Five Things

January 1st, 2024

Rachaad White breaks free Sunday. This didn’t happen nearly enough.(Photo courtesy of

Joe was so upset by the irresponsible way the Bucs came out yesterday when they had a chance to win the NFC South and totally rolled over like a golden retriever puppy begging for a treat from mom, that Joe had to listen to an obscure World War II podcast to try to fall asleep. Let’s get this over with so Joe can watch football all day and night today.

Todd Bowles Pulled A Dirk Koetter

Just like that, Bucs coach Todd Bowles is back on the hot seat. And he should be after how ill-prepared his team was.

Joe was a big Dirk Koetter fan. He believed in an attacking offense. And his Bucs offenses posted impressive numbers in many categories (other than points). It was the Bucs defense that killed the team under Koetter.

One thing Koetter did that never squared with Joe was ignoring the defense. In fact, he used to joke that you didn’t want him fooling with the defense because that would be the worst move.

Well, Koetter was head coach, not just the offensive coordinator. So by fully ignoring the defense, he was a sloppy leader. How could any coach succeed ignoring nearly half of his team?

Joe got that irresponsible whiff last night from Bowles. The very first thing out of Bowles’ mouth after the game was, “Our coaches have to come up with a better gameplan.”

Well, that responsibility is ultimately on Bowles.

Where was Bowles when Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales inexplicably kept pounding Rachaad White between the tackles midway through the third quarter down three scores? A responsible head coach would have gotten on the headset and said, “Dave, we need to score and we need to score in a hurry. Quit pounding White. If you have to run a hurry-up, do it.”

To the best of Joe’s knowledge, that didn’t happen. Hell, everyone in the stadium could see this constant White-up-the-gut was foolish except for Canales and maybe Bowles.

Bowles said his coaches need better gameplans. But shouldn’t they at least be adjusting accordingly midway through a game, if necessary?

It was disgraceful to see Canales continuing to pound White up the middle for next to nothing when the Bucs’ playoff hopes were on the line.

Disappointed In Dave Canales

Joe really likes Canales but Joe is irritated because it looks like Joe’s philosophy on football and Canales’ philosophy are night and day different.

Joe believes in getting your best players the ball where they can have the biggest impact, but also being flexible enough to attack a defense’s weakness. If something is working, keep it up until the defense proves it can stop it.

Canales believes in running, specifically running between the tackles whether the running back in question is capable of ground and pound or not.

There is no doubt the Bucs have some of the best receiving weapons in the game. Mike Evans is elite. Chris Godwin is damn good and Rachaad White may be the most dangerous receiving back.

But Canales almost seems scared sometimes to use Evans, Godwin and White (in the passing game) more often. The Bucs are not built like the 1970s Dolphins or 1980s WTF;  those teams had two of the greatest fullbacks whoever played.

Not maximizing your best players and not highlighting their greatest skills to Joe is irresponsible football. Irresponsible to the players, to the team, to the organization and to the fans. And yes, irresponsible to fellow coaches. Underutilizing top-shelf talent — and losing — puts people’s jobs in jeopardy.

Joe thought Canales finally got it in the past two games. He opened up the offense, threw on first down, and was aggressive with the pass. As a result, the Bucs easily had their two best offensive outputs of the season against Green Bay and Jacksonville, winning both games decisively.

Then came yesterday. It was like a flashback to October when the Bucs were averaging 19 points a game.

Averaging 19 points a game won’t win many games in 2024 unless the offense of the team you are facing is fully incompetent.

Joe will find out Sunday how this coaching staff can bounce back. Did they lose the team? Can they motivate the players (they seem to struggle doing just that with Devin White)? Can they learn from their mistakes?

And folks, yesterday was one of the biggest mistakes for this Bucs franchise in a long, long time.

Hot Seat Chatter

After the last two games, the Bucs played so well and scored so many points with Baker Mayfield playing like a franchise quarterback, Joe thought Todd Bowles was absolutely safe. Joe thought if Bucs fans needed to worry about anything, it was that Canales might bolt to a new team as a head coach.

After yesterday? Joe doesn’t know if either coach will be with the Bucs later this month. Not because they are leaving for new jobs, but because Team Glazer may order them to clean out their offices.

