Five Things

October 16th, 2023

Lavonte David celebrates a sack. (Photo courtesy of

Awesome day. Rotten game. Let’s get to it.

Baker Mayfield Turned Into A Pumpkin

Was it a pumpkin or a Swashbuckler’s orange pom-pom? Joe guesses a pumpkin.

That’s what happened to Baker Mayfield. After a four-game stretch where Mayfield looked a whole lot like a No. 1 overall draft pick, Mayfield yesterday looked more like the guy the Stinking Panthers gave up on.

Mayfield completed 19 of 37 passes in the blowout loss to the Lions. Terrible numbers and the ones he missed, yikes, they were big. Probably the difference in the game.

Until or unless the Bucs find a running back, the Bucs will have to lean on Mayfield or have no offense at all. That’s not by design but by necessity.

Sadly, the Bucs cannot depend on their run game to bail out Mayfield if he has a bad day because the Bucs have no run game.

So Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales, if he isn’t busy enough trying to find a running back or a run game, will have to start devising passes to help avoid getting throws batted down.

Joe doesn’t know what those can be? But you know what? Joe’s not getting paid seven figures to figure these things out.

Bucs Just Don’t Matchup With Physical Teams

The Lions have a bruising team, especially in the trenches. Go back a little way into last season and see that the Bucs just cannot overcome a physical team in the trenches. They got their arses handed to them in San Francisco. Then in the playoffs, the Cowboys beat the crap out of the Bucs physically.

Then comes 2023. The Eagles alley-stomped Tampa Bay and then the Lions came into The Licht House and bullied the Bucs.

All four of those teams are very physical. So it’s pretty simple to Joe: The Bucs don’t have the players to match up against a physical team. That’s very difficult to fix in the middle of a season.

Joe asked Todd Bowles about this and Bowles disagreed with Joe. Bowles added the Bucs matched up just fine with Detroit.

Still, by Joe’s count, the Bucs are 0-4 against physical teams since last season’s bye week.

Short of going out and getting a half-dozen brute players, the Bucs must play perfect football when facing San Francisco next month. Otherwise, it will be a repeat of yesterday and last year.

A quick example of how the Bucs don’t match up with physical teams? Late third quarter yesterday, the Bucs were deep in Lions territory and trailing 10-3. Deven Thompkins, 5-8, 155, catches a short Baker Mayfield pass and runs right.

All Thompkins needs is a block from Cade Otton near the right sideline to spring him for a possible touchdown. Instead, Otton got blown up and Thompkins was thumped right away. No chance to break the tackle. The Bucs settled for a field goal. If the Bucs had a dawg at tight end, or a bigger receiver, perhaps it is a tie game instead. And who knows what happens after that?

Yeah, that is just one play. But one play here and one play there and pretty soon you’re talking about multiple touchdowns rather than three points.

Are the Bucs soft? Joe can’t go that far. But they are not physical.

Running Game Must Be Addressed

Unless the ultimate goal of the Bucs this season is to be a one-and-done playoff team, it’s time for people at One Buc Palace to sh!t or get off the toilet. Either you want to make a Super Bowl run or you don’t. If you have aspirations of playing more than one postseason game, then fix the run game.

Or to be exact: Get a friggin’ run game!

Unless you want to draft Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix.

Joe saw a run yesterday that just about had Joe fully give up on Rachaad White. The guy runs to the left and stops like he’s Le’Veon Bell, and Joe swears there was 10 yards of daylight to White’s right, inside. All he had to do was take a step to the right and, at worst, get a first down.

What did White do? He stood behind an offensive lineman for some weird reason.

This White, as a running back, has no vision. None. This guy wouldn’t notice a stripper in a Dale Mabry Highway clothing-optional club if he walked by her dance pole.

The Bucs’ run game (if you want to call it that) is worse than last year, which was the worst in the NFL.

Either the Bucs trade for someone or they are virtue signaling to the NFL world they are not serious about winning (this year).

Joe has been waiting 24 games for this White to break out. He’s had one good game running the ball. One! What makes anyone think Game No. 25 will be when the levy breaks?

Horrible Stats

The Bucs’ league-worst rushing attack got worse. Tampa Bay came in averaging three yards a carry. After running for 46 yards on 16 carries, the Bucs now average 2.9 yards a carry. That’s a half-yard a carry worse than the Bucs finished last year  –when they finished in the NFL basement running for 3.4 yards a carry.

