Monday, October 15, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Midseason Report: What would we do without Tony Romo?

Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the first half of the NFL season.

 

Goofiest story

Pizza Wars! Sounds like it should be a TV show on Food Network. First, the Papa John guy blames company losses on the NFL and the anthem protests, slamming league commissioner Roger Goodell in the process. Then ProFootballTalk points out that Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who currently has a little feud going with Goodell, is buddies with Papa John and owns a bunch of Papa John franchises and might have been behind the whiny rant. Then Pizza Hut joins in to say its sales are fine. And then frozen pizza DiGiorno comes off the top rope and makes fun of Papa Johns, who also has to ask that Neo-Nazis don’t eat his pizza. Tell me you wouldn’t watch this show.

 

The MVP of 2017 so far

Tony Romo. Who would’ve ever thought that Romo would be more valuable in the television booth than on the football field? The former Cowboys quarterback is the best broadcaster to come along since John Madden. He’s a half-season into his new gig at CBS and is already the best analyst in the game. By far.

 

The Anti-MVP of 2017 so far

President Trump. This whole anthem protest had pretty much died down until Trump popped off at a campaign-style rally back in September. He practically dared NFL players to kneel again after all but a few had stopped. Then again, maybe Trump should be thanked for revitalizing those who want to continue speaking out about racial injustice.

 

Most sobering tweet that sums up 2017

From ESPN’s Field Yates:

Aaron Rodgers, JJ Watt, Odell Beckham, Jr., Deshaun Watson, Andrew Luck, Julian Edelman, Eric Berry, David Johnson. Injuries are the worst.

 

Time to hang ’em up

Eli Manning is a Hall of Famer and a classy guy. But he’s part of the problem for the 1-7 Giants. Could he go to another team like his brother did and win some more games? Sure, that’s possible. But it would be cooler to see him end his great career with the only team he has ever played for.

 

Biggest surprises

1. That any team with Blake Bortles at quarterback could be 5-3.

2. That the Saints, Rams and a Vikings team without Sam Bradford are all in first place.

3. That the Bills and Jets are actually competitive.

 

Biggest disappointments

1. The Bucs at 2-6. What a mess.

2. That the Broncos, Giants and Colts (not having Andrew Luck) are all in last place.

3. Did we mention how disappointing the Bucs have been?

 

Coaches on the hot seat

Ben McAdoo (Giants)

Dirk Koetter (Bucs)

Hue Jackson (Browns).

 

Coaches warming up in the bullpen

Jon Gruden

Josh McDaniels

Maybe, Jimbo Fisher? (That just might be the Glazers’ interview list if Koetter is let go.)

 

Most worst news team

Houston. What a season it has been for the Texans. They lose their best defensive player (J.J. Watt). They lose their best offensive player (Deshaun Watson). And their owner (Bob McNair) goes off the rails by messing up a phrase and getting in hot water with players by saying the league can’t let the "inmates run the prison.’’ And yet somehow, coach Bill O’Brien has this team at 3-5 and not completely out of it.

 

Best coach-QB combo

(tie)

Doug Pederson/Carson Wentz (Eagles). Pederson is your coach of the year and is most responsible for Wentz’s league-high 23 touchdown passes..

Sean McVay/Jared Goff (Rams). No one is calling Goff a bust anymore, not after leading Rams to three victories of more than 30 points.

 

Team that isn’t as good as you think they are

Saints. They are 6-2, but they’ve gotten fat on bad teams: Bucs, Dolphins, Packers (without Aaron Rodgers) and Bears.

 

Team that isn’t as bad as you think

Falcons. They are 4-4, but it’s just a little Super Bowl hangover. They’ll pick it up in the second half.

 

What the heck happened to?

The Raiders. Many picked this team to get the Super Bowl and they’re 4-5. They can’t rush the QB. They are struggling offensively. And they have losses to the Broncos, Ravens and Chargers.

 

Three things that popped into my head

1. There are plenty of on-field MVP candidates, but let’s be honest. If you had one game to win, would you not want Tom Brady as your quarterback?

2. Prediction. Either the 49ers or Browns are going to go winless. If I had to pick one? I’d say the Browns.

3. The Super Bowl will be a battle for the state of Pennsylvania: Steelers vs. Eagles.

Contact Tom Jones at [email protected] Follow @tomwjones

Comments
The Bucs are suddenly 2-3, and you can see doom from here

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Updated: 30 minutes ago
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ATLANTA —It was a scintillating play, one that appeared to nearly work.But the Bucs last-gasp attempt to score from the 21 yard line as time expired in Sunday's 34-29 loss to Atlanta would not have counted even if receiver DeSean Jackson fielde...
Updated: 1 hour ago
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The worst throw Mike Evans made in Sunday's last-gasp drive at Atlanta may not have been to receiver DeSean Jackson on the final play.Evans actually made a catch of a pass with 45 seconds remaining in the game at the Falcons' 41-yard line. But he tur...
Updated: 2 hours ago
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Updated: 4 hours ago
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ATLANTA — DeSean Jackson wasn’t looking forward to the film review of Tampa Bay’s third straight loss. He already knew the missed scoring opportunities would be the most painful part of the Buccaneers’ 34-29 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Too...
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Why the Bucs never had a chance

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Published: 10/14/18
Bucs-Falcons: Grading Tampa Bay’s 34-29 loss at Atlanta

Bucs-Falcons: Grading Tampa Bay’s 34-29 loss at Atlanta

ATLANTA — Well ain't that a kick in the head?Not just the Bucs loss, although Tampa Bay fans are probably feeling mighty queasy right now. It's how the Bucs ended up losing. Two big kicks — one made and one missed — turned out to ha...
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Bucs-Falcons journal: Game a tale of two halves for Tampa Bay defense

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ATLANTA —  It was the tale of two halves for the Bucs defense, which needs to put down the shovels because it keeps digging first-half holes for the offense.Against the Steelers, they trailed 30-7 at halftime. Against the Bears, it was 38-...
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Bucs-Falcons roundtable: William Gholston’s penalty was Tampa Bay’s most costly play

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There were plenty of costly Bucs mistakes in the first half in Atlanta today:*Chandler Catanzaro's missed point-after kick.*Jameis Winston's interception on a deep throw to DeSean Jackson.*And on defense, where do we start? Here's the Times' Bucs cov...
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