Yesterday was bad. Hey, a bad game happens here or there. Every good coach gets run through a ringer once in a while. But with all that was at stake, for the team to come out so unmotivated, so flat, so dispassionate and coaches not seeming to care if their gameplans worked or not, well, Joe thinks everything about the 2024 Bucs is on hold.

Did Mayfield play like a franchise quarterback yesterday? Team Glazer may want to rethink re-signing him to a long-term deal.

After yesterday, Joe is beginning to wonder if Canales is the right guy with the current Bucs personnel and head coach. And does Team Glazer really want to emulate Tennessee with a run-focused offense?

Yesterday was a full-blown disgrace with the playoffs on the line.

Joe wants to see how these coaches and players respond in Charlotte before making sweeping conclusions about who should stay and who should go. Joe thought the Bucs were past this nonsense. Then along came the slimy Saints game.

Haphazard Offense

Joe doesn’t know where to begin with what Canales was trying to accomplish aside from trying to use White like he was Larry Csonka.

In the first quarter, Canales (or someone on his staff) had a brainstorm to run White at loudmouth Cam Jordan. And guess who was the lead blocker? Cade Otton. Yes, really! One of the poorest blockers on the team.

Otton gives good effort. He is just limited physically. Jordan is past his prime, but the dude is still not to be toyed with at 290 pounds. Just what football savant sat in an office at One Buc Palace last week diagramming a play and saying, “We will have Cade take out Jordan to spring White… “

Yeah, yeah, that’s one play but it may be a sign of much bigger things. How many other plays were this poorly thought out and used?

Then there were the first-half targets. Otton, who is an OK receiver, had as many targets as Mike Evans and Chris Godwin combined in the first 30 minutes. If someone on the offensive staff doesn’t think that is a problem, then he is a problem.

Yeah, Joe gets that the slimy Saints, per Bowles, were doing an excellent job disguising coverages that made Evans and Godwin, at times, appear covered. OK. And Bowles said on radio that Godwin and Evans were being double covered a lot.

How about this: Make in-game adjustments and find ways to spring open Evans and Godwin? Isn’t that why these guys are getting paid six or seven figures a year?

Is Tom Brady Pulling People’s Legs?

Joe is really, really peeved about yesterday’s game and is trying to chill with a New Year’s Eve cocktail. So let’s end this column with something fun.

And this is very interesting, provided it’s not a joke.

Former Bucs quarterback Tom Brady, the greatest to ever throw a football, took to his Instagram account yesterday and dropped a mini-bombshell — provided it’s true.

Despite him being the international superstar he is, Brady did a classic news dump, meaning breaking news when most reporters aren’t paying attention.

Yesterday, while everyone was watching football or on a weekend vacation or busy with New Year’s Eve plans, Brady published a post reminiscing about the 2023 calendar year, including Brady retiring from the Bucs and the NFL.

Apparently, he again had the burning desire to play football. Again.

(PS: The only downside to 2023 was when I was about to unretire in May and my friends threw a surprise retirement party. Kind of forced my hand.)

(Hat tip: @NFLonCBS for catching this.)

Now Brady has a weird sense of humor when it comes to online posts. So Joe isn’t sure if this is a lame attempt at a joke, knowing full well it will be run with everywhere and then three months from now, Brady will do a rare interview and laugh and say, “Oh gosh, I was just joking.”

But let’s say this is real — and Joe wouldn’t doubt it. The Bucs held the rights to Brady in May, and this near-change of heart happened after the Bucs signed Baker Mayfield.

Would the Bucs have kept Brady? Would they have traded him? Did Brady work the NFL backchannels again to try to go to Denver and play with his buddy Sean Payton? Or to Las Vegas to play for his business partner Mark Davis and former offensive coordinator and since-fired Raiders coach Josh McDaniels?

This is all very fascinating to Joe.

Try to have a good New Year’s. After yesterday, Joe’s will need copious amounts of alcohol and endless football today to get over that joke of a loss.

Bucs radio voice Gene Deckerhoff appeared already on the path to recovery when Joe saw him get on the press elevator as Deckerhoff left The Licht House.

35 Responses to “Five Things”

  1. Paratrooper Buc Says:

    Happy New Year Joe!

