“They’ve Still Got Dudes Over There”

August 30th, 2023

Joe laughs at Peter King and others who think the Falcons are going to roll to a division title this season.

Atlanta has a very shaky starting quarterback, unless they turn to backup Taylor Heinicke, which Joe suspects will happen after the Falcons struggle.

For those who think 30-year-old Heinicke sucks, he’s got a .500 record as a starter (12-12-1) and he has a better career completion percentage than Baker Mayfield, and a similar touchdown-to-interception ratio to Mayfield. He’s also more mobile. A cynic might say that’s why Heinicke has a much bigger salary than Mayfield.

Joe is not on the Falcons bandwagon like many others, and longtime NFL Network reporter and NFL.com writer Steve Wyche did a good job explaining why Joe isn’t writing off the Bucs.

It’s talent.

As Wyche told The State Of The Saints podcast, the Bucs have the most Pro Bowl talent on paper in the division and the defense should cause problems for a lot of offenses. “They’ve still got dudes over there,” Wyche said of the Bucs as he rattled off names.

The Bucs certainly do have a lot of impressive résumés. And Joe feels very comfortable saying the Bucs have a good 2023 quarterback situation when you compare it to the rest of the division. Not great, but good.

Wyche’s concern about the Bucs is the run game. He’s doesn’t think Tampa Bay can win without a decent run game.

Joe only agrees to a point. The Bucs likely just need to approach a middle-of-the-pack rushing attack (20th-ranked?) to score a few points per more per game than they did last season.

The Bucs had the 22nd-ranked run game in 2016 and finished 9-7 in a division filled with stud quarterbacks.

42 Responses to ““They’ve Still Got Dudes Over There””

  1. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    I think we win the division but it will be similar to last year. Except the Panthers will be bad, bad, bad. I think Heinicke can play a bit. Probably deserves more of a chance than he has gotten.

    Our QB situation is not bad. Seems to me that Mayfield will be better here than at Carolina last year (of course) because enough people like him here. Mayfield needs to be liked by people to play well whereas he was unwanted in charlotte and played like it. We’ll see. I also think he’s on thin ice too, though.

  2. BuxfaninTX Says:

    Anyone notice that Jaelon Darden was cut?

  3. Duane Says:

    Nobody knows anything until they play the games

  4. Marine Buc Says:

    This team has a very strong core…

    I like the salary cap induced youth movement the Bucs are currently experiencing.

    The majority of our roster have been in the NFL for 4 seasons or less.

    13 or so rookies.

    My mantra all off-season has been – younger, faster, hungry and cheaper…

    It will be interesting to watch things play out.

    I am happy to say goodbye to – old, slow, fat and overpaid.

    – J. Jones
    – C. Brate
    – S. Mason
    – A. Hicks
    – B. Perriman
    – K. Rudolph
    – G. Bernard
    – J. Wells
    – C. Nassib

    Good riddance… Out with the old in with the new.

  5. Bucs Guy Says:

    Saints over the Bucs with Atlanta a few games behind and Carolina bringing up the bottom. All subject to injuries.

  6. Red Baron Says:

    I think the real concern should be coaching talent. Bowles is 34-50 as HC.

  7. Brandon Says:

    I’m 100% sure Heinicke is better than Ridder but worse than Mayfield. I’m also pretty sure that short QBs like Brees and Wilson are exceptions and Bryce Young is far from being a sure thing.

  8. All_da_way Says:

    The Bucs defense means business this coming season. They are not messing around.

    The problem is can the Bucs running game + OL show up and put points on the board?

  9. Lokog Says:

    If we can’t get to the qb or cause turnovers consistently we wont win much but ill be watching win or lose i just won’t root for or celebrate when devin makes a play i don’t like fools who aren’t loyal i don’t forgive

  10. All_da_way Says:

    The Saints defense isn’t what it once was and frankly their offense is going to be what you expect (eg ball control).

    Panthers defense has a lot of talent which hasn’t really gelled while their OL is shaky at best. Not convinced that their offense will move the chains when teams start to game plan their offense.