Last year through five games the Bucs scored a total of 103 points. This year through five games the Bucs have scored 90.

In the opening quarter of the Bucs’ first five games in 2022,the Bucs scored a total of 12 points. In the first five games this season, the Bucs have only six points in the opening quarters.

Somewhere, failed former Bucs offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich is giggling.

Creamsicle Day Was Fantastic

Bucs fans had been waiting more than 10 years for the Bucs to break out the Creamsicles again. And Joe has to give the Bucs props. Seemingly every little detail was covered.

The scoreboard was turned white. Orange trim was everywhere, and 1970’s music filled the air all afternoon. When the scoreboard showed highlights of other games, it played the old CBS NFL Today opening.  The Orange uniforms sparkled in the sun. During timeouts, the scoreboard featured highlights of Bucs stars from the creamsicle days. Hell, the Bucs even had a creamsicle display in the press box (replete with an old orange creamsicle Starter jacket) and served Creamsicles ice cream bars!

What a fun day, but there was just one little problem: The Bucs took an embarrassing L.

Hey guys, you were supposed to dress like Leeman Bennett was your coach. You weren’t supposed to play like Leeman Bennett was your coach.

(Oh, and props to the @sshole who stole Joe’s creamsicle bucket hat off his desk in the press box. The one time Joe was going to bring a trinket home from a Bucs game some SOB walks off with it while Joe was busy banging on his laptop — like the person who lifted it didn’t have enough of those lids.)

39 Responses to “Five Things”

  1. Onetrickpony Says:

    Agree,we don’t have anything near a run game and it don’t look like they are going to address that problem. And I hope I never see those silly uniforms again, they are bad luck

  2. Bucschamp Says:

    Need physicality?call bully Lenny and gronk

  3. Tim Says:

    Put on the creamsicle uni’s, and you get the old creamsicle gameplay (Read: losing)

  4. Darin Says:

    Of course they sparkled in the sun. One reason us die hards never wanted a change. But yes you’re looking at bowles ceiling. Beating bad teams losing to good ones.

  5. RuKa Says:

    5 Things as well:

    1. We are a soft team indeed. Evidence: Godwin gets blown by a lion and just after a Bucs lineman is running towards Godwin and has the opportunity to shove aside the defender and tell him “you don’t do that to us!”. Instead he tried to get out of the way and almost apologized… we are like our HC: softies

    2. Let’s stop with the “Dave Canales for HC in 2024” talk. Let’s first wait for him to show he can consistently have a complete offense, call good games and implement a run game.

    3. Let’s also stop calling Todd Bowles a defensive guru. Too many times receivers of the opposing team run free in the middle of our D. Too many times we miss talked. Too many times we look lost. What he does is “eye candy” for Defense: a lot of ppl running around and blitzing from everywhere and big guys falling into coverage… looks impressive, but what about fundamentals? Like, tackling, covering, basic defensive stuff? In all the years he has been in Tampa he has half season of a very good defense, in the SB run. The rest of the time is just a mediocre / middle of the road defense.

    4. Is games like this that lead many people to question Mike Evans as elite. I love Mike Evans, but If I was not a Bucs fan and only watch him in prime games I would think he is just a stats guy.

    5. The Lions are good team. They play sound no-nonsense football, do well the basic fundamental things. This is the trait of a well coached team. In comparison the Bucs are not: we fail at the most fundamental things. We will continue to be a middle of the road team, a 7 to 9 wins team. Our division is weak, so we will probably win it and go to the playoffs. We will also be eliminated in the first round. While this coaching group is here this is what we can expect. And when one of the other NFC south teams improve we will start missing the playoffs. This is Todd Bowles ball: play not to lose.

  6. adam from ny Says:

    regarding otton not blowing up the linebacker so thompkins could get yardage……….

    yeah that play really stood out to me as well…i was saying “why didn’t otton blow up that backer and smash him to the floor?”

    shameful blocking and effort right there…

    now wasn’t ko kieft brought in just to do sh!t like that – yet he seems to be riding the bench mostly…is he in the canales dog house ???

    he was supposed to be one of our dawgs

  7. FortMyersDave Says:

    I agree with Ruka on his 5 points. The Bucs are better than Vegas expected and the rest of the NFC South is worse so the Bucs probably can win the division at 9-8 or even 8-9 with a tie breaker over the Aints. The Lions are a good team, 5-1 and obviously better than mediocre teams like the Bucs and Packers whom they manhandled on the road. Next week is telling, beat a bad ATL team at home and go 4-2, lose and the wheels could fall off. The ATL does not look all that great but if the Bucs do not bring their A game I can see the ATL boat racing them so I hope Canales dials up something to put up some points early for a change. All is not lost but the Bucs are as Ruka said, probably the best team in a very mediocre division but that will just get them beaten at home as the #4 seed in the playoffs by someone like Seattle or Dallas. Time to trade for an RB. White is toast.

