Five Things

December 19th, 2022

What an ugly second half last night. So, let’s get going. Big week ahead. Why does Joe have a feeling Trace McSorley will join the list of Hall of Fame quarterbacks to go from backup to victor against a Todd Bowles defense?

Disconnect Between Coaches And Players?

As if the Bucs pulling a Jeff Saturday and watching the Bengals score 34 unanswered points to wipe out a 17-point Bucs’ second-quarter lead wasn’t bad enough, Joe listening to Chris Godwin speak added extra nausea.

Godwin was asked why the Bucs played so differently in the second half and let the Bengals roll them.

“We were communicating a little bit better,” Godwin said. “We were on the same page. We were being aggressive at the line of scrimmage. We have to play like that for four quarters.”

So why not play that way for four quarters? Or more importantly, why not play that for four quarters from the first month of the season? Why can’t this team do these small things in Week 14?

This tells Joe there is a disconnect between coaches and players. Recently, Joe heard Bucs coach Todd Bowles say it’s up to his players to fix things.

What??? That’s what coaches are for! On face value, that seems a complete dereliction of duty by Bowles.

Or could it be the players have tuned out Bowles and Company, and Bowles is so frustrated that he can’t get through to players, that he threw up his hands in disgust and basically said, “OK, coach yourselves.”

Joe isn’t sure what is a bigger indictment.

So, About Communication

Joe is about fed up hearing Bowles and players blame “communication” damn near daily. It was also a favorite Mike Smith line/excuse/dodge. That sure seems to be a generic panacea term to throw at fans, a sugar pill that sounds cool but doesn’t mean a damn thing.

You know, it’s better in the PC sense to say, “Oh, we didn’t run well because we didn’t communicate.” As opposed to, “Friggin’ Lefty keeps demanding runs to the left side. Can’t that blind SOB see we’re not getting any yards?”

These guys are so bad with communication they need to bring their cell phones on the field so they can use Google Translate.

But here is where communication really broke down last night, for real, which started the Bengals’ avalanche. On the fake punt in the third quarter, Bowles made it crystal clear Giovani Bernard knew the call when he botched the direct snap. Bernard, who was awfully p!ssy after the game (Joe never saw him like that before), claimed it was “miscommunication.”

Joe will suggest it was miscommunication on special teams coach Keith Armstrong’s part. Here’s why:

Joe remembers a story Bill Parcells once told. He was a linebackers coach at Wichita State. He sent in a player with specific instructions. The player didn’t follow orders and gave up a big play. Parcells said when the player returned to the sidelines, Parcells unloaded on the guy with a tirade that would embarrass a Marine drill instructor. Parcells tore into the kid and wouldn’t let up.

After quite a few minutes of hollering, the head coach interrupted Parcells and told him, “Coach, he obviously didn’t understand or he wouldn’t have done that and it’s your job to make sure your players understand.”

Parcells said he never forgot that lesson. Make crystal clear a player knows exactly what to do before you put the player in position to make a mistake.

Last night hearing Bowles claim Bernard knew the play and Bernard claiming there was “miscommunication,” Joe thought of Parcells’ story. Armstrong and/or Bowles failed to make sure Bernard knew his responsibility, what was expected of him. Otherwise, Bernard would have been ready.

Tom Brady Not Washed (Yet)

Joe got a comment on Twitter slamming Joe for always giving Jameis Winston Tom Brady the benefit of the doubt.

Yeah, forgive Joe. The nerve of Joe to cut slack to a guy who has seven rings.

Joe understands why some (crazy?) Bucs fans want to move on from Brady. The Bucs are losing and he’s the quarterback. Those two things don’t mix.

Remember the last time folks thought Brady was washed? The Belicheats are still ruing the day they bought that BS.

Besides, Brady didn’t come here to play in a handcuffed, safety-over-production offense. But that’s what he has been stuck with this season. Mostly.

Here are a couple of tidbits that suggest Brady still can sling it when put in position to succeed: First, Brady is one of the best quarterbacks running a hurry-up. Despite this knowledge, for reasons and excuses that escape Joe, Bucs coaches look for reasons for Brady not to use a hurry-up.

