The Morning After

September 27th, 2021

A lot of meat on the bone to gnaw on. So let’s get to it.

Cornerback shopping

The Bucs proved to be mortal. At least the defense. Well, that was less than mortal. It reminded Joe of the rodent-like play of Mike Smith’s defenses not that long ago, which were some of the worst to ever take an NFL field — and that’s no hyperbole.

The Bucs’ pass rush struggled yesterday. No real shock given that Jason Pierre-Paul was watching from a waterfront watering hole nursing his sore shoulder.

The injuries are mounting and Joe fully expects a transaction in the next two weeks to address this, especially if Jamel Dean’s knee injury might mean a trip to the injured reserve list.

Sure, Richard Sherman would be nice but perhaps a lousy team might want to unload a cornerback who happens to be on the final year of his contract. Those guys (not counting his salary) often come at a discount.

(Think defensive tackle Steve McLendon. The Bucs traded for the veteran on the cheap last October because he was in the final year of his Jets contract.)

If the Bucs can swing it, obtaining two corners might not be so bad. People were going nuts at Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles on Twitter yesterday but what was the guy supposed to do? He was working with a collection of a rookie, some never-beens and glorified practice squad cats due to injuries.

Bowles is a good coach but he’s not a GD magician. He can’t simply snap his fingers and turn Dee Delaney into Darrelle Revis.

If the Bucs plan on the playoffs, Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht simply will have to find extra bodies, veteran bodies, competent bodies to help out the secondary.

Otherwise, all of his tremendous A+ efforts (and Team Glazer loot) to retain the 22+1 starters from a Super Bowl champion will vanish in the humid Florida air.

Where’s the Pass Rush?

Look, before Joe gets going here, Joe loves Shaq Barrett. One of Joe’s favorite players. And given his background, he had so many opportunities to throw in the towel on his football career and make a wrong turn in life. Shaq is the kind of guy you want to succeed.

However, in the past two seasons, Joe has sensed a pattern: If Jason Pierre-Paul is hurt or cannot play, opposing teams neuter Shaq. If he is double- or triple-teamed, he is often simply taken out of games. When he gets single-coverage, he shines.

Well, as Joe pointed out earlier in this piece, JPP was at a waterside watering hole watching yesterday — the video should still be up on JPP’s Instagram stories account unless he already deleted them. (For those unfamilar with Instagram stories, the videos/photos on someone’s feed generally have a 24-hour expiration date).

The only thing worse than cornerbacks being unable to cover and getting thoroughly worked over is when a defense cannot get a pass rush. It was the perfect storm.

Initially, rookie Joe Tryon-Shoyinka looked like he was going to have a nice day. After the first couple of Rams’ possessions, he kind of blended into the background.

Anthony Nelson, did you even know he played?

And if JPP cannot go Sunday night, Joe isn’t expecting the defense to improve all that much, though you hope Bowles’ exotic defenses might confuse rookie Belicheats quarterback Mac Jones to make a few mistakes.

So not only do the Bucs need corners, they need JPP back in the worst way. Either that, or JTS needs to turn the corner — like, now. And that’s probably an unfair expectation.

Wither Scotty Miller?

Scotty Miller is another guy Joe is starting to wonder about. After last year, it sure looked like he would be the heir apparent to furniture-tossing, bicycle-throwing Antonio Brown as the guy to take the top off a defense.

So Joe wasn’t sweating too much when Brown couldn’t clear the COVID protocols this week. Joe figured Scotty Miller would do a decent job.

Instead, Miller hardly played. Miller was targeted three times and had two catches for 11 yards. That’s not how you use a deep threat.

Joe doesn’t know if this is some weird continuation of this summer. Go back in the (free) archives and read Joe’s training camp practices notes. On several days, Joe documented the Bucs had Scotty Miller running a lot of inside routes and short routes.

Joe wrote he thought this was a waste of Miller’s skillset. He is a little guy who not only will get killed over the middle, he cannot block. So why not use him at his strength and let him go deep?