    1) Bowles definitely erred when he didn’t take ownership and said “Our coaches..”

    2) Canales is too green and I think both Bowles insisting on a run game and Canales making promises that it can happen and pulled a Leftwich shows you how green he is at OC. You did an article saying he felt he was 1-2 moves/adjusrments behind a game. Well changing to screens/draws and using Evans/godwin seemed obvious to us lowly fans. Results and a win forgive a lot. Canales should have changed tactics and if the Bucs scored then not sure how Bowles could be mad.

    3) Hot seat chatter will be there because losing by a score is one thing but being outplayed and losing at home when a title on the line is another. I didn’t think Bowles was safe unless he got the title. A playoff win would have gotten him safety plus more leeway next year. As it stands if he loses next week he will only be fired if Glazers can hire someone better. As you have mentioned the team is playing better than expected with more than 2-4 wins, so maybe going 9-8 or 8-9 is enough for the Glazers.

    4) Canales I covered in 2, but you are right that on the micro level the idea of using Otten against Jordan was boneheaded. Other micro issues show that the Marco level plan or run and not throw to our best players was just boneheaded. Their game plan was bad from the start and no adjustments till 4th quarter doomed the team.

    5) Brady does have weird “dad/nerd” humor. I do believe Brady wasn’t fully set on retiring as he had a miserable year with losing in the playoffs to the rams, then divorce, losing 25lbs, playing average with a weak OLine and bad play calling, the loss in the playoffs. All that likely made him retire as a massive sign but he has done decades at this job. He likely got over the divorce, put weight back on, then thought “I feel better emotionally and physically but where could I go and win???” So my guess is he did consider it but since there was no silver bullet answer and the party happened, he just stayed “retired.”

    Again, Happy New Year! Thanks for what you all do! Go Bucs!

  2. ATLBuc Says:

    I was shocked when the offense reverted to the three weeks ago offense. Even late in the third quarter they refused to open it up or go to the no huddle. For the sake of my teams future, part of me wants to lose next week so Bowles and Mayfield will be gone.
    I am so tired of seeing cornerbacks playing ten yards off on 3rd an 4 or 5. We have too many Super Bowl champions and stars on this defense to play like we did yesterday!!

  3. adam from ny Says:

    great write up joe…you covered it all…

    happy new year!

    and that mean gene pic is a classic in the making

  4. BuccaneersRN Says:

    That’s why I was hoping we would lose this year because i saw the 🤮 TOILET and DC Dog Crap. Of course the Bucs went on to win just enough games so Jason Licht will pick at 17 and go counter-culture surfer drafting an unknown CB from somehole state who will absolutely SUCK! I hate this GM and now I am hating the Glazers. Saints game was an indictment and the verdict is GUILTY! I haven’t been this mad since the Schiano Billboard days!!!! Ahhh the good times…. Bring back the YOUNGRIES anything but this!!!

  5. I remember 21 Says:

    Man, I like angry Joe!!! This is what I’ve been saying all season. It’s time to let loose with both cannons on this coaching staff and this team. It’s all just so tiresome. The easy fixes are RIGHT THERE!! Even casual fans see what we’re doing wrong. No guarantee we win every game, but pin it all on our best players in the best position we can put them in the best scheme for their play styles and let the chips fall where they may. We do that and I’m fine with however we end up. Instead, bowles (and subsequently Canales) are more committed to their system, philosophy, scheme, whatever, than they are to doing what’s best for the team. They would rather lose their way than win any other way. And that is UNACCEPTABLE from a HC. Can’t have it, can’t win with em. I don’t care how the season ends, the single most important thing we can accomplish this year is getting rid of bowles. He has to go.

    #FIREbowles #NOconfidence

  6. Tampa Animal Center Says:

    Bucs had to lose on demand from the NFL to keep next week interesting… it’s obvious, every game ended in a way that next weeks games all have huge playoff implications.

  7. bob in valrico Says:

    I had a gut feeling that Baker would struggle against the Saints D line. For much of the game they collapsed the pocket. Which brings me to my second concern,
    Baker had two batted balls and one was turned into an INT. I was buying into the Baker resurgence and his ability to escape sacks and extend plays. But the saints
    and Canales effectively neutralized him for much of the game. Even if Bowles had nothing to do with the gameplan which I seriously doubt he didn’t appear to have
    any idea how to change the momentum of the game. Let Baker rest, start Trask.
    We have no business being in the playoffs with this coaching staff and their decision making on both sides of the ball.

