly Godwin’s fault as well as the staffs. This should not be happening. Fans that aren’t even involved in fitness (like I am frankly) are asking fair questions. This also seems to be concentrated on the Bucs. I’m not privy to their training protocols but compound exercises like free squat and dead’s should be off-season work for example. If they’re doing that, plus sprinting once a week during practice AND a game then that’s overtraining which leads to this. FIX THE GOD DAMN PROBLEM

  5. EA Says:

    The one thing that impressed me the most was deep throw dimes, after playing conservative the last 2 games and the first quarter of the third game I was starting to question his arm strength, than he unleashed his cannon down field for multiple deep throws… was exciting to watch.

  6. Bobby M. Says:

    I’ve said this before, we’re going to have to live with some ugly wins….which are frankly better then losses. That being said, we’ve beaten to very bad teams…while playing very sloppy football. I dont think we can make a whole lot from those wins. We wont beat good teams playing that sloppy. We’ve got to figure out a run game, that’s a must for this offense and Brady as well as the defense. We sit 2-1 on top of the division with a chance to go 3-1. Fingers crossed we start cleaning up our play.

  7. tickrdr Says:

    Once again, when was the last time the Bucs played a game where the outcome was NEVER IN DOUBT.


  8. Cobraboy Says:

    Hey, Glazers: try this one: “It’s a New Day in Tompa Bay.”

  9. Cobraboy Says:

    @Bobby M: The entire NFL is playing “sloppy” football.

    No off-season camps and short PS with no PS games is the reason.

    Veteran teams (like Bucs D) are looking better than newly-assembled teams (like Bucs O).

    Give it another two weeks to gel across the entire NFL…

  10. D-Rome Says:

    Where are all the mouth breathers still upset over the Vea pick? You know, the ones who cried that we should have drafted Derwin James. Vea was all over the field yesterday.

  11. Jmarkbuc Says:


    Nothing like 60 degrees…for the big man. He was awesome 😎

  12. orlbucfan Says:

    Bucs practice outside in west central FL. Hello! The weather here is hot and very humid. Factor in the added intensity per climate change. Affects bodies and conditioning. NBA players do not practice outdoors. NFL is a rough sport, and no preseason this year. So, hamstrings get pulled. At least, Buc Luck is quiet: no torn knees, broken bones, etc. The cheap head shot Ungodly took in NOLA concerns me. The hamstring is allowing him to get more rest and treatment. Chris Godwin is such a baller, and we need him at 100%.

  13. 813bucboi Says:


    GO BUCS!!!!!

  14. Darin Says:

    They hire someone from the Louisiana bayou and we are in serious trouble. Those huuuuuge saints fans will only cause more problems.

  15. Allbuccedup Says:

    To stay in first place offense needs to play better in the second half.

  16. WyomingBucsFan Says:

    It’s possible that this Bucs team will only be tested two more times this year. We’re definitely going to the playoffs.

  17. No Risk It No Biscuit Says:

    A friendly reminder to Bucs fans. This was our 3rd preseason game.
    By the Green Bay game the offense will start to scare the NFL.

    Go Bucs!!!!!!

    And Realisto and his puppy will begin to hibernate.

  18. Mike C Says:

    The pup hollering yesterday about how Brady sucked, yet if JW had played the exact same game he would have been singing praises about great he was, delusional!!!!!!

  19. Hodad Says:

    If it was just the Bucs having hammy issues I’d call for the conditioning coach to be canned, but it’s league wide. Football players unlike basketball players have to build up their leg muscles to with stand the hits they take. Perhaps they’d be better off doing more stretching, and less building muscle.

  20. Bird Says:

    Mike C

    You are absolutely right
    I think brady still threw for 300 and 3 and no INTs
    Nsob would have called him a leader. The messiah.

    Again , he is so sad today…nsob 😢
    the bucs win with the GOAT and in first place
    Life is tough for him

  21. Bird Says:

    They need to have fitness instructors/ staff / PT experts …stretching out those hammies though-out game. Especially halftime when body cools down.

    Get some Stationary bikes on siDelines

  22. Coburn Says:

    So was Winfield filling in at nickel after SMB went off the field and that’s why we saw Edwards? Kinda figured he could in a pinch, but so good at safety. Pretty sure Ryan Smith would do alright as well

  23. Brandon Says:

    You spent three paragraohs droning on about hydration which is a tiny percentage of why hamstrings get pulled. Overuse, not being warmed up, and over extension are still easily the top reasons of why hamstrings get injured. Hydration and lack of is among the leading causes of cramping… along with overuse.

    My theory on Godwin injuring his hamstring… he missed several practices in a row during training camp… no statement as to why. Then week 1 he played a huge amount of snaps and had a concussion. Was in concussion protocol and didn’t practice or run for an entire week plus… then he played almost all snaps until injured against Broncos on soft grass. So there was already a possible issue in TC, then overuse in week 1, then no use for over a week, then back to overuse on a soft field.

    As for SMB… this is my only explanation. 2nd quarter, perhaps he wasn’t warm as the Bucs O was eating up clock and the defense kept forcing three and outs.

  24. EJ Says:

    The strength and conditioning staff need to have the speed guys doing Nordic hamstring curls consistently to help avoid hamstring injuries. Hamstring injuries occur in the eccentric/end of the swing phase of sprinting so working on eccentric hamstring strength is key. I worked at a high level division 1 football college and it’s not a given that the speed guys do this inherently. From my own personal experience and the testament of several high level track coaches Nordic hamstring curls are the single best exercise to avoid hamstring injuries in speed athletes.

  25. SB Says:

    Great Article Joes!!!

  26. Dano407 Says:

    Bucs still not running ball effectively (27th in NFL) & Godwin has to be healthy for this offense to improve. The Oline penalties killed multiple drives.

  27. Craig Says:

    The thing that I have noticed is the lack of separation by the receivers in the second half. It could be the lack of conditioning. It could also be that defenses adjust at halftime.

    Whatever it is, it needs to get better. It might do it when the rest of the team catches up with Brady.

    Evans and Godwin should get their work load reduced for a bit. Bucs have a couple of soft games coming. They should work on the lower rated talents and TEs for those. Save 13 and 14 for the tough games coming.

  28. ElioT Says:

    Excellent article. The five things were well selected.

    Go Bucs!

  29. Ivan The Insider Says:


    People still think that last year’s Offense was more “high flying” and scoring than this year’s… NOT TRUE.

    2019 Season Scoring through 1st three games: 68 Points

    2020 Season Scoring through 1st three games: 82 Points

  30. WyomingBucsFan Says:

    I’m with you Ivan. The QB obviously is the biggest difference. The defense is really coming on. Let us pray for no season ending injuries and enjoy the ride to the super bowl!

  31. Sorryjackchuckiesback Says:

    FINALLY a pretty good article Joe!! A non bias without the ‘this is my lover so I’m sticking up for him’ article!! …. But number one “did the sloppy play let the broncos back in it?” … the answer is NO!! I never once thought they were going to lose that game!! Not after the Panthers game where if Winston was QB YOU KNOW he throws the game away!! Those days are over and while they need to run better in the second half… The second half is for the defense to feast!! Get a big lead then let the defense pin their ears back and go after the QB!! It worked beautifully!!! ….. Second, I’ll take the hamstring injuries!! Because whatever they’re doing they stay relatively healthy!! I remember back in the day this team was ALWAYS plagued with serious injuries!! Right now and last year they were one of the healthiest teams in the league!! If hamstring injuries here and there are a consequence of that… I’ll take it!! … But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try to figure it out!! And yes I played safety all my life and through college and a little received and hydration is for sure important for hamstring injuries!!!