Yesterday seemed a continuation of this. Yeah, yeah, you want a well-rounded receiver. Having Miller run inside or short routes is setting him up to fail.

Joe understands Raheem Morris’ defense takes away the long ball. But having Miller run short routes just seems to be misusing him. He won’t break many tackles and he’s not a physical receiver like Chris Godwin or Tyler Johnson.

Third Down Lay Down

The Bucs were awful yesterday on third down defense. The Rams converted 66 percent (10 of 15) of their third downs, which is borderline obscene.

When you can’t get off the field on third down, you are likely going to lose.

But you know what? Joe cannot get too worked up about this. A Google search shows the following teams are also rotten on third down defense: Kansas City, Green Bay, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, and the worst team in the NFL for third down defense? The Cleveland Browns.

So the Bucs are in some good company there. The combined records of those teams (including the Bucs) is 12-6. So Joe cannot lose too much sleep with this, especially the way the Bucs can score points.

Rotten Run Game

The Bucs’ rushing attack has turned into a flat out joke. As the Sage of Tampa Bay sports, Ira Kaufman, pointed out, the Bucs this season have more penalty yards than rushing yards. Joe isn’t sure if that says more about undisciplined play or the running backs being so unproductive.

After seeing Tom Brady lead the team in rushing (14 yards) and Playoff Lenny and Ronald Jones averaging two yards a carry, that’s enough. With this offensive line a guy could fall forward and get two yards.

Joe’s reached the limit with the Bucs’ coaching staff coddling Ronald Jones and his fragile psyche. Bucs coaches have worked with him on his confidence going on three years. Enough.

It’s time for RoJo to either man up or step aside. Joe has a hunch Ke’Shawn Vaughn can average two yards a carry. And Joe also suspects that Vaughn won’t step out of bounds a yard short of a first down rather than lower his shoulder and fight for a yard. And Joe suspects Vaughn won’t ole on a block and get his quarterback maimed. And Joe will bet Vaughn won’t mope so badly on the sideline of a nationally-televised game after a mistake that the coach will bench him because his head is so messed up.

But, Joe has to be fair: Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich is not doing Playoff Lenny and RoJo any favors by always running these guys up the gut on first down. If a drunk in a bar knows it’s coming, what do you think NFL linebackers are expecting?

46 Responses to “The Morning After”

  1. Medicated Pete Says:

    We need 2 corners. Trade draft picks, players Pete doesn’t care.

  2. unbelievable Says:

    Hard for any running back to get going off of 4 or 5 carries an entire game. But it’s the Leftwich special- call super predictable run plays for the first 2 drives and then mix it up / abandon the run.

    Why he can’t just start with a pass or 2 to set up the run at the beginning of games is beyond me.

    That said, RoJo was running better than Fournette today, again. He had that one awful playcall on 1st down in the red zone when he obviously got stuffed cuz every single person in the world knew it was a run play. Not sure why Brady didn’t check out of that.

  3. Medicated Pete Says:

    Trade Mike Evans and two 2nd Rd picks for CB Stephon Gilmore.

  4. Joe Says:

    Trade Mike Evans and two 2nd Rd picks for CB Stephon Gilmore.

    Medicated Pete must be fully medicated to type this.

  5. Buc1987 Says:

    Shut up Medicated Pete. –Drunk Buc1987

  6. ItzOK Says:

    The bucs never play ell going to the west cost. JPP is desperately needed back, and missing two of our 3 corners is really hurting.

    The Bucs will get right against the Pats and Fins. They were never going undefeated , Im more concerned about Gronk’s health and keeping Brady healthy while we wait for the calvary.

    Where is Vea, White, Carlton davis or winfield to make a play? Does OJ howard even exist. He needs to produce and give Gronk a break.

  7. adam from ny Says:

    this is a team with needs…

    and more importantly a potentially complacent group riding a magic superbowl carpet…

    like i said, the magic carpet ride shall continue until the first loss…

    well here it is…

    now let’s thump the pats next sunday…

    cold thump them mofos…and make things right…

    i expect us to reel off 4 wins in a row, then sleepwalk into the bye week vs the saints, thus going into the bye week 6-2…


  8. Bucs Win Says:

    Medicated Pete, up the dosage drink a 5th and never post again. Douche.

