Bucs DC: It’s On You!

November 20th, 2020

“You have to prepare yourself.”

The Bucs are pulling out all the stops trying to end their hex of primetime pukefests.

In three games so far in primetime this season, the Bucs have played lousy in each one (Bears, Giants and Saints). If the Bucs make the playoffs, they hope to play in at least one primetime game in January.

So whatever this curse is, now is the time to end it as the Bucs prepare for their final scheduled primetime game this season, hosting the Rams at the Den of Depression on Monday night.

Some ways Arians has publicly talked about reversing primetime fortunes is to hold night practices at the Glazer Shed. Arians said yesterday the Bucs will be practicing at the Den of Depression tonight (closed to the public).

People are hatching all sorts of reasons as to why the Bucs play awfully in primetime, from players having their body clocks screwed up to laying around in a hotel room all day waiting for the game.

(Interestingly, each reason is one that Bucs opponents have to push through as well.)

It seems Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles is done with the primetime excuses. Yesterday he said, in so many words, each player must prepare to be ready to play by kickoff under the moon and stars.

“It’s up to every coach and player to get themselves ready,” Bowles said. “Obviously you are in the room all day and you are just relaxing. But when you get to the locker room you have to stretch out and come out.

“We just have to start faster. We have to start faster. If we start faster, the momentum will carry over. There’s not any special thing you can do on Monday or Sunday to get you more ready for the game than you are. You just have to start faster.”

That’s an accurate if not old school look at the matter from Bowles. Players cannot nor should not depend on others to be prepared. Each player has to do that himself.

Joe has no idea if the following is true. Sure, the Bucs have a handful of players who have played before the brightest of bright lights in the NFL, including Super Bowls. The core of this team rarely has played on a big platform. Could it be too many players, conditioned from years and years of losing and very few primetime games, just have stage fright on national television?

29 Responses to “Bucs DC: It’s On You!”

  1. Defense Rules Says:

    “Stage fright”? Seriously? Best lay off some of those craft beers because our locals must be putting some funny juice in there to spice it up.

    P-poor coaching in those games is a lot more believable.

  2. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Starting fast is not just a defensive responsibility. Seems like in one of those games there were at least four drives going nowhere to start the game. I was reminded of the slow start that Jameis often had prior to last year.

  3. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    Zone with soft coverage and no pressure are the reasons Bowels defense plays horrible. 10 yard cushions and no press at the line allows guaranteed slantreceptions all day long. Vita Vea out and now we have no middle pressure and run defense has tanked. This defense has a hard time getting itself off the field on 3rd and 4th down. The upside though is it has kept us in games when the offense struggled.

    On offense BL is so predictable. It seems he only has a few plays he can call on 1st down. He takes too long to takeadjustments and then the lack of execution of the plays has contributed to its slow starts. They need to get back to leading the league in points scored in the 1st quarter and pick up the pace in the other 3.

  4. Roy T. Buford Says:

    They are letting this get into their head too much. I used to think it was national spotlight jitters. That may still be it, but I think it may also be sitting around all day waiting for the game and they are psyched out. Either way, they need to turn in an A+ performance Monday night or all the rumors and speculation will have a lot of merit.

  5. ClodHopper Says:

    “It’s up to every coach and player to get themselves ready,”

    IOW Its gonna look the same

  6. Bobby M. Says:

    Its on the offense. If you watch the dynamics of the two units, the defense feeds off the success of the offense. If the offense comes out slow, for whatever reason the defense plays like they are in a fog. Offense comes out with a quick strike, defense will come out making plays. My guess is the defense is littered with younger, less experienced players.

  7. geno711 Says:

    Great improvement by the players and coaches this year.

    Last year our defense was 29th in scoring.
    This year 8th.

    Clearly part of that is less turnovers by the offense that is still 6th in scoring this year.

    I don’t believe in night time woes. I don’t believe in prime time stage fright. We are as good as our record. I favor us at home over the Rams.

    We played lousy in the Saints game. I guess some expect every game by the Bucs now to be a 20 point win. I will take an average margin of victory the rest of the season by 7 points.

  8. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Every team has to deal with this…..I suspect it comes down to coaching….I do think that practicing at night will help a lot…..especially practicing at Ray Jay.

    We should start our offense with very simple runs and pass plays….play action, short passing etc. Move the ball with a sustained drive.

    I am actually more concerned about the Rams than I am the Chiefs…..I think the Ram defense could give us some problems & it has nothing to do with Prime Time.

    I certainly hope I’m wrong because we need to score at least 30 points Monday.

  9. Allbuccedup Says:

    All the bucs players are not custom to losing. Brady, Suh, Jenson plus a lot of young players from top programs.

