Six Topics Suitable For Conversation
1.) This defense is not good.
Try to slice it any way you want. Blame the offense for not getting enough first downs or squandering scoring opportunities – that’s true and they don’t. Just don’t try to make it sound like this defense is some sort of phenomenal asset. They’re flat out bad. Lavonte David is the only one who is consistently playing at an All-Pro level. Kwon Alexander was non-existent for the first half, the secondary was getting roasted like a pig at a luau by Julio Jones, and aside from a beautiful strip by Kendell Beckwith and recovery by Brent Grimes, this defense had no splash plays, no sacks, no anything worth talking about. Can’t blame it all on the offense when Julio – one of the best receivers in the league – was left without a defender within ten yards of him on more than one occasion. Oh, and they have the worst rate on third downs out of every defense in the NFL. Can’t get off the field on third down, you aren’t going to win a lot of games.
2.) The Offense Sucks, Too.
Yeah, they aren’t getting a pass. Fitzpatrick was all over the place. Throwing behind a wide open DeSean Jackson, having Mike Evans get sandwiched between two guys because he threw a would-be touchdown pass to him so low that Evans had to sit down to try to catch it, overthrowing a wide open DJax on what would’ve been a game tying touchdown. It was bad. Doug Martin started off hot, then the offensive line forgot how to block on the following two drives, then Martin left the game with a concussion. The Bucs were pitiful in the Red Zone, having three trips in the zone end with three points or less. But that’s not all…
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3.) Why Does Koetter Call Such Asinine Plays Sometimes?
Many have called for Dirk to give up play calling. Others have called those people dumb or stupid or whatever. Here’s the deal: this team is abysmal in the red zone. This team is abysmal on third downs. The Bucs had an opportunity in this very game to tie it up in the fourth quarter. They had 2nd-and-2 and opted to take a shot at the end zone. I didn’t hate this play call. At all. They still had two plays to get two yards, so it was the right time to call the play. Unfortunately, Fitz overthrew DJax – who had his man beat – or the game is tied. On 3rd-and-2, Fitz threw a one yard completion to Adam Humphries. First off, in that short of a distance, why do you have any routes that aren’t past the sticks? Second, why not run the ball? You already decided it was four down territory, try to gain those two yards with Peyton Barber straight up the middle. On 4th-and-1, you throw the ball twenty yards to a double covered Cameron Brate? Why? WHY?! Why – when you need ONE YARD – are you throwing bombs?!?! THIS is the kind of crap we talk about when we say Koetter should give up play calling or that he outsmarts himself. THIS was the prime example. After that atrocity, they deserved to lose.
4.) Be Prepared To Talk Jameis Winston For The Next Six to Eight Months.
As Adam Schefter reported on Sunday, the Winston investigation by the NFL will not be done by season’s end and will likely drag out throughout the off-season. Think Tom Brady and Ezekial Elliott. Yeah, that non-stop coverage and potential suspension and appeal process is coming to the Bay. Happy happy joy joy.
5.) Playoffs Went From A Long Shot To A Virtual Impossibility.
Had the Bucs defeated the Falcons, they would be 5-6 and heading to face a beat up Packers team. They would still face each division rival one more time as well as the Lions and could potentially put themselves into position to control their own destiny – much like last season. Now at 4-7, the season is basically shot. There’s virtually no reason to roll Winston out for the rest of the year, which brings me to the next point…
6.) Time To Start Ryan Griffin.
Look, Fitzpatrick is not a long term commitment. He’s not going to unseat Winston as the starter. After Griffin’s injury, the Buccaneers signed him to an extension and he has yet to play in a regular season game or even a first team defense. It’s time to give the kid a chance to show what he’s got when it counts. Fitz will move on after 2017 and Winston is the franchise quarterback. If nothing else, take a page out of the Patriots’ playbook and let him loose. Worst case scenario is that he isn’t what the Buccaneers think he is and they can find a new back-up. Best case scenario is he balls out and the Bucs can flip him in the draft for a pick or two.