  9. adam from ny Says:

    i expected a split with the rams and pats anyway…

    i do think the bucs on a whole were taking it light this week or looking past this week a bit towards the patriots…


    because not a single player on this freakin’ team wants to let tom down, and especially against the pats…

    this team is going to be flying around out there next weekend for tom…


    we got our azzes whooped by the rams 2 times in a row now…

    tom is not going to let us lose a 3rd in a row to these rams…

    just like the saints last year, we will get the win that counts in the playoffs vs these fug-boys…

    so this loss is actually a blessing in disguise…





  10. Coburn Says:

    Yeah I saw some flash from Tryon early. Be curious to see his snaps again and focus on him. Not sure if Nelson got a lot more later, seemed he did t get much early. I did notice late in game on a passing down Tryon got doubled which surprised me.

    Yeah we aren’t gon a win too many if we don’t run the ball a bit.

    I noticed the last couple weeks that TJ seemed to be ahead of Miller on depth chart. It’s weird what you say about Miller routes. I feel like him and Evans should switch. They seem so hell bent on making Evans go deep so often and feel he should be taking some of those shorter routes. Often seems like when he does it works well

  11. adam from ny Says:

    jpp is the heart and soul of this defense…

    and the illest dude on the team…

    without him, things are just different…

    proof in the pudding on sunday

  12. CHI-BUC Says:

    I suspect Bowles will blitz the Pat’s rookie mercilessly next week, which might wake up White and even free up Shaq.

    All 3 need a good game. While your at it, blitz Winfield too, it’s not like he is contributing much …might as well get him involved somehow.

    Med Pete, wtf?!

  13. WalkdaPlank Says:

    Don’t be too down everybody. The Rams are a good team, and the addition of Stafford has helped them. That being said, a corner is needed with SMB and possibly Jamel Dean out. Maybe Stephon Gilmore? The Bucs could’ve won this game with a run game possibly. Brady threw almost 60 times and the Bucs weren’t down by a lot the whole game. Rojo is Josh Freeman’d and Fournette is not a cowbell. Bottom line: we got a good team guys but we need some work. Don’t panic it’s week 3 and we are 2-1 and heavily favored against Brady’s Patriots. Excited for next week

  14. Izod Says:

    We have good backs, our running game should not be this bad.

    Part of the problem is play calling. It is very obvious when and how we are going to run the ball. Almost any play call can work effectively if called at the right time and the players execute it… I don’t think execution was a big problem today, but we often ran into the teeth of the defense and even threw the ball into 2x and 3x coverages. That tells me the offensive prep was questionable.

  15. HC Grover Says:

    The Bucs never do well with the time zone curse heading West of the Rockies. Plus the all pewter uniform curse struck again. Tron looks like a little feller out there in the middle of the rumble compared to JPP. Our D put more pressure on our own offense than the Rams did. Parity all over the NFL yesterday. On any given Sunday. The draft is not aging well. It is gonna be a grind not a cakewalk to the playoffs.

  16. Delusional Intelligence Says:

    I’m sure Joe (LDK) will love this.

    Peyton Barber has as many rushing yards as Rojo & Lenny. He also has more touchdowns then both combined.

    The maylox is in the medicine cabinet.

  17. Rod Munch Says:

    Medicated Pete thinks Chris Meyers does a great job, so clearly there’s something really wrong with him.

  18. Rod Munch Says:

    Brady has the 2nd longest rush on the team.