  8. Hodad Says:

    Let’s take a momment to remember last year this Lions team started the season 1-6! They finished the season strong, and have carried that into this year. Last year at this time Dan’s job was on the line. No one would have been surprised if he was fired after that start. The Lions are in year three of their rebuild, we played our 5th game in this new offense. This is a find out what we are, what we need going forward year, it always was. So far we need to get tougher, need a better RB, and do we have to draft a QB?

  9. adam from ny Says:

    i really really really wanted us to draft breece hall, because i knew the kid was nice…but we passed him by…

    in fact i probably wrote in on old draft threads on here a couple years ago…

    how good would he have looked in a creamsicle uni sunday?

  10. adam from ny Says:

    i thought canales looked a little overwhelmed midway to late in the game when the camera cut to him…

    he needs a running game…

    and if we don’t get one soon, baker is gonna fall apart as well without one

  11. adam from ny Says:

    the goff to st. brown connect got more lethal as the game wore on….and it really secured the win…no one could stop that connection in the second half

  12. Manny Says:

    6. Mayfield is a twerp and has no business behind center. 31 NFL teams have figured that out.

  13. garro Says:

    White on that run might have scored! It was that obvious to this fan. How could he not see that. He left some yards out there on at least one other run as well. LeGarrette Blount available?

    Throw backs were great to see. Too many Lions Jerseys though. Embarassing Glazers! Tampa deserves better fans than that showing! Whoever is selling their tickets to out of state fans needs to be banned!

    We battled hard but Baker was off and so was Evans. A couple of Canales play calls were kinda questionable as well.

    Camarda nailed a sixty yard coffin corner punt! That, folks is a very hard thing to do.

  14. Mark hardt Says:

    It is not just the lack of a top running back but predictability. Canales insists on running on first downs. Mix it up. Do a 2 minute drill in the middle of each half.

  15. Colonel Angus Says:

    Bucs gotta make a move for a running back. Maybe Titans are willing to part ways with Henry. We need power at the position.

  16. Alanbucsfan Says:

    the ones he missed, yikes, they were big. Probably the difference in the game.
    – yep, the tipped interception that led to 3 points for Lions and missed 2 deep balls to open receivers.
    JTS missed an opportunity for an interception as well

  17. Destinjohnny Says:

    This has nothing to do with o line talent does it???

  18. HC grover Says:

    One thing. Mayfield can not hit wide open receivers deep.

  19. Conte Piscatelli Says:

    Why do we play so much soft zone? We are paying a ton of money for two CBs who are finally healthy, but we play soft zones like Pierre Desir is still roaming the secondary. We never seem to challenge teams to beat our corners.

  20. Gofortheface30 Says:

    Fortmyers Dave, sooooo basically what you’re saying is that you DO agree with Rukas points. You go out of your way to say you disagree to add benign, neither here nor their commentary to his overriding point which is “Bucs are better than Vegas expected them to be.” 1. Who gives a fuk – and technically, if we all know what the ultimate outcome is anyway, which is 8-9 only to get curb stomped in the playoffs, then there is nothing fun or exciting about that. I feel immense apathy at the thought. 2. We aren’t physically strong on both sides. Even like a Cleveland and what they did to San Francisco yesterday, they have 280 pound guys like a Myles Garrett that can set the EDGE, and the middle of their offensive line are true road graters. It is no coincidence our run defense took a dive the moment JPP walked out that door. Jensen of course is the biggest loss you can have on the offensive line. We aren’t particularly strong or nasty, but just talented enough to go 8-9 which to me sounds more like purgatory

  21. pewter941 Says:

    The Lions had less rushing yards than the Bucs yesterday.

  22. DFW BUC Says:

    Execution by Detroit and a number of players that need execution on the Bucs. Detroit did look like a well coached team that is held to a high standard.

