Fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were pretty excited after the first few games of the season. Even with starting quarterback Jameis Winston suspended, they were winning games and back up QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was putting up great numbers.
Then the tide turned and the team began a slide that fans were hoping wouldn’t come. I spoke with Chris Fisher, former Bucs podcaster, who can always be counted on for unflinching analysis. He gave me his impression of this team, where it’s headed, and what we can expect from this week’s game against the New York Giants.
Tampa Bay is sitting at the bottom of the division, but just one game behind Atlanta. After such a hot start, what do you think are the biggest issues facing the Bucs at midseason?
Well, I certainly didn’t think the Bucs would be sitting at 3-6 after opening up with wins against the Saints (their only loss) and Eagles. There are a laundry list of issues this team has endured this season with injuries to key players on defense, the firing of Mike Smith because of awful defensive play, Chandler Catanzaro’s misses, which has led to his release, quarterback shuffling, but ultimately, the biggest issue facing the Bucs currently is their turnovers on offense and lack of getting takeaways on defense.
The Bucs are dead last in the NFL in turnover margin per game, averaging -2.1 and -3.3 over the last three weeks. Regardless of if it’s Jameis Winston or Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Bucs have a league-high 19 interceptions thrown this season. That’s more than Arizona, Buffalo, and the NY Jets who have started rookies or a slew of backups this season. It’s a staggering and mind-boggling issue right now. Ultimately, the offense turns the ball over too much and the defense can’t take the ball away. No matter how many yards your offense puts up if they turn the ball over it’s not going to lead to wins.
Tampa Bay Buccanneers quarterback Jameis Winston was hoping that his past actions would somehow get lost in mini-camp news, but that was not the case. On Thursday, ESPN Insider Adam Schefter tweeted this:
NFL is planning to suspend Buccaneers’ QB Jameis Winston the first three games of the season for violating the personal conduct policy, league sources tell ESPN.
ESPN’s Tallahassee host Jeff Cameron initially reported Winston was bracing to be suspended – and he will be.
Thursday Night Football has historically not provided us with entertaining games. Two teams, both usually on a short week, duke it out on the nationally televised stage. After a heartbreaking loss at home to the Carolina Panthers last week, mainly credited to the poor performance of the offensive line and communication issues on the defense, the New England Patriots headed to Tampa Bay to take on Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers.
The Patriots emerged the victors, and there were definitely some good elements to the game, but there is still a lot of work to do to make this team better. The Patriots, who are used to being at the top looking down in the AFC East division standings, are in a 3 way tie for first place with the Buffalo Bills, who have been playing good football, and the New York Jets. Some thoughts from the Patriots’ win over the Buccaneers:
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