Playing Down To Opponents

November 30th, 2023

No buzz.

Joe can see it and so too can his good friend NFL columnist Mike Tanier.

Joe has made a point since the offseason that the Bucs simply have no buzz in the NFL universe. Joe won’t call the Bucs a boring team, but little is buzzworthy, save for a play here or there by Mike Evans or Antoine Winfield.

This is why you rarely hear Bucs chatter on SiriusXM NFL Radio, save for Todd Bowles’ weekly appearances. The same holds true for other NFL talk shows.

For a while, Baker Mayfield brought national buzz, enough that he was a guest picker on College GameDay at the Red River Shootout.

And after the last win over the Titans, Bucs left tackle Tristan Wirfs got some love with an appearance on The Pat McAfee Show. That’s been about it outside of Shaq Barrett and Lavonte David on The Jim Rome Show.

Since the Bucs started their 1-6 losing streak, what little buzz the Bucs had has vanished.

Tanier, typing for something called “The Messenger,” came out and noted the Bucs aren’t good enough for any national attention.

After a fluky 3-1 start against weakling opponents, the Buccaneers settled into the post-Tom Brady doldrums. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin keep the offense functional, and there’s enough leftover Super Bowl-era talent to make the Buccaneers competitive, but the Buccaneers don’t put up much of a fight against heavyweights and have played down to the Falcons, Texans and (now) Colts on their schedule.

We’ll talk a little more about Sunday’s loss when we get a team worth talking about.

And Tanier is absolutely correct in that the Bucs play down to their opponents. The problem is, they don’t play up their opponents when those teams have winning records.

This is why Joe is fully scared of Sunday’s game with the Stinking Panthers. It just screams upset.

Joe gets the sense people at One Buc Palace believe Sunday’s game, if the Bucs lose, could have wide-ranging ramifications.

20 Responses to “Playing Down To Opponents”

  1. unbelievable Says:

    If last weekend wasn’t the final nail in the Todd Bowles coffin, a loss this Sunday surely will be.

    This team would have to look nothing short of incredible during its final weeks to have even a remote chance of changing the perception of things, after losing 7 out of 8 games in a row.

    It’s been insulting to fans to watch this slop week in and week out.

  2. BA’s Red Pen Says:

    We all know what’s going to happen Sunday.
    Who’s the next head coach and which quarterback are we drafting?

  3. Delusional Intelligence Says:

    If they lose this Sunday.


    Insert Quarters/Tokens

  4. gotbbucs Says:

    It’s a QB driven league and we don’t have one worth mentioning.

  5. Rod Munch Says:

    “The problem is, they don’t play up their opponents when those teams have winning records.”

    This team celebrated losing by 13 to the 49ers, claiming it was a moral victory and not a complete embarrassment.

    Would anyone on the team even dare to veer anywhere close to suggesting a ‘moral victory’ if Arians or Brady was still here?

    The answer to that is hell no.

    Man, this was the team picked by Vegas to go the Super Bowl for the NFC just one year ago! Now they’re one of the worst teams in football, and people are worried they’re about to be embarrassed by THE worst team in football.

    It’s sad, but it’s also why, the moment Brady really retired, I said tear down the team and start over – spend 2023 clearing up the cap, and try for the top pick. Well, at least I got half my wish, even if they didn’t think they’d be in talk for the #1 pick when they were 3-1.

  6. HC Grover Says:

    Keeping it close is Bowles game plan.

  7. adam from ny Says:

    if we won 2 of those 3 mid-level team games listed above, we’d be 6-5…and we should have…that’s what’s costing us the season…yeah we can’t beat the elites, and we should be able to win against complete trash teams, but the mid-level teams are taking us out…we are lucky we caught the vikings early on, because they too are a mid-level team that would have beaten us, once they got their sh!t together…

    i’m a diehard knicks fan…lifelong…and let me tell you about them for a second…

    they’ve mostly sucked for the longest time, but they’re a good team now…and what do they do?…they struggle and often lose to top 5-ish teams in the league – the powerhouse teams…
    they battle and usually beat most of the mid-level teams and they run thru the crap teams and make them look like collegiate teams…that’s why they are now a good team…they no longer play down to any opponents…

    the knicks are a top 10 team…somewhere between 6-10

    regarding the bucs…in the nfl if you’re a good team, you basically run over the bad teams, beat most of the mid-levels, and battle and hold your own with the powerhouses, win or lose…we got duped by the 3-1 record out the gate…and the fact they’re losing to worse and worse teams as the season wears on is ultra alarming…

    sunday is a game we should win decisively…especially with the turmoil the past 7 weeks…if they don’t show up and show out on sunday, who knows what might happen…

    this game was supposed to be a cake walk

  8. Hodad Says:

    Suggesting we play down to lesser opponents is saying we’re better then those teams. We’re not. That’s part of the problem with this team, they think they’re better then they are. Houston was mentioned as a team we played down to. They are better then us, form the QB position, to the H.C.. That’s a young team on the rise with what looks like a Franchice QB. What are we? Truth is, we didn’t play down to Houston, we didn’t play up to their level.