  8. Hodad Says:

    It’s called choking, they all choked. Todd had that distant stare, you knew it was over. Baker had the happy feet on his first drop back, it was over. A better coach then Allen, and we would’ve lost by 50. Allen being a defensive minded coach like Bowles sat on his 17-0 lead before the half. This game wasn’t as close as the score. All of Baker’s yardage late was do to a prevent defense. We were always chasing our tales. Don’t know what Buc team will show up next week, but more then the division is on the line.

  9. SufferingSince76 Says:

    My how things have changed in just one week. Bowles was Coach of the Year and Baker was Comeback Player of the Year. Today, not so much. In Mayfield’s defense, it’s hard to pass when the defensive line is in your face all day. Way too many wasted plays on offense. Do you still think Bowles is a defensive genius? The man has regressed.

  10. Zoocomics Says:

    Good morning all and happy new year… I’ve got long one here, so I appreciate whoever decides to review my venting from last nights sh!t show of a game.

    This article expressed how we all feel after yesterday.

    I would have rather taken this beating by the hands of the Jags last week vs this f-ing team…we hate the Saints, somehow we won the tough one early in the season, we dominated in their house, which is one of the toughest places to play, and then with something to play for on the line, we crap the bed in our own house in the worst way yesterday. These are the days where its tough not to simply walk away from this team and I’m not fair weather and F anyone that calls me that. We invest so much money and precious hours watching, supporting, reading Bucs coverage sites like, listening to podcasts, supporting this football program and what a slap to the face it was yesterday in our house to lose this f-ing team the way we did. Yesterday, you just want to fire everyone…blow it up after that performance. We’re second to the last week of football and Bowles basically said the way they played yesterday; they couldn’t beat anyone. Jesus…why this team, why us? Just a decent outing and we were in the game. 4 Fracking turnovers!? 3 of which were on huge plays that were crushing giving how anemic this offense was playing most of the game. We played the worst game of the season, after 17 weeks? smh

    So, we beat Carolina, we win the South, the coaching staff will 100% be retained. Historically, winning 3 straight division titles, isn’t a walk in the park, and is a first for TB. Given that scenario, Bucs have a lot of thinking to do. I’ve been all in on re-tooling the Oline, but it’s in better shape than I believed mid-season. I think we can tweak it without anything crazy in free agency and/or the draft. Our big need? We need at least (2) really good DE’s, at least (2) better than Shaq, JTS, and Nelson at creating pressure on the edge. No way we pay Shaq what he’s making though I think he was greatly missed yesterday. His side of the edge was exploited badly yesterday. There’s better than average chance that Shaq is cap casualty in ’24.

    Here’s the deal, if we cannot create consistent pressure with a (4) man front package, WE WILL NEVER HAVE A CHANCE TO BEAT Dallas, Phili, or the 49ers…these are facts. These teams beat good teams because they can get to the QB with 4-guys…facts. Bowles knows his team has limitations on the line, so he’s constantly blitzing. If the blitz doesn’t get home, we pay for it every time. So when you’re frustrated during a 3rd and 8 because they make an easy completion to convert, many times we’re rushing 5/6 guys, and if they can’t disrupt the play, we are in deep sh!t. Yesterday, Saints were AWESOME at picking up the blitz, every damn time. The only Sack we got on Carr was him running out of bounds before he got to the line of scrimmage. This guy had a good pocket for most of the game.

    Lastly, is Baker the guy? I’ve been at with a handful of Bucs fans that they think this guy will be a starter on another team next season if we decide to let him test free agency, so that means we have to pay him. I say we hold all the cards on that. Baker once again starting over in another franchise? Another offense? Does that franchise really believe that he’s the guy to pay $30M to?

    I like Baker, but he’s still a bridge and not a long-term solution. I think he’s $20M/yr guy. Add some incentives in there, I like incentives. The fact is, Baker is not a guy that elevates other players, he requires talented players to elevate his game. With that scenario, and friendly contract it allows the Bucs to get him the tools he needs to continue his success.