  19. Alanbucsfan Says:

    I don’t agree with the beating up Bucs’ players after every game that sime like to do.
    I saw a dropped interception and missed forced fumble opportunities in 1st half that probably would’ve given the Bucs a 1st half lead.
    I saw Winfield Jr a nanosecond away from a pick 6 in the 2nd half that would’ve made the game very interesting late .
    I also saw a BS call on Gronk by the refs at end of 1st half that wiped out a 20 yard gain. And our kicker and punter have had better games.
    Give the Rams credit. They executed, ran the ball fairly well and made few mistakes. Bucs are beat up in secondary and didn’t have JPP. Our linebackers were forced to help out in coverage alot.
    Coaches need to figure out a running scheme that works because teams are reading it when Bucs try to run.
    Bucs got beat but the season is young- Licht has a rabbit or 2 in his hat..

  20. BradyBucs Says:


    I’ve been posting for months how the “Gravediggers” were vastly overrated.

    I posted many times how our secondary was our weakest link.

    I posted many times how much of a liability SMB and Jamel Dean were. I stated how Dean’s stats were misleading.

    I posted many times how Carlton Davis isn’t elite.

    I posted many times how when our pass rush doesn’t get home our secondary gets TORCHED. It happened many games last year.

    And yet so many posters on this board talked smack to me. They swore to me how greatly improved SMB & Dean were.

    I feel like i’ve earned it…

    “I TOLD YOU SO.”

  21. BradyBucs Says:

    I’m surprised more hasn’t been written about Giovani Bernard. He played GREAT today and played like the 3rd-down back we all knew he could be.

    He made some fantastic runs after the catch today.

  22. PassingThru Says:

    I really HATED the scripted plays throughout the first quarter. I get playing conservative football against inferior teams, you invite them to beat themselves. But the Rams were playing top shelf football and were with the exception at RB (which by the way, their GM addressed hint hint) at nearly 100% good health. There was no reason for tepid, ineffective running plays or lame short passes. Go after them early and often, grab an early lead and take the freaking crowd out.

  23. PassingThru Says:

    And it is time to take inventory of what TB has at RB. If Leftwich and Arians keep him seated what was the point in signing him?

    RoJo is the better runner than Fournette. Too bad he’s an airhead. I especially hate seeing him in pass protection. If I ran an HMO, I wouldn’t let the Bucs buy health insurance coverage on Brady if they insisted on pairing RoJo in the backfield.

    Fournette is just a slightly above average RB. That’s it. Created some nice runs during the playoffs, but returned to the mean.

    The O Line does not do a good job creating running lanes anyway.

  24. PassingThru Says:

    ^the first sentence was in reference to Gio.

  25. SB~LV Says:

    Bucs haven pressed the snooze alarm 3 times this year, yesterday was a wake up call from the 31 other teams !!!

  26. Christopher Schiefen Says:

    It wouldn’t have been a magical panacea, but we’ve seen Shaq do well from the right and Tryon from the left…why not occasionally switch them? Whitworth is old and their RT couldn’t deal with Joe’s athleticism.

    And I’m not sure why the Evans for Gilmore proposal was shouted down. Between Tyler Johnson, Chris Godwin and yes, Justin Watson, we have that “big receiver” slot locked down. Dean is an injury-prone basket case, SMB only has 3 good games in him a year, and CD is not nearly as good as he thinks he is. The WR and CB rooms have to be more balanced.

  27. Bucsfanman Says:

    Lets not stop at Shaq and JTS. Where was Vea and Suh? Stafford barely had to move in the pocket.
    One thing is certain, if we don’t rediscover a pass-rush, and quickly, we are going to be watching a lot of scoring.
    The run game? Hah! You can’t have a “run game” if you don’t RUN the football!
    IMO, we need to move on from Rojo. I just don’t see a future.

    We got punched in the mouth yesterday. Time to wake up. We are not going to win games the way we’re playing. The penalties are just absurd at this point.

  28. Defense Rules Says:

    Bucs got out-coached AND outplayed, on BOTH sides of the ball. Rams were the better team yesterday. We’ve got a LOT to clean up. Off to New England.

  29. Winny Testaverde Says:

    I figured the Bucs would miss Brown…and they did. Scotty Miller is who I thought he was ( Dennis Green RIP rant ). The next tackle he breaks will be his first. He had 3 or 4 highlight plays last year…and doozies to be sure. The Raiders TD before the half, the Vikings long td, a long one vs the Saints and the crown jewel TD before the half vs the Pack in the NFC Championship Game. All go routes…no broken tackles/YAC. He is who he is…sneaky fast and caught some cbs /D-Coordinators off guard last season. He’ll never be AB’s true replacement.