    Falcons have been the best coached team and did upgrade their talent. The problem for the Falcons is that they are heavily relying on vets in their front seven. But the Falcons do you have a young and very talented secondary.

  11. Fire Bowles Says:

    You’ll think I’m crazy but I have Atlanta winning the division. I think you’re underestimating big time Joe.
    Not saying Atlanta sucks, but they’ve got a ton to prove with a weak QB situation. Nothing against Arthur Smith, but nobody knows if he can produce a winning season. –Joe

  12. Larrd Says:

    The Bucs should be the favorite, with the Saints a strong threat, IMO. I like this Bucs roster better than last year’s. Maybe injuries don’t snowball when the backups aren’t 34 years old?

  13. HC Grover Says:

    No doubt this is Super Bowles year. Perfect Season.

  14. Thisisouryear!! Says:

    I think if we compare ourselves to Seattle last year it could be telling. Genos qb rating was around 85 before Seattle and has averaged 100 since. I would take baker over geno. I think in Canales offense baker does the same thing. I thin our o-line will gel 5 weeks in and our run game will be slightly better than theirs. Our top 3 receivers are definitely better. I expect a top 5 defense this year. They won 9 games. I think we win 11. Go Bucs!!!

  15. Eric Says:

    Joe bro you a walking contradiction you believe in mayfield lol come on man!

  16. SlyPirate Says:


    Heinicke almost single handedly whooped our butts in the first game of our 2020 playoff run. I can still see him diving for the pilon. Straight up Buc killer.

    How do y’all not remember and respect that name?

  17. TOMMY MORDUE Says:


  18. No Mercy Says:

    If the Bucs get back to the elite run stopping defense they can go 4-0 against the Panthers and Falcons. No way either of those teams beat us passing. Falcons have some good young talent but won’t go anywhere unless Ridder turns into Justin fields magically

  19. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    The roster is far from weak. Looks like a lot of rookies will play but so far those rookies look good. I have my doubts about Bowles, but he does seem a little more comfortable this season. Maybe it’s the absence of Brady and Leftwich. I think we can win the division. It’s gonna be a tight race, though.

  20. Citrus County Says:

    There should be NO surprise that the corrupt mainstream media to include all the leftists in sports media would favor Atlanta. Anyone paying attention to what is going on in the Peach State ? The Bucs play in Florida. Why would anyone hate on Florida ?
    I want the Bucs to KICK A** and think they will. For that matter: GO Dolphins and Jags.

  21. ModHairKen Says:

    Peter King is a buffoon.

  22. BucU Says:

    Losing Jensen is going to hurt the most. I remember the first day of training camp and who did Joe select to post the first photo of a player walking into the facility? None other than Ryan Jensen smiling ear to ear. Little did we know….

  23. go dawgs Says:

    we are going to spank the vikings like we do the gators!!!

  24. adam from ny Says:

    any team that signs heineken has absolutely no confidence in there starter…

    heineken is the quintessential quality super back up currently in the nfl – and we will be seeing him this season…

    riddlepuss will flop out sooner than later, and the moxy filled heinken will be trying to out gun us as usual…

    he’s annoying because he’s kind of good

  25. Aaron Says:

    I’m trying to think of another team going into a season with a coach with Bowles record…QBs that are avg. at best, Offensive coordinator that’s never called plays, O-line with as many changes as ours (see running game), avg. to bad special teams, and an extremely inconsistent pass-rush win more than 4 games much less go to the playoffs.

    I don’t want to root against my Bucs but keeping Bowles = mediocre and that’s the kiss of death in the NFL.

    Go Bucs! Thank God we caught another Superbowl when we did…

  26. Joe Says:

    he’s annoying because he’s kind of good

    Like Bill Walsh said of Steve DeBerg, just good enough to get you fired.”

  27. Fansince76 Says:

    Both the buzzards and the kittens do not have better QB situations than the Bucs. only the aints have a better QB. Bucs at worst should place second in the division based QB play. I do not see the falcons being a good team at all with lots of holes and the panthers are playing a 5’10” rookie so good luck with that.

