Saturday, July 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Fennelly: One simple reason Bucs are winless at home: They're bad

Bucs coach Dirk Koetter wants the lower bowl filled.

His team, it's filling the bowl all right.

Meet the worst home team in the NFL.

Yes, the view from 3-5 includes the fact that the Bucs are 0-4 at home, halfway to 0-8. Why, you need to go all the way back to two years ago, Lovie Smith's first Bucs season, to find 0-8.

The Bucs are 3-17 in their past 20 home games. It's the worst current home stretch in professional football. Even the Browns are better, at 5-15.

"Trust me, whatever frustration anybody else has, you can multiply that by about 200,000 for me," Koetter said.

Like that matters at this point.

No one has an explanation for this lonesome play at home .

"I wish I knew," offensive tackle Demar Dotson said. "I don't think anybody knows."

Possible solutions: petition league for neutral-site games; take team on plane trip, confuse them into thinking Tampa is road game; mass hypnotism ("You are in … Chicago.").

Or, well, beat the Bears a week from Sunday.

Here's my explanation for all this:

This is not a very good football team.

Quarterback Jameis Winston disagrees.

"This is a great football team," Winston said. "I think we've just got to get over that hump."

Was it Mike Evans in concussion protocol at the end of Thursday's game against the Falcons, or Jameis?

The Bucs defense had to be tired, what with those five quarters against Oakland on Sunday followed by running around not covering Atlanta receivers.

And to think it all went down on John Lynch Night, with Lynch and a lot of the great Bucs defenders from the Super Bowl team on hand. They must have been throwing up in rows.

If Bears quarterback Jay Cutler comes in a week from Sunday and slices and dices like Derek Carr and Matt Ryan, Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith might be looking at double coverage over his shoulder.

Another thing, the biggest thing: The Bucs don't have enough good players. Yes, they've had injuries, but Doug Martin going down might be the only one that truly tips any scale.

How many good players are enough?

Not everybody has 53 good guys. What's the number? Whether it's 10 or 12 or 22, the Bucs don't hit it. And some of the good ones they do have, such as Lavonte David, have become invisible.

I'm not even sure if left tackle Donovan Smith is one of the good players. Is he hurt? Because Smith looked like a turnstile Thursday. One of the guys who came through the turnstile: former Buc Adrian Clayborn. Great.

When you're getting owned and your young quarterback is getting hit too much, it's a problem. Protection is an issue without a true run threat. Jameis was under a lot of pressure. If he wasn't strong and durable, he'd already be done for the season.

On defense, there's no consistent pass rush and no consistent pass coverage. It's going to get worse before it gets batter.

Other than Jameis getting hit, or throwing wild, and no run game Thursday, and weak pass rushing and pass defense, and not having enough good players, and the head coach not trusting his quarterback, defense and placekicker, and 0-4 at home, the Bucs are doing just fine.

Think teams want to come play here?

Multiply that by about 200,000.

Comments
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