It’s totally mind-boggling.

Entering last night’s game, Joe Burrow and Brady were tied in the NFL for the most fourth-quarter touchdowns (nine). Burrow now has 11 fourth-quarter touchdowns and Brady has 10.

Washed dudes don’t ball out in crunch time, much less lead the league after 13 games.

Yeah, the gall of Joe to want one of the game’s best on the field in crunch time when Bucs coaches (though not always) allow Brady to do what he does best.

Then there is this little nugget, which is not very good for Bucs coach Todd Bowles.

Take away Brady’s late-game magic to beat the sorry Rams and the slimy Saints, the Bucs are 1-8 since (barely) beating the Dixie Chicks back in October.

Usually, teams on that sort of run are playing for a top-five draft pick, not a division crown. But here the Bucs are (still) leading the putrid NFC South.

So yeah, Joe is still a Brady guy, despite Brady not having a Brady year. What should the Bucs do, play Kyle Trask and throw away a home playoff game?

It’s too late in the season to start tanking.

Ryan Succop Is Not Justin Tucker

So this is the second week in a row the Bucs tried to save face for an offense that plays like it’s hungover by attempting a too-long field goal early in the game. Last week at San Francisco, it was 55 yards. Yesterday it was 50.

Joe has heard Bowles explain how he has faith in Ryan Succop, partly because of how well Succop booms kicks in practice or pregame.

Well, games are different. Please, someone show the head coach Succop’s record kicking 50-yard plus field goals. It ain’t good. (In the last eight years, Succop is 11-25 on field goal attempts 50 yards or longer. That’s 44 percent.)

So why all of a sudden does Bowles want Succop to pretend he’s Justin Tucker, the booming field goal kicker for the Crows? Is it an attempt to try to cover for Byron Leftwich not knowing what he’s doing?

That 55-yard attempt last week in NoCal smacked of desperation, like a guy who knows his job is slipping away. Succop has never made a kick of that distance in his 14-year career.

The Bucs would be better off going for it on fourth down. But, gasp, that may be risky. And this coaching staff sure is frozen by a risk-averse mentality most of the time.

You know, like when they wouldn’t ask a quarterback who thrives under pressure to throw because it could get picked, despite said quarterback only having two picks all year at the time of the scared coaching.

Byron Leftwich Did Adjust — The Wrong Way

A good indicator how an offense moves the ball is to see how many third downs it has. If a team doesn’t have many third downs, that tells you they are avoiding them by moving the ball on first and second downs.

In other words, playing Canadian football with NFL rules.

When the Bucs won the Super Bowl, they had the seventh-fewest third downs in the league. Last year the Bucs had the 11th-fewest in the league.

This year? Fuhgettaboutit. The Bucs have the second-most.

The best way to avoid third downs? Throw on first down and, if needed, on second down. Last night the Bucs did that. At least in the first half.

Jenna Laine of ESPN points out the Bucs were 8 of 9 for 119 yards and a touchdown on first downs, their best production of first-down passing all season. Not so coincidently, the Bucs scored 17 points in that same first half.

But then there was the second half:

In the second half? Nah, back to LeftwichBall. Not counting the final drive in which the Bucs only ran it once, the Bucs ran the ball four times on seven first downs. Half of those were runs — all together now — up the middle. Cute.

Of those four running plays the Bucs gained a grand total of 11 yards.

So yeah, Joe is wrong when he previously typed that Leftwich doesn’t adjust. He did last night. He adjusted from something working well to something that hasn’t worked for all but two games this year.


The Bucs seemed content with a 14-point lead at halftime and banked on the defense to win the game. To be fair, only once in the three seasons Brady has been the Bucs quarterback had the Bucs choked away a double-digit lead in the second quarter.

Good job, Byron; good effort.