  28. adam from ny Says:

    i think it’s really cool that the nfl has decided to put a giant vat of self serve wonton soup next to the gatorade containers at all games under 40 degrees…

    the nfl has come a long way

  29. FortMyersDave Says:

    I personally think that Vegas really loves when the national media decide things like the Bucs will be the 2nd worst team in the league, the Jets will be a playoff contender, watch out for those Falcons, etc… So then when 65% of betting money goes on the Jets and Falcons over and Bucs under on the o/u win totals they earn serious coin. These lines do not move much like a point spread so like last year when they won big with people betting over on the Bucs, Rams and Packers they could prove once and again how the house never loses even if some stiff like Peter King tells you that the smart bet is the ATL.

    BTW, I hope all fared well in the storm, lots of coastal flooding up and down the Gulf Coast but it could have been a lot worse if the storm came ashore in Pasco/Hernando instead of the west side of the Big Bend but do not tell that to anyone in Cedar Key…. Prayers to all affected by Idalia.

  30. Craig Says:

    It is tough to gauge how the Bucs will play this season. They looked good in preseason with the defensive firsts, but a pretty deep drop to second string.

    The offense looked good, but line depth is shaky. There is also the fact that Baker had very limited reps. He looked good enough be named starter after the Panthers preseason, but then collapsed. That could start the Bucs in a hole, when the rest of the division was still growing into their game.

    N.O. has a new QB, conservative coach, and a bad left side on their O-line. Panther and Dirty Birds have no idea of their QB.

    If the Bucs start the season well and build on it, they could win the division.

    I hope for that but will call a hard fought second place closer. On any Sunday the whole league can switch, so let’s play the games and forget this guesswork.

  31. Tony1775 Says:

    I’m worried about our O-line this is an expriement with multiple unproven people.

  32. Oxycondomns Says:

    Depends on panthers rookie qb on whether bucs finish 3rd or 4th

  33. Mike S Says:

    Not much to talk about until gameday.

    Everything has been hashed and rehashed to death.

    Summary: It’s the Saints and then everyone else.

    Bucs could leapfrog the Saints, but it’s all about the offense.

    O-line, running game and QB play.

  34. garro Says:

    A run game that oponents are forced to at least give some respect to will do wonders for us. If we can get some first downs running the ball we will be successful. Third and short needs to be a successful run play at times.

    Go Bucs!

  35. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Saints are totally winning the division this year. Carr is currently the best QB in the nfc south.

    If Mayfield and Trask both bomb this year, we’ll have a new QB next year. If it’s a rookie…we likely won’t win the division next year.

    If it’s a veteran QB, it will depend on who we get.

  36. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Our defense is our wild card this year. If they play up to their potential, we could win enough games to takes out of the running for 1st pick.

  37. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I do think Licht added some good pieces to the OL…but I also think it will take time to develop as a unit.

  38. David Says:

    All depends on D-line and O- line

  39. BucsBeBack (Artist formally known as: BringBucsBack) Says:

    They have a new QB (w/a losing record), back-up QB with no experience, new “O” line, new “O”-coordinator, new playbook on offense, new starting RB, an overrated “D” & a losing HC who doesn’t want to score a lot of points.

    That’s what the rest of the South are saying about US! Who wouldn’t feel confident about playing that team?

    It is all talk until the games are played.

  40. Mike Says:

    I think the D will keep the Bucs in games for sure. I too worry about the run game. Mauch is a rookie and has a lot to learn and honestly the rest of the O-Line from Center to Right Tackle is questionable as well, so if we are going to have success, it’s going to have to be with smart play calling and execution.

  41. bucsfaninOregon Says:

    There should be NO surprise that the corrupt mainstream media to include all the leftists in sports media would favor Atlanta….Citrus

    Watch Fox much?

  42. Fred McNeil Says:

    Carr is like DeBerg. Just good enough to lose.