First Test = Weaker Test

September 1st, 2022

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They ain’t all that.

Tampa Bay’s Week 1 opponent looks considerably weaker than the club that went 12-5 last season — the only team in the league to outscore the Bucs.

But that Cowboys offense had smooth route runner Amari Cooper and perennial All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith.  That defense had Randy Gregory coming off right end, where he posted six sacks and 17 QB hits.

A happy moment for Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, explains Ira Kaufman.

Cooper, who has registered five 1,000-yard seasons, was traded to Cleveland. Gregory signed with Denver as a free agent and Smith may be out for the year with a torn hamstring. In his place, the Cowboys have placed their trust in rookie Tyler Smith to protect Dak Prescott’s blind side.

That “Hell yeah” you just heard came from Joe Tryon-Shoyinka and Carl Nassib.

And while Prescott is a very solid quarterback just entering his prime years, this offensive line now appears shaky. Stud right guard Zack Martin, who figures to have his hands full against Vita Vea and Akiem Hicks, is the lone standout in front of Prescott.

Early exam for Carlton Davis?

The departures of Cooper and Cedrick Wilson Jr., who signed with Miami as a free agent, means CeeDee Lamb will be a marked man this fall as Prescott’s go-to wide receiver.

If Carlton Davis is the top-5 cornerback the Bucs proclaim him to be, how about asking him to shadow Lamb all over AT&T Stadium?

Michael Gallup, still rehabbing from a torn ACL, has already been ruled out for the opener. Dalton Schultz is one of the league’s better tight ends.

The Eagles are coming on fast in the NFC East and have a good chance to dislodge the Cowboys atop a weak division. Dan Quinn turned in a heck of a first year as defensive coordinator in Big D, aided immensely by rookie linebacker Micah Parsons and second-year corner Trevon Diggs.

Parsons was a weekly terror with 13 sacks, 20 tackles for loss and 30 QB hits. Tom Brady will be aware of Parsons’ presence before every snap, especially as a pass rusher. Diggs led the league with 11 interceptions, but his gambling style will backfire if Brady has time to throw.

The Dallas defense made a major leap in 2021, topping the league with 34 takeaways. That led to a plus-14 turnover ratio that tied Indy for the NFL lead.

Will the Cowboys repeat those numbers?

Not bloody likely.

Clear Weaknesses

It’s very challenging to remain among the leaders in turnover differential on an annual basis. The 2020 Cowboys finished minus-3. That same year, Tennessee ranked No. 1 at plus-11. Last season, the Titans were minus-3.

The Cowboys relied on pressure up front to camouflage some weaknesses.

And while the Bucs will feature three new starters across their offensive line, Brady isn’t losing sleep when he examines the defensive front he’ll be facing.

DeMarcus Lawrence, Dorance Armstrong, Osa Odighizuwa and Neville Gallimore combined for only 11 1-2 sacks last season,  Shaq Barrett had 10 takedowns all by himself. Maybe rookie Sam Williams, a second-round pick out of Ole Miss, can help.


At this point, the Cowboys are more mystique than masterful. Jerry Jones may have few peers when it comes to making money, but America’s Team hasn’t been an NFL power since Barry Switzer won a Super Bowl with the team Jimmy Johnson built.

In the past 25 years, Dallas has won only three playoff games. Three.

Yet the value of the franchise is now a staggering $8 billion, according to Forbes. That’s more than twice the estimated net worth of the Bucs. Jones purchased the team in 1989 for $150 million, so he can afford to keep buying bigger yachts and more plush private jets. What he can’t seem to do is pilot a Super Bowl contender.

That won’t change this fall as the Bucs kick-start Jerry’s season of torment in prime time Sept. 11.

Ira loves that lifetime warranty on new and used vehicles!

45 Responses to “First Test = Weaker Test”

  1. MadMax Says:

    Um, you meant Anthony Nelson and Gholston, i think…Nassib will get his bites too.