40 Responses to “Five Things”

  1. Buczilla Says:

    Awesome weather for the rest of the week and Christmas is right around the corner, but I’m still bummed by yet another loss largely due to bad coaching. Brady played like butt, but our inability to adjust is just depressing. Maybe Santa will have Bijan Robinson fall into our laps on draft day?

  2. Onetrickpony Says:

    Bingo, Joe

  3. steele Says:

    Joe, very astute on the “miscommunication” throughout this team. That goes the heart of everything that is wrong this season. Nobody clear or in sync. Everyone struggling. Disconnect, disconnect. 100% a coaching crisis that they still haven’t fixed, and it’s week 14. Does anyone think some sort of switch can be flipped, and suddenly everyone’s unified, disciplined, and focused individually and as a group?

  4. Leopold Stotch Says:

    Another running back won’t help… We need a tackle, corner, edge a WR, we need a lot of stuff. Oh and a new coaching staff. That’s all I want for Christmas.

  5. Darin Says:

    They must have banked on the defense to win the game. The fake punt I’ll never understand. Up 17-3 on your own twenty something. You usually fake it to steal a possession. Usually when losing or when your offense and or defense is playing terrible, not up 17-3. Well after that terrible call both units played terribly. Way to bring em down coach! But we know you’ll be around another few weeks so let’s see how you can lose to another backup QB this week!

  6. Pete I Says:

    “That 55-yard attempt last week in NoCal smacked of desperation, like a guy who knows his job is slipping away.

    The Bucs would be better off going for it on fourth down. But, gasp, that may be risky. And this coaching staff sure is frozen by a risk-averse mentality.” – This is spot on!

  7. Lt. Dan Says:

    My daughter got sick last night and had to be taken to the hospital by amublance. I missed the last three quarters. Thank God she is ok. Thank God I missed the last three quarters.

  8. Lakeland Steve Says:

    I agree with Darin, the fake punt in deep in our territory when we are up big is just a stupid risk. The momentum swung right there and we never got it back. The quitters on our team packed it in right then.

  9. beano Says:

    Trask Hater Joe Says: “What should the Bucs do, play Kyle Trask and throw away a home playoff game?”

    No. Play Trask so we know what he has going into the 2023 draft. We’re 1-3 with Brady the last 4 games (.250). Trask wins at least 1 of the remaining 3 games (.333). That’s an improvement over Brady (.333 > .250.).

    Remember, Joe, you’re no quarterback guru. When the Bucs missed drafting Johnny Manziel in the 2014 draft, you laughably wrote:

    “Can you imagine the excitement today if the team had picked Manziel? Can you imagine the impact? He has been the finest playmaker in college football over the last two years. YOUR EYES TELL YOU THE KID CAN PLAY.”

  10. dmatt Says:

    Am I the only person that saw Burrows toss a soft under hand pass right in JTS face to intercept n possibly score but he swat the ball down. What’s wrong with that picture. This guy is outta his league. He does not know what he’s doing or the game of football. No one’s talking bout that bonehead play. That was embarrassing. He’s a bust

  11. Statistically Insignificant Reader Says:

    Unbelievable…every week you think this can’t get worse. Sick of watching the Bowles Leftwich circle jerk shet show.

  12. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    JTS is z certified BUST

    He absolutely has ZERO field awareness….he’s either whiffing on tackles or in the wrong freaking spot to make a play.

    He’s ALWAYS in the wrong positions on the field.

    He also cannot shed blocks too…..not even against opposing lineman backups…..he’s just awful.

  13. TheBucsAnthem Says:

    ….and all you gotta do is just watch specifically JTS on every single snap……he’s so lost and clueless

    Yes he has speed and an explosive burst…..but that’s about it

  14. Winny Testaverde Says:

    Bernard has been a pro’s pro for 9 seasons…a long career by running back standards…especially non-elite ones. He was part of a horrible blooper against the team who drafted him and he played 7 seasons for. He realizes his career is winding down. I understand him showing some thin skin after the reporter ambush…led by the woke, hard hitting Jenna Lame.

