Writing about the Buccaneers is almost always a fun experience, and it’s even more fun following a win.
Starting this week, with the Buccaneers defeat of the New York Giants, Co-Expert James Yarcho and I are going to unveil a new tradition we hope you all enjoy.
It’ll give us another outlet for talking about the best team in the NFL, and hopefully it’ll become a regular part of your reading rotation.
As you might have deduced from the title of this post, we’re calling this weekly feature the “Co-Expert Game Planks”.
So, we all know when teams win a regular season or post-season game, there is a game ball handed out. How many and what for might vary from team-to-team, but the tradition is as old as I can remember, and is meant to shine a light on one or more players who really made an impact on the success of the group.
We here at The Pewter Plank decided we want in on the fun, and the “Game Plank” was born. So, following this week’s win against the Giants, James has taken the honor of awarding the first offensive Game Plank while I will select the first recipient of the defensive Game Plank winner.
Without further ado, here is your first Game Plank awardees.
Offensive Game Plank Recipient for Week 4: Quarterback, Jameis Winston
The offensive Game Plank this week can only go to Jameis Winston. Yes, there could have been some consideration for Cam Brate, but after a three-interception performance against the Vikings, Winston came out slingin. He finished 22/38 for 332 yards and three touchdowns. On top of all that, after missed kicks and questionable play calling not only let the Giants back in it but allowed them to take the lead, Winston led a game winning drive that started at the Bucs’ 25-yard line with three-and-a-half minutes remaining. Converting on key third downs and hitting Cam Brate in stride to set up the redemption shot by Folk – it was an incredible drive to watch.
That’s why the Bucs drafted Jameis. That’s what he’s here to do. The rah-rah leadership is fantastic, but it doesn’t matter if you can’t win games. Sunday, Jameis put the team on his back when it mattered most, despite the team leaving a ton of points on the field. In the end, it doesn’t matter if you win by fifteen or one, it just matters if you win and Winston wasn’t going to let the Bucs be the team that gave the Giants their first win of the season.
The Buccaneers will need another phenomenal performance from Jameis this Thursday as they take on the New England Patriots on national television. A Patriots team that has lost two straight games merely seven times since Tom Brady became the starting quarterback in 2001. The Pats’ defense has allowed a 300+ yard passer in every game this season and Winston will need to take full advantage of that if the Bucs are going to stand a chance for the upset.
– James Yarcho
Defensive Game Plank Recipient for Week 4: Cornerback, Brent Grimes
It was pretty easy to see win Week 3 the Buccaneers defense was missing that little something extra. Was it fire, was it passion, was it talent? It was all three. Sure, the flu had something to do with it. So did missing Kwon Alexander following his Week 1 hamstring injury.
However, following the defense’s Week 4 performance against the New York Giants, it was clear the secondary was missing their best player: Brent Grimes.
Since being brought in to Tampa by his former Falcons coaches Dirk Koetter and Mike Smith, Grimes has been an integral part of the improvement this defensive unit has experienced.
The difference in how the Buccaneers covered the Vikings receivers and the Giants receivers were like night and day.
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So, what was so different? It was the splash plays. This is the impact of a player like Grimes.
Instead, when Manning challenged Grimes with passes to star Odell Beckham Jr. he found it much harder to work on Grimes’ side of the field.
In fact, Beckham’s only big play of the game came against Hargreaves, while Grimes successfully thwarted the Giants’ attempts to get similar plays against him.
When New York was looking to put a choke hold on the contest, the defense was able to work against the Giants offense with confidence knowing Grimes had his assignment secured, freeing the rest of the formation to support each other better.
The result was multiple key stops which gave Winston and the offense time to get back on schedule, and work their way into a winning position.
Not bad for an “old guy”, or one coming off a shoulder injury either.
Congratulations to quarterback Jameis Winston and cornerback Brent Grimes for being the first two Game Plank recipients. Like I said before, we hope to make this a weekly tradition, as this will follow all Buccaneers wins for the foreseeable future.
Let us know what you think of the awardees, and let us know if you feel like we missed the rightful recipients.
We’ll be looking for the next two Game Plank winners next weekend when the Buccaneers host the New England Patriots on Thursday Night Football!