Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs-Panthers report card

"Good guys win," Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said. That's what he says after every Bucs victory. Well, that's what he has said after both Tampa Bay victories this season. But this was, indeed, a good victory for his guys Monday night.

This looked like a game the Bucs were sure to lose when the schedule first came out. Monday night. On the road. Defending NFC champs and all.

But the Bucs found a way to come up with a winning report card. Here are the grades from Monday night.

Not ready for primetime

ESPN's Monday Night Football ratings haven't been breaking any records this season. Maybe it has been because of Donald vs. Hillary. Maybe it's because of bad matchups. Maybe folks are just footballed out, if that's possible. Whatever the reason, Monday night games have been struggling in the ratings. I'm guessing Monday night's game between the Bucs and Panthers didn't do much to give the ratings a jolt. The game was 6-0 at halftime. Riveting, eh? Instead of a grade, how about we give it a TV RATING OF: MA, for mature audiences only.

Good showing

Okay, so it wasn't a great performance. In fact, the Bucs won because they were only slightly less sloppy than the Panthers. But they did win. On national television. That's right. The Tampa Bay Bucs showed a Monday Night Football audience, with Jon Gruden calling the game, that they could win in primetime. So, hey, that's something. GRADE: Two thumbs up.

What a kick

Who knows what to make of Bucs kicker Roberto Aguayo. He made the winner at the buzzer. But the second-round pick (sorry, that must be said every time we mention the guy) missed two easy field goals. The first was from 33 yards. The second was a 46-yarder that would have given the Bucs a 17-14 lead with 3:33 left. Look, those kicks have to be automatic in the NFL, especially the 33-yarder. And if your team moved up in the draft to take you in the second round then the 46-yarder with the game on the line has to be automatic, too. It was actually quite amusing to listen to coach Dirk Koetter in the postgame news conference talk about how Aguayo needs to make those kicks and that he still isn't sure he completely trusts him when the game is on the line. Hey, who could blame Koetter? AGUAYO'S GRADE: C-plus.

Timing is everything

Twice this season — once in the Arizona game and once in the Rams game — Koetter has been criticized (deservedly so) for poor clock management. But he was brilliant with how he handled the clock at the end of Monday's game. Pinned deep in his own territory, he went conservative to make sure Carolina used up its timeouts just in case the Bucs had to punt. But he also called for just enough to allow the Bucs to pick up enough first downs to get in scoring position. Best of all, the final play of regulation was Aguayo's winning field goal. If he had missed, the worst that could have happened was overtime. Well done, Dirk. GRADE: A.

Take that

A missing piece to the Bucs puzzle this season has been takeaways. Not so Monday. The Bucs had four takeaways — twice as many as they had coming in — and that, as much as anything, sparked Tampa Bay's victory. The biggest of all? Cornerback Brent Grimes picking off an Anderson pass in the end zone with the scored tied, 14-14, and 8:39 left in the fourth quarter. The only nit? The four takeaways resulted in only three points. On the positive side, it did stop the Panthers from scoring. And you know that Miko Grimes is happy today. GRADE: A.

Comments
Zero Bucs players on NFL top 100 list for 2018

Zero Bucs players on NFL top 100 list for 2018

Just to preface this, the NFL Network's annual countdown of the league's top 100 players is a made-for-TV deal, good for summer offseason conversation but not carrying any huge amount of real significance.Having said that, it's worth noting that for ...
Published: 06/19/18
Bucs defensive end Will Gholston says ‘no excuse’ for disappointing 2017 season

Bucs defensive end Will Gholston says ‘no excuse’ for disappointing 2017 season

Will Gholston is painfully honest about a 2017 season that wasn't anything close to what he wanted it to be. Ask him about last year, and there are no parentheses in his world to soften what he remembers here."I just played (crappy), completely. That...
Published: 06/18/18
Ex-Bucs WR Lawrence Dawsey worked with team during OTAs

Ex-Bucs WR Lawrence Dawsey worked with team during OTAs

The Bucs had four extra coaches during organized team activities last month as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, including former Tampa Bay receiver Lawrence Dawsey.Dawsey, 50, played for the Bucs from 1991-95, finishing his time ...
Published: 06/18/18
Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

TAMPA — There's always a lot of attention on the rookie class this time of year, rightfully so. There's a reason the Bucs focused on defense, and DT Vita Vea, CBs M.J. Stewart, Carlton Davis and S Justin Whitehead all look like they could have ...
Published: 06/16/18
Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Times wiresVISTA, Calif. – Former Bucs and Hurricanes tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was jailed without bail Friday after pleading not guilty to nine counts of kidnapping, rape and other charges.If convicted on all counts, Winslow, 34, could face...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs still don’t know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

Bucs still don’t know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

TAMPA — The last pass thrown by Jameis Winston in a regular-season game was his best. The perfectly arced, 39-yard strike to Chris Godwin for a touchdown with nine seconds left gave the Bucs a 31-24 win over New Orleans at Raymond James Stadium...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

The first Bucs home game of the 2018 season is still three months off, but the franchise is busy getting Raymond James Stadium ready with the fourth phase of its $160 million renovation, highlighted by a new East Stadium Club.Construction continues t...
Published: 06/15/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

The Bucs wrap up minicamp as Gerald McCoy sounds off on the team getting help for him, defensive line coach Brentson Buckner yelling at the veteran defensive tackle and advice for the young players who now have five weeks off before training camp.Plu...
Published: 06/15/18
Gerald McCoy: ‘Stop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got help’

Gerald McCoy: ‘Stop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got help’

TAMPA — On the last day of minicamp, DT Gerald McCoy made it clear that the new additions to the defensive line are what the entire team needed, not just himself."It's not about me. It's about the team," McCoy said of the addition of five new l...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Bucs hit summer break with optimism, eager for training camp

Bucs hit summer break with optimism, eager for training camp

TAMPA — This week's three-day minicamp was the final push in the Bucs' offseason, with about six weeks now until the team reconvenes in late July for training camp and the real preamble to the 2018 season.So what, if anything, can be gleaned fr...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18