    Like Ive been saying, this is the one out of the first 4 I think we’ll win. I hope Im right on this one and wrong on the other three. I want us to win all the first four…..we’re in trouble guys….you’ll see.

  2. Dave Says:

    2-3 of our first 4 opponents may not reach the post season. No way to know strength of schedule before the season.

  3. geno711 Says:

    New Orleans is missing players that they would typically count on.

    Terron Armstead — maybe their best offensive player last year.
    Marcus Williams — maybe their best defensive player last year.

    Chancey Gardner-Johnson — a Tom Brady killer.
    Malcolm Jenkins — another Tom Brady killer.

    Trevor Penning this year’s starting left tackle out for the season.

  4. Pewter Warrior 813 Says:

    Exactly Dave, all this crying about the schedule is just soft fans. It’s a new season, each team is different than the prior year.

  5. Pewter Warrior 813 Says:

    geno711, thanks!!!!

  6. MonkeyMan Says:

    Great read, Ira!!

    I couldn’t agree more!!

  7. Bird Says:

    Lawrence parsons and diggs are their studs for sure

  8. MonkeyMan Says:

    Saints starting safety just got arrested!!! Marcus Maye

  9. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Dak Prescott’s scrambling ability should not be underestimated , and when he buys time, the Bucs’ secondary will be tested.
    This game will come down to the final minutes.

  10. George Says:

    Tampa Offensive line is very weak. Brady will be under an immense pass rush and not be able to generate much offense.

    Unfortunately, Lichti and Bowles don’t have a clue. Bucs need to sign up two experienced offensive lineman fast, or this season is going down the tubes before it starts.

    It is a crazy thought , considering the Bucs have the NFL number one ranked player in Tom Brady who is in great form. Yet, if there is no protection we end up having more of those 9-0 losses to the likes of St. Louis and others.

  11. CrackWise Says:


    Can we please get you in the comment section from time to time?

    Do like your boy Brady and hire a PR team to post for you. It would be such a welcomed change for the JBF readers.

    I am thinking, only follow up on your gameday or day after articles. It might even get you a raise. 🙂

  12. DoooshLaRue Says:


    Just remember that when we play one of those “hapless” teams on our schedule.
    Happens every freakin year.

  13. Rod Munch Says:

    Tampa is 1-12 @ Dallas, with the only win being a 10-6 victory in 2001 vs a 5-11 Dallas team.

    If the Bucs do lose this game I’m not going to worry about it. The last time the team went on the road vs an NFC opponent and lost to open the season, they won the SB.

  14. Rod Munch Says:

    BTW, if you include the playoffs, the Bucs are 1-14 @ Dallas…

    The Bucs don’t win there, people giving an automatic W don’t really get how these things work. It’s like a couple of years ago when all the dopes here said we’d go to Chicago and destroy them – and I pointed out, correctly, the Bucs NEVER win in Chicago. People ignored that, because they’re stupid, and said that has no bearing on anything. Then the Bucs lose. Then the next week we play the Packers at home, and the Bucs almost always beat the Packers at home, and the dopes here were throwing a fit, saying the season is over, we have no hope vs Green Bay if we can’t beat the Bears – again, ignoring history. The Bucs go out and proceed to destroy the Packers, just as predicted.

    It’s doesn’t mean something IS going to happen, but people who dismiss history and all-time records don’t really have much of a feel for picking games.

  15. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Rod Munch
    Bucs aren’t going against Quincy Carter (2001), but Brady is undefeated vs Cowboys

  16. Rod Munch Says:

    Alanbucsfan – I still remember that, the Bucs had never won in Dallas before and finally got a very sloppy victory vs a bad team, but they did get the W. Think about this, if you knocked up someone to celebrate that win, that kid would almost be old enough to drink with you for this game.

  17. Red-sparrow Says:

    Every time the Joe’s or IRA make it seem as if the Bucs have a somewhat weak(er) opponent that they should no doubt beat, they either barely win or they flat out lose. So I’m taking all these projections with a grain of salt.