  10. Brandon Says:

    Maybe we’d start faster if we didn’t come out playing so much soft zone in the first halves of games and so vanilla. Our pass has proven they can’t beat teams on their own and need to be schemed free. On offense, it’s hard to start fast when our most important player is often benched after the first drive. Rojo is the key to the offense. When he’s in the game, we move the ball.

  11. ModHairKen Says:

    The reason that they have trouble with night games on national television is because they are playing the better teams. Come on, it’s that simple.

  12. Señor Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    Huge, huge game. NOT a must win, but a very good measuring stick. If we loose we are still in, but this is exactly like a playoff game. Teams want to show they are better; players want to ball out; all (TV) eyes are on you – just like a playoff game

    The Rams defense is stout, no weaknesses. This is where it will be interesting. I see us forcing the run game, with slight success. Our WRs should open up the middle some for our TEs.

    The Bucs defense SHOULD (no choking allowed please) do well; the Rams offense is nothing special and if we shut down their run game, we own them. If the D can get a turnover or two, ideally early, the Bucs should prevail!!!

    Go Bucs!!!

  13. 813bucboi Says:

    bowles is right…

    defense has to start faster….set the tome and dont let the qb get into a groove….

    the only thing the offense has to improve on is execution….still having too many missed throws and penalties….playcalling is fine….

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  14. Mike Says:

    The night game issues are psychological. The players are putting too much pressure on themselves to perform. They just need to relax, treat it like any other game and any other week and play loose and free. If they can do that, they will be in the best position to excel.

  15. Mitch Says:

    This game will determine if the Bucs are contenders or pretenders. Need wins against other strong teams especially at home and in prime time. They can still make a wild card if they don’t win, but that’s not good enough this year. I hope they can put it together and beat the Rams convincingly.

  16. SlyPirate Says:

    We all should LOVE THIS! Bowles messages demonstrates:
    1. A sense of urgency
    2. Commitment to being better
    3. Ownership of past mistakes
    4. Passion to win the big game

    This message is coming from the top. It’ll go to JPP, White, David. You know they’ll get FIRED UP and then every defensive player be driven and focused.

    If you haven’t noticed, our OL and run game dominates when the defense produces stops.

    Well done Bowles, that’s all you had to say.

    GO BUCS!

  17. Pewter Power Says:

    Man this article is full of excuses and started with using the word curse. Every team gets prime time games every year. Possibly the rookies have an excuse but no one else at all including horrible ply calling. Byron leftwich must be feeling the night time jitters too. No excuses for Bowles dumb game plan against drew Brees at all

  18. Architek Says:

    Well stop with the soft zone schemes that get you beat!!!

  19. TampaTown Says:

    We $hit the bed this time there won’t be any more prime time games so we won’t have to worry about it.

  20. martinis Says:

    We could start by removing negative connotation like “Den of Depression.” We are 7-3 now 3-1 at home. We have seen some major improvements in 2020 so ease up on the bad karma show more optimism. This is not your old Buc’s.

  21. Bradinator Says:

    I wonder how much Jameis had to do with the “Beatdown”. I know, but hear me out. I really think Bowles overthought how much N.O. would know about the D we run based off Jameis intel. He played zone, the whole game and blitzed very little. Waaaay out of character. He was trying to do something other than what we normally do to throw them off. That maybe would have worked on Mitch Trubisky, but Drew Brees? Not so much. That said, I hate National TV games. Please show up this time, Bucs!

  22. Joe Says:

    “Den of Depression.”

    Until proven otherwise. 🤷‍♂️

  23. Buc4evr Says:

    Dial up the blitzes, more aggressiveness. We always get beat with soft zones and LBs hanging back. Bucs D needs to bring it on every play and utilize delayed LB blitzes and safety blitz’s.

  24. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    Joe the die-hard pessimist. Stick to your guns. Be the hard nosed analyst fixated on the past. Keep up the farce of the name Joebucsfan for this site!

    We fans can continue to believe in spite of the past. This year’s team is learning the lesson of champions. Learn from the past, put the most recent failures to bed and face the current challenge with a renewed effort. One game at a time.

    Go Bucs!

  25. unbelievable Says:

    The Bears game was just bad execution.

    The Giants game was awful game planning / coaching.

    The Saints game they were simply terrible at both.

    So this time, let’s try not stinking at either of those things, okay? That starts with you, Mr. Bowles.

  26. Bucamania Says:

    How does everyone on here recognize the Bucs D struggles with soft zone coverage and yet Bowles starts every game this way? Crowd the LOS and put the heat on Goff from the get-go! You want them to start faster? Then bring the heat early.

  27. unbelievable Says:

    ^ Yup.

  28. BucEmUp Says:

    If the corners don’t press, Kupp and Woods are going to have field days. They have to press and blitz.

  29. Jmarkbuc Says:


    You know it I know it, my grandma knows it… Bowles? He should quit trying to outsmart himself and just line up and play. Unless we’re not good enough to do that.