Sunday, August 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs 29, Bears 7: Instant analysis from the Times staff

TAMPA — Here's the instant analysis from the Tampa Bay Times' Bucs coverage team from Tampa Bay's 29-7 victory over Chicago in the season-opener Sunday at Raymond James Stadium:

RUST? WHAT RUST?

The Bucs were not rusty at all despite the starters being off for three weeks. The Bears are bad. Real bad. And that will be the national story this week. But don't let that diminish just how good the Bucs were. This was a complete and dominant victory. Where's the parade route start?

-- Tom Jones, @tomwjones

DA BUCS

The road to 16-0 starts here. Sorry, the heat got to me. But so did Sunday. The Bucs were that impressive. Yes, there was the opponent, the awful Bears and their awful quarterback, dear old Bucs pal Mike Glennon. But the Bucs forgot Irma anxiety and delays, pushed past excuses and summarily wiped out a terrible football team in the manner befitting a good one.

-- Martin Fennelly, @martinjfennelly

BUCS DEFENSE MAY BE DOMINANT

The biggest takeaway is that the defense may actually lead this team.

All the weapons for quarterback Jameis Winston are nice. But when you force three turnovers and get another one on special teams in the first half — even against Glennon — it's a great sign.

The Bucs were third in takeaways in the NFL a year ago. Taking the ball away is how you win games in the NFL.

-- Rick Stroud, @StroudNFL

DEFENSE DIDN'T MISS A STEP

As much attention as the Bucs' upgraded offense deserved in the offseason, it's more impressive that Tampa Bay's defense picked up where it left off in 2016. Four total takeaways in the first half, leading to 20 points, made it a lopsided game quickly. Promisingly stout against the run as well.

-- Greg Auman, @gregauman

WINSTON PROTECTION PLAN

When the Bucs and Bears played last November, Chicago pressured Winston on 43 percent of his dropbacks. Tampa Bay's offensive line, with Ali Marpet at center and J.R. Sweezy at right guard, held up much better this time around. The Bears sacked Winston only twice.

-- Thomas Bassinger, @tometrics.

Comments
Why wait? Time for Bucs fans to start missing Jameis Winston

Why wait? Time for Bucs fans to start missing Jameis Winston

NASHVILLE — Here in the land of love-sick country ballads where the dog dies, the pickup truck tires are slashed and somebody leaves a note on the way out of town, Bucs fans should already start missing Jameis Winston.Oh, he's not gone, gone, g...
Published: 08/18/18
Updated: 08/19/18
Tom Jones’ Two Cents: Mixed bag for Bucs’ first teamers vs. Titans

Tom Jones’ Two Cents: Mixed bag for Bucs’ first teamers vs. Titans

Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents while tuning in to the WFLA-Ch. 8 broadcast of Saturday night's Bucs-Titans preseason game.It's preseason. And it was just the second preseason game at that, so there's no reason to get too ...
Published: 08/18/18
Bucs journal: When in doubt, keep throwing to Mike Evans

Bucs journal: When in doubt, keep throwing to Mike Evans

NASHVILLE — Coach Dirk Koetter joked last week that the Bucs' offense consisted mostly of throwing to WR Mike Evans.All kidding aside, it's not a bad plan.Evans is the most reliable weapon among the Bucs' corps of target-rich receivers. He prov...
Published: 08/18/18
Bucs defensive line had good days against Titans, but not good enough if it aims to be great

Bucs defensive line had good days against Titans, but not good enough if it aims to be great

NASHVILLE — The Bucs' new and improved defensive line has Pro Bowl players, Super Bowl winners and some high draft picks. But right now, they're more famous individually than collectively.For two practices, that's also how they played against t...
Published: 08/18/18
Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota: The stats that matter

Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota: The stats that matter

Yeah, but …Every Jameis Winston-Marcus Mariota debate is full of them.Winston has completed more passes (939), gained more passing yards (11,636) and thrown more passing touchdowns (69) before his age 24 season than any quarterback in NFL histo...
Published: 08/17/18
Updated: 08/18/18
From Hawaii to the honky-tonk: Nashville’s in love with Marcus Mariota

From Hawaii to the honky-tonk: Nashville’s in love with Marcus Mariota

NASHVILLE — Ten thousand blue leis were distributed to Titans fans for the NFL draft on the day their team picked Marcus Mariota.The 2014 Heisman Trophy winner wasn't even at Nissan Stadium for the party, which drew a crowd of 20,000. But the w...
Published: 08/17/18
Updated: 08/18/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Talking with Titans GM Jon Robinson

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Talking with Titans GM Jon Robinson

Rick Stroud sits down with Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson, who served as the Bucs' Director of Player Development under Jason Licht and was in Tampa Bay when the team scouted Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota prior to the 2015 NFL Draf...
Published: 08/17/18
Titans GM Jon Robinson sees playmakers everywhere for the Bucs

Titans GM Jon Robinson sees playmakers everywhere for the Bucs

Jon Robinson was in Tampa Bay when he and Bucs and general manager Jason Licht began assembling the team that came to practice with the Titans this week.The Titans GM still thinks highly of the players he helped the Bucs acquire, such as Kwon Alexand...
Published: 08/17/18
Catching up with the guy who’s been on both sides of Winston-Mariota

Catching up with the guy who’s been on both sides of Winston-Mariota

NASHVILLE — Jon Robinson knew being the general manager of the Titans meant almost every decision would pass by his desk."I got into this for football,'' Robinson said. "And now I'm trying to buy vacuum cleaners.''The Titans' kicker is Ryan Suc...
Published: 08/16/18
Bucs sign former Panthers DT Drew Iddings, waived Stevie Tu’ikolovatu injured

Bucs sign former Panthers DT Drew Iddings, waived Stevie Tu’ikolovatu injured

One Bucs player will be departing Nashville before the team does.Defensive tackle Stevie Tu'ikolovatu, a seventh-round pick from Southern Cal in 2017, was waived injured Thursday. Tu'ikolovatu suffered what is believed to be a triceps injury.The Bucs...
Published: 08/16/18