  11. Bucs2023 Says:

    History has a way of repeating itself. The topics are the same, the responses are the same, the guilty parties are the same, the record is the same…you can’t tell if this is the 2022-23 season or 2023-24 season. 2 straight years of no edge rush, no consistent rushing attack, a secondary that sucks outside of Winfield, a LB corp that sucks outside of David (can’t include Watts in that group because he only plays when someone is hurt and Diaby, obviously), inconsistent D-line due Vea struggling to play major snaps AGAIN (Who are the other D-linemen? Obviously Kancey gets a rookie pass though he’s been good at times), bad HC, bad coaching staff, the GM?…anyway, and a ownership group who could careless. Add the ridiculous sauce to this mix, “You’re not a real fan if you talk bad about this team!” This organization is a disaster and the hope of winning the worst division since the alignment, only to get curb stomped in home playoff game leaves one to wonder if everyone…fan base included…really does enjoy what’s happening in the Bay, and wouldn’t know how to act with a team that takes care of business from the front office to the field.

    They win Sunday, and I’ll be repeating this post same time next year…

  12. Razor Ramone Says:

    My mom always said if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. Happy New Year Joes, Ira and and all you Bucs fans.

  13. #99 the big fella Says:

    The announcers were even saying that it was time to give up on the run down 3 scores.. they couldn’t believe we were still sticking to it when it clearly wasn’t working. Dave Canales should be embarrassed this morning for sure.

  14. Front Four Says:

    The hype from the winning streak goy into their heads.

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    Might add 1 more thing to the Five Things Joe … Markees Watts production on the day. He was in for only FIVE defensive snaps. Here’s what he did in those 5 snaps:

    o 1 sack (and our only sack of Carr)
    o 1 TFL
    o 2 solo tackles

    I’m impressed; a;; that in only 5 def snaps. Sure am glad they had JTS out there for 34 def snaps so he could get his usual 1 solo tackle (with 2 assists though).

  16. SlyPirate Says:

    Bowles has never won and important game. Not one.

    He’s not a spring chicken. He’s ways don’t work.

  17. Mark hardt Says:

    Saints game: 1. Futile commitment to the run. 2. Way too late on the no huddle offense. Start when two scores down regardless of the Quarter. 3. One interception was an under throw. The other a tip. Both fumbles were bad. Still if you had started the no huddle after going down by 14 you might have won. Baker operates best at pace. I would do two random no huddles every half regardless of the score. Also when you win the coin flip take the damn ball. I don,t care what statistics say. The first drive sets the tone and that long Saints drive to start demorilized the Bucs and they never recovered. Highly paid professionals, yes, but still human. Baker was on roll from the Jags and it would have carried over. Take the ball first if you can

  18. Bucfan Says:

    If only the coaching staff would READ your post. Please root for the Panthers so the Glazers will make a change. One & done in the playoffs then Bowels returning next year is a lousy way to celebrate the new year.

  19. Curse of Gruden Says:

    The Curse’s Five Things:
    – Bowles is not a HC.
    – Canales is very inexperienced at play calling, and like Bowles, has difficulty adjusting within the game.
    – Midge Mayfield is intriguing for the right price.
    – Both lines need a big upgrade.
    – Don’t let a fluky four game win streak fool you. The Bucs can do better than TB.

  20. David G Says:

    thats a picture of Rashad White?

  21. BucU Says:

    Absolute sickening performance by this weak minded team. Sickening. They roped me in again, starting to believe and of course they ripped my heart out again.
    I won’t make that mistake again.
    The enthusiasm and effort was so absent that Bowles should of been fired after the game. Couldn’t care less if they win or lose next wknd. The damage is done.
    F Todd Bowles and his minions.

  22. realistic-optimistic Says:

    Canales may be green, but you can’t convince me that a guy with 13 years of experience patrolling NFL sidelines, coaching NFL WRs and QBs, can’t see the things we all see. He’s being told to run the offense a certain way.

  23. Bubby Says:

    Sadly, I predicted all this yesterday on this very site, but my comments got whacked. Let’s be honest…. Todd is not a great coach, Dave is not on anyone’s short list for head gigs, and the odd enthusiasm (including lichts victory lap in the TBT) around a 500 season in a terrible division was puke worthy.

