Looking For Ruthless

December 18th, 2021

Click on through to shop at BillCurrieFord.com.
Bill Currie Ford GM Sean Sullivan is ready to help you PERSONALLY and give you the Ira Kaufman discount.
Just ask!


It’s a question nagging Buc fans from Sarasota to Safety Harbor: can this defense be trusted, especially on the road?

It’s a legitimate concern, heightened by the ineffectiveness of a key player trying to gut it out through injury. Jason Pierre-Paul deserves high marks for toughness, but he turns 33 in a few weeks and that torn rotator cuff has robbed him of his power off the right edge.

Rightly “fixated,” says Ira Kaufman.

In the past six games, Pierre-Paul has one tackle for loss, one QB hit and zero sacks. During that span, only once has he played fewer than 65 percent of the snaps. For the season, JPP has been credited with only five QB hits — or one less than Anthony Nelson.

Although the Bucs are a respectable 4-3 on the road, they are allowing an average of 27 points per game away from Raymond James Stadium. That doesn’t sound like a championship resumé heading toward the postseason.

No wonder Bruce Arians is fixated on that No. 1 playoff seed. Not only would the Bucs be granted a bye week to nurse injuries, they would be entitled to home cooking throughout the road to the Super Bowl.

Through 13 games, Tampa Bay’s defense has lacked a killer instinct.

With rare exception, the Bucs don’t know how to put a team away. They trounced Chicago 38-3, but the Bears average less than 18 points per game for a reason.

This troubling Southern hospitality began in Week 1, when the Bucs led Dallas 28-19 midway through the third quarter, only to see the Cowboys rally for a 29-28 advantage. It took a Ryan Succop field goal in the final seconds to come out on top.

The following week, Tampa Bay was up 28-10 on Atlanta and some Buc fans started a trek toward the parking lots. Not so fast. The Falcons closed to within 28-25 before Mike Edwards returned two Matt Ryan passes for touchdowns.

Questions surround Todd Bowles and Jamel Dean

A 28-7 lead in Philadelphia appeared safe until the Eagles crept to within 28-22 before Tom Brady took care of the rest.

We all saw what happened last week against a Buffalo team that looked down and out at halftime. Behind Josh Allen, the Bills almost pulled off a miracle comeback against a gassed defense.

We heard a lot this week about how much Jamel Dean (ruled out for Sunday) means to this Buc secondary. And while it’s true cornerbacks coach Kevin Ross has been mixing and matching all season, that’s life in the NFL.

Devin White, Lavonte David, Vita Vea, Ndamukong Suh and Shaq Barrett have missed a total of three games in 2021, so Todd Bowles doesn’t have the right to sing the blues. This is a middle-of-the-pack defense with elite talent.

At this point, the Buc coaching staff doesn’t quite know what to do with Pierre-Paul. If the Bucs thought rest would help, they’d likely sit him down for a few weeks. Joe Tryon would be a serious option if he hadn’t hit the rookie wall, but Tampa Bay doesn’t trust Tryon as a run defender and JPP still has value in that regard.

Even if the defense doesn’t improve, the Bucs could run it back simply by outscoring opponents. They boast the NFL’s most prolific attack and Brady shows no signs of a dropoff.

But relying on winning shootouts is risky business in the postseason. Buc fans will be watching this defense closely in the next four games, looking for a ruthless unit that swarms to the football.

Hello, Saints. Meet mean and nasty.

Yes, that warranty includes USED vehicles!
Ira drives a 2020 Ford Escape (cherry red).

13 Responses to “Looking For Ruthless”

  1. Hodad Says:

    Football like basketball has become a game of runs. Rarely does any team win by large margins, teams useually come back some. Like the NBA a team can be trailing by 20 than you see a 17-2 run, and the team is back in it. The Bucs had their run in the first half, the Bills had theirs in the second. What matters is who makes the shots down the stretch to win. That would be us with Brady.

  2. Winny Testaverde Says:

    Excellent article, Ira…so good that the Irv moniker can be tucked back into Blank Check’s 3 piece suit pocket.

    No lead has felt safe this season…friends and family wonder why I never feel confident during games…especially the 21-3 lead they held last week.

