Friday, November 24, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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

RECOMMENDED READING


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
Cannon Fodder podcast: Eye on Julio Jones, new stadium

Cannon Fodder podcast: Eye on Julio Jones, new stadium

Times Bucs writer Greg Auman is back for one more Bucs-Falcons preview podcast, looking at Julio Jones’ rank among the all-time Bucs’ opponents, the new stadium in Atlanta, our story on game balls and much more. Listen below: ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs-Falcons: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

Bucs-Falcons: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

The Bucs face the defending NFC champion in its new home Sunday in Atlanta.Here’s the Times’ Bucs coverage team’s predictions for Tampa Bay’s 1 p.m. game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium:MATTY ICE-FOLLIESRick Stroud, @NFLStroud: T...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs’ Will Gholston glad to return from ‘knee-buckling’ neck injury

Bucs’ Will Gholston glad to return from ‘knee-buckling’ neck injury

Bucs defensive end Will Gholston will make a healthy return Sunday in Atlanta after missing two games with a neck injury, and he's thankful and relieved not to have to deal with anything more severe."It was knee-buckling," Gholston said. "I was stand...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Bucs players, coaches say they cherish getting game balls for special feats

Bucs players, coaches say they cherish getting game balls for special feats

TAMPA — In the jubilant moments after a Bucs win, Dirk Koetter will sometimes ask for a game-used ball from his equipment staff, hold it high in the locker room and present it to the player who was most crucial to the victory.NFL players can ask for ...
Published: 11/23/17

Koetter says Bucs not distracted by Jameis Winston’s off-field issue

The Bucs are 1-0 since news broke last Friday of Jameis Winston being accused by an Uber driver of groping her during a ride in March of 2016.That's really all the evidence coach Dirk Koetter needs to say the issue has not been a distraction to the t...
Published: 11/22/17
Updated: 11/23/17
Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Presenting the 2017 Sports Turkey of the Year

Happy Turkey Day!Today is a day of tradition.The Macy’s parade. Turkey and stuffing. The Lions and Cowboys.And our annual "Turkey of the Year.’’It’s a tradition started by my former colleague at the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the brilliant columnist P...
Published: 11/22/17
Updated: 11/23/17
Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says team has not turned the corner yet

Bucs journal: Gerald McCoy says team has not turned the corner yet

TAMPA — The Bucs have some positive momentum with back-to-back wins, but DT Gerald McCoy said it’s too soon to say his 4-6 team has turned a corner."We haven’t turned a corner yet," McCoy said Wednesday, preparing for Sunday’s game at Atlanta. "It’s ...
Published: 11/22/17
McCoy is only Bucs player in Pro Bowl voting top 10s

McCoy is only Bucs player in Pro Bowl voting top 10s

The Bucs aren't faring well in early Pro Bowl fan voting, with DT Gerald McCoy as the only Tampa Bay player ranking in the top 10 at his position.McCoy, seeking his sixth straight Pro Bowl selection, ranks seventh among NFL defensive tackles, one wee...
Published: 11/22/17
NFL Week 12: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

NFL Week 12: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

Happy Thanksgiving! It's already week 12 of the NFL season, and the football feast is set to begin. It all starts at at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, when the Lions try to win their fifth straight Thanksgiving Day game against a Minnesota team out to bec...
Published: 11/22/17
Cannon Fodder podcast: Examining the Bucs’ Hall of Fame semifinalists

Cannon Fodder podcast: Examining the Bucs’ Hall of Fame semifinalists

Times Bucs writer Greg Auman takes a closer look at the three former Bucs who are semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.He also looks at the constant churn on the Bucs’ practice squad and why Julio Jones’ stats have dropped off this season,...
Published: 11/22/17