    Everyone else in the nfc south will get better in 2024, except us if we keep doing the same things over and over.

  24. Stubborn to a fault Says:

    Posts today are well written and enjoyable to read with my coffee. Todd has always been stubborn and as a head coach showed his true colors by throwing his coaches under the bus. To much of what transpired yesterday showed the dysfunction of this staff. That is on TB. This is HIS team, his coaches and since he is incapable of the type of leadership needed for a playoff run I vote no confidence. I like the work Jason has accomplished with our Superbowl win, salary caps issues, and above average drafting (no he not perfect). Please Team Glazers, find a better head coach, leader, innovator to lead the team for 2024. Happy New Year… Go Bucs

  25. Bosch Says:

    Agree with realistic. I think Bowles is dictating the offensive game plan.

  26. Cover deuce Says:

    Lol of course you guys took Brady’s obvious dad joke literally.

  27. Bucsfan951 Says:

    Yesterday was disgraceful and embarrassing. I have continued to vote no confidence in Todd and will continue to vote no confidence in Todd. Funny that someone last week asked a very general question of something to the effects of “why not fully trust Todd B?” This is the reason why right here.

    Simply put, he just isn’t a good team leader. He’s a fine defensive coordinator but he IS NOT head coaching material. His record proves that. Best thing the Bucs can do this season is cut ties and go look for a new and younger up and coming head coach.

  28. Cobraboy Says:

    One thing: another Bowles choke.

    I have been saying this the entire season, but I gave Bowles a chance. Now we are right back where we started, More crap coaching.

    How can a competent HC/DC or OC lay a rotten egg in the biggest home game in years?

    Re-upping these coaching frauds is re-upping more inconsistent mediocrity.

    But casuals were fapping all week so fast they got hand callouses.

  29. Craig Says:

    I think Canales is mostly scared of Baker’s inconsistency. When Baker starts to go bad in a game, he usually finishes bad.

    He had overthrows, underthrows, and just plain misses yesterday. When that happens Baker tends to hold the ball tooooo looong.

    Canales is saddled with Rachaad White this season, so it is not his fault.

    He was stuck between a rock and a hard place; watch Baker throw 5 interceptions, or hope White could fins an angry run and hold on the ball at the same time.

  30. Since76 Says:

    Bottom line is this team was outplayed. Mayfield had around 150 yards in the 3rd qrt. Awful. And the game was over. Saints were already into running the clock down. In the 3rd!!!. Time to rebuild. With new coaching and 1st round QB don’t waste cap space on baker.

  31. orlbucfan Says:

    Bubby, first of all, you’re no Bucs fan. First time I’ve seen your butt on here. Second, genuine Bucs fans hate the Aints. Bucs have played NOLA since they came into existence in the mid 1970s. Why? They’re located on the Gulf Coast. Hence, a natural rivalry. Then factor in cheating ex-Aints HC Sean Payton. He pulled enough crap that he got suspended from HCing for a year. He’s already causing trouble out in Denver. That’s why we Bucs fans are POed. Our team had a bad day against our most hated rivals. Aints got out the voodoo against us. It worked.

  32. orlbucfan Says:

    Always great to see Brother Gene D on here. He is a fellow Bucs fan. 👍🏈

  33. Crickett Baker Says:

    Great article, Joe. You said it all. Oh, except Bowles repeating (ad nauseum) “We have to coach better and play better”.

  34. Bobby Says:

    In the 1980s they called themselves the Washington Redskins. You abbreviated something else in your article. It’s so dumb how we as a society just decide to erase parts of history like it never happened. You know if we continue to do that then we are doomed repeat the same mistakes.

  35. Joe Says:

    In the 1980s they called themselves the Washington Redskins. You abbreviated something else in your article. It’s so dumb how we as a society just decide to erase parts of history like it never happened. You know if we continue to do that then we are doomed repeat the same mistakes.

    The Goo-gal fines Joe when someone uses the R-word like you just did, among many other things. 🙁 Too many demerits and the money from Goo-gal ads shrivels up. Though it irks Joe to cave to the DEI tech censors, Joe also likes to pay his bills.