    This weekend’s games are huge for the race to #1 seed. Bucs need to win out (unfortunately ) and the Pack’s toughest test left will be Baltimore on Sunday…pending the playing status of Jackson…which is iffy at best.

  3. Defense Rules Says:

    Sage … ‘Devin White, Lavonte David, Vita Vea, Ndamukong Suh and Shaq Barrett have missed a total of three games in 2021, so Todd Bowles doesn’t have the right to sing the blues. This is a middle-of-the-pack defense with elite talent.’

    Weak rationale Ira. First off, that’s only 4 out of 11 defenders, and all it takes is ONE weakness for opponents to exploit. For another, White & LVD are both playing at significantly less than full-speed. Vea is maxed out when he hits 50% of the defensive snaps. Even Suh isn’t getting as many def snaps as he did during his earlier years.

    So look closely then at the REST of this defense. It’s badly banged up & we’ve got a lot of subs getting a lot of playing time (especially in the Secondary). So yes, ours is a ‘middle-of-the-pack defense’ right now, bu that bit about ‘elite talent’? Stop putting the funny stuff in your pipe Ira, because ‘elite’ is doesn’t mean diddly when it’s sitting on the bench or on IR. Our subs are doing a respectable job just maintaining middle-of-the-pack status. They’re far from ‘elite’.

  4. E.Vi. Says:

    Why is our house so quiet?? Ray Jay should be rocking. I see Washington and some teams like Detroit with no wins and you can hear them fans although to Florida. I think only Florida teams have silent fans. Jags, bucs, dolphins. WE GOT TO MAKE OUR HOUSE ROCK SUNDAY NIGHT VS SAINTS!!!!!

  5. E.Vi. Says:


  6. E.Vi. Says:


  7. Cobraboy Says:

    Agree 100%.

    I see zero killer instinct in this D.

    “Middle of the pack” might work if the O catches more on fire…which is difficult to do. No more leaving points on the field.


  8. Ed Says:

    The best defense the Bucs can play is to keep the ball in Tom Brady’s hands and let him keep his own defense on the bench. There were “little things” in the second half of that game that gave the Bills too many opportunities when the Buc offense could have at a minimum, kicked some additional field goals and ran more plays.

    The short passing play calls and running on first down in the second half was a complete reversal of the aggressive play calling the first half. This is a trend with this offense. In the first half of games they execute and do what they do best, get the ball into the hands of their playmakers with intermediate passing routes. They stretch the defenses and open up some big runs as teams are dropping back leaving space for Fournette to get into the second level of the defense.

    In second halves, they start running into 7 man fronts as the Bills know they are not going to pass on first down. Then the bubble screens to the sidelines with LBs and DBs collapsing the plays for no gain or negative yards.

    The middle of the field is open to attack but they are stuck in a run first, low risk passing offense.

    If they are successful in first halves getting to 21-24 point leads, how about doing some of the same things that work and putting another 14 points up while burning clock. How many times does it look to the viewer that they could have scored 40 or 50 points but the playcallers were more concerned about getting to the end of the game with a no-risk game plan?

  9. Cobraboy Says:

    Excellent points, Ed.

    Bucs turtle strategery has almost cost them some games.

  10. unbelievable Says:


    Seriously. It’s put our defense (that’s riddled with injuries) in too many bad situations. Time of possession has been too lopsided from half to half.

  11. fern Says:

    Wining is the important thing
    Opportunistic defense

  12. JimbobBucsFan Says:

    Win now is still the main thing. One game at a time. Develop a KILLER instinct and get on some kind of a roll. Get some decent momentum as best we can going into the playoffs.

    Get behind your Bucs you long time sufferers as well as you newly minted fans!. Scream your throats raw and cheer your hearts out at the home games!

    Go Bucs!

  13. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    Unfortunately slimy has a way of out playing and out coaching mean and nasty. If the offense didn’t disappear at times during games we would be more apt to trust our victories to the offense but our coaching gets in the way too. This defense gave up 29 points to a 3rd stringer but now they got Inspector Gadget and Alvin Chipmunk. Even though Hill played horribly his last game he won’t against us because we tend to make bad qbs look like hall of famers. This will be a nail biter because Brady simply doesn’t play well against them.