  30. Destinjohnny Says:

    I know we won the super bowl and all but man we spent a lot of draft capital on the secondary the last few years….

  31. Jim Says:

    Joe, better tell that Ram’s coach what a head case DeSean Jackson is. He was hugging him and stuff…

  32. BucsMinisiterFuller Says:

    “rodent-like play”
    Is this an actual saying?
    Playing like mice, rats, raccoons, possums?
    I don’t get it, did the spell check change it from sh*t-like play?

  33. Joe Says:

    “ rodent-like play”
    Is this an actual saying?
    Playing like mice, rats, raccoons, possums?
    I don’t get it, did the spell check change it from sh*t-like play?

    Well “Minisiter” Joe was going to write “untermenschen” but that (understandably) triggers some people. You cool with Joe using that word (and it’s history of usage and connotations)?

  34. The Daily Coroner Says:

    Enough said, Joe. You qualify as an Honorary Coroner.

    I expected the Bucs to lose for exactly those reasons (injuries though are like shooting craps).

  35. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    How about Gio, Joe?…..looked pretty good to me…

  36. Ash Says:

    Rams were chipping Tryon pretty heavy after he was getting those pressure so the rams had to adjust to him he is a rookie and was probably the best pass rusher on the field shaq was nonexistant. When you have to start dee delany bucs where never going to win it’s the rams with all the injuries in the secondary definitely out talented in the secondary but Stafford had way to much time way too often need to fix this pass rush

  37. Ed Says:

    I think its time for Arians to take the ball out of Fournette’s hands in the running game. He has no burst and isn’t hitting the holes that are there. When you aren’t getting the job done, its next man up, Vaughn runs with more power than Lenny and runs lower to the ground than Rojo. With the tight running lanes his game may be more effective than a big guy like Lenny.

  38. Joe Says:

    How about Gio, Joe?…..looked pretty good to me…

    “Pretty good” if you don’t have Mike Evans, Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, O.J. Howard, Cam Brate, Chris Godwin, Scotty Miller, Tyler Johnson, Playoff Lenny and sulking RoJo.

  39. tampabuscsbro Says:

    Need to play Vaughn. Honestly Rojo is gone after this year. It’s time to cut losses and give Vaughn snaps. Rojo’s play so far has been his worst since his rookie year.

    And Byron needs to get off his @ss and scheme these games better.

  40. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Jason “ Licht House “ Licht should have spent less time shuffling around One Buc in his flip flops, drinking Beer this offseason, and spent some time improving the Defense.

    If you’re not getting better, you’re getting worse.

  41. Buczilla Says:

    Great article! Far too many of our players and coaches were awful in this game. Hopefully this is the splash of cold water to the face that they all needed. Oh, and we need some competent, healthy, corners very badly.

  42. Steve Gaudreau Says:

    Are you guys losing your minds? Lol it’s 1 loss to a very good team. Ain’t the end of the season. Expectations aside, definitely need a db. Sherman is available. Gilmore could be available but not at the cost of a Mike Evans. Maybe a third string WR or RB got plenty of those and Bill would trade for that and a draft pick to free up the cash. But certainly part of getting burned in the secondary comes from a pass rush. I knew that They were going to go back to DeSean Jackson after missing it the first time. And so should have the Bucs D. They just got caught. It happens. Fill the void with a signing and get on with it.

  43. RC Says:

    I hope when Tom Brady is being inducted into Hall of Fame, and they list all his accomplishments, someone mentions that one game where Tom led the team in rushing… with 14 yards….. This legend just keeps growing….

  44. Bob Says:

    Bradybucs anybody that watches the bucs new the bucs secondary sucked until the playoffs last year.

  45. Ericb Says:

    Sign SHERMAN

  46. Minister Trey Says:

    We got Sherman!!