  9. Onetrickpony Says:

    These teams that are supposed to be easy to win against, I’m not so sure about that. Lately it makes me wonder if we can even beat a high school team. I don’t think things are going to change much until we have a coaching turnover. And it looks to me like they have laid down on their coach, and the excuses from TB are the same week after week.” We had to play better and Coach better”. So when is that going to start because obviously you’re not doing your job of coaching better?
    JMO, which don’t amount to a hill of beans

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    Hodad … ‘That’s part of the problem with this team, they think they’re better then they are.’

    Thank you Hodad. The Bucs are what their record says they are … a 4-7 team. That’s NOT a good team. That’s a BELOW AVERAGE team. We’re deluding ourselves by thinking that we’re more talented than our record says we are.

    It’s apparently comforting to most to identify the scapegoat-du-jour (Todd Bowles obviously), sacrifice him to the football gods, and believe that his ‘proper’ replacement will make the world bright again. It won’t. Winning at the highest level is about a LOT more than just coaching.

    Talent & experience count. Bucs have 21 players on our current roster who weren’t Bucs last year; that’s a 40% churn rate. Add in 10 more who’re only 2nd year Bucs & that churn rate grows to almost 60%. Apparently the front office forgot to mention it, but our rebuild has already begun. Last year.

  11. Voice of Truth Says:

    To that I must completely disagree. The roster churns every year, the issue with this team is coaching not talent

    We are not the Niners or Eagles or the Chiefs or Dolphins – but we have as much or more talent than most the other teams

    Todd Bowles is the absolute worst head coach in the nfl and has drug this winning roster down to the gutter

    Gut Todd and his crew of fool coordinators and watch this team rebound very quickly

  12. Onetrickpony Says:

    If it isn’t the coaching, why is Trask still sitting on the bench. If they don’t think he was the answer and a bad pick then why don’t they unload him ?The coaches have failed and I’m not so sure about the Scouting Department anymore..
    Just like I said, JMO

  13. Pewter power Says:

    STOP WITH THE EXCUSES!!! Playing down to their opponents is a stupid excuse for good talent fielding a bad team

    Here we are basically back to the mental midget era. Brady’s retirement basically proved the team has all this talent but no balls. The team is full of finesse meaning full of soft players who only get in line when someone makes them.

    This team was getting destroyed by the top teams even with Brady at quarterback. Brady odd the one who made them believe they could win a Super Bowl because this team has no self confidence

  14. realistic-optimistic Says:

    You get national buzz by regularly fielding a winning team. This franchise is obsessed with splash moves. Sometimes they work for a couple seasons, but then the Bucs are right back in the gutter.

    Seriously, build a good team that can compete with the better teams every year, and the national attention will come.

  15. Bucnjim Says:

    Sadly I believe there is enough talent to be above average. Not in the same sentence as the Eagles, Chiefs, Cowboys, Ravens etc. but still good enough to compete with most. There is a rebuild going on yet we still have excellent individual players who should be keeping us competitive. There seems to be a lack of fight especially in the secondary and that to me is the most concerning. If you get beat by a fantastic catch that’s just the NFL. If you get beat and you aren’t even 10 yards close to where you’re supposed to be you’re giving up on the organization.

  16. Craig Says:

    The Panthers are not going to play down to the level of the Bucs.

    The team is lucky to have won a couple of quick ones before the wheels came off. If not for that 3-1 season start the Bucs and the Panthers look almost evenly matched.

  17. BucU Says:

    For me I could care less if they win or lose Sunday. We know who this team is.
    They are very comfortable with losing….And it shows.

  18. stpetebucfan Says:


    “What are we?”

    Sadly Hodad you used a bad example in the Houston game. The Bucs went into Houston’s crib another schizoid team. They crushed the Jags, beat the Saints but lost to Carolina and Atlanta before our game with them. That’s what you get with a rookie but talented QB.

    The Bucs go into that hostile environment and the Bucs QB leads his team to a dramatic 4th quarter victory…oh no that’s right Bowles coverage was non existent and with all due respect to a future star it wasn’t their QB who beat the Bucs, nor the Bucs QB who lost it…it was the freaking defense!

    Indianopolis 4 and less than a yard and for some reason the Bucs sell out to stop the run and can’t even leave Winfield back just in case…and they simply GAVE that game away…ON defense.

    The offense is NOT winning games, controlling the clock to protect what has turned out to be the team’s real liability the D…but it’s not the offense that has lost all 7 of those games. AGAIN the Bucs should be 7-4…6-5 minimum IF THE bucs simply play decent defense.

  19. TonySoprano Says:

    Just saw a video breakdown of Devin White. Per PFF, he is currently the lowest graded LB in the league. The lowest, not a single LB graded below him. He’s the 2nd lowest graded vs the run and 7th lowest vs the pass.

  20. 1sparkybuc Says:

    We owe Peter King an apology. I expect that we will beat Carolina twice and lose the rest. Hopefully we will get some actual in the game with the starters evidence that Trask can compete at this level, oh and a new coaching staff for 2024.