  18. CrackWise Says:

    2020 O Line.
    C R. Jensen – 7th year: Erratic Penalty prone Run Blocker
    LT D. Smith – 5th year: Inconsistent to say the least
    LG A. Marpet – 5th year: Best known for making people like Smith
    RG A. Cappa – 2nd year: Unknown
    RT T. Wirfs – Rookie: Unknown

    2022 O Line.
    C R Hansey – 2nd year: Unknown
    LT D. Smith – 7th year: Rock solid
    LG L Goedeke – Rookie: Unknown
    RG S. Masson – 7th year: Tom Brady approved
    RT T. Wirfs – 3rd year: All Pro

    I wonder which year was the better year to feel good about the O Line?

  19. Rod Munch Says:

    BTW, I’m an idiot, minus 2 games from those records I posted, since the 1-12 DID include the playoff games.

    So Bucs are, 1-10 in the regular season, 1-12 overall @ Dallas.

    Hope no one bet their house based on my faulty info, but if you did, let me know and how it turns out. If you win, you owe me bigly. If you loose, well, you’re an idiot for believing anything you read online.

  20. Cobraboy Says:

    Every opponent is tough until the 4th qtr clock reads 0:00.

  21. CrackWise Says:

    I posted that to demonstrate one thing. By all accounts, our O Line has the potential to, and IMO will neutralize the Cowboys strength on D.

    Can the opposite be said?

    Oh yeah, and we have the Kiefer. I am sure the Cowboys pass rush will be Stoned. Unlike the 90s when they were Sky High.

  22. Pewter Warrior 813 Says:

    Past history of records in Dallas has ZERO bearing on this team this roster.

  23. BillyBucco Says:

    Harold Landry for the Titans just tore his ACL.
    Put these guys in bubble wrap till game 1

  24. Rod Munch Says:

    Pewter Warrior 813 Says:
    September 1st, 2022 at 3:44 pm
    Past history of records in Dallas has ZERO bearing on this team this roster.=


    That’s the same stupid thing the morons here said when I pointed out that the Bucs NEVER win in Chicago. Literally the same response.

    If you don’t learn from history, you’re doomed to repeat it.

    Now that doesn’t mean the Bucs are going to lose, it just means get off your high horses people and realise, regardless of records, this game is a huge problem and a terrible matchup for the Bucs.

    BTW, the week after we lost to the Bears, the dopes that were saying history doesn’t matter, were the dopes saying, we just lost to the Bears, we have no chance vs the Packers – and I pointed out the Bucs almost always win at home vs Green Bay.

  25. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Damn Fancy Man, you hitting the White Claws hard today or is it gin fizz Thursday.

    At any rate, you are correct about the idiots.
    This is no cakewalk.

  26. Rod Munch Says:

    DoooshLaRue – I prefer Mike’s Hard Lemonade myself.

    Not a paid endorsement, although I am open to advertising opportunities.

  27. Goatfarmer Says:

    Double Lamb. Everyone saw what Tyreek Hill did to Davis.

    Double Cee Dee Lamb.

    But Todd is arrogant and probably won’t do that. Maybe he’ll dial up the Cooper Kupp non-coverage scheme.

  28. mark2001 Says:

    Saw that OJ Howard is visiting Houston. Sounds like Lovie is trying to get the band back together.

  29. mark2001 Says:

    Lovies Island of Misfit Toys.

  30. CrackWise Says:


    been ignoring your ignorant takes for a while but I have to reply to this one.

    YEAH, we saw what Todd did to Hill in the Super Bowl… AND we saw the failure of the Offense in the first 3 quarters of the Rams Playoff loss.

    Dumb A(butt)… Go back to supporting the current admin. You’re not welcomed as a Bucs fan. Besides that, squirrel

  31. CrackWise Says:


    Leave Lovie alone. He is a class act and most likely will surprise everyone with his second go around.

    Sort of like Todd…

  32. Defense Rules Says:

    Rod Munch … ‘BTW, if you include the playoffs, the Bucs are 1-14 @ Dallas. The Bucs don’t win there, people giving an automatic W don’t really get how these things work’.

