Thursday, January 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFL Quarterly Report: Biggest surprise and disappointment

The NFL season is a quarter of the way complete and nothing is as it might have seemed. The Vikings and Eagles are up, the Cardinals and Panthers are down. The Broncos and Patriots have been just fine, even without Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. With Brady set to return this week from a four-game suspension, the Times' Bucs/NFL coverage team looks at the biggest surprises and disappointments in the league so far this season.

Biggest surprise

Rick Stroud, @NFLStroud

The number of first-year starting quarterbacks or rookies tearing it up in the NFL, from Carson Wentz to Dak Prescott to Trevor Siemian.

Tom Jones, @tomwjones

The start by the Minnesota Vikings. They lose their starting quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, right before the season and then lose the best running back in football, Adrian Peterson. This team should be looking for their first victory instead of sitting at the top of the NFC North.

Read more:

NFL Quarterly Report: Players, teams to buy and sell

NFL Quarterly Report: Coach of the year and those on the hot seat

NFL Quarterly Report: MVP and Super Bowl picks

Greg Auman, @gregauman

The Eagles and Vikings — both sides of the Sam Bradford trade — both open the season 3-0. Philadelphia's start under rookie Carson Wentz might be most impressive, but anyone who wrote the Vikings off after major injuries at QB, RB and tackle did so prematurely.

Thomas Bassinger, @tometrics

Rookie quarterbacks. Carson Wentz (five touchdowns, no interceptions) and Dak Prescott (three touchdowns, no interceptions) have led the Eagles and Cowboys to a combined 6-1 record.

Ernest Hooper, @hoop4you

Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott.

Martin Fennelly, @mjfennelly

3-0 Eagles and quarterback Carson Wentz. Overall success of young quarterbacks.

Biggest disappointment

Stroud

The Arizona Cardinals. A year ago they played in the NFC Championship game. Now their only win is against the Bucs.

Jones

Panthers. Not that anyone expected Carolina to lose one regular-season game like a season ago, but losing three in the first month is stunning. QB Cam Newton is getting beat up and there just seems to be something missing from this team. Perhaps it's Josh Norman's swagger.

Auman

Who would have seen Arizona and Carolina both at 1-3? Two of the prohibitive favorites in the NFC have looked little like their 2015 selves -- the standings might as well have been flipped in each division from a year ago. Which 1-3 team can bounce back and at least salvage a wild card?

Bassinger

Bucs. For a team that showed some promise last season, just about everything that could go wrong has. Jameis Winston (along with Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick) has turned the ball over a league-high 10 times. The defense hasn't improved, and so far looks worse than it did last season. And the head coach has talked about a problematic culture. Through four games, Dirk Koetter's win percentage (0.250) is the same as Lovie Smith's in 2014 and 2015.

Hooper

Arizona Cardinals -- unless they're playing the Bucs

Fennelly

1-3 Arizona and 1-3 Carolina.

Comments
Rick and Tom podcast: What does it mean when Bucs GM cringes at expectations?

Rick and Tom podcast: What does it mean when Bucs GM cringes at expectations?

Bucs general manager Jason Licht told Rick Stroud that he cringed at some of the preseason expectations last season, and the outrage from some fans has been more than he expected.In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down what it a...
Updated: 3 hours ago
DeSean Jackson says Jameis Winston needs to stop trying to “impress the world,” and play his game

DeSean Jackson says Jameis Winston needs to stop trying to “impress the world,” and play his game

Receiver DeSean Jackson stopped short of saying he regretted his decision to sign a three-year, $33.5-million contract as a free agent with the Bucs last March. But he certainly is disappointed in his lack of chemistry with quarterback Jameis Winston...
Published: 01/17/18
Bucs LB Kwon Alexander headed to Pro Bowl

Bucs LB Kwon Alexander headed to Pro Bowl

Kwon Alexander is headed to the Pro Bowl.The third-year Bucs linebacker, who led the NFL in solo tackles a year ago, was announced Tuesday as an injury replacement for Seattle's Bobby Wagner.Alexander, 23, won't have to go far, as the game is back in...
Published: 01/16/18

Shrine Game journal: Homecoming for Utah OL Salesi Uhatafe; Quinton Flowers works on snaps

ST. PETERSBURG — Salesi Uhatafe is back in his hometown, and though he moved to Texas when he was still a baby, it’s very much a homecoming as the former Utah offensive lineman plays in Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field."I’ll probab...
Published: 01/15/18
Iowa State’s two-way star Joel Lanning practicing at linebacker for East-West Shrine Game

Iowa State’s two-way star Joel Lanning practicing at linebacker for East-West Shrine Game

ST. PETERSBURG — Joel Lanning has the unique distinction of being listed as an "LB/QB" on the West roster for Saturday’s East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field.And while the former Iowa State star spent the entire practice at middle linebacker Mond...
Published: 01/15/18
Bucs GM Jason Licht ‘cringed’ at expectations, optimistic about future

Bucs GM Jason Licht ‘cringed’ at expectations, optimistic about future

TAMPA — It was a brutal year. That’s how general manager Jason Licht views the Bucs’ 2017 season.Start with Hard Knocks and the surrounding expectations, some he embraced and others he "cringed at." They all went unfulfilled, mostly due to injuries, ...
Published: 01/15/18

NFL playoffs schedule

AFCCONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP• Jaguars at Patriots, 3 p.m. Sunday, CBSNFCCONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP•Vikings at Eagles, 6:40 p.m. Sunday, FoxSuper Bowl LIIJaguars or Patriots vs. Vikings or Eagles, 6:30 p.m. Feb. 4, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis TV: NBC...
Published: 01/15/18
Jason Licht addresses what went wrong for the Bucs in 2017 and how they plan to fix it

Jason Licht addresses what went wrong for the Bucs in 2017 and how they plan to fix it

It was a "brutal year." That's how general manager Jason Licht views the Bucs 2017 season.Expectations, many of them he said he "cringed at," nonetheless went unfulfilled due to injuries, particularly the right shoulder sprain suffered by quarterback...
Published: 01/15/18
Bucs search for a backup quarterback becomes paramount amid NFL’s probe into Winston

Bucs search for a backup quarterback becomes paramount amid NFL’s probe into Winston

With the NFL investigating allegations against Jameis Winston that potentially could result in a suspension, the Bucs will need to address the backup quarterback position again this off-season."That's another position I always want to do whatever we ...
Published: 01/15/18
Rick and Tom podcast: Who says you need a franchise QB in the playoffs?

Rick and Tom podcast: Who says you need a franchise QB in the playoffs?

The NFL’s final four teams are set, and the starting quarterbacks are Tom Brady, Blake Bortles, Case Keenum and Nick Foles. In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down this past weekend’s games, including the Vikings’ miraculous fin...
Published: 01/15/18