    A constant after an all too frequent lousy loss? Lil b beano puffing out his/her/non-binary chest stumping for Trask when playoffs are still ( somehow ) in sight in the stinky NFC south. Isn’t beano a product to reduce sharting…not induce it? Who knows…nothing seems normal this season.

  15. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Communication could very well be the issue.

    Have you heard how some of these guys speak?

  16. beano Says:

    The dysfunction in the Bucs sphere is seen by the disparity in treatment of JTS and Trask. JTS was a 2021 first rounder, has played extensively these past 2 seasons, sucks, is a clear bust, but little to no hate is directed toward him by Joe. Trask was a 2021 second rounder, has not played a down, but is the object of regular hate and derision by Joe, the quarterback guru who wanted Johnny Manziel in 2014 (LOL). You can’t make this sh*t up.

  17. JimmyfromNY Says:

    Played dominant elite football for 1/2 showing what they’re capable of. I think it will translate over the next three weeks and beat Dallas in the playoffs. Unfortunately, the coaching staff is incapable of making adjustments, how do they not know that Cincinnati is gonna put more pressure and changeccoverage. It’s alarming that guys can’t get open every throws contested. The running game is inept , This team always seems to have game changing penalties at the wrong time. that’s a direct reflection of the coaching. Brady still near the tops in the league, in turnover worthy plays , 4th Q TD, yards , tight window throws . yesterday was an anomaly. It’s alarming that guys can’t get open every throws contested. The running game is awful in this team always seems to have game changing penalties, same crap every week. Really is incredible. However, like I said, I see some stuff, especially early in that game that shows what they’re capable of once it clicks like it did the past few years and they will are gonna be in a good position to win football games in spite of the coaches

  18. Alanbucsfan Says:

    What game were you watching, Joe? The narrative in your mind or the real deal?
    The botched fake punt-Bernard screwed up and he knows it- the holding calls on Kieft and Leverett, the turnovers by Brady- all momentum killers and that’s why they lost, not some it’s all on the coaches narrative. By the way, they hardly ran the ball in 2nd half.
    One thing you could put on the coaches is maybe Bucs were celebrating too much at halftime and lost their focus and edge.

  19. alton green Says:

    This really reminds me of when i was in grade school and we had to write that had so many words or pages. We’d write really big and double space or double space. In other words this is a really long post that should say “DUH” Some of you remind me of a toddler when caught doing something. blame everything except the guilty one. I posted this yesterday:
    Burrow had 200 yds, at 69% and i int and 4 TDS (not bad)
    the GOAT had well over 300 yds at 69% with 2 ints. yes let’s not forget the fumble. If you noticed, he had half the Bengals on his back. I think it’s the O line’s job to prevent that. When you want to blame somebody, just watch that NFL bloopers with the fake punt. Now go back and re-take an algebra class. I said to myself HERE WE GO after we didn’t score on the first posession after the half. HER WE GO!!!!!!!

  20. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We found out yesterday that Russell Gage can play……I’ve been explaining all year that he is a good receiver that has been hurt… we see what a healthy Gage can do…..
    Brady looked like America’s GB last night……fumbling and throwing ints…..

    Our defense can’t be blamed for giving up points when the offense turns it over that much….the D played well….even with Cinn scoring 34.

  21. Bucsfan13 Says:

    @TBBFI’ve been high on Gage, and he finally showed up. He also had a big drop on second down. Brady avoided the pressure and made a money throw and he blew it. Next play Brady turns it over.

  22. Cobraboy Says:

    My Five Things:

    1) Bowles Sucks
    2) Leftwich Sucks
    3) Buc players don’t care and are just putting in their time, thinking of that Great UHaul Escape after the Falcon’s game
    4) Brady’s mind is elsewhere
    5) Glazers are too PC to care about fans

  23. Cobraboy Says:

    @Winny: Bernard deserves to feel foolish. That was a beautifully designed punt fake…and Bernard totally blew it.

    There was a huge gaping hole in the DL with a wall of OL escorts to the left post-snap, an easy peasy 1st down…and maybe a whole lot more.

