Six Topics Suitable For Conversation
1.) Is This The Nail In The Coffin For The Coaching Staff?
It has to be. Look, I’ve fought tooth and nail to deter the Gruden Gang because I don’t believe he is the answer. I’ve tried to find reasons to believe in keeping this staff because changing coaches every two years isn’t the answer. At the end of the day, Dirk Koetter & Co. aren’t the answer, either. Now, this may have been the best game by Koetter this season from a play calling perspective. He was dialing up quick passes and relied heavily on Peyton Barber and the run game – and by and large, it worked. That is until they got inside the red zone then only called plays for Cam Brate or had some egregious penalty that blew an opportunity to get in the end zone.
As for Mike Smith, his league worst third down defense was unable to stop Brett Hundley – something just about every other defense has had no issues with – and they had the game in their hands. All they needed was one stop with a 20-17 lead and the game was over. Instead, the Packers carve them up and tie the game, then carve them up to win in overtime. No matter your feelings on if Koetter and his staff should stay or go, he’s gone.
2.) This Was Why I Said Leave Jameis Winston On The Sideline.
It has nothing to do with performance. It has nothing to do with personal preference. Of course, those that hate Jamies will use this performance to fuel their narrative of searching for a new quarterback – which is completely asinine. Winston was hit thirteen times and sacked seven. The offense line had no interest in stopping anyone in a green jersey. Both Clay Matthews and Dean Lowry had shots on Winston where they came through completely untouched. Literally, not even a finger. How do you not account for Clay Matthews? It caused rushed passes which led to offensive inefficiency.
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As for Winston’s inter-fumble-ception, however you want to classify it, that’s on Jameis. Yes, he had no time and had two Packers draped on him, but that’s exactly why he needs to tuck the ball and protect it, not attempt an errant throw which will likely – and in this case, did – turn into an opportunity for the defense, which Lowry returned for a touchdown. On top of that, on one of the hits, Winston’s ankle bent awkwardly under the defender and he was stuck limping the rest of the game. So yeah, thanks to the geniuses that decided to put him in behind an offensive line without Ali Marpet and Demar Dotson, our quarterback has a bum ankle to go with his bum shoulder.
3.) Peyton Barber Was Impressive
Barber had a career high in rushing yards (102) to go along with his 41 receiving yards. Yes, Barber was the leading rusher and receiver for the Bucs. Just like everyone predicted. Jacquizz Rodgers didn’t have much trouble carving up the Packers’ defense either with 25 yards on three carries. I don’t know if Doug Martin would have fared the same, but the Green Bay run defense did not appear all that impressive. Martin may have had a monster game as well, we don’t know. However, Barber earned himself more opportunities. And if this team isn’t sold on Martin moving forward, they might as well ride Barber the rest of the season to see what they have, like they are with so many of the other young guys.
4.) Pat Murray Is Good At Kicking
5.) The Bucs Have Guaranteed They Won’t Have Consecutive Winning Seasons
With the loss to the Packers, the Bucs will have only one winning season in the last seven years. Best they can do is finish 8-8, but with the Lions, Falcons, Saints, and Panthers left, that seems unlikely. My best guess? 4-12 and a top ten (maybe top five) pick.
6.) What Is Going On With Mike Evans?
Has he entered witness protection? We were going to bat for our guy to be included in the elite category and this season he’s been anything but. Crucial drops, pedestrian numbers. Yes, some of that can be attributed to some of his targets being poor throws, but we expected more from Evans. And for the love of all things holy, can Evans get some red zone targets?! Every time the Bucs get inside the twenty, the only person that has the ball thrown to him is Cam Brate. I love Brate as much as the next guy, but for Pete’s sake, can we utilize the size, strength, and skill of our top receiver? It’s maddening.