    I totally agree with you Rod about no automatic W’s. This is a very tough schedule, and every game will be a dogfight.

    I’m surprised at you Ira for downplaying the Cowboys as much as you did. For all their perceived ‘faults’ in your eyes, Dallas did have the #7 ranked defense last season to go with their #1 ranked offense. Yes they lost several players (as did we), but they also gained several to take their place. Granted that we beat them last year … here at RayJay … but it was only by 2 points and we were behind 29-28 until we got that FG will a whole 7 SECONDS left. And if it hadn’t been for that last complete DEEP pass to Chris Godwin to set up that FG, we would’ve been sucking hind teet. Oh and BTW, Bucs had FOUR turnovers in that game to only 1 TO for Dallas. Odds on winning a game when you have a MINUS THREE Turnover Differential are really slim (apparently less than 10%). We got lucky IOW.

  33. mark2001 Says:

    Crack.. I have nothing against Lovie as a person. And he might be a fine position coach. But he was a poor Head coach in Chicago, constantly being outfoxed. He just wasn’t a good in game bench coach. He was a poor Bucs HC, a poor U of I HC, and I have no reason to believe it will be different in Houston. Just saying it like it is.

  34. BucsfanFred Says:

    Oh, crap, Rod Munch!
    I’d just bet the mortgage, my liver, and Mother Mary’s chocolate cherry on your first take.
    Thanks a lot for the bad advice.
    Know any good soup kitchens?

  35. Darin Says:

    Think some said the same thing last year. Then we had a ballgame. We’ll see what happens there’s no layups on this league

  36. CrackWise Says:


    Fair enough sir. I accept that. BUT for the RECORD. Its Crack-wise. This is hard for most to grasp.

    However, I have a feeling you may be on the path.

    Wisdom is a fleeting understanding to be sure.

    Good day resident AI 🙂

  37. CrackWise Says:

    And that post got censored WHY?

    Hope it is not because I am cracking the AI’s. I mean the Actual Idiots desreve to be exposed right???

    mark2001 is not an enemy combatant of mine? OR IS (IT<— Clown)?

    I totally yielded my take to him/her/it.

  38. Goatfarmer Says:

    Crack – are you actually the G-hag undercover? You kind of act like her.

  39. Bucsfanfrom76 Says:

    All true…but they are at home in their gazillion dollar stadium

  40. BucsfanFred Says:

    Let’s cut the crap Bradys Wife.

  41. D Says:

    Gone are the days in which Dak had enough time in the pocket to brew a pot of coffee… and I’m loving it! Let’s get it, Bucs!!

  42. mark2001 Says:

    The good news is that Brady’s wife loves him so much that rather than have another 25 mil. in the bank, she would rather have him around. The bad news is that rather than let him go off and play the game he loves, which requires almost total focus, she would rather have him around and won’t quietly sit back and say, oh well.

  43. mark2001 Says:

    For you younger guys, the above perspective is what happens to you after about 45 years of marriage to the same women. Amazing what all those years do to you.

  44. steele Says:

    Of the first four games, Dallas is the easiest one and winnable. Dallas isn’t great (what a long decline since the glory years) but has weapons.

    But week one is notorious for nonsensical surprises, upsets and weirdness, as teams are still waking up and in flux. I expect a sloppy game similar to last season’s mess.

  45. Browsing from DC Says:

    As Ira pointed out, WR Lamb and TE Schultz are Dak’s main weapons. I actually trust our DBs, especially with Logan Ryan helping to make sure everyone is on the same page and I think our speedy linebackers (White in particular) can blanket Schultz.

    My main concern is special teams. I think the O-line will do an adequate enough job but our kick coverage had better be well-designed and with sure tacklers because their return man looks like the real deal. Sure, he comes from “minor league” football organizations but he looked great in pre-season. Some dude named Warner came from “out of nowhere” and did pretty damn good so you never really know. High draft picks have been total busts (Johnny Football anyone?) and pick 199 in 2000 has made a good living. 🙂