    Bernard will not be a Buc next season. He’s done squat since he’s been in Tampa.

  24. Razor Ramone Says:

    Hey Beanie! Are you Trask’s Grandmother?

  25. Cobraboy Says:

    1st half: a ton of motion, play-action and run/pass mix: great success.

    2nd half: almost no motion, play-action or runs, all drop-back, and Cincy pinned their ears back.

    Dumb-a$$ Leftwich “adjustments.”

    Idiot. I wanna snatch that stoopit flat brim hat off his dumb-a$$ head…

    I am ready for a tear-down and rebuild. Brady at 46 won’t be any sharper.

  26. Kev@Inverness Says:

    Not surprised that when the Bucs start losing, TheBucsAnthem pops up out of the sh!tpile.

  27. NEfan Says:

    TBBF, on board with Gage. Not on board with 79 points given up by the D in two games. Yes Brady went from Dr. Jeckle to Mr. Hyde after halftime. The question is HOW did the bottom fall out so quickly. Did the team get over confident? The Bengals are one of the best in the business. The fake punt and Bowles throwing Bernard under the bus is once again BA like. How about he probably didn’t believe a coach would call such a play at that junction of the game. Rumor has it he called it off and the snapper didn’t hear him. I wouldn’t blame him, the linebacker came screaming in from the corner. Bowels said he should have got 5 yards, truth is he would have lost 5 yards.

    If White start to create tension between the O & D the season is officially over. Who made that clown captain?

  28. 97 bucBaby Says:

    Let Brady go please he’s done

  29. ATLBuc Says:

    It looked to me like the ball was snapped when Bernard’s head was turned. Was that his fault? Seems like the center’s fault.

  30. Your Mom Says:

    It must be such a joy for other coaches to play against two coaches in Bowles and Leftwich who are so bad at figuring things out.

  31. beano Says:

    Oh, poor Tiny Testaverde. He won’t respond in substance to what I write, so he comes up with red herrings and ad hominems. What a loser. LMAO

  32. Bojim Says:

    But Bowles has the final say. When hurry up works Bowles will dial it back because he’s afraid they’ll lose it so he plays safe. Maybe he thinks everybody needs to be reminded it’s his team. Not working too well whatever his mindset is.

  33. beano Says:

    Oh, poor Teeny Testaverde. He’s too dumb to respond in substance to what I write, so he comes up with red herrings and ad hominems. What a loser. LMAO

  34. Bucamania Says:

    I think we all know Bowles told Lefty to slow it down and work the clock. Zero killer instinct with this head coach.

  35. NEfan Says:

    Biccamania@ beanblo doesn’t know, he hates everyone and thing.
    Now Bernard is on his shat list. Veterans like him do NOT make those mistakes. It’s on the center but unlike Bowels, Bernard is not going to throw a player under the bus. Bernard gets the heat for the second stupidest HC call Bowels made this season.

  36. mark2001 Says:

    Seems Jason and the organization just don’t have the ability to know when a player is either past being a contributor, or about to fall of the edge of being a contributor. It is a skill that is very valuable…. look at what Detroit was able to do with Stafford. And the Packers might be able to do with Rodgers. We have entered the old, overpaid, often injured, and preparing for multiple player retirement zone.

  37. Ontario Mike Says:

    1st half lots of pre-snap motion and play action with some runs mixed in…Result-17 pts. Romo even mentions about this and says how well Bucs do with play action giving Brady and the receivers more time to connect. The season long stats back this up. 2nd half very little play action and Brady in an empty backfield…guess what they’re going to do? Any DC can plan blitzes and coverages if they know a pass is coming. Result- 0 pts. I’ve heard of making adjustments at half time but DUH ! If it’s working, keep on doing it !!

  38. RustyRhinos Says:

    Hey Razor Ramone, Who are you? Nostradamus’s grandson?
    Can you also predict the future?

  39. RustyRhinos Says:

    Hey Razor Ramone {{Flips Toothpick}}

  40. Razor Ramone Says:

    That’s a good one.