  23. Oxycondomns Says:

    Went to the game took my son just because of the creamsicles. Now he knows what it was like . Half stadium fans for the other team and losing in the creamsicles. Liked the cheerleader outfits except the guys with the nuthuggers and the leroy selmon tribute

  24. Bucs Fan From Philly Says:

    Lenny F was a physical rb. He still needs a job. He can’t wear 7 because Shaq has it, but what about bringing him back. The locker room knows him, he won a ring here, and he needs a job.

  25. Radsy Says:

    We have an OLine built for pass blocking and pass blocking only. Our interior gets caved in on any type of running play.

  26. Mike Malarkey Says:

    Can’t talk about physical play and not miss the lions RB destroy Carlton Davis on the block for the TD. But the defense played great!

  27. Oddball Says:

    Best picture ever.

  28. Rick Says:

    everyone acting like the sky is falling. We can’t run the ball? Look at the center of the offensive line. Mauch isn’t going to get stronger and put on 20 lbs overnight. His ceiling may be as a center even. Hainsey is ok but doesn’t seem to be the guy. Feiler has been decent but he’s hit his ceiling as a player and is clearly on the downside of his career. This is what happens with rebuilding teams, especially when you change schemes. Players who were previously serviceable on the old scheme like Leverett or Stinnie really don’t fit when you need them out in space. Instead of giving up after losing to one of the top teams in the league we should appreciate that we have a young team who is getting better and look at a lot of the bright spots, especially on defense.

  29. orlbucfan Says:

    Not just Defense, Rick, the Special Team is getting better, too. Camarda is unbelievableand McLaughlin is proving to be the real deal. They also have stout protection from their gunners. The Offense is going through adjusting to a new coach, and new players. Ignore the bozos on here; let’s face it, Bucs attract them.

  30. DBS Says:

    I have said it before. We need better TE’s also. None of the TE’s we have block that well and when you need a first down Otten will always come up sort.

  31. DBS Says:


  32. orlbucfan Says:

    Hey joes, LVD looks pretty da##ed snazzy in the old Floridian unis. Goff is lucky David doesn’t play dirty, and never has.

  33. Everything is just horrble! Says:

    Those stupid uniforms!!!!
    They lower your testosterone!!!
    Burn them!
    Please! lol

  34. Sir Fresh Says:

    Well….being that a team is coming off a red hot win and your team comes in after having a bye….and you the coach gives a week off, duh who has heard of that. Get the team ready.

  35. fred Says:

    Cade got blew up another time by #34

  36. Erik Hesson - Fine Artist and Founder of Says:

    I agree with the sentiment to burn the creamiscle uni’s.

    Never wear those ugly/losery uniforms again, please!

    We want to forget those times, not resurrect them.

    Let’s do the all-pewter uni’s a couple times per year, though. Those are my favorite.

  37. I remember 21 Says:

    I will bang this drum until the cows come home; Otten is NOT that guy. It just shocks me how much the Joes criticize White on here (and rightfully so), but let Otten slide without similar criticism. Maybe it’s due to White running his mouth all off-season like he was the second coming of Jim Brown, but that aside, Otten falls into all the same categories as White (young but experienced & woefully underperforming).

    Speaking of which, how nice would it be to draft a few guys that are just ready to play and don’t need 3+ years of seasoning to be serviceable at their position? If it’s not an OLineman that we want to switch to a different position (bout sick of that 🙄), it’s some project DL or OLB. Or some short or slow CB that we have to develop cerebrally so he can make up for physical shortcomings. Goodness. Anyone that’s objective has to admit Licht’s drafting and free agency moves have been pretty boom or bust with little in between. And it’s not like we didn’t have early round draft picks. God help us if he had been our GM in the drafts after we gave all the picks for Gruden.

  38. Bucsfanman Says:

    And stunningly, if Baker hits those throws and Mike doesn’t drop a couple, the RB kvetching would be minimal. That said, it’s time to move on from White.

    Where the game turned, IMO is the block on CD24. Until that point the defense had held pretty well. I think that block took some of the starch out.

    Additionally, Ryan Neal appears to be a liability in coverage. There were several completions where he was out of position or just blew.

  39. ScottyMack Says:

    According to stats through game 6 posted on another site, Mayfield is #21 in passes batted at the line of scrimmage. Number 1 is 6’6″ Trevor Lawrence with more than twice as